Shakespeare's great play about speaking the truth was one of the highlights of Shakespeare Globe’s 2012 Festival. Drawing on their first-hand experience of tyranny and exile, Belarus Free Theatre present a fresh reading of the text. Drawing parallels between Lear's spiralling court and Belarusian society, BFT interrogate the universality of power unwisely yielded. A stripped-back set and the company’s characteristically arresting visual style make this a vigorous and thoroughly contemporary Lear.



‘A Lear returned vividly to its roots: as a comic folktale that shatters into tragedy…. again and again BFT find images that pierce the play to the quick.’
★★★★ The Guardian

‘A thrilling couple of hours.’  ★★★★The Financial Times

Like a post-Soviet Oedipal X-Factor, the Belarus Free Theatre on Friday night gave one of the greatest productions of King Lear London has ever seen…It shook the Globe from the yard to the rafters.’
★★★★★ The Arts Desk

‘Bold, irreverent and provocative.’ ★★★★Exeunt



Tweets from our audience  …

aya ‏@ayatheatreco#kinglear @The_Globe by @BFreeTheatre Brilliantly inventive stuff, while totally loyal to the text, wonderful imagery and theatricality.”


Jonathan Lis ‏@jonlis1: “Radical #KingLear by ever-excellent  @BFreeTheatre @The_Globe. Bard’s lang lost but we gain focus on music, physicality & sheer exuberance.”



King Lear by William Shakespeare


Director: Vladimir Shcherban

Adaptor: Nicolai Khalezin

Poetic Translation into Belarusian: Yurka Hauruk



Aleh Sidorchyk

Andrei Urazau

Elias Faingersh

Dzianis Tarasenka

Kiryl Kanstantsinau

Maryna Yurevich

Maryia Sazonava

Pavel Haradnitski

Siarhei Kvachonak

Victoria Biran

Yana Rusakevich

Yuliya Shauchuk

Yuriy Dalivelya


Original cast included Yuri Kaliada as the Duke of Albany, Alex Shyrnevich as the Duke of Cornwall, Aliaksey Naranovich as Edmund and Hanna Slatvinskaya as the King of France/Announcer


Vocal coach: Svetlana Efimova

Costumes: Vladimir Shcherban, Alex Shyrnevich and Natalia Kaliada

Final editing of text and stage design: Vladimir Shcherban

Original musical reprise: Pavel Arakelian

Assistant Directors: Svetlana Sugako and Nadia Brodskaya

General Director: Yuri Kaliada

Producer: Fenella Danway

Executive Producers: Natalia Kaliada and Nicolai Khalezin


Running time:

Act I: 1 hour

Act II: 40 minutes

A total running time of 1 hr 55 mins (115 minutes) including an interval


Performed in Belarusian with English scene synopses or subtitles.


King Lear was commissioned by Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and first performed on 17 May 2012 at its “Globe to Globe” Festival, as part of the London Cultural Olympics, with support from Arts Council England, The Kevin Spacey Foundation and all the generous supporters who donated via Sponsume.

The 2013 performances at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre were supported by The Golsoncott Foundation, The Garrick Charitable Trust, The John S Cohen Foundation and The Sylvia Waddilove Foundation UK.