Kenneth Branagh is to make his New York stage debut as Shakespeare's tragic king Macbeth.

The thespian/director will hit the stage with fellow Brit Alex Kingston when the production he launched in a former church at the Manchester International Festival earlier this summer (13) opens in the Big Apple next June (14).

New York's new MACbeth will be staged in the huge Drill Hall of the Park Avenue Armory, and Branagh admits he cannot wait to fill the space with the play.

He says, "Utilising the possibilities of the vast open space is a truly exciting prospect. I am delighted that we have the chance to recreate MACbeth in this epic setting."

Branagh will also co-direct the production.

MACbeth, dubbed the Scottish Play by theatre purists, is currently enjoying a rebirth on the New York stage - Alan Cumming received rave reviews in his one-man version of the tragedy on Broadway in the spring, and Ethan Hawke will tackle the title role in another play at the Lincoln Center Theater later this year (13).