Paul Copley, most recognisable recently for his portrayal of Mason in Downton Abbey, is to make his Royal Shakespeare Company debut this autumn/winter to take the title role in Tim Crouch’s new 75 minute stripped down version of King Lear. Touring schools and theatres from 11 September to 1 December 2012, the production will visit Southampton, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Truro, Hull, York, Birmingham and The Courtyard Theatre in Stratford upon Avon, as well as making a brief visit to the states to play in Ohio and New York.
In keeping with previous RSC Young Persons’ Shakespeare (YPS) productions, this version of Lear aims to be accessible to younger audiences. A royal family gathers for Christmas and the father broadcasts his seasonal message. He’s giving up work and dividing his kingdom. With this misjudged act, the natural order is turned upside down and the scene is set for a story of family break-up, homelessness and heartbreak.
Tim Crouch said: ‘With the RSC’s Young People’s Shakespeare, the audience is the focus; they guide my hand with the edit and our work in rehearsal. It’s a privilege for me to repay their influence with one of the greatest plays ever written.’