King Lear coming to Shropshire this week

Shakespeare has come to Shropshire as an historical county home is the backdrop for one of the bard's most famous tragedies.

Here to There Productions, a Ludlow based theatre company, is producing William Shakespeare's King Lear at Stokesay Court this week, June 21 to 26.

Andrew Whittle, director and producer, said the show was a long time coming after the coronavirus pandemic put a stop to them performing as part of last year's Ludlow Fringe Festival.

Here to There Productions rehearsing for King Lear at Stokesay Court. Pictured is producer Andrew Whittle

Rehearsals have been taking place at Stokesay Court, near Onibury, this past week as the cast gears up to perform to a live audience for the first time in months.

Andrew said: "We were originally going to do it last year as part of the Ludlow Fringe Festival and held auditions in December 2019 and everyone was cast on Christmas Eve. Then we met in March last year for the read through and then the next day all theatres were told to close.

Here to There Productions rehearsing for King Lear at Stokesay Court

"It has been a bit difficult, especially when we first started rehearsals as we had to be very careful still, as acting involves such close physical contact. But we managed to get through it all and we are now ready and raring to go this week.

"The cast were all thrilled to be doing it and obviously the acting profession has been one of the most affected areas of society for the past year. So all our actors were desperate to be in front of an audience again."

Here to There Productions rehearsing for King Lear at Stokesay Court

This version of the play is set in the 1980s – just before mobile phones, as there are a lot of letters in King Lear, said Andrew, so that is as modern as they could go.

Andrew said: "The premise is Lear, a gangster, has made his stash of money over the years and wants to retire with it, and wants to split up the money for his three daughters.

Here to There Productions rehearsing for King Lear at Stokesay Court

"Obviously this year has been hard, so I think the Fringe organisers were thinking King Lear could be a bit doom and gloom. But we have tried to really bring out the humour in it, as there are funny parts.

"We have a couple of amazing routines which will hopefully surprise people."

Visit facebook.com/heretothereproductions/ for details and to buy tickets. The show is on until Saturday, with performances starting at 7pm every night.

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