Maxine Peake to play The Velvet Underground’s Nico in new stage show

The role will focus on Nico's "dark side"

Maxine Peake is to portray The Velvet Underground’s Nico in a new stage show called ‘The Nico Project’.

Performed as part of this year’s Manchester International Festival in July, which will also see Janelle Monae and Yoko Ono appear, the play will focus on the “dark side” of Nico’s life.

Best known for her vocal performance on 1967’s ‘The Velvet Underground and Nico’, the German-born singer’s work on her gothic-influenced 1968 solo album ‘The Marble Index’ will form the basis of the play.

Speaking about the project, said she was attracted by Nico’s “dark side.”

She continued: “Where does that come from? I remember first listening to The Marble Index in my late teens in a dark room and I felt very uneasy about it.

“It takes you to uncomfortable places, but it’s beautiful at the same time. And I’m just fascinated with people who allow that to really seep out of them, to express that and to go to those places that most of us try to avoid.”

Maxine Peake as Nico

Before her work in music, Nico began her professional life as a model and actress, playing a small role in Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita. Working eventually with Andy Warhol and The Velvet Underground, Nico becomes one of the most iconic figures of the 1960s period.

Speaking to BBC News, Peake added: “You look at her work and it’s extraordinary – the artistry and the depth. It’s very dark, it’s very complex, it’s very challenging.

“I think she’s been such a huge influence especially on a lot of female artists, and currently you can hear a lot of [Nico’s] influence.”

Nico eventually faded from public view and died in 1988, living the final years of her life in squats and flats in Manchester.