BIRMINGHAM is set to host a new version of a Shakespeare play which sparks superstition among the cast.

It is believed the bard’s Macbeth is cursed and using the name of the play in the theatre where it is being performed is bad luck - so it is instead referred to as The Scottish Play.

Legend has it the leading lady in the first ever version of the play collapsed and died during the performance and Shakespeare himself had to step in to complete the show.

John Heffernan and Anna Maxwell Martin will be hoping to avoid and curses when they take on the leading roles in Macbeth at Birmingham Repertory Theatre in January 2016.

The pair will play Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in Carrie Cracknell and Lucy Guerin’s ambitious new staging of Shakespeare’s tragedy.

Anna Maxwell Martin will be familiar face to TV viewers, she starred in the BBC adaption of Dickens’s Bleak House, which won her a BAFTA.

Her other recent credits include South Riding, Philomena, The Alan Partridge Movie and Becoming Jane, and her most recent theatre credits include Measure for Measure at the Almeida and Cabaret in the West End.

John Heffernan, also appearing for the first time at The Rep, recently starred in the BBC’s gothic fantasy adaptation of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, the RSC’s Oppenheimer and as Edward II at the National Theatre.

Tickets for Macbeth are on sale now and available from or 0121 236 4455.