Downton Abbey’s Elizabeth McGovern is to star in a new production of Edward Albee’s classic play, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at Theatre Royal Bath.

She will play Martha – one of the greatest roles in 20th-century American theatre – in the new production directed by Lindsay Posner which runs at the theatre from 13 January to 11 February 2023.

First staged on Broadway in 1962, Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? was soon established as one of the great plays in post-war American drama.

During the course of one night, George, a college professor, and his wife Martha invite a young couple back for late-night drinks after a faculty party. As the alcohol flows, the guests are coerced into witnessing and participating in George and Martha’s sadistic game-playing and vitriolic verbal scrapping which reaches its climax in a momentous revelation.

Further cast and creatives are yet to be announced.

McGovern is now best known for playing Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham in Downton Abbey, but she was Academy Award nominated for her portrayal of Evelyn Nesbit in Ragtime and had leading roles in films including Once Upon a Time in America, The Wings of the Dove and the 1990 adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale. Her most recent stage credits include the UK tour of God of Carnage.

Tickets will go on sale at from 30 August 2022.