Julie Hesmondhalgh has been announced to take on the lead role of the brilliant Vivian Bearing, an exacting English Professor in the Royal Exchange Theatre production of the Pulitzer Prize winning play Wit.

Directed by Raz Shaw, the play is set to be performed at the Royal Exchange Theatre from 21 January until 13 February 2016.

Margaret Edson’s powerful, arresting and uplifting play is set to ask what aspects of our lives make life truly worth living? An elegant exploration of humanity, Edson’s sharply funny play explores the fragility of life and the power of redemption.

When Vivian Bearing, a demanding Professor of metaphysical poetry, an expert in the complex Holy Sonnets of John Donne, is diagnosed with a hard-hitting form of cancer she is determined to stay in control. Approaching this aggressive illness with the same painstaking rationalism with which she has conducted her career she becomes caught between metaphysics, medicine and her own mettle. Accepting of a new and experimental treatment Vivian is drawn to the discipline of medical research, but as the cancer takes an unbreakable hold Vivian begins to realise that it is never too late for kindness, compassion and grace.

Julie Hesmondhalgh, who returns to the Royal Exchange following performances in Blindsided, Black Roses: The Killing of Sophie Lancaster and Much Ado About Nothing said ‘At its most simple Wit is about life, love, sickness and death, something we can all relate to. But it’s so much more intricate than that, it is a beautiful play that is full of grace and redemption’

Jenny Platt, former Coronation Street regular, takes on the role of nurse Susie Monahan.  Smart and intuitively benevolent, Susie helps to unlock Vivian’s ability to find peace with herself. The cast is completed by Esh Alladi, Niki Angus Campbell, Okorie Chukwu, Tom Hodgkins, Haruka Kuroda and Julie Legrand.

Wit is performed at the Royal Exchange Theatre from 21 January until 13 February 2016.

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