Lear - Edinburgh, August

“A streamlined version of Shakespeare’s play.it shakes us up, lets us see the play anew”

Joan Acocella/The New Yorker


Following sold out audiences and standing ovations in New York, Downtown New York dance legend Valda Setterfield (“a superb actor-dancer” Arts Journal) stars in a deeply personal and riveting Lear – “Shakespeare wisely shaken up” (Deborah Jowitt, Arts Journal, New York). Created by John Scott/Irish Modern Dance Theatre) whose choreography falls “somewhere between Beckett, Chaplin and Monty Python” (Tanz Magazine), Scott and Setterfield deliver a work that is both deeply personal and playful.

The inimitable Setterfield, noted for her work with David Gordon Pick Up Company and as a soloist for Merce Cunningham, plays King Lear, giving a profoundly moving performance that explores the unraveling of a universe, parental love, fear of death, personal transformation and enlightenment. Toppling the hierarchy with Goneral, Regan and Cordelia portrayed by three men, including Irish dancers Ryan O’Neill and Mufutau Yusuf and young French dancer Kevin Coquelard.

Lear was commissioned by Kilkenny Arts Festival 2014.

“A timely and tender exploration of aging, loss and regret that gets to the very heart of who we are.”

 Alison Martin/Irish Daily Mail

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Irish Modern Dance Theatre,

Rear 44 East Essex St,

Temple Bar,

Dublin 2

+353 (0)1 6715113



Photo by Patrick Moore        

Performance Dates

Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Dance Base

Wednesday 23 - Sunday 27 August, 4.15pm

Book Nowhttps://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/lear

Directed by John Scott

Designed by Eric Würtz

Composed by Tom Lane

Introductory Music by James Everest


“Shakespeare Wisely Shaken Up …. this magnificent Lear… a woman is playing a king, having the female roles played by men, as they would have been in Shakespeare’s day gives the drama the boisterous energy of children and makes the tragedy all the more poignant…. Valda Setterfield … delivers brilliantly.…  I cannot praise… too much. They invest every shift of character and style that Scott has devised with exactly the appropriate amount of power and nuances of intention. And Setterfield’s performance …  superb—deep and true on every level. …… Scott and the performers construct wonderfully revealing rhythms and movements …Poignant…  With ……  eloquence, Scott, Setterfield, and their masterful colleagues reveal this truth and a great deal more.”

Deborah Jowitt – Arts Journal, New York, February 2016


“Valda Setterfield's sublimity (there's no other word for it) and her postmodern cred--dancing for Merce Cunningham and husband David Gordon--place her in the highest echelon of "downtown" royalty …. Setterfield and Scott … sample Shakespeare but keep us constantly aware of the today-ness of their personal investment in the themes and outline of the source material. ….. And they do so with a light hand, humor, modest ambition and the reliability of Setterfield's clarity and restraint”

Eva Yaa Asantewaa, Infinite Body Blog, New York, February 2016


“A King Re-Gendered – Valda Setterfield, who has performed duets with Merce Cunningham, David Gordon and Mikhail Baryshnikov …..  really becomes Lear …… Her performance is utterly believable, with an almost primal honesty”

Wendy Perron, Dance Magazine, New York, February 2016


“Bessie award winner Valda Setterfield ….  is deeply moving …. Lear Project is a timely and tender exploration of aging, loss and regret that gets to the very heart of who we are”

Alison Martin/Irish Daily Mail


Review in Infinite Body - by Eva Yaa Asantewaa


Full page preview in The New Yorker by Joan Acocella


Review in Arts Journal by Deborah Jowitt


Preview in Dance Magazine by Wendy Perron, Editor



By Patrick Moore / Kilkenny Arts Festival