1623 theatre company presents

Lear/Cordelia © Pictographik

Autumn 2021 in studio theatres across England (to be confirmed)

A fusion of new writing and Shakespeare that explores how music, song and objects connect people with and without dementia.

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Lear is living with dementia. His world feels like prison and he’s depressed. What moments from his murky past will surface as he searches through the objects in his memory boxes? And will his estranged daughter Cordelia ever forgive him?

Cordelia is struggling. Her world feels like prison and she’s exhausted. Has moving her father to a care home freed her? What memories from her troubled past will surface as she visits? And will she ever find freedom?

Ben Spiller (1623 artistic director) fragments Shakespeare’s King Lear to reflect a contemporary experience of dementia that features projection-mapping by Darius Powell (QUAD associate artist). Farrah Chaudhry (Birmingham REP Foundry playwright) gives Cordelia a strong political voice in response to Shakespeare’s play.

The 2016 pilot production of Lear/Cordelia was co-directed by Louie Ingham (The Dukes, Northern Stage) and Ben Spiller, with set and costume designs by Eleanor Field (RADA, New Perspectives, Hiccup Theatre).

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The tour will be based on our pilot production, which played at Attenborough Arts Centre in Leicester and Derby Theatre Studio in autumn 2016.

Click here to watch the pilot production, which was live-streamed by Pilot Theatre from Attenborough Arts Centre.

Each performance will be BSL-intepreted and followed by a discussion on the issues raised by the production.

Running alongside Lear/Cordelia will be creative workshops in care homes for people living with dementia.

Click here to find out more about our pilot workshops, inspired by the 2016 pilot production. 

Lear/Cordelia is based on our research-and-development project that explored King Lear in the context of dementia through participatory research. 

Click here to find out all about our extensive exploration of King Lear and dementia.

CAST (2016 pilot production)
Victoria Brazier Regan 
David Henry Lear
Samantha Hopkins Goneril
Gemma Paige North Cordelia 

CREATIVES (2016 pilot production)
: Farrah Chaudhry Cordelia playwright
: Eleanor Field set and costume 
: Louie Ingham Cordelia director
: Christopher Lydon sound and music
: Darius Powell digital artist
: Ben Spiller Lear dramaturg and director 


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