A Happy Ending for King Lear?

Posted on Friday 25th January 2008

A student at the University of Birmingham’s Shakespeare Institute will be resurrecting a happier version of the play King Lear on Sunday 27 January at 2pm.

With the help of actors from the Royal Shakespeare Company and students from the Institute, the play ‘The History of King Lear’ , will be performed at a stage-reading nearly 240 years after its last performance in the town of Stratford-upon-Avon. 

The adaptation was written by Nahum Tate and made its stage and print debut in 1681.  In this version Lear and Cordelia survive, Cordelia and Edgar are married and there is no role for the Fool.  Between 1681 and 1834, Tate’s text completely replaced Shakespeare’s tragedy and the last known professional production was in 1845 from the American actor Edwin Forrest’s England tour.

Joseph Curdy, postgraduate student at the Shakespeare Institute, says, ‘As a research student I wanted to find out what a modern audience would make of this Restoration adaptation.  We are very excited to bring Tate’s Lear back to Stratford for the first time since 1768’.

Eight associate artists from the Royal Shakespeare Company will take part in the reading including Richard Cordery, who will play the title role, and Clifford Rose as Gloster.

The reading starts at 2pm and admission is free on a ‘first come first served’ basis.

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For further information

Kate Chapple, Press Officer, University of Birmingham, tel 0121 414 2772 or 07789 921164.