Web Production
by Strange Duck Media

2023 Edinburgh Festival Fringe Outstanding Production and Offie Nominated Show

2012 International Performing Arts for Youth  (IPAY) Victor Award for Outstanding Production

 ‘A magical, world-class theatrical experience’ 5*****  Edinburgh Guide

‘Intense, energetic, magical, and deeply moving’ FringeReview OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION

‘Frisky, funny, tantalizing’ The New York Times

‘A virtuosic performer’ Charles Isherwood, The New York Times

What if the great and tragic story of King Lear were to be told by the King’s closest companion? In this one-woman tour-de-force, actress Susanna Hamnett plays the Fool (who, in good Shakespearean tradition is actually Noreen disguised as a boy) –  and every other character – to tell a very personal and poignant story that borrows from the words of ‘that guy William Shakespeare’.

Susanna braves the most savage storm in English literature with breathtaking hilarity and heartache, honouring the beautiful language of Lear while taking a bit of poetic license.

Created with Edith Tankus – who has been hailed as one of Canada’s finest female clowns – and with initial development in association with Emma Rice and Mike Shepherd of internationally-acclaimed Kneehigh Theatre, this dynamic one-woman show is an exuberant and unexpected blend of tragedy and humour.

Nearly Lear is an emotional roller-coaster ride that has entranced both lovers of Shakespeare as well as newcomers to the Bard from Vancouver Island to Aberdeen, and from Broadway to the Sydney Opera House. Most recently it was acclaimed as a Fringe Outstanding Production at the 2023 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Upending expectations of what a Shakespeare play ‘should’ be, Nearly Lear uses exuberant storytelling, music and film, as well as Shakespeare’s rich poetic text to take its audience firmly into the heart of this great story.

Welcome to a Lear that is both profoundly accessible and fun, while serving the great spirit, language and emotional core of the play.

A mighty theatrical force’ and More wit, mischief and sheer playfulness than you can legally pack into 80 minutes of live theatre!’  Roddy Phillips, Aberdeen Press and Journal    


Adapted from Shakespeare by Susanna Hamnett and Edith Tankus
Initial research and development in association with Emma Rice and Mike Shepherd of Kneehigh Theatre, England

Director  Edith Tankus
Additional Direction & Stage Management  Steve MacGregor
Lighting Design  Michelle Ramsay
Set Design  Lindsay Anne Black
Sound   Gavin Fearon
Film  David Parker