Thursday Theatre News: James Corden, Denise Van Outen, Ruthie Henshall & the RSC

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You probably know him best as from BBC TV show Gavin & Stacey, but actor James Corden first won acclaim as part of The History Boys at the National Theatre, back in 2004. And James is now returning to the theatre, lead by the same director Nicholas Hytner, in The Servant To Two Masters, from May next year.

And I have news of another TV star returning to London’s theatre this week: Denise Van Outen is joining the cast of Legally Blonde from 25 October. New mum Denise is replacing Jill Halfpenny in the role of Paulette. She’s starting alongside former Hollyoaks star Carley Stenson and talent show graduate Siobhan Dillon who are also newcomers to the girly musical; Sheridan Smith has recently announced she’s continuing in the role of Elle Woods until at least 9 January. I couldn’t be happier!

Finally for cast news this week, Olivier Award-winning actress Ruthie Henshall is going to be starring in Blithe Spirit at the Apollo theatre next spring. She joins an already star-studded cast including Alison Steadman, Hermione Norris and Robert Bathurst.

And looking even further ahead, I’ve got long-range news from the Royal Shakespeare Company. Get your 2011 diaries ready for these dates: the RSC is premiering three new plays at the Hampstead Theatre from April to June next year, as part of A Season of World Premieres:

  • Playwright Rona Munro opens the season on 16 April with Little Eagles, directed by Roxana Silbert
  • Followed by former Lyric Hammersmith Artistic Director David Farr’s piece Silence from 12 May
  • Finally, American playwright Tarrell Alvin McCraney, (who wrote In The Red And Brown Water and The Brothers Size), presents his new play American Trade from 2 June

Edward Hall, Hampstead theatre’s Artistic Director, said, “I am delighted to be creating A Season Of World Premieres with the RSC and to be working so closely with Roxana Silbert on what will be a very exciting programme of new work at Hampstead theatre. Six pieces of major new work over a 10-week period… cause for celebration indeed.” I certainly think so.