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Jonathan Miller’s King Lear comes to town at the SJT

Barrie Rutter as King Lear

After the award-winning success of Rutherford & Son, opera and theatre director Jonathan Miller has once again joined forces with Northern Broadsides to direct William Shakespeare’s King Lear.

The critically acclaimed five-star production is on tour to the Stephen Joseph Theatre from 21 to 25 April.

King Lear is the story of a family at war with itself. Lear, an ageing and deeply flawed individual, wrecks his relationship with his three daughters and in doing so, loses all he has. What is there left? This question, which is Lear’s predicament and Shakespeare’s genius, invites us all to think upon what we might gain when nothing is all we have.

Since launching his early career with Beyond the Fringe, alongside Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and Alan Bennett, Jonathan Miller has become one of the world’s leading opera directors, with myriad credits at English National Opera and Glyndebourne as well as internationally. His theatre productions include: The Merchant Of Venice with Laurence Olivier and Joan Plowright, The Taming Of The Shrew (Royal Shakespeare Company), The Seagull (Chichester Festival Theatre), and A Long Day's Journey Into Night (Haymarket Theatre and on Broadway), and as Artistic Director of the Old Vic (1988 – 1990), Andromache with Janet Suzman, The Tempest with Max von Sydow, and Corneille's comedy The Liar.

Jonathan Miller famously described King Lear as “The most interesting play Shakespeare ever wrote”. With his keen eye for the subtleties of human behaviour and a sharp focus on the emotional power of the story, be prepared for a ‘Lear’ stripped back to its heart and soul; intimate, moving and utterly believable. This is the first time Miller has directed King Lear since his 2004 production at the Lincoln Center Theater featuring Christopher Plummer in the role of Lear.

Playing Lear will be Northern Broadsides’ Artistic Director Barrie Rutter. His recent works include Broadsides’ award-winning An August Bank Holiday Lark and also last year’s critically acclaimed Rutherford & Son directed by Miller. This will be the second time that Rutter has played King Lear.

Northern Broadsides is a unique theatre company with a true northern voice. Its work is characterised by a high degree of theatrical inventiveness and robust performances from a large ensemble cast of multi-talented and charismatic northern actors who all perform in their natural voices. For the past 22 years, it has delighted audiences here and abroad with a growing classic repertoire that has won the company many awards and a loyal following worldwide.

King Lear can be seen in The Round at the SJT at 7.30pm on Tuesday 21, Wednesday 22, Friday 24 and Saturday 25 April and with a 1.30pm matinee and earlier 7pm performance on Thursday 23 April. Tickets, priced from £10 to £24.50, can be purchased from the Box Office on 01723 370541 or online at

Photo credit Nobby Clark
Jonathan Miller’s King Lear comes to town at the SJT Reviewed by Editor on 20:05:00 Rating: 5

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