Lear's Daughters

by The Women's Theatre Group from an idea by Elaine Feinstein

Lear's Daughters had 11 performances over 16 years ago (between the 9th of March 2000 and the 1st of August 2001) at Monaco, The Riverhouse Barn, Llandudno , Rowntree Theatre, York, Sutton, Epsom Playhouse and Cecil Hepworth Playhouse

Lear's Daughters takes its story and characters from the 'gaps' in Shakespeare's King Lear. The story of King Lear is revised and refocussed onto his three daughters. We discover moments from their childhood and learn more about their hidden desires and life forces.

Set in a fairy tale type castle, a phallic tower casts an imprisioning shadow over the three princesses. The setting is like a beautiful illustration from a child's fairy story book.

The daughters' stories are re-told by a female fool who moves in and out of the play, talking to the audience. Each princess has a very definite character with inner desires and longings which must be illuminated to the audience. They can be played by actors of any age and represent the princesses from childhood to adulthood, imprisioned by the myths that tell them they can only be daughters, wives or mothers.

This very unusual play offers five excellent roles for women with opportunities to play at a variety of ages and explore the deeper emotions and physicality of the women. The dialogue is at times lyrical and poetic. The play offers opportunities for a fairy-tale setting comprising costumes, atmostpheric lighting and sound. It is a challenging, stylistic, impressionistic, Brechtian fairy tale which seeks to make some valid points about the changing role of women in our society.

Our production of this intriguing play won through all the rounds of the All-England Theatre Festival and went on to represent England at the British Final at Llandudno where it once more triumphed. The following year, 2001, it was invited to be part of the International Festival of Amateur Drama, held every four years in Monaco. This was an amazing experience for all involved. As part of the preparations for the Festival, the show was presented for a four night run at Riverhouse Barn, Walton, as part of a double bill with The Real Inspector Hound, a couple of weeks before.

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Goneril - Nicola Anderson

The eldest daughter, seeking the power that she glimpses through her father. Headstrong and scheming.

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Regan - Frankie Godliman

The middle daughter, seeking a sense of identity, lost and vulnerable.

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Cordelia - Lisette Henry

The youngest daugher, looking for her own 'voice'. The King's favourite. Naive and impulsive.

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The Nurse/Nanny - Faith Powell

Paid to be mother to the princesses. Funny, warm, practical, but with a hint of sadness.

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The Fool (and Queen/King Lear) - Anne Nunn

Master of ceremonies. Energetic, animated comic and physical.

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Director - Judith Dolley

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Stage Manager - John Godliman

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Stage Manager (assistant) - Clare Pinnock

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Lighting Design - Malcolm Meades

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Lighting operation - Iain Donaldson

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Lighting operation - Bill Payne

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Sound operation - Ian Santry

Best Actress Anne Nunn Elmbridge Drama Festival - 2000
Best Single Sex play Elmbridge Drama Festival - 2000
Winners Elmbridge Drama Festival - 2000
Best Director Judith Dolley Elmbridge Drama Festival - 2000
Winners South Divisional Final - 2000
Technical Excellence South Divisional Final - 2000
Winners Eastern Area Final - 2000
Winners English Final - 2000
Winners British Final - 2000