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Posted 09.05.17

Gender-fluid costumes for a unique Shakespearean tragedy

By Kat Peberdy
This Summer sees dynamic young company The Actor’s Wheel stride across South West venues in their fourth regional tour, performing in costumes designed and produced by our BA (Hons) Costume Production and Associated Crafts students and staff.

As the world adjusts to a clinically-framed ‘ageing epidemic', Shakespeare’s masterpiece tragedy King Lear soars poignantly above others as the marked play for our time. Foolish parents, ungrateful children, the fear of madness, loneliness, division, feuds over borders and territories — this production has aching resonance and serves as a sharp reminder of how brief our journey through life is.

In a brave twist, and with a respectful nod to Glenda Jackson and the astounding Tamsin Greig, this production is gender fluid from the outset. Lear is female; a single mother, parent, protagonist and perpetrator. Her household is populated by female knights and fools and the journey she takes is a perilous one.

This is the fourth year of the popular Actor’s Wheel regional tour, with the company visiting a range of venues as part of their training. Led by industry professionals based at Plymouth Marjon University, this training company has had success in past years with The Tempest, Faustus and The Winter’s Tale.

"This exciting opportunity gives students a hands-on experience of theatre production in a professional setting."

— Marie Dunaway
Programme Leader, BA (Hons) Costume Production and Associated Crafts

Company Director Natasha Buckley said: "It is a real delight to work with such an exciting company. Shakespeare is timeless and our young people are all dealing with these issues now, today. They bring a bold vibrancy to the work and it is our duty whether we are child, or parent, to witness and acknowledge this."