Jennifer Saunders and Elizabeth McGovern in a stellar line-up for new season at Cambridge Arts Theatre

Jennifer Saunders in Blithe Spirit. Picture: NOBBY CLARK

Jennifer Saunders in Blithe Spirit. Picture: NOBBY CLARK - Credit: Photograph by Nobby Clark

Jennifer Saunders, Call the Midwife’s Helen George and Downton Abbey’s Elizabeth McGovern will all appear at Cambridge Arts Theatre for the new season, just announced.

Jennifer Saunders, Call the Midwife's Helen George and Downton Abbey's Elizabeth McGovern will all appear at Cambridge Arts Theatre for the new season, just announced.

Other stars include Gwen Taylor, Simon Shepherd, Jack Holden, the Richard Alston Dance Company and English Touring Opera.

After the pantomime, Cinderella ends on Saturday, January 11, the new season opens with Helen George, (Trixie in Call the Midwife) Simon Shephard and Jack Holden in My Cousin Rachel from January 13-18.

Based by the novel by Daphne Du Maurier, we never find out how or if the enigmatic Rachel was involved in the death of her young husband while they were in Italy. His cousin Phillip is suspicious when she arrives at the family estate. Is she a killer or merely a woman intent on survival?

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Cambridge students in the Marlowe Society present Shakespeare's Othello from January 29 to February 1. Ian McKellen (a Cambridge graduate) called the society "a powerhouse of theatrical expertise". It started the careers of actors including Derek Jacobi, Simon Russell Beale, Emma Thompson and Rachel Weisz.

Elizabeth MGovern, who played Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham in Downton, stars in God of Carnage from February 3-8 with Nigel Lindsay, Simon Paisley Day and Samantha Spiro. The play, by Yasmina Reza, described as a ruthlessly comic study of middle-class parenting, won a Tony Award for Best Play and an Olivier Award for Best New Comedy.

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When 11-year-old Ferdinand hits ll-year-old Bruno with a stick in the playground, their enlightened parents meet to talk it over - but it's the parents who turn into spoilt brats.

Any parent could have told them: never get involved because the children will move on and make up, but the mothers will never forget it.

National treasure, Jennifer Saunders will be at the Arts from February 10-15 starring as the clairvoyant, Madame Arcati in Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit.

Directed by Richard Eyre, this is story of a couple haunted by his first wife, Elvira, conjured up at a seance. The problem is that only he can see her and she is determined to sabotage his second marriage. See it in Cambridge before it goes to the West End.

Stars of EastEnders, Coronation Street, the X-Factor, Dinnerladies and Hollyoaks, unite for Kay Mellor's Band of Gold form February 17-22.

The show was a ground-breaking television crime drama seen by more than 15 million viewers when it aired between 1995 and 1997. Produced by Granada Television, the series revolves around the lives of a group of sex workers in Bradford's red-light district. Theirs is not just an economic drama, there is a killer on the loose. The cast includes Shayne Ward, Kieron Richardson, Gaynor Faye, Laurie Brett, Andrew Dunn and Sacha Parkinson.

Horror thriller, The Woman in Black, based on the book by Susan Hill, returns to the theatre from February 24-29. Age guidance 12+ it never fails to chill.

The Richard Alston Dance Company will leap on to the stage on Monday and Tuesday, March 2 and 3. Some of us think that you have never really heard a piece of music until you have seen the Richard Alston Dance company dance to it. This time, you can see them dance to Elgar.

Sadly, they say this is their final ever tour. The programme include's Alston's new piece Shine On to the songs On This Island by Britten and Auden, Voices and Light, inspired by the madrigals and Sinfonias of Monteverdi and the dance A Far Cry by Martin Lawrance to Introduction and Allegro by Edward Elgar. The evening ends with Brahms Hungarian, piano pieces played by Jason Ridgway.

Gwen Taylor stars with Caroline Harker and Drew Cain in The Croft, a thriller by Ali Miles from March 11-14.

In the remote Scottish Highlands, two women arrive at a former Crofter's Hut and find themselves drawn into the past.

The National Theatre's production of An Inspector Calls runs from March 17-21, JB Priestley's thriller, directed by Stephen Daldry. The Olivier Award winning A Monster Calls runs from March 24-28 adapted from the book and the film. Age guidance 10+.

All tickets, 01223 503333 or

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