Royal Shakespeare Company's Young People's Shakespeare — King Lear
A royal family gathers for Christmas. The father broadcasts his seasonal message: he’s giving up work and dividing his kingdom. With this misjudged act the natural order is upturned and the scene is set for a story of family break-up, homelessness and heartbreak. In this new edited version, King Lear is brought vibrantly to life for schools, families and younger audiences. Stripped down to 75 minutes, the production is a thrilling and accessible introduction to one of the greatest plays ever written. Each public performance is followed by a 20-minute question and answer session with the actors.
“We are delighted to welcome the Royal Shakespeare Company back to our community,” said E. Gordon Gee, president of The Ohio State University. “Their performances at Ohio State offer extraordinary opportunities for audiences, young and old, to experience the joys of Shakespeare. Our continued creative collaboration with this acclaimed international theatre company is just one example of how the university extends its artistic reach far beyond campus.”
King Lear promises to be as accessible and thrilling as the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Young People's Shakespeare (YPS) Hamlet that visited Columbus in 2011. As director Tim Crouch said:
“The story of Lear doesn't belong in an excluding world of adults and academics. It is raw and immediate and true. In the 75 minutes of this production, we go to the heart of two families in crisis, of child against father, sibling against sibling. As my YPS production of The Taming of the Shrew proved last year — young people live in a world of great light and shade and can understand that complexity. Our job with YPS Lear is to guide our audience through Shakespeare's story with care and respect and to share with them the possibilities of live theatre.”
Paul Copley, whom audiences may recognize for his role of Mason in the award-winning series Downton Abbey, plays the title role. Debbie Korley and Dharmesh Patel, who played Ophelia and Hamlet in the YPS production of Hamlet, make a welcome return to the company, Dharmesh to play Edgar and Cornwall and Debbie to play Cordelia.
The cast is completed by Anna Bolton as Goneril, Ben Deery as Edmund, Colm Gormley as Albany, Tyrone Huggins as Gloucester, Carolina Main as Regan and Matt Sutton as Kent.
King Lear will tour through theatres, colleges and schools in the UK before playing to school audiences at Park Avenue Armory in New York City from October 16-27. In Ohio, the company will present nine public performances and a number of matinees for students from local schools.
This Columbus event is possible as a result of the ongoing collaboration between The Ohio State University and the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). Since this program started in 2009, it has reached more than 4,000 K-12 students in Ohio through teacher training, performances, and classroom workshops. This landmark collaboration is centered on teacher professional development and is inspired by the tenets of the RSC's Stand Up for Shakespeare Manifesto, which calls for students to: Do Shakespeare on their Feet, See It Live and Start It Earlier. The two-week residency is supported by the Ohio State/RSC Programs and the Department of Theatre.
(Image: Paul Copley as King Lear and Dharmesh Patel as Edgar. Photo by Hugo Glendinning.)
Visit shakespeare.osu.edu for more information about the Ohio State-RSC collaboration.
The Royal Shakespeare Company
Young People’s Shakespeare King Lear
By William Shakespeare
Edited and Directed by Tim Crouch
For ages 8 to 108
The production is presented by the Ohio State/RSC Programs and the Ohio State Department of Theatre.
October 31 at 7:30 pm
November 1 - 2 at 7:30 pm
November 4 at 1 pm and 5 pm
November 8 - 9 at 7:30 pm
November 10 at 10 am and 2 pm
Roy Bowen Theatre, Drake Performance and Event Center, 1849 Cannon Dr.
Tickets: $15 general admission; $10 students; $5 K-12 students. Tickets may be purchased at the Theatre Box Office, 1849 Cannon Dr. Call (614) 292-2295 or go to theatre.osu.edu/tickets.
Lesley Ferris, Director of Ohio State/RSC Programs (614) 247-7050, email@example.com
Anna Bolton (Goneril). Anna's stage credits include Malaise Trio (Camden's People Theatre), Scratch Night Live (Live Theatre), Don't let me get me (Theatre 503) and Chalet Lines (Live Theatre).
Paul Copley (King Lear) Paul' s numerous TV credits include: Mason in Downton Abbey, Survivors, White Heat and Torchwood and on stage: Winterlong (Manchester Royal Exchange), Lulu (Gate Theatre, Notting Hill) and Kent in King Lear. (Shakespeare's Globe). His films include Blow Dry, Jude, The Remains of the Day, Zulu Dawn, A Bridge Too Far and Days of Hope.
Ben Deery (Edmund). Ben's theatre credits include: All Good Men (Finborough Theatre), The Woman in Black (Fortune Theatre), Anne Boleyn, All's Well that Ends Well and Henry VIII (Shakespeare's Globe), and Much Ado about Nothing at Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds.
Colm Gormley (Albany). Colm's recent stage work includes: Melmoth The Wanderer (Lyric Theatre, Belfast and Tron Theatre, Glasgow), Truth and Reconciliation (Royal Court), The Blackbird Sings (Playhouse Derry), Arsenic and Old Lace (Salisbury Playhouse) and I'll Be the Devil for the RSC.
Tyrone Huggins (Gloucester). Tyrone played Kamal in Dominic Cooke's adaptation of Malorie Blackman's Noughts & Crosses for the RSC. Other theatre includes: Natural Breaks and Rhythms (Northampton Theatre), Of Mice and Men (Birmingham Rep and Savoy Theatre), Time and the Room (Nottingham Playhouse) and Murmuring Judges and The Absence of War (National Theatre).
Debbie Korley (Cordelia) was part of the RSC long ensemble from 2009-11. As well as playing Ophelia in Hamlet during this time, her other credits include Luciana in the YPS Comedy of Errors, Romeo and Juliet, As You Like It, and Morte d'Arthur.
Carolina Main (Regan). Caroline's theatre credits include: Viola in Twelfth Night (Swivel Theatre Company), Hermione in The Winter's Tale and All's Well That Ends Well (Cambridge Shakespeare Festival). Films include: The Swimmer and The Lost Girls.
Dharmesh Patel (Edgar and Cornwall) was also part of the RSC long ensemble from 2009-11. As well as playing Hamlet, his credits during the season include: YPS Comedy of Errors, Romeo and Juliet, As You Like It, The Grain Store, American Trade and Morte D'Arthur.
Matt Sutton (Kent). Theatre credits include: Hide (Queens Hall Arts), Wild Man on my Back (Ensemble 52), The Game and Romeo and Juliet (Northern Broadsides) and Up on the Roof (Hull Truck). TV includes FC Dave, Emmerdale and 55 Degrees North.