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Tuesday, 10 October, 2000, 11:46 GMT 12:46 UK
Homeless theatre pulls in at bus depot
Anna Friel in All for Love
Anna Friel stars in the new Almeida season - in a bus depot
London's Almeida theatre company is to use an old bus depot as a temporary home while its regular Islington venue is refurbished.

Having secured planning permission, the company plans to convert the former bus garage at King's Cross into a performance space for a year-long season starting in March 2001.

Ralph Fiennes
Ralph Fiennes: Played in successful Almeida productions

Janine Shalom, a spokeswoman for the theatre, told BBC News Online: "The whole of the King's Cross area is being regenerated. The Almeida would like to play a part in that."

Lulu, the opening production in the new space, stars former Brookside actress Anna Friel in her London theatre debut - as a sexually debauched yet fragile woman in 19th century high society.

Following the theatre's closure for essential building work in February, the company had planned to stage one of its productions at Waterloo's Old Vic theatre.

Critics had been eagerly awaiting the Almeida West End season since an Old Vic production would have been eligible for Laurence Olivier Award nominations.

But the company, which has had West End residencies before now, had to cancel due to prohibitive costs.

Movie stars

The acclaimed fringe theatre company has a track record of bringing movie stars to the stage: Diana Rigg, Cate Blanchett, and Michael Gambon have all appeared recently.

In 1998 the Almeida brought in Kevin Spacey to star in Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh, for an award-winning run which eventually transferred to the Old Vic.

Earlier this year the company put on a successful Shakespeare double bill - Richard II and Coriolanus - starring Ralph Fiennes and Linus Roache.

Sited in an improvised auditorium at the former Gainsborough Film Studios in Shoreditch, both productions played to sell-out audiences. The productions are currently on tour in New York and Tokyo.

The theatre has also staged premières by leading British and US playwrights including Arthur Miller, Harold Pinter and David Hare.

See also:

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