Lyric Theatre, Belfast Season Launch
The Lyric Theatre announced its new Spring Season programme and 2017 Writer-In-Residence last week at an event which focused on the role of the artist and the importance of collaboration. Featuring musical performances from Duke Special, Ursula Burns, Kyron Burke, Conor Mitchell and Abigail McGibbon, the event opened with a tribute to Belfast based actor, cartoonist, artist and activist Patrick Sanders, whose recent death has been such a blow to the arts community in Northern Ireland.
Launched by Executive Producer Jimmy Fay, the Lyric Theatre – Northern Ireland’s only full-time producing theatre – continues to look forward and outward, drawing on collaborations with companies such as Cahoots NI and Prime Cut Productions to produce a programme that is both challenging and engaging; exploring the issues facing the city of Belfast in a wider national and international context.
As Jimmy Fay commented at the launch,
“The Lyric is extremely proud to be able to draw on the unusually rich quality of our artists and I am proud to say that the Lyric is a home to some of our finest practitioners in playwriting, directing, design and acting. Our programme of work is distinctive, it resonates and engages with Belfast’s people, but we also showcase our artistic excellence nationally and internationally. The Lyric and her artists, offer a fresh, positive and energising narrative.”
The new Spring Season at the Lyric opens with an old favourite, as their smash hit production of Educating Rita, starring Kerrie Quinn and Michael James Ford returns for a three-week run before embarking on an Ireland wide tour. Other highlights include a collaboration with acclaimed children’s theatre company Cahoots NI with Nivelli’s War which stars Dan Gordon and a co-production of Red by John Logan, presented in association with Prime Cut. This will undoubtedly be the jewel in the season crown. The Tony award winning play explores the life and work of painter Mark Rothko and stars Patrick O’Kane and Thomas Finnegan, both of whom have given striking performances on the Lyric stage in Quietly and Here Comes the Night respectively.
May sees the world premiere of Marie Jones’ new play Sinners, starring Christina Nelson and Alan McKee. A reworking of Moliere’s Tartuffe, this satire on religion, family and greed is bound to be a hit for the theatre.
The announcement of Rosemary Jenkinson as this years’ Writer-in-Residence was met with a great response and new work from this talented writer will build on the success of Here Comes The Night, which was produced at the Lyric last year. A New Playwright’s programme and a strong Education and Outreach series cement the Lyric’s commitment to putting the artist firmly front and centre of their ethos. The New Playwright’s Programme is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and their Director of Arts Development spoke at the launch, saying;
“The Arts Council congratulates the Lyric on another terrific new season. We are particularly delighted to support the New Playwrights Programme through the Sustainability Award. This important initiative will significantly increase the opportunities available for emerging playwrights to develop their skills and talent, producing work that otherwise wouldn’t exist.
The Lyric has gone from strength to strength in the last five years, balancing the presentation of challenging and innovative work with more commercial successes and this season programme cements that commitment to theatre in Northern Ireland.”
Full details of all productions in the Lyric Theatre Belfast’s new programme can be found at www.lyrictheatre.co.uk