Napa Valley classrooms and youth groups will celebrate the “Year of Lear” as NapaShakes presents a free school show of the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre of London’s touring production of “King Lear.”

At 10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 4, at the Napa Valley Performing Arts Center at Lincoln Theater, students age 10 and older and their teachers will see a special one-hour version of William Shakespeare’s most profound tragedy, specially created for them by the Globe Theatre, and starring the full cast. Students and educators will also receive discounts to attend the full show at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6.

This exclusive Bay Area engagement of “King Lear” marks the last stop on a critically acclaimed 20-month world tour. Directed by Bill Buckhurst, the Globe’s “King Lear” represents a fresh, lively and thoroughly accessible exploration of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy. The production stars Joseph Marcell, an accomplished Shakespearean actor in the U.K., better known here as “Geoffrey the Butler” on television’s “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”

“Downton Abbey” alums Daniel Pirrie and Gwendolen Chatfield round out a cast of eight actors who are double, triple and quadruple-cast to play all the roles, and who are called upon to dance, sing, sword-fight and play musical instruments.

Using an Elizabethan style booth stage — inspired by paintings and etchings from Shakespeare’s time when touring was prevalent — this adaptation breaks the boundaries between the stage and the audience in signature Globe Theatre style.

In the story, the aging King Lear proposes to give up his crown and divide his kingdom between his three daughters — but his rash generosity is cruelly repaid. Lear discovers too late the falsity of the values by which he has lived, and is ultimately plunged into despair and madness.

This Napa Valley engagement marks the debut of NapaShakes, a new organization dedicated to presenting year-round professional productions of Shakespeare and classical plays with a commitment to the highest level of quality, plus dynamic community outreach and educational programs. For information visit NapaShakes.org.

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