The Shadow King, Malthouse Theatre

The Shadow King (based on King Lear)       
Presented in English, Kriol, Australian Aboriginal languages
Premiered in 2013 as part of the Melbourne Festival
Performed June 22-July 2, 2016 at the Barbican, London, UK

Malthouse Theatre, Australia

This production relocated King Lear from ancient Britain to the Northern Territory, Australia, thus establishing a thought-provoking link between Lear's disastrous division of his kingdom and land ownership and social reform in Australia, following the first Land Rights Act of 1976. The concern with land was powerfully conveyed by the red sand that covered the vast expanses of the stage of the Barbican theatre. The gigantic road train that towered over the stage was a painful reminder of the environmental and social ravages caused by intensive mining in the region. The exploitation of the land goes against the Aboriginal belief that we do not own the land, but that the land owns us. Another exciting aspect of this production was the blending of Shakespeare's lines with Kriol and other Aboriginal languages which, along with live singing and live music on stage, evoked the soundscape of the Northern Territory.

Co-created by Michael Kantor and Tom E Lewis
Directed by Michael Kantor
Dramaturg: Marion Potts
Associate Director: Melodie Reynolds-Diarra
Set Design and Prop Design by Paul Jackson, Michael Kantor and David Miller
Costumes by Ruby Langton-Batty
Lighting Design by Paul Jackson
Sound Design by Kelly Ryall
Film by Natasha Gadd, Rhys Graham and Murray Lui
Music Consultant: Iain Grandage
Music Director: John Rodgers

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Published Work
The Wheeler Centre

Funding and Sponsorship:
Malthouse Theatre, Australia
Maureen and Tony Wheeler               

Photos by Jeff Busby