King Lear

King Lear - An 1859 playbill for the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh

Shakespeare wrote King Lear around 1605 - 1606.
Explore the links on the left to find out more about this great tragedy.

Full synopsis
Read the story of King Lear in plain English. If you don't want to know how it ends, don't read the last section!

Famous quotes
We've selected some well-known quotes from King Lear.

Key moments
Directors choose their own key moments in King Lear, depending on their interpretation of the play. Here Kath Bradley selects a number of important scenes.

Did you know...?
Some fascinating facts about Shakespeare's play and King Lear in performance.

Stage history
From its first performances around 1607 up to modern theatre and film productions, Rebecca Brown examines King Lear in performance.

Dating the play
Rebecca Brown explains how we know when Shakespeare wrote King Lear.

Shakespeare's sources
There's no such thing as an original idea - even for Shakespeare. Rebecca Brown presents the historical sources and contemporary stories which influenced and inspired Shakespeare when he wrote King Lear.

Production 2007
Read interviews with director Trevor Nunn and view video extracts and photos from his production of King Lear for the Courtyard's thrust stage.

Production 1993
View photos from this production directed by Adrian Noble and featuring Robert Stephens as Lear.

Production 1962
View photos from this production directed by Peter Brook and featuring Paul Scofield as Lear.

Productions 1936 - 2007
Performance history expert Rebecca Brown describes a selection of our previous productions of King Lear.

A shifting landscape
Playing Lear is an enormous challenge often compared to climbing a mountain. Peter Holland examines the diverse responses that King Lear has inspired on the stage.

Resources for teachers
Extra resources for teaching on King Lear: activities, synopses, themes and links to more from RSC Education.

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