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Branagh sets up theatre company

Theatrical knight Kenneth Branagh has set up his own theatre company to perform a season of plays featuring stars including Judi Dench, Lily James, Rob Brydon and Richard Madden.

The group will be in residence at London's Garrick Theatre for a year from October with planned performances of plays including Romeo and Juliet, The Winter's Tale and The Entertainer.

The Belfast-born actor will star opposite Dench in The Winter's Tale, while Game of Thrones star Madden will be reunited with his Cinderella co-star James in Romeo and Juliet.

Branagh will take the lead role of ageing music hall performer Archie Rice i n John Osborne's The Entertainer - a part made famous by Sir Laurence Olivier.

The star, who studied at Rada before learning his trade on the stage where he worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), has also starred in cinema and on the small screen.

Notable roles include playing King Henry V in the 1989 film and the title role of BBC1's Wallander - playing the world-weary Swedish detective - in the series based on Henning Mankell's best-selling crime novels.

He was named in the 2012 honours list and was knighted for his services to drama and to the community in Northern Ireland.

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