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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA

all female and non-binary production of the Iconic Shakesperian Tragedy KING LEAH

PREVIEW By Steve Cooke

From the Cobbles to Centre Stage

Coronation Street’s Christine Mackie takes title role in all female and non-binary production of the Iconic Shakesperian Tragedy.

HER Productions, Unseemly Women & Girl Gang Manchester have announced the casting of Christine Mackie - Coronation Street’s much-loved Dr Gaddas - in the title role of their joint Shakespearian production, Lear. Playing at Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester this will mark the companies’ fifth, all female and non-binary joint Shakespearian production.

Directed by Kayleigh Hawkins, Christine Mackie will take a fresh and boundary-less approach to the iconic tragedy of the ageing monarch who, before dividing up their vast kingdom between their daughters, asks them to prove which loves them best. This LEAR will explore the monarch colliding with the working class; the very people they have abandoned and let down. A world where systems are breaking down and a plush corporate board room can fall into ruin and disarray.

Of her forthcoming role she comments:

““I am so very excited about playing Lear in this all female and non-binary production; it is the most accessible and human story; the language is just beautiful, and it is full of fantastic characters. Lear's journey is pretty daunting; from supreme leader to someone who learns to feel 'what wretches feel’ and as a mother of daughters myself, I'm fascinated by Lear's family relationships... honestly, I cannot wait to start working with this fantastic cast and creative team on this extraordinary play. To be doing so in the Northwest is also a real delight.”

Christine Mackie is perhaps best known for playing Coronation Street's genial GP Dr Gaddas - a role she has played for over 9 years since 2014 diagnosing and treating most of Weatherfield, from Roy to Rita, Peter to Paul, Summer to Steve and even bad guy Pat Phelan!

Avid Downton Abbey viewers will also recognise her from series 2 & 3 as Mrs Bryant, whom she played over five episodes. Christine has performed both on screen and on stage in many other roles including The Grand, Banana, My Phone Genie, French and Saunders, Wire in the Blood and Fat Friends. This marks her sixth Shakespearian role, having previously played Titania in MSND, Adrianna in Comedy of Errors, Elizabeth in Richard III and Lady Macduff in Macbeth, twice! In 2019, she received critical acclaim for writing her very first play – Best Girl – which she took to both the Greater Manchester and Edinburgh Fringe and in which her own daughter, actress Lois Mackie starred and last year her new play KIN premiered at the Dukes in Lancaster and will tour in 2024.

Completing the cast and joining Mackie on stage are: ALICE PROCTOR as Edgar, HAYLIE JONES as Edmund, GINA FILLINGHAM as Goneril, TEDDY OYEDIRAN as Regan, ELLA HEYWOOD as Cordelia, FIONA SCOTT as Gloucester, ADELINA LECE-BERE as Kent, PHOEBE FARRINGTON as Fool, EMILY HEYWORTH as Albany, AMY DU QUESNE as Cornwall, NELLIE FOGARTY as Oswald.

HER Productions, Unseemly Women & Girl Gang Manchester stage annual Shakespeare productions that are always female led to showcase local talent and highlight how an all-female and non-binary company is no boundary to creating universal work. These productions are 'Unseemly' by name and unseemly by nature. In 2022 they proudly began a. new partnership with Shakespeare North Playhouse, touring their productions to Prescot, as well as their wonderful resident home, at Hope Mill Theatre.

Hannah Ellis Ryan, HER Productions founder & LEAR producer comments: ‘Lear feels like the ‘next stage’ in every way possible. We are in the Cockpit theatre at SNP, we have the phenomenal Christine Mackie with us and we are organically growing as a company every year. I really feel audiences are in for a very special treat with this sleek, Succession-style, version of Shakespeare which we also believe will be the first time Lear has been cast and staged with an all-female and non-binary cast.”

June 7-18. Hope Mill Theatre


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