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Kathakali King Lear (Leday, 1999)

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Kathakali King Lear

Kathakali King Lear premiered in 1989 and toured internationally through 1999. At the annual Globe to Globe Festival in 1999, the production was staged at the Globe Theatre in London and performed by the Annette Leday/Keli Company. Dancer, choreographer, and director Annette Leday played Cordelia. David McRuvie adapted Shakespeare’s King Lear text while K. Marumakan Raja translated it into Malayalam.

In December 2018, Kathakali King Lear was revived and staged at the Royal Opera House in Mumbai, India. It was also performed at the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris in April 2019, celebrating its 30th anniversary.*



Kalamandalam Padmanabhan Nair as King Lear
Good Kalamandalam M.P.S. Namboodiri as Goneril
Sadanam Bhassi as Regan
Sadanam Annette Leday as Cordelia
Kalamandalam Unnikrishnan as Tom
Sadanam Manikandan as King of France
Kalamandalam Manoj Kumar as Fool
Sadanam Krishnadasan or Kalamandalam Harinarayan as Soldier
Singers: Sadanam Harikumar & Sadanam Jyothi


Drummers – Kalamandalam Unnikrishnan & Kottaikal Ravindran
Choreography – Keezhpadam Kumaran Nair & Kalamandalam Padmanabhan Nair
Makeup – Kalamandalam Haridasan


Adapted by David McRuvie
Translated into Malayalam by K. Marumakan Raja

For more information, visit

Production Stills from Photostage.


Further Reading

Daugherty, Diane. “The Pendulum of Intercultural Performance: ‘Kathakali King Lear’ at Shakespeare’s Globe.” Asian Theatre Journal, vol. 22, no. 1, 2005, pp. 52–72. JSTOR, Accessed 9 Oct. 2020.


* Sahasrabudhe, Aishwarya. “Shakespeare through Kathakali’s Lens: Director Annette Leday Revives Thirty Year Old Adaptation of King Lear.” Firstpost, Network18 Media & Investment Ltd, 12 Dec. 2018, 09:48:18 IST,



Kathakali King Lear


scene 1 excerpt

Scene 1 from the 1999 adaptation of Shakespeare’s King Lear to Kathakali at the Globe Theatre in London, England.  more

Scene 1 from the 1999 adaptation of Shakespeare’s King Lear to Kathakali at the Globe Theatre in London, England.


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