A Royal Exchange Theatre and Talawa Theatre Company co-production in association with Birmingham Repertory Theatre.


Directed by Michael Buffong. With Don Warrington.

  • By William Shakespeare.
  • 1 April 2016 - 7 May 2016
  • The Theatre

Who is it that can tell me who I am?

In an ancient Britain bound by loyalty to the clan and the power of the sword, King Lear decides to give up his crown. As he divides the kingdom between his daughters, family ties disintegrate, order disappears and the land slides into chaos.

Shakespeare’s brutal portrait of one man’s unwinding sanity takes us from the heart of power to the cold and barren world of the outsider. It pitches Lear against his children, against nature and against the universe itself.

In Talawa’s 30th anniversary year, Michael Buffong and the company return to the Royal Exchange with Don Warrington following their groundbreaking production of All My Sons.

"This is an epic story of extremes in which families fight, tear each other apart and are pitted against the elements. It takes us back to an old world that’s searching for answers to questions about our very existence." Michael Buffong, Director

  • Event Information
  • VENUE: The Theatre

    PERFORMANCE DATES: Friday 1 April - Saturday 7 May 2016

    Monday – Saturday evenings, 7pm 
    Thursday matinees, 2pm 
    Saturday matinees, 1.30pm 

    Extra Performances:
    Tuesday 19 April, 1pm (no 2pm performance that afternoon)
    Sunday 24 April, 2.30pm
    Sunday 1 May, 2.30pm 
    Thursday 5 May, 5pm (no 7pm performance that evening) 

    View all times & dates

    Standard tickets from £16 
    Half price previews from £8.50
    Banquette tickets £10  

    View all ticket prices

    BOOK TICKETS: Box Office 0161 833 9833 / online  

    How to book

    RUNNING TIME: 3 Hours 35 minutes (including 20 minute interval)

  • Creative Team
  • DIRECTOR Michael Buffong

    DESIGNER Signe Beckmann



    MOVEMENT Coral Messam

    FIGHT DIRECTOR Kevin McCurdy

  • Related Events
  • After Show Discussion... KING LEAR
    Wednesday 27 April 2016, following 7pm show
    Tickets not needed. To book tickets for 7pm show click here.

    Our after show discussions are a chance to see the latest production in a whole new light. After the performance, members of the cast and creative team return to the stage to answer questions from the audience - why not join the discussion, ask your own questions and enjoy an insider's glimpse into the production process? 

    Between the Lines… KING LEAR 
    Wednesday 20 April 2016, 11am-1pm
    Ticket prices: £6 per session 
    Book Tickets: 0161 833 9833 / online

    Between The Lines is our playreading and creative discussion group for everyone over 18, designed to accompany productions in the Theatre. At each session we choose a play that is connected in some way to the production, giving participants the chance to read a part, share their ideas and thoughts and gain a news perspective on the latest production. (Sessions do not require everyone to read aloud)

    Introducing… KING LEAR
    Thursday 28 April 2016, 10am-11.30am and Thursday 5 May 2016, 1pm-2.30pm
    Ticket prices: £6 per session / £4 concessions
    Book Tickets: 0161 833 9833 (individuals) or 0161 615 6702 (schools and groups) / online (28 April)  online (5 May)

    Introducings are pre-show, talk-based introductions to each play and production, for up to 100 people. Led from the stage by the Participation and Learning team, participants will meet actors and members of the creative team and learn all about the process of bringing the play to the stage. These sessions are suitable for groups, schools and individual audience members.

    Theatre Café… KING LEAR 
    Thurday 28 April 2016, 11.30am-1pm
    Ticket prices: £3 per session and includes one hot drink
    Book Tickets: 0161 833 9833 / online

    Theatre Café is a chance to talk about the work we stage here, the state of British theatre and why we make theatre at all. At each session we pose a question that somehow links to the show currently in production. The session starts with informal table conversations over a hot drink, before the opportunity to take part in a wider group discussion when we will be joined by a theatre guest. This is a chance to meet new people, join the discussion and share your thoughts on what theatre is and should be.

    Unlock… KING LEAR 
    Thursday 21 April 2016, 5pm-6.30pm
    Ticket prices: £6 per session 
    Book Tickets: 0161 833 9833 / online

    Unlock workshops are for everyone over 18. These practical drama sessions are perfect for those who might be new to theatre or want to learn more about the play they are coming to see. At each session we use practical and creative activities to unlock the central ideas of the play currently in production.

    Wordplay... KING LEAR
    Wednesday 6 April 2016, 11am - 1pm
    Tickets prices: £6 per session
    Book tickets: 0161 833 9833 / online

    Wordplay Led by professional writers and theatre makers, Wordplay workshops draw on a selection of plays from our repertoire to gently introduce participants to creative writing, with an emphasis on writing for theatre. Each session explores a different aspect of playwriting, taking inspiration from the current Royal Exchange production.

  • Accessible Performances
  • AUDIO-DESCRIBED PERFORMANCE: Saturday 30 April, 1.30pm

    BSL PERFORMANCE: Wednesday 4 May, 7.00pm. Interpreter Jan Guest

    CAPTIONED PERFORMANCE: Friday 29 April, 7.00pm

    Click here for more information about our accessible performances


  • Goneril

    Rakie Ayola


    Fraser Ayres

    Duke of Burgundy

    Rhys Bevan


    Norman Bowman


    Thomas Coombes


    Alfred Enoch


    Sam Glen

    Earl of Kent

    Wil Johnson


    Debbie Korley


    Pepter Lunkuse

    King of France

    Miles Mitchell

    Old Woman

    Sarah Quist


    Mark Springer

    King Lear

    Don Warrington

    Earl of Gloucester

    Philip Whitchurch

    The Fool

    Miltos Yerolemou



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