Jonathan Miller to direct Northern Broadsides’ Lear


Opera and theatre director Jonathan Miller is set to, once again, join forces with Northern Broadsides to direct Shakespeare’s King Lear in February.

The production will open at the Viaduct Theatre, Halifax from February 27 and then tour the UK until mid-June.

Miller’s involvement comes after the critical and award-winning success of his previous collaboration with NB in its production of Rutherford & Son.

The production will feature the company’s artistic director Barrie Rutter in the lead role with other casting to be announced soon.

Rutter has recently received much critical acclaim for directing and appearing in the company’s production of Deborah McAndrew’s award-winning An August Bank Holiday Lark.

Jonathan Miller headshot

Jonathan Miller has directed the play for the Lincoln Center Theatre with Christopher Plummer, the Old Vic theatre featuring Eric Porter and also for the BBC with Michael Horden as Lear.

He said: “Although Shakespeare set Lear in pre-Christian England I have always staged the play in the year when it was written.

“Here is a play in which a monarch who has always ‘slenderly known himself’ has irresponsibly divided his kingdom in the same year that James I united the kingdoms of England and Scotland.

“In fact the play is a straightforward, elegant representation of the relationships between monarch and their subjects on the one hand and comparable relationship between fathers and their offspring.

“As always with Northern Broadsides the conversational quality of the actor’s performances allows one to emphasise the intelligibility of these complementary relationships.

“In addition to this we can also recognise that the relationship between Edgar and Edmund has an intriguing similarity to the conflict between Jesus and the Devil.

“Having worked with Barrie on Rutherford & Son I feel confident that this particular production will bring forward justly unrecognised aspects of this remarkable drama “

Miller launched his early career with Beyond the Fringe, alongside Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and Alan Bennett.

He has since become one of the world’s leading opera and theatre directors, with countless credits at English National Opera and Glyndebourne as well as internationally.

His theatre productions include The Merchant Of Venice with Sir Laurence Olivier and Joan Plowright; The Taming Of The Shrew (RSC); The Seagull (Chichester Festival Theatre); A Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Haymarket Theatre and on Broadway) and Lear.

This will be the second time that NB has staged King Lear. The last time, in 1999, also saw Rutter in the lead role.

Tour dates 2015

February 27 – March 7, Viaduct Theatre, Halifax
March 10 – 14, Hull Truck Theatre
March 17 – 21, Theatre Royal Bath
March 24 – 28, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
April 8 – 18, West Yorkshire Playhouse
April 21-25, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough
April 28 – May 2, Liverpool Playhouse
May 5 – 9, The Lowry, Salford Quays
May 12 – 16, York International Shakespeare Festival
May 19 – 23, Rose Theatre, Kingston
May 27 – June 13, New Vic Theatre, Stoke.

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