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‘‘[...] We that are young

Shall never see so much, nor live so long.’’

Artman English Ensemble's Queen Lear: Poster and Production Photo of the Non-Native English Speaker Protagonist Actress

Photo by Henry A K Smith

The applause rings out, the actors bow, back slaps and hugs all round, everyone beaming and raucous like a cup winning team rushes to the dressing rooms, costumes dumped, makeup removed and we’re all bounding down the stairs to the bar for well deserved congratulations from friends, family and audience members alike. It is at this time that one realises how a theatre production is so much more than the sum of its parts.

Every element of Queen Lear came together, as you hope they will, converging as the clock wound down on that immovable first night, that has been there in your diary like a black hole, increasingly drawing towards it ever greater amounts of your time, energy and focus.

Two Scenes of Queen Lear, Artman English's adaptation of Shakespeare's play King Lear: Cordelia crying due to her mother's cruel words and Gloucester blind after having his eyes gouged by Cornwall

Photos by Henry A K Smith

Props, sound track, sound effects, costume, makeup, lighting, subtitles and not to mention one or two last minute personnel changes to be resolved... and like a prototype engine being fired up for the first time, the combination of spark and combustion became propulsion and the show was rolling!

What can I say other than congratulations and thank you, other words are too indirect and flimsy for such an occasion.

The Lost Theatre team were so generous in their welcome, moving heaven and earth to facilitate our success; the Artman English production team were equally impressive with their professionalism and love, and our cast of students excelled themselves, performing what is a demanding text with fluency and truth, to make a production that was compelling, cathartic and complete. A wonderful achievement for a cast for whom English is a second language, Shakespearean text an unknown and many of whom had never performed before.

Two Scenes of Queen Lear, Artman English's adaptation of Shakespeare's play King Lear: the evil couple made by Regan and Cornwall; and Edgar's transformation into Poor Tom

Photos by Henry AK Smith

From October to June a production grew from thought to theatre, and from there went out into the world in the hearts and minds of our audiences, became a part of who they are and will be, and in a small way contributing to how they will interact with the world…

Who would have thought it all those months ago when a nervous cast was forcing their mouths to form all those awkward, alien, Shakespearean words, that a piece of such eloquence and grit was waiting to be born. Queen Lear has spoken. So proud of you all.

Queen Lear with a crown made out of branches | Queen Lear protecting her Fool

Photos by Henry A K Smith

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