Entertainment & Arts

Sir Antony Sher to play King Lear for Royal Shakespeare Company

Sir Antony Sher Image copyright PA
Image caption Sir Antony's performance as Falstaff was honoured last month at the Critics' Circle Theatre Awards

Sir Antony Sher will play King Lear for the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2016, the company has announced.

The actor, who played Falstaff for the RSC last year, will be directed in the production by his partner, the RSC's artistic director Gregory Doran.

The couple are currently working on a production of Death of a Salesman that opens in Stratford-upon-Avon in April.

Doran will also direct Henry V for the company, continuing its series of Shakespeare's history plays.

The production, which follows Richard II starring David Tennant and also Henry IV Parts I and II, opens in September and will be screened live in cinemas on 21 October.

The RSC's winter season also includes Wendy & Peter Pan, a retelling of JM Barrie's Peter Pan, that opens at Stratford's Royal Shakespeare Theatre in November.

Its neighbour The Swan, meanwhile, will bookend a revival of William Congreve's Love for Love with two new plays by Marina Carr and Helen Edmundson.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Gregory Doran and Sir Antony Sher became civil partners in 2005

Carr's play, Hecuba, is a "reimagination" of the Euripides tragedy about the former queen of Troy that will be directed by Erica Whyman, the RSC's deputy artistic director.

Edmundson's Queen Anne, meanwhile, explores the relationship between the titular 18th Century monarch and Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, a close friend who became one of the queen's most trusted advisors.

'Greatest' tragedy

Announcing the season, Doran said it was linking Death of a Salesman with King Lear in order to assert Arthur Miller's drama as "the greatest American play of the 20th Century".

"One of the reasons I feel justified in presenting this greatest of American tragedies in our main house... is that it sits in its rightful place on our stage alongside Shakespeare's greatest works," he said in a statement.

"By linking it with King Lear, in sequence, with the same leading actor, and director, we assert that."

Previous Lears at the RSC have included Sir Ian McKellen, Corin Redgrave, Robert Stephens and Jon Wood.

Sir Antony, whose performance as Falstaff was honoured last month at the London Critics' Circle Theatre Awards, played the Fool to Michael Gambon's King in 1982.

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