King Lear Media Release

David Hayman returns to the Citizens in Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy  

A profound exploration of the human condition, King Lear is the centrepiece production of Artistic Director Dominic Hill’s inaugural Spring Season of classics.

Re-imagining Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy for a generation experiencing the world-wide repercussions of economic recession and political disillusionment, the production places this universal story firmly in a modern context. 

The ageing King decides to step down from the throne and divide his estate between his three daughters.  Deceived by false promises and rejecting his one faithful daughter, Lear’s former kingdom spirals into chaos as he is driven to madness by the cruel treatment of his own family.

Celebrated film, TV and stage actor David Hayman returns to the main stage in the title role, 33 years after his last appearance at the theatre. David started his career at the Citizens with many seminal performances including Hamlet in 1975 and Lady Macbeth in 1979. Well-known as DCS Walker from ITV’s Trial And Retribution, he has been a familiar face on screen for over 30 years including film appearances with Pierce Brosnan, Bruce Willis and Kevin Spacey. On returning to the Gorbals theatre, he said:

“It’s like coming home to the place where I started out, and which is still a very special theatre both in Glasgow and in the world.”

He is joined by a stellar cast including George Costigan (Calendar Girls / Shirley Valentine / Rita Sue and Bob Too ), Ewan Donald (The Not So Fatal Death of Grandpa Fredo, Vox Motus / Sunshine on Leith, Dundee Rep), Paul Higgins (The Thick of It, BBC / Caledonia & Blackwatch, NTS / Damascus, Traverse), Kieran Hill (Holby City, BBC / Henry V, RSC), Cal Macaninch (Betrayal, Citizens / Downton Abbey, ITV / Wild at Heart), Neil McKinven (Curse of the Starving Classes, Lyceum / The Last Witch, EIF/Traverse) ][and Owen Whitelaw (Knives in Hens & Peter Pan, NTS). Best known as a director, Tony Cownie will make a return to the stage in his first role for several years.  Lear’s daughters will be portrayed by Kathryn Howden (A Slow Air, Tron / The Last Witch, EIF/Traverse), Shauna MacDonald (The Descent, Celador / Spooks, BBC) and Citizens Actor Intern, Lynn Kennedy (Hansel and Gretel & Limbo, Citizens Theatre).

Tom Piper, the Olivier award-winning Associate Designer of the Royal Shakespeare Company will create the set design. He has worked extensively with theatre companies across the UK and internationally, including Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord (Peter Brook), The Old Vic, Traverse Theatre and Scottish Opera.  Tom has been a long-time collaborator with Dominic Hill and was nominated for several CATS Awards for his work at Dundee Rep, winning Best Design for Twelfth Night in 2003.  In 2007 he collected the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Costume Design for The Histories. Recent projects include Richard III for the Old Vic, starring Kevin Spacey and directed by Sam Mendes, and collaborating on a major Shakespeare exhibition for the British Museum in London.

An original soundscape, to be performed live on custom-made instruments, is being created for the production by renowned composer Paddy Cunneen. Paddy has worked extensively as a composer and music director in theatre companies throughout the UK and in Ireland, including the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal Court, Donmar, Royal Exchange, West Yorkshire Playhouse and the Gate and Abbey Theatres in Dublin. He has also written extensive music for television and radio drama. His score for the Channel 4 film Boy A was BAFTA nominated.

Lighting design is by Ben Ormerod who regularly works for the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre and English Touring Theatre, amongst others. Ben also works in opera and dance, including work for ENO and Danish National Opera. He lit Scottish Opera’s 2008 production of Falstaff, for which he collaborated with Dominic Hill and Tom Piper. Ben was recently nominated for the Best Lighting Design Award in the Irish Times Awards for his work on The Last Days of the Reluctant Tyrant at the Abbey Theatre and in the IRNE Awards for his work on Two Men of Florence at the Huntington Theatre, Boston. Ben last worked at the Citz when he lit David Hayman’s production of Road for 7:84.

Despite enduring as one of Shakespeare’s most powerful plays, King Lear is rarely performed in Scotland. It was last produced at the Citizens Theatre during its 1951/2 season and has only been seen on the Scottish stage in recent years in touring or small-scale productions. 

To celebrate the arrival of new Artistic Director Dominic Hill and part of a series of recession-busting offers, the Citizens Theatre is celebrating its history with 100 seats at just 50p across 10 performances of King Lear. On sale at 10am on Sat 14 April.


For more information, interview/picture requests or press tickets:
Cat McNaught, Marketing Manger - 0141 418 6233 |




DIRECTOR’S NOTES With Artistic Director Dominic Hill Thu 10 May, 5.30pm
Ever wondered how a play is put on stage? Fascinating insights into casting, rehearsal, design, lighting and costume.

An informal look at how lighting and sound are used in King Lear and why they are integral parts of every production.

MUSIC AND TRAGEDY Fri 27 April, 5.30pm
Musical Director Paddy Cuneen discusses how he approached creating the musical landscape for this most powerful of tragedies.


Citizens Theatre
By William Shakespeare

Director - Dominic Hill
Designer - Tom Piper
Lighting Design - Ben Ormerod
Music - Paddy Cunneen
Assistant Director - Richard Lavery
Fight Director - Renny Krupinski

George Costigan - Gloucester
Tony Cownie - Oswald
Ewan Donald - Edgar
David Hayman - King Lear
Paul Higgins - Kent
Kieran Hill - Edmund
Kathryn Howden - Goneril
Lynn Kennedy - Cordelia
Cal Macaninch - Cornwall
Shauna Macdonald - Regan
Neil McKinven - Albany
Owen Whitelaw - Fool
* Plus ensemble, featuring students from Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Citizens Theatre’s Nightschool drama classes and Community Company.

Main Theatre
Fri 20 April – Sat 12 May

Previews: Fri 20, Sat 21 & Tue 24 April
Matinee: Sat 5 May, 1.30pm
Audio Described Performance: Wed 2 May, 7.30pm
Signed Performance: Wed 2 May, 7.30pm
Captioned Performance: Thu 10 May, 7.30pm

Tickets: £12-£19 (concessions available)
Previews £6 | Tuesdays £10 in partnership with The List.
50p Tickets | 10 tickets, 10 performances on sale at 10am Saturday 14 April.
NB – 50p Tickets must be bought in person at the theatre, cash only. 

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