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Full Casting Announced For LYSISTRATA at The Lyric Hammersmith Theatre

Performances run 08 September – Saturday 10 September 2022.

Full Casting Announced For LYSISTRATA at The Lyric Hammersmith Theatre

The Lyric Hammersmith Theatre has announced the cast and creative team for its first autumn SPRINGBOARD show Lysistrata, a re-imagined classic, showcasing emerging young West London talent and exciting new writing. The cast features all ten trainees of this year's SPRINGBOARD, a ground-breaking, free two-year training programme providing unrivalled theatre-based training and development opportunities to nurture the next generation of performers from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds and groups underrepresented in theatre. SPRINGBOARD is kindly supported by Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Emmanuel Kaye Foundation who have helped to launch the programme through funding over the next three years for the first 30 trainees.

Commissioned by the Lyric for our SPRINGBOARD 2022 trainees, Lysistrata is a modern retelling of Aristophanes' seminal comedy, written by Sophie Ellerby (Three, Arcola) and directed by the Genesis Future Directors Award-winning Diyan Zora (Klippies, Young Vic).

The witty, sharp, and highly topical comedy follows the story of the title character Lysistrata, a medical student who decides to withhold her medical expertise at a sit-in protest at a STI clinic as a result of the NHS being consistently underfunded and the government's further cuts to vital medical bursaries. It brings together a strong ensemble of ten SPRINGBOARD trainees, including Adelaide Banks as Cleo; Kane Feagan as Marie; Chanel Fernandes as Lysistrata; Rees Jenkins as Callum; Georgia-Rose Oliver as Kylie; Sam Purkis as Hugo; James Douglas-Quarcoopome as Michael; Ryan Stevens as Darren; Wilf Walsworth as Nicolas; and Romario Williams as Eli. This inaugural SPRINGBOARD production runs in the Studio at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre from 08 - 10 September.

Sophie Ellerby, Writer, said: "Medical students in the UK have faced various cuts to their bursaries over the last few years that have left them struggling financially. With a job that's so demanding, physically and mentally, it feels insane to me that these students are not being properly supported. Since the pandemic we have all witnessed how important the NHS is for the nation. This adaptation of Lysistrata examines privilege, protest and power through the lens of student experience.

Expect big bold characters, riotous humour, drinking games and a protest party. The SPRINGBOARD group are a brilliant bunch of young talent, they've been so positive and engaged throughout the development of the play. I look forward to seeing them bring the characters to life and really make them their own."

Diyan Zora, Director, said: "Sophie Ellerby's new version of Lysistrata is such an exciting and fresh take on this infamous comedy. Our setting is a modern day STI clinic, where a young doctor leads a medical student strike for the NHS. The play zones in on one of the most pressing political issues of our time, whilst keeping the raucous humour and wit that makes the original so extraordinary.

I am thrilled to be working with this daring and talented group of SPRINGBOARD trainees. Their energy and talent is off the charts, and through a year of bespoke training with the Lyric, they have become a proper ensemble."

Rachel O'Riordan, Artistic Director at Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, said: "I am delighted to announce our inaugural SPRINGBOARD Autumn show 'Lysistrata' in our Studio this September. SPRINGBOARD is our bold new initiative at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, providing a major alternative performance pathway into employment for future theatre-makers from currently underrepresented backgrounds. The training programme directly speaks to our profound commitment to equality of opportunity, and builds on our long and influential history of talent development. We are so proud of the first cohort of 10 inspiring SPRINGBOARD trainees and are pleased to share Sophie Ellerby and Diyan Zora's bold, relevant and timely re-imagining of this classic."

'We're striking. No treatments. No shifts. No seminars.'
Between working a zillion part-time jobs and campaigning to save the NHS, sixth year medical student Lysistrata is struggling to stay afloat. When a viral social media thread calls for all medical students to strike, she knows the perfect place to stage her protest - the local STI clinic. But the students' sit-in is interrupted by a surprising patient whose personal predicament provides Lysistrata an opportunity for great political change... an itch too fortuitous not to scratch.

Lyisistrata is written by Sophie Ellerby, directed by Diyan Zora, set and costume design by Alys Whitehead, lighting design by George Ogilvie, sound design and composition by Russell Ditchfield.

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