King Lear at Old Vic Theatre tickets
King Lear at Old Vic Theatre tickets

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About the show

King Lear returned to the London stage in Matthew Warchus’ 2016/2017 season as Artistic Director of the Old Vic. This new adaptation of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy starred Glenda Jackson in a much anticipated return to acting, since quitting over a quarter of a century ago. She played the title role, amongst an outstanding cast of stage greats, with performance having began on 25th October 2016 and having run until 2nd December 2016.

Glenda Jackson shot to stardom in the 1960s and 1970s after studying at RADA and starring in stage hits such as the Broadway production of Marat/Sade in which she starred as Charlotte Corday and Peter Hall’s acclaimed production of Hamlet as Ophelia.

Since then, Glenda Jackson’s career took off, winning Academy Awards in 1969 for her performance in Women in Love as well as in 1973 for A Touch of Class as well as winning and being nominated for a huge range of other awards. Her last West End role was at the Almeida Theatre in the lead role in Howard Barker’s Scenes from an Execution at Galactia, after which she retired from acting to pursue a career in politics, serving as the Labour MP for Hampstead and Highgate from 1992 to 2010 and Hampstead and Kilburn from 2010 to 2015.

Glenda Jackson played the title role of Shakespeare’s great tragedy in a gender-blind casting by director Deborah Warner. Warner is a critically acclaimed director, particularly known for her work adapting Shakespeare for which she has seen most success. Jackson received the Olivier Award for Best Director in 1988 for her version of Titus Andronicus as well as receiving it again in 1992 for Hedda Gabler. She has also been awarded the Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1992 and a CBE in 2006 for services to drama.

Glenda Jackson was joined by an outstanding cast, including Rhys Ifans, Celia Imrie, Jane Horrocks, William Chubb, Fiston Barek, Harry Melling, Clifford Rose, Morfydd Clark, Gary Sefton and Simon Manyonda.

King Lear is seen by many as one of William Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies, depicting the slow falling into madness of King Lear after he disposes of his kingdom giving bequests to two of his three daughters, due to their fawning to him, bringing downfall to all of them. The play is a retelling of the legend of Leir of Britain, originally drafted by the Bard in 1605 or 1606, it had its first performance on St Stephen’s Day in 1606.

With an acting legend having made a much anticipated return to the West End stage and one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy’s safely in the hands of an acclaimed Shakespearean director, this production at the Old Vic ignited the passions of fans of the Bard’s work. With performances having began on 25th October 2016 and an official press night on the 4th November 2016, this production received rave reviews and ran until 2nd December 2016.

Recommended for

Fans of the great Shakespearean tragedies such as Hamlet and Macbeth should definitely use this experience to check out one of the Bard’s greatest plays. Deborah Warner has become to be held as one of the greatest contemporary directors of Shakespeare’s works, so this new adaptation of King Lear is set to raise the hopes of fans.

The draw for many patrons however will be Glenda Jackson’s return to the stage. For those who were lucky enough to see Jackson perform between the 60s and 80s will want to take the opportunity to see a different side of her, as she takes to the stage once more over a quarter of a century since she last trod the boards. For a younger generation, it offers the fantastic opportunity to see a multi-Academy Award winner at work.

Age Recommendations: Not recommended for young children

Dates and times

Running time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Opened: 25 Oct 2016
Press night: 04 Nov 2016
Booking from: 18 Nov 2016
Booking until: 30 Nov 2016

Seating plan

For detailed seating information for King Lear, please check out our interactive Old Vic Theatre seating plan with 1553 seat reviews and 3 photos of views from seat.

Location and map

Old Vic Theatre
103 The Cut
London, SE1 8NB

30 Reviews Add review

A long hard watch, the set was good as was Jackson.

barrythompson1 87 reviews, 3 helpful votes

gmr 180, 175 reviews, 4 helpful votes

This was a very good show. Glenda Jackson certainly didn't disappoint after a 25 year absence from the West End stage. She made a... More

joc78 5"4, 435 reviews, 7 helpful votes

Glenda Jackson was outstanding as, indeed, were the rest of the cast. A minimalist production in modern dress.

kimr 160 cm, 16 reviews, 0 helpful votes

georgebruv772 6"4, 120 reviews, 2 helpful votes

Glenda Jackson is phenomenal in this production. Don't be fooled by the basic set. It is a rich and fascinating production with some... More

braintree 155cm, 62 reviews, 6 helpful votes

I enjoyed the show and all the actors gave great performances.

BColeman 5 11", 79 reviews, 3 helpful votes

A very clear, minimal production but with some odd gimmicky touches I didn't like (Gloucester's eye being thrown to the stalls for... More

cjssw11 1 review, 0 helpful votes

It was okay. Full of stars but the show itself wasn't going anywhere. Glenda Jackson must be highly commended though - a fierce lady. More

daniellaharrison 54 reviews, 1 helpful vote