Wednesday, 28 September 2016

1623 is delighted to present a pilot production of Lear/Cordelia: a radical reworking of Shakespeare’s King Lear followed by Cordelia, a new play from the perspective of Lear's youngest daughter.

Gemma Paige North (Cordelia) and David Henry (Lear) in rehearsal © 1623Lear has dementia. His children never visit him. He forbids it, ever since they betrayed him and he disowned them many years ago. So what happens when Cordelia - his youngest, whose betrayal was the greatest - knocks on his door? Why has she come back? What's her story? And is there any chance of reconciliation?

The production, which has been created through participatory research into King Lear in the context of dementia, combines digital projection-mapping, Shakespeare and new writing to open up the emotional landscapes of a man with dementia and the woman who tries to reconnect with him.

David Henry (Lear) and Gemma Paige North (Cordelia) in rehearsal © 1623Ben Spiller, 1623’s artistic director, said: "We can't wait to share two incredibly emotional and political plays based on Shakespeare, recent participatory research in care homes and the world in which we all live.

"This project is about bringing together the wisdom and language of Shakespeare, experiences of dementia from a 21st-century perspective and contemporary world events.

"Lear/Cordelia has been created by, with and for people who are passionate about seeing Shakespeare differently, excited about new writing and driven to explore the emotional impact of dementia on modern family life."


Notes for editors

  • Images available on request
  • 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, 18-19 November 2016
  • Dementia-friendly and BSL-interpreted performances will take place at both venues
  • Find out more at
  • Follow our journey on FacebookTwitter and Instagram
  • All press enquiries to  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Lear/Cordelia is supported by
Arts Council        Attenborough Arts logo       Derby City Council logo          Derby Theatre Logo transparent     QUAD transparent    


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