Ian McDiarmid returns to the RSC

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Ian McDiarmid will play Galileo in Mark Ravenhill's new translation of Brecht's A Life of Galileo.

Making his first RSC appearance since 1985, Ian will be directed by Roxana Silbert, in this new version of Brecht's play – part of our A World Elsewhere trilogy of newly adapted classics from around the world.

A Life of Galileo charts the 17th century scientist's fight with the church over his assertion that the earth orbits the sun – a struggle between scientific discovery and religious fundamentalism.

Ian is perhaps best known for his role as Supreme Chancellor Palpatine and Emperor Palpatine (aka Darth Sidious) in George Lucas' Star Wars films.

He worked for the RSC in the 1976-7 season and then later in the 1984-5 season, in plays which include: Schweyk in the Second World War, The Maple Tree Game, Henry V, Dingo, Destiny, Macbeth and Much Ado About Nothing.

Other recent theatre includes: Timon in Timon of Athens for Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Maximus in Emperor and Galilean for the National Theatre, The Elector in The Prince of Homburg, the title role in John Gabriel Borkman for The Donmar Warehouse and the father in Rupert Goold's Six Characters in Seach of an Author for the Chichester Festival Theatre.

Amongst Ian's directing credits are: Don Juan for the Royal Exchange, The Possibilities, Scenes from an Execution, The Rehearsal and Lulu – all for the Almeida where he was joint Artistic Director from 1990 to 2002.

A Life of Galileo runs in the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon from 31 January to 30 March 2013.

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