Rehearsed reading of King Lear with Joss Ackland

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Now at the age of “fourscore and upward” (85!), and at the pinnacle of his career, veteran actor Joss Ackland is ready to take on the Everest of Shakespearean roles in an unprecedented play reading of King Lear.

Directed by world leading director Jonathan Miller and joined by an all-star cast  Joss will be the first Lear to tread the boards at London’s newest theatre, the St James Theatre, before returning to his theatrical roots at the The Old Vic over 60 years after joining The Old Vic Company.

Ackland has pulled together an incredible company of acting friends both old and new, his aim to “bring together three generations of actors”. The cast includes Joss Ackland, Tony Britton, Greta Scacchi, Tony Robinson, Michael York, John Nettles, Barrie Rutter, Honeysuckle Weeks, Shaun Dooley, Lee Ingleby, Jack Tarlton, Jos Vantyler, Vernon Dobtcheff and Robert Young.

This much anticipated gathering will be presenting the reading in support of the Motor Neurone Disease Association, the disease that took Joss’s much loved wife Rosemary.

Shakespeare’s cruelest, and most demanding play, King Lear tells the story of an old man desperately trying to hold both his family and kingdom together. Loyalties and loves are divided as Lear is forced to face the realities of age and the passage of time. “It is the irony of the play that by the time you are old enough to play Lear you are too old to play Lear” Ackland says. But not only does Joss feel he has the experience of a full life to bring to the role – a life that has not been without it’s own tragedy – he has the strength and stature too. “Lear has to be like a felled oak not a sapling “

A rare opportunity to spend a Sunday afternoon with this wonderful mix of stage and screen actors brought together for a great cause.

Directed by Jonathan Miller

All proceeds will go to the Motor Neurone Disease Association


SUNDAY 22 SEPTEMBER AT 3PM – St James Theatre

Booking Info – 084442642140 and online at

Ticket prices: Premium £70.00 (includes Limited Edtion Signed Programme)

Standard £65.00, £55.00, £45.00

Ticket Only £30.00

All tickets include a post reading reception (Canapés and Drinks) except for the TICKET ONLY option.

SUNDAY 29 SEPTEMBER AT 3PM – The Old Vic Theatre

Booking Info: 08448717628 and online at

Premium Zone: £50; Price Zone A: £50; Price Zone B: £25; Price Zone C: £15; Price Zone D: £5

All bookings include a one-off transaction fee: Book online – £1.50 (applied at checkout) / Book by phone – £2.50 / Book in person – no transaction fee

Running time approx 2 hours 30 including interval

The Motor Neurone Disease Association

Motor Neurone Disease attacks the nerves that send messages to the muscles leaving those affected unable to walk, talk, eat and ultimately to breath.  Currently there is no cure and treatment is limited. The MNDA exists to help care for and support people with the disease and to help fund and promote research to bring about an end to MND.

Contact: Ian Gardner – [email protected] Mobile: 07760788612

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9th Sep 2013
Thanks for voting!
Ackland fulfils final ambition

Joss Ackland has long cherished an ambition to perform the title role in King Lear. Now, an all-star cast of his friends have come together to give the 85-year-old actor the chance.
Sir Jonathan Miller, the celebrated director, is to lead a reading of Shakespeare’s play for two performances later this month, at the Old Vic and St James’s Theatre.
Among the cast will be Michael York, the star of Cabaret, Greta Scacchi, John Nettles and Sir Tony Robinson.
“Joss is a national treasure and his life is a lot like Lear’s,” says Norman Stone, the Bafta winner, who is planning to make a documentary about the productions. “He has had to endure suffering and a bit of battering from life’s events, but has still stood firm.
“It shows how much he is loved that Michael York is flying over from America just to do the shows.”
They are in memory of Ackland’s wife, Rosemary, who died in 2002, and in aid of the Motor Neurone Disease Association.
6th Sep 2013
Thanks for voting!
Tickets available for £5 - £50 and selling fast so book early.

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