Appalachian Shakespeare Project Presenting King Lear

For Immediate Release: 
Jun 22 2017

CONTACT:  Sarah Dalton

Concord University

Office of Advancement

PO Box 1000, Athens, WV 24712

(304) 384-6312,


After 4 p.m.

Office: 304-384-5211

Cell: 304-320-6405






ATHENS, W.Va. – The Appalachian Shakespeare Project returns to the stage this summer with a new production of one of Shakespeare’s most powerful tragedies, King Lear. Performances will be presented at the amphitheater of Pipestem Resort State Park at 6 p.m. on the evenings of July 21, 22 and 23, and in front of the Alexander Fine Arts building on the campus of Concord University at 6 p.m. on the evenings of July 28, 29 and 30.


This year’s production allows the company to engage with one of Shakespeare’s most powerful tragedies.  King Lear tells the story of an aging king who attempts to divide his kingdom among his three daughters and of the treachery and violent chaos which ensues.


“Our production will feature sword-play and word play, intrigue, Renaissance costuming, and a cast of local actors, some new to the project and some returning,” said Dr. Gabriel Rieger, Executive Director.


Dr. Rieger, who is an associate professor of English at Concord, has waited a long time to present King Lear. “This play is probably the most intense of Shakespeare’s tragedies, and one of the most challenging to perform,” he said.  “I’ve wanted to present King Lear ever since we started this project, and now, in our seventh year of performance, and I think we are ready for the challenge.”


This summer marks an expanded performance schedule for the Appalachian Shakespeare Project, which has traditionally presented a single weekend of shows on the campus of Concord University.


“We presented a show at the Pipestem amphitheater last summer, and it was a great experience,” Dr. Rieger said. “The amphitheater is perfectly designed for live theatre, and last year’s audience response was very positive.  We hope that this year’s show will be just as well received.”


The role of King Lear, widely regarded as one of the most challenging roles in the theater, will be performed by returning cast member and chair of Concord University’s Division of Humanities, Dr. Charles Brichford.


“Dr. Brichford played Prospero in our 2014 production of The Tempest,” said Dr. Rieger, “and I knew that if we ever presented King Lear, he was one to play the lead.  He has a great voice and the powerful stage presence which Lear requires.”


Also returning to the project is veteran director and performer Ginger Boyles, who will be co-directing this year’s show. 


“We’re so lucky to have Ginger involved again,” said Dr. Rieger.  “Her experience and creativity elevate every show with which she is involved, and this year’s show will be no exception.”


The Appalachian Shakespeare Project is a community theater organization founded in the summer of 2010 to present actor-and-audience-focused outdoor performances of Shakespeare’s plays in order to provide the community with an enjoyable and educational theater experience.


This summer’s play will be offered under some conditions similar to those Shakespeare’s own company encountered. Much like Elizabethan acting troupes, this summer’s actors will perform with limited scenic pieces. The show will be presented outdoors under natural lighting conditions.


Audience members are encouraged to bring camp chairs and blankets, and to come early with picnic dinners.  The show has an estimated running time of two hours. There is no cost to attend.


Previous Appalachian Shakespeare Project offerings have included A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the summer of 2010, Macbeth in the summer of 2011, Romeo and Juliet in 2015, and The Taming of the Shrew in 2016.


Anyone seeking more information about the Appalachian Shakespeare Project is encouraged to contact the Executive Director of the Appalachian Shakespeare Project, Professor Gabriel Rieger of Concord University, via email at or via phone at (304) 384-5251.


Three photographs from previous Appalachian Shakespeare Project productions are included below:


Macbeth - 2011

A Midsummer Night’s Dream - 2010


A Midsummer Night’s Dream - 2010





Persons with disabilities should contact Nancy Ellison, 1-304-384-6086 or 1-800-344-6679 extension 6086

if special assistance is required for access to an event scheduled by the University on campus.