Kathleen Riley

Special Projects


Paul Hunter and Edward Petherbridge (Photo by Manuel Harlan)

2013-14 Script Consultant for My Perfect Mind, a Told by an Idiot, Young Vic and Theatre Royal Plymouth co-production. Directed by Kathryn Hunter and featuring Edward Petherbridge and Paul Hunter.

Acclaimed classical actor Edward Petherbridge was cast as King Lear, when on the second day of rehearsals he suffered a stroke that left him barely able to move. As he struggled to recover Edward made a discovery: the entire role of Lear still existed word for word in his mind. From being on the brink of playing one of Shakespeare’s most revered roles, to lying in a hospital bed surrounded by doctors, Edward had never imagined what tragedies and comedies lay in store for him.

This is a moving and comic exploration of the resilience of the human spirit through the prism of Shakespeare’s great tragedy.

2012 Completed a literal translation of Euripides’ Women of Troy for a new stage version by Irish playwright and poet Frank McGuinness. (Optioned by the RSC in 2014.)


Kathleen with Ava Astaire McKenzie and Richard McKenzie, Corpus Christi College, Oxford

2008 Creator and Director of Fred Astaire: The Conference, Oriel College and Holywell Music Room, Oxford, 21-24 June.

This three-day residential conference at Oxford University was the first ever devoted to an examination of Astaire’s life and legacy, to a celebration of his unique artistry and achievement.

In addition to special guests, Ava Astaire McKenzie (daughter of Fred Astaire) and her husband Richard, the event featured an international assembly of Astaire experts, among them writers, performers, and historians of dance, theatre and film.

Friends and colleagues of Astaire also appeared. The programme comprised a lively mix of scholarly papers, personal reminiscences, panel discussions and live performances. There also was an exclusive screening of the only existing footage of Fred Astaire on stage.

Read Kathleen’s opening remarks [link]

‘Fred Astaire and the Art of Fun’, TLS, 16 July 2008 [link]

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