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Lear Jets Into Leeds

BAFTA winner Tim Pigott-Smith takes on King Lear at the West Yorkshire Playhouse

Written by . Published on August 9th 2011.

Lear Jets Into Leeds

AWARD-winning stage and screen actor Tim Pigott-Smith will play the tormented King Lear in Shakespeare's most complex play in a powerful Ian Brown production of this Shakespearian classic.

"Piggot-Smith is well known face on screen and TV, including a BAFTA award-winning performance as Ronald Merrick in The Jewel in the Crown, and a role as Ken Lay in the smash-hit play Enron."

Like all top-flight actors, it's been a long time ambition of Pigott-Smith to play the tormented monarch, and his dream will be realised when the West Yorkshire Playhouse production opens on the Quarry Stage on Friday 23 September.

Pigott-Smith and Playhouse artistic director Brown worked together on Five Kinds of Silence at the Lyric Hammersmith, using that relationship to drive their version of this timeless masterpiece that examines the divisive nature of political power and the complexities of familial love.

Tim Piggot-Smith is well known face on screen and TV, including a BAFTA award-winning performance as Ronald Merrick in The Jewel in the Crown, and more recently a role as Ken Lay in the smash-hit play Enron. Tim was a RSC member for three years played opposite double Oscar winner Kevin Spacey in The Iceman Cometh.

Lear is one of the biggest challenges for any actor as the aging King who renounces the throne of England in favour of his three daughters, dividing power but reserving the right to give the most bountiful third of his kingdom to the daughter that loves him most.

Yet when Cordelia, the youngest and most cherished refuses to flatter her father she is disinherited. With control now in their hands, Lear’s eldest two daughters cast him off as a foolish old man. As power and responsibility pass from parent to child, the stability of hierarchical order gives way to chaos.

King Lear remains an intense exploration of kinship, loyalty, old age, love and madness.

As he prepares to leave Ian Brown will once again bring Shakespeare to the Playhouse’s Quarry stage, following his critically acclaimed production of As You Like It.

A top flight cast includes RSC veteran Bernard Lloyd taking on the role of The Duke of Gloucester, Richard O’Callaghan playing the Fool and Olivia Morgan as banished daughter Cordelia.

Playing the unscrupulous sisters are Neve McIntosh who has most recently been seen as Dr Joanne Hunter in Case Histories, the BBC’s adaptation of Kate Atkinson’s crime novels, and Hedydd Dylan.

Tickets for King Lear can be reserved by calling West Yorkshire Playhouse Box Office on 0113 213 7700 or by visiting www.wyp.org.uk 

Performance details:

Evening performances: Fri 23 Sept – Sat 22 Oct (Tue – Sat at 7.15pm), including a performance on Mon 26 Sept

Matinees: Sat 1, 8, 15 & 22 Oct (1.30pm) Thurs 6, 13 & 20 Oct (1.30pm) 

BSL Interpreted Performance: Sat 8 Oct (1.30pm)

Audio Described Performance: Wed 12 Oct (7.15pm) Sat 15 Oct (1.30pm)

Captioned Performance: Thurs 13 Oct (7.15pm)

Free After Show Discussion: Wed 12 Oct (7.15pm)

Tickets: £17- 27 (Concs available)

A limited number of free tickets are available to under 26s  Monday – Thursday. 

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