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SHAKESPEARE BASH'd returns with a Canadian Theatre Icon in THE TRAGEDY OF KING LEAR

Toronto's The Theatre Centre, BMO Incubator (1115 Queen Street West) from February 16-26, 2023

Design by Matt Nish-Lapidus

Press Release

THE TRAGEDY OF KING LEAR by William Shakespeare

Director: James Wallis

Featuring: Mairi Babb, Daniel Briere, Tristan Claxton, 郝邦宇 Steven Hao, Madelaine Hodges (賀美倫), Melanie Leon, David Mackett, Ngabo Nabea, Julia Nish-Lapidus, Deivan Steele, Breanne Tice, Scott Wentworth, Ben Yoganathan

With an original score by Matt Nish-Lapidus, and fight direction by Jennifer Dzialoszynski

After a hiatus, Shakespeare BASH’d is back with a production three years in the making. Initially planned for 2021, the pandemic put an indefinite hold on the production, as well as how the fan-favourite company could continue to offer their intimate stagings of Shakespeare’s plays.

Returning to the stage has necessitated some changes for the small company, foremost a shift in venue. While they’re known for their barroom stagings, in order to keep everyone (cast, crew, and audience) as safe as possible, they have shifted venues to The Theatre Centre’s Incubator, where the audience can remain masked.

“Even though we’re in a theatre, we aren’t losing any of the BASH’d intimacy and immersion. The action moves in and around the audience, just as it always has, and you can even get a drink at The Theatre Centre’s café, you just can’t bring it into the theatre this time…” says BASH’d Co-Artistic Director and director of the production, James Wallis.

To celebrate this return to live performances, BASH’d has gone all-out with casting. Taking on the title role is Stratford Festival mainstay, and Tony and Olivier nominee Scott Wentworth. Wentworth has mentored both BASH’d Co-Artistic Directors (Wallis and Julia Nish-Lapidus) at the Stratford Festival as directors and, through this relationship, he became enamoured with the BASH’d approach, saying “Shakespeare BASH'd strips the experience to the essentials; the actors, the audience, and the words. We centre the play, with all its unanswered questions, its contradictions, its mysteries intact. I find that very exciting.”

Joining Wentworth is an accomplished ensemble including BASH’d regulars Julia Nish-Lapidus (BASH’d Co-Artistic Director; Stratford Festival) as the Fool, David Mackett (The Good Thief, Fly on the Wall) as Gloucester, Melanie Leon (Shakespeare by the Sea) as Goneril, Mairi Babb (War Horse, North American Tour; Requiem for a Gumshoe, Eldritch) as Kent, Daniel Briere (Stratford Festival) as Cornwall, and Tristan Claxton (Three Ordinary Men, Cahoots, Dora Nomination) as Oswald.

Rounding out the cast is a talented group of actors joining BASH’d for the first time, including 郝邦宇 Steven Hao (Cockroach, Tarragon) as the Duke of Burgundy and the Gentleman, Madelaine Hodges (賀美倫) (Killing Time, Mixtape Prod.) as Regan, Ngabo Nabea (Stratford Festival; Fences, Grand Theatre) as Edgar, Deivan Steele (Shakespeare by the Sea) as Edmund, Breanne Tice (Theatre Direct) as Cordelia, and Ben Yoganathan (Three Sisters, Howland) as Albany.

'The Tragedy of King Lear' will bring audiences the accessible, high-energy Shakespeare that BASH’d is known for, in a new setting, offering an intimate experience with one of Canada’s foremost performers and some of the country’s most exciting up-and-coming actors.


Thursday, February 16 - 7 pm

Friday, February 17 - 7 pm

Saturday, February 18 - 7 pm

Sunday, February 19 - 1 pm

Tuesday, February 21 - 7 pm

Wednesday, February 22 - 7 pm

Thursday, February 23 - 7 pm

Friday, February 24 - 7 pm

Saturday, February 25 - 7 pm

Sunday, February 26 - 1 pm


$25 to $35 online at

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