HULL freelance theatre director Madeleine O’Reilly is guest-directing York Shakespeare Project's modern version of Coriolanus at Friargate Theatre, York, from November 28 to December 1.

"This will be a unique opportunity to see an all-female production of Shakespeare’s tale of power, politics and manipulation," says Madeleine. "The themes in the play, about who rules and who should rule, are universal and very modern. The question as to who will rule – the leader, the people or the Senate – could be asked in the United States this autumn. This production raises the question, is it better to be true to yourself, or to compromise for the good of the state?"

Coriolanus will be play number 34 in York Shakespeare Project’s ambitious programme to stage all Shakespeare's plays by 2021, this time with a combination of YSP veterans and new faces. "It’s an honour and pleasure to be part of something that is so much a part of York’s cultural scene," says Madeleine, who follows Maggie Smales's October 2015 staging of Henry V in using an all-female cast for YSP.

Maggie Smales is in the YSP ranks for Coriolanus, playing Menenius alongside Emma Summers as Caius Martius Coriolanus; Abi McLoughlin as Aufidius Tullus; Jodie Fletcher as Brutus and Ruth Chapman as 2nd Lord. Catherine Edge, Claire Morley, Eleanor Frampton, Elizabeth Elsworth, Jennifer Page, Jenny Jenkins, Martina Meyers, Meredith Stewart and Jessica Sias Wilson all play at least two roles, Jessica as many as seven (Herald, 3rd Soldier, Messenger, 2nd Watchman, 6th Citizen, 3rd Servingman and 2nd Roman Senator).

Nodding to Margaret Thatcher’s domination of the Eighties, Madeleine's Coriolanus will explore the continuing relevance of Shakespeare’s play. "Celebrating 100 years of women’s suffrage, this production puts women at the forefront of this classic drama," she says.

Tickets for the 7.30pm evening shows and 2.30pm Saturday matinee are on sale at £14, concessions £10, on 01904 613000 or at /

Charles Hutchinson