Nearly Lear

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 Hamnett 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.


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

Performed by Susanna Hamnett

Director Edith Tankus

Set Design Michelle Ramsey

Sound Gavin Fearon

Film David Parker

‘An energetic, virtuosic performer with a touch of the endearing goofball.”

Charles Isherwood, The New York Times