Derby group’s new treatment for King Lear

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Derby Shakespeare Theatre Company members return to action soon with a production of King Lear at the city’s Guildhall Theatre.

1963. A grieving mother enters a Catholic asylum for treatment. Tormented by the loss of a daughter she anchors her grief in the story of ‘Lear’. As the story plays out priests transform into dukes, patients become daughters.

Can transposing the stages of grief to the narrative of ‘Lear’ bring her peace? Through playing out her loss can she achieve acceptance?

The natural order is disrupted and the world is brutal and chaotic. Shakespeare’s characters are stalked by death. Loss is at the very heart of the play: loss of loved ones, loss of status, and the loss of one’s sanity.

Derby Shakespeare Theatre Company take one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies and give it a thought-provoking new treatment.

“Hopefully it will make people think,” says director Chris Scott. “Even though the treatment of mental health has changed since the 1960s, there is still a stigma. We have been lucky to put together a strong ensemble cast who are well aware of the weight they carry in treating this subject with empathy and tact.”

Eagle Award-winning actress Jenny Earl plays the title role. “King Lear was my first job out of drama school and the play has haunted me ever since. It’s been a long and interesting relationship and finally I get to exorcise some phantoms.”

At this year’s Eagle Awards, Derby Shakespeare Theatre Company won the Derby Telegraph Award for Best Production of a Play for The Madness of George III by

Alan Bennett and, for the same production, Gordon Gell received the Timothy Dalton Award for Best Performance in a Play. This was an ideal prelude to King Lear.

Come for a thrilling ride through the emotions. This November’s King Lear is an experience not to missed.

The production runs from November 8-12.

Tickets are £13.25 for adults, £11.25 concessions, and £6.25 for under 21s (Wednesday and Thursday only).

Call the box office on 01332 255800 or visit www.derbylive.co.uk/whats-on/king-lear