Shakespeare's great play about speaking the truth was one of the highlights of Shakespeare Globe’s 2012 Festival.

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Drawing on their first-hand experience of tyranny and exile, Belarus Free Theatre present a fresh reading of the text. Drawing parallels between Lear's spiralling court and Belarusian society, BFT interrogate the universality of power unwisely yielded. A stripped-back set and the company’s characteristically arresting visual style make this a vigorous and thoroughly contemporary Lear.


‘Beautifully staged. The production gives us a glimpse of what it must be like to live under a whimsically irrational dictatorship.’
★★★★ Michael Billington, The Guardian

A Lear returned vividly to its roots: as a comic folktale that shatters into tragedy…. again and again BFT find images that pierce the play to the quick.
★★★★ The Guardian

A thrilling couple of hours.
★★★★ The Financial Times

Like a post-Soviet Oedipal X-Factor, the Belarus Free Theatre on Friday night gave one of the greatest productions of King Lear London has ever seen…It shook the Globe from the yard to the rafters.
★★★★★ The Arts Desk

Bold, irreverent and provocative.
★★★★ Exeunt

Tweets from our audience …

aya: “#kinglear @The_Globe by @BFreeTheatre Brilliantly inventive stuff, while totally loyal to the text, wonderful imagery and theatricality.”


Jonathan Lis: “Radical #KingLear by ever-excellent @BFreeTheatre @The_Globe. Bard’s lang lost but we gain focus on music, physicality & sheer exuberance.


King Lear by William Shakespeare

Director: Vladimir Shcherban
Adaptor: Nicolai Khalezin
Poetic Translation into Belarusian: Yurka Hauruk

Aleh Sidorchyk
Andrei Urazau
Elias Faingersh
Dzianis Tarasenka
Kiryl Kanstantsinau
Maryna Yurevich
Maryia Sazonava
Pavel Haradnitski
Siarhei Kvachonak
Victoria Biran
Yana Rusakevich
Yuliya Shauchuk
Yuriy Dalivelya

Original cast included Yuri Kaliada as the Duke of Albany, Alex Shyrnevich as the Duke of Cornwall, Aliaksey Naranovich as Edmund and Hanna Slatvinskaya as the King of France/Announcer

Vocal coach: Svetlana Efimova
Costumes: Vladimir Shcherban, Alex Shyrnevich and Natalia Kaliada
Final editing of text and stage design: Vladimir Shcherban
Original musical reprise: Pavel Arakelian
Assistant Directors: Svetlana Sugako and Nadia Brodskaya
General Director: Yuri Kaliada
Producer: Fenella Danway
Executive Producers: Natalia Kaliada and Nicolai Khalezin

Running time:
Act I: 1 hour
Act II: 40 minutes

A total running time of 1 hr 55 mins (115 minutes) including an interval

Performed in Belarusian with English scene synopses or subtitles.

King Lear was commissioned by Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and first performed on 17 May 2012 at its “Globe to Globe” Festival, as part of the London Cultural Olympics, with support from Arts Council England, The Kevin Spacey Foundation and all the generous supporters who donated via Sponsume.

The 2013 performances at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre were supported by The Golsoncott Foundation, The Garrick Charitable Trust, The John S Cohen Foundation and The Sylvia Waddilove Foundation UK.

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