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Corrie’s Christine Mackie to play King Lear in all-female/non-binary production

Christine Mackie

Coronation Street’s Christine Mackie, aka the much-loved Dr Gaddas, is to take the title role in HER Productions, Unseemly Women & Girl Gang Manchester’s forthcoming all-female and non-binary production of King Lear.

The production will play at Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester from June 7-18, followed by Shakespeare North’s Cockpit Theatre from June 21-24. King Lear will be the companies’ fifth all-female and non-binary joint Shakespearian production.

Directed by Kayleigh Hawkins, Mackie will take a fresh and boundary-less approach to the iconic tragedy of the ageing monarch who, before dividing up their vast kingdom between their children, asks them to prove which loves them best. This Lear will explore the monarch colliding with the working class; the very people they have abandoned and let down. A world where systems are breaking down and a plush corporate board room can fall into ruin and disarray.

Mackie said: “Lear’s journey is pretty daunting; from supreme leader to someone who learns to feel ‘what wretches feel’ and as a mother of daughters myself, I’m fascinated by Lear’s family relationships. I cannot wait to start working with this fantastic cast and creative team on this extraordinary play. To be doing so in the North West is also a real delight.”

Mackie has played Coronation Street’s genial GP Dr Gaddas for over 9 years since 2014 diagnosing and treating most of Weatherfield, from Roy to Rita, Peter to Paul, Summer to Steve and even bad guy Pat Phelan!

Downton Abbey fans will also recognise her from series 2 & 3 as Mrs Bryant, whom she played over five episodes, and Lear will be her sixth Shakespearian role, having previously played Titania in Midsummer Night’s Dream, Adrianna in Comedy of Errors, Elizabeth in Richard III and Lady Macduff in Macbeth, twice. In 2019, she received critical acclaim for writing her first play – Best Girl – which she took to both the Greater Manchester and Edinburgh Fringe and in which her own daughter, actress Lois Mackie starred. Last year her new play KIN premiered at the Dukes in Lancaster and will tour in 2024.

HER Productions, Unseemly Women & Girl Gang Manchester stage annual Shakespeare productions that are always female led to showcase local talent and highlight how an all female and non binary company is no boundary to creating universal work. The productions are “unseemly by name and unseemly by nature.” In 2022 they proudly began a new partnership with Shakespeare North Playhouse, touring their productions to Prescot, as well as their home base at Hope Mill Theatre.

Hannah Ellis Ryan, HER Productions founder & LEAR producer comments: ‘Lear feels like the ‘next stage’ in every way possible. We are in the Cockpit theatre at SNP, we have the phenomenal Christine Mackie with us and we are organically growing as a company every year. I really feel audiences are in for a very special treat with this sleek, Succession-style, version of Shakespeare which we also believe will be the first time Lear has been cast and staged with an all female and non binary cast.”

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