The National Arts Centre English Theatre presents
King Lear
by William Shakespeare
Directed by Peter Hinton
with August Schellenberg
Featuring the NAC English Theatre Company
May 8 - 26, 2012
NAC Theatre

Ottawa, Ontario – The National Arts Centre English Theatre is proud to present Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy, King Lear, widely regarded as the most anticipated theatre event of the 2011-2012 Canadian Theatre season.

Set in 17th Century Canada, amidst the pressure of early contact and confrontation, King Lear features a cast of entirely Aboriginal actors from across the country including the renowned August Schellenberg as Lear.  In this powerful family conflict, an aging father—dividing his kingdom—demands proof of love from his daughters, thereby unleashing a tempestuous tragedy that even a king can’t control. This production about land, division, family, authority, and power, is as big as Canada, resonating with our own history.

“There are two things that I am proudest of at the NAC. On one level is the Shakespeare, and the other has been our Aboriginal programming,” said NAC English Theatre Artistic Director Peter Hinton. “This production is a fitting celebration of the great Aboriginal talent we have in Canada. It is an honour for me to bring this production to the NAC.”

The artists involved, many of whom will be very familiar to NAC audiences, have been hard at work in rehearsals at the NAC since early April.

Joining August Schellenberg in the NAC English Theatre Company are: Keith Barker, Lorne Cardinal, Tantoo Cardinal, Ryan Cunningham, Meegwun Fairbrother, Craig Lauzon, Jani Lauzon, Kevin Loring, Billy Merasty, Monique Mojica, Jeremy Proulx, Gordon Patrick White.

The creative team includes: Director Peter Hinton; Assistant Director Lorne Cardinal; Set and Costume Designer Gillian Gallow; Lighting Designer Louise Guinand; Sound Designer
Alessandro Juliani; Production Dramaturg Paula Danckert; Fight Director John Koensgen; Aboriginal Advisor and Community Liaison Suzanne Keeptwo; Company Historian David Dean; Stage Manager Stéfanie Séguin; Assistant Stage Manager Samira Rose; Apprentice Stage Manager Erika Morey.

The NAC English Theatre production of King Lear launched a special project titled The Four Nations Exchange. Led by Suzanne Keeptwo and Peter Hinton, this project involved 27 members from the local Aboriginal community who participated in twelve, two-hour workshops over the last four months.  The genesis of The Exchange was to develop theatre education and skills, and inspire an appreciation of professional theatre and specifically Shakespeare. The Exchange participants will appear alongside the cast during the production of King Lear, portraying Lear’s followers. 

The Four Nations Exchange includes: Ashlee Barberstock, Denise Anne Boissoneau, Fred Cattroll, Roberta Della-Picca, Elaine Endanawas, Oliver Foulkes, Shirley Gagnon, Susan Heavens, Keith Hendricks, Jordyn Hendricks, Marissa Hendricks, Theresa Hendricks, James Lumsden, Lorna Martin, Lise Menard, Nick Nahwegahbow, Lesley Parlane, Robert Pellerin, Catherine Peltier Mavin, Jonathan Plante, Bruce Sinclair, Stuart Slippery, Cynthia Stirbys, Janice Trudeau, Arielle Vien-Foulkes, and Heather Wiggs

King Lear

PWYC:             Tuesday, May 8
Previews:       Wednesday, May 9 and Thursday, May 10
Opening:         Friday, May 11

Hinterview:     Saturday, May 12 at 1 p.m. in the NAC Panorama Room.
Aboriginal Advisor and Community Liaison Suzanne Keeptwo speaks with NAC English Theatre Artistic Director Peter Hinton about the production. Free to the public.

Talkbacks:      Wednesdays, May 16 and 23, and Thursdays, May 17 and 24
                        Stay in your seats for a post-show question-and-answer session with artists from King Lear.

Performance Schedule:         
Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday matinees at 2 p.m.
(no performances on Sundays and Mondays.)

Tickets range $38 from $75
Groups of 10 or more contact or visit

Tickets are available for purchase:

  • Online on the NAC’s website:
  • In person at the NAC Box Office
  • At all Ticketmaster outlets*
  • By telephone 1-888-991-2787*
    A service charge applies on all purchases made through Ticketmaster.

Find out more about NAC English Theatre on Facebook and YouTube. To discover some fascinating facts about King Lear click and learn more through the English Theatre online study guide.

This production is eligible for the Live Rush program.
Full-time students age 13-29 with a valid Live Rush membership may buy up to two tickets per performance at the discounted price of only $12 per ticket. Live Rush tickets are available from 10 a.m. on the day before the performance to 6 p.m. the day of the performance. This includes all available seats, including the best seats in the house.
Check out for information on the Live Rush program.

Embassy Hotel & Suites
is proud to be the Official Hotel Partner for the National Arts Centre English Theatre.


For information, please call:
Sean Fitzpatrick, Communications Officer, National Arts Centre English Theatre
613-947-7000 ext. 389; e-mail:
or visit the NAC website at

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