Friday, 19 August 2016

1623 is thrilled to announce the cast of Lear/Cordelia, which includes RSC and National Theatre veteran David Henry and Shameless actor Gemma Paige North.

David (Oedipus, The Tempest, Coriolanus) plays Lear alongside Gemma (ShamelessMuch Ado About Nothing, The Merchant of Venice) as Cordelia, Lear's youngest daughter who tries to reconnect with her father as he lives with dementia.

They are joined by Samantha Hopkins (Of Mice and Men at Birmingham REP, Brave New World at Royal & Derngate) and Victoria Brazier (Oliver Twist at the Dukes Lancaster, The Borrowers at the New Vic Theatre) as Lear's older daughters Goneril and Regan who struggle to cope with their father's illness.

Ben Spiller, 1623 artistic director, said: "We're thrilled to welcome David, Gemma, Samantha and Victoria to the Lear/Cordelia team. They will bring passion, energy and a range of experiences to this exciting new double-bill that explores the impact of dementia of modern family life. In their auditions, they brought a profound humanity to their roles and I can't wait for them to share this with audiences.

"David has played many parts in classical theatre. The team will learn a lot from him as we rehearse together. Likewise, the members of the cast with more experience of new writing and devising will bring a different kind of energy to the rehearsal process.

"I'm buzzing at the thought of the creative sparks that are sure to fly among the cast in rehearsals, before they perform in Leicester, Derby and online in October and November. It's all about fusing classical with modern to tell old and new stories that resonate in our world today."

Photo © Lesley Cook

Photo © Steve Ullathorne

Photo © Abby Warren

Photo © Joanna Higson


Notes for editors

  • 1623's Lear/Cordelia is based on in-depth participatory research into King Lear and dementia
  • Lear is a radical reworking of Shakespeare's King Lear by 1623 artistic director Ben Spiller, who also directs 
  • Cordelia is a new play by Farrah Chaudhry (Birmingham REP Foundry), directed by Louie Ingham (Dukes Lancaster associate artist)
  • Lear/Cordelia plays at Attenborough Arts Centre, Leicester, in October 2016 when one of the performances will be streamed live online
  • The production transfers to Derby Theatre Studio in November 2016
  • Dementia-friendly and BSL-interpreted performances will take place at both venues
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Lear/Cordelia is supported by
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