The Lyric Theatre, Northern Ireland's only full-time producing theatre, today announced full details of its plans to stage an exciting autumn/winter season at the Elmwood Hall.
The Lyric starts its six-month residency at the landmark listed building in South Belfast in September whilst construction continues on its new home on Ridgeway Street, scheduled to open in Spring 2011.
Artistic Director Richard Croxford commented, “Our autumn/winter programme at Elmwood Hall is full of top quality productions to inspire your spirit, stimulate your senses, challenge your mind and quite simply entertain you. We have black comedy in Martin McDonagh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane. For the family this Christmas we have Paul Boyd’s magical The Tale of the Beauty and the Tail of the Beast. We look forward to hearing your laughter at Grimes and McKee’s latest capers in their brand new show Howl!, and we hope to engross you in the world premiere of Owen McCafferty’s powerful play The Absence of Women.”
The programme of events opens on Friday 18 September with The Beauty Queen of Leenane, a multi award winning and critically acclaimed play by playwright and screenwriter/ director Martin McDonagh and rehearsals began on Monday 17 August. Director Richard Croxford has assembled an impressive cast to produce this modern Irish play, which hasn’t been seen in Belfast for over ten years, including Hollywood movie star Geraldine Hughes, stalwart Lyric actress Stella McCusker, Stephen Darcy and Matthew McElhinney (son of Marie Jones and Ian McElhinney).
In association with the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s, the Lyric will present a series of three special events at the Elmwood Hall. These events include a Presentation of the new Lyric Theatre Building hosted by Lyric Chairman Mark Carruthers on Friday 23 October. Sam McCready will direct his adaptation of A Time to Speak from Helen Lewis’s memoir of the holocaust on Sunday 18 October. There will be a rehearsed reading of Moliere’s The Miser, perfect for this economic climate and brought to you by the same team that produced 2007’s comedy drama hit, The Hyponchondriact (sic), with Dan Gordon directing David Johnston’s adaptation on Friday 23 October.
This Christmas, acclaimed funny duo Grimes and McKee return from Tuesday 17 November with their inimitable brand of local humour in their new caper Howl!, an untamed Christmas comedy for grown-ups, and their irreverent take on all-time classic fairytale, Little Red Riding Hood. The Lyric brings back its traditional Christmas show for the family and for schools from Friday 4 December with, The Tale of the Beauty and the Tail of the Beast, an enchanting and magical adaption of the original French fairytale, Beauty and the Beast.
After Christmas, the Lyric Theatre continues its Education and Outreach at the Elmwood Hall. Anna Newell will lead the Lyric Theatre Drama Studio for artists aged 18-24. Auditions will be held on 26 September and participants will attend weekly workshops commencing in October and culminating in a public performance of A Vampire Story by Moira Buffini on Thursday 14 and Friday 15 January. For secondary schools, there will be a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Harold Pinter’s The Caretaker with rehearsed readings from Wednesday 20 to Friday 22 January and an online interactive web based project. Following the success of The Boat Factory earlier this year, the Pat and Plain Primary School Project designed and written by Dan Gordon, will continue, expanding into 12 primary schools around Northern Ireland.
Closing the Lyric’s season at Elmwood Hall will be a premiere of Owen McCafferty’s play, The Absence of Women. This funny and poignant play about the life of two ordinary and lonely Belfast men opens on Monday 8 February. “We are proud to present the world premiere of this new play by one of our leading playwrights” Richard Croxford continued.
Arts Council board member Tony Kennedy commented: “Stimulating, groundbreaking and inspirational, the Lyric theatre has secured an enviable reputation for producing a fantastic programme of work season after season. As the theatre’s principle funder, the Arts Council is hugely excited about the next chapter in its history. With the building of the company’s new Ridgeway Street premises now well underway, I have every confidence that the Lyric will continue to captivate audiences at their new temporary home in the Elmwood Hall and we wish them every success with their forthcoming Autumn/Winter programme.”
Tickets for all events for the Lyric’s autumn/winter season at the Elmwood Hall are available online at www.lyrictheatre.co.uk or by phoning 028 9038 5673