Maxine Peake looking towards 2015 after a record-breaking year on the theatre stage

AFTER a successful year which saw her break box office records playing Hamlet, Bolton actress Maxine Peake has more to look forward to in 2015.

The 40-year-old, who grew up in Westhoughton, will grace the London theatre stage in February before taking part in the 2015 Manchester International Festival and later teaming up with The Hobbit star Martin Freeman.

Biographical romantic drama film The Theory of Everything, which explores the relationship between physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife, hits cinemas on New Year’s Day with Maxine appearing as Elaine Mason, Hawking’s second wife.

She said: “I think it’s up for Golden Globes and tipped for the Oscars — I pop in at the end of that.”

On January 5, she will start work at The Royal Court, London, where she has been cast in Zinnie Harris’ How to Hold Your Breath.

Looking towards the rest of 2015 and Maxine is excited to be teaming up with The Hobbit and Fargo actor Martin Freeman for independent film, Funny Cow — the story of a female comedian’s rise to fame.

She said: “Martin Freeman is on board, which is amazing.

“I met him at the Baftas.

“It’s in the hands of the producers now.

“We are aiming for October.

“Fingers crossed it will go into production.

“It’s one of those roles, I thought, I could quite happily retire after I played this part.

“It’s the ultimate part.

“It’s set in the working men’s clubs in Sheffield, in the ’70s.

“I’ve always been fascinated by that. I grew up going to working men’s clubs”

Over the summer, she will team up once more with the Royal Exchange Theatre’s artistic director Sarah Frankcom, for the Manchester International Festival, following the success of performance of The Masque of Anarchy in 2013 and the recent run of Hamlet.

Although unable to reveal exact details, she did say they would start rehearsing at the end of May.

She said: “I’m doing some theatre and then the Manchester International Festival.

“I’m doing that with Sarah Frankcom.

“I’m looking forward to it. I really enjoy the festival, just the audiences.

“They are just really up for it. They’re a different crowd, you just feel they are on your side and they want to be entertained.”

In September and October, theatre-goers flocked to see the former Westhoughton High School and Canon Slade pupil play Shakespeare’s iconic role of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.

The sell-out run was extended and theatre fans even travelled from afar afield as America, as part of a trip to see Hamlet and other theatre shows across the country.

She said: “I was really surprised and really pleased because it was a bit of a gamble. You don’t know how it’s going to work out.”