GOD OF CARNAGE, CINDERELLA, THE EMPRESS, and More Set For Lyric Hammersmith's Autumn/Winter 2023-24 Season

Learn more about the full lineup here!

By: Feb. 21, 2023
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GOD OF CARNAGE, CINDERELLA, THE EMPRESS, and More Set For Lyric Hammersmith's Autumn/Winter 2023-24 Season

Lyric Hammersmith Theatre has announced Its Autumn/Winter 2023-24 season. Highlights of the season include:

  • Over 2,500 free tickets available for those who live and work in the Lyric's home Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham through 'Free First Night' and £5 tickets to all Main House shows for Young Lyric members, applicable to anyone under 25 living in West London.

  • The London transfer of the Royal Shakespeare Company's The Empress by Lyric Associate Artist Tanika Gupta, directed by Pooja Ghai running in October 2023.
  • The highly anticipated Lyric pantomime returns with Cinderella in a new adaptation by award-winning writer, composer and comedian Vikki Stone, following the success of Aladdin in 2021.
  • The start of the Lyric's new co-producing partnership with Frantic Assembly is an adaption of Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis, by Lemn Sissay (OBE), directed by Scott Graham. The production tours the UK in 2023, before running at the Lyric from February 2024.

  • Artistic Director, Rachel O'Riordan directs a major revival of Brian Friel's masterpiece Faith Healer in Spring 2024.
  • For the Culture: Celebrations of Blackness, a multi-art form festival championing and celebrating Black British artists, activists, and thinkers returns to the Lyric for its third year, kindly supported by Hammersmith BID.

Rachel O'Riordan, Artistic Director & CEO of Lyric Hammersmith Theatre said:

"This new season is interrogative and imaginative, with plays by bold and exceptional writers - Brian Friel, Tanika Gupta, Yasmina Reza, Lemn Sissay and Vikki Stone. These plays are an interrogation of identity, truth and the power of storytelling. How reliable are the stories history tells us, or those that we tell each other and ourselves?

Theatre generates open debate and conversation; it provokes, challenges and can also create a unique sense of unity in an audience. It reflects our stories back to us, and asks us to understand those stories that are far from our own experience. This is live theatre's most special power- the creation of new understanding, empathy and compassion in a shared space. Come and be thrilled, entertained, challenged and charmed in our beautiful theatre. We can't wait for you to join us for this unflinchingly and entertaining season of new stories."

The season opens with Yasmina Reza's Olivier Award-winning comedy-drama God of Carnage, translated by Christopher Hampton, directed by the Lyric's Associate Director Nicholai La Barrie. This will be followed by the London transfer of Tanika Gupta's The Empress directed by Pooja Ghai, following the success of Gupta's A Doll's House directed by Rachel O'Riordan in 2019. The Empress opens at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon in July, before its run at the Lyric in October. The epic drama that unveils the long and embedded culture of British Asian history was recently added to the GCSE drama syllabus.

Following the success of Aladdin in 2021, award-winning writer, composer, and comedian Vikki Stone returns to write Cinderella for this year's much-loved pantomime. A new partnership with Frantic Assembly launches with an adaptation of Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis by Lemn Sissay (OBE), directed by Artistic Director of Frantic Assembly, Scott Graham, running in January 2024.

Completing the season is a revival of Brian Friel's Faith Healer, voted as one of the 100 most significant plays of the 20th century, and named one of the Independent's 40 best plays of all time, will be directed by Artistic Director Rachel O'Riordan in spring.

Furthering the Lyric's commitment to accessibility, this season sees an increased access offer with the new addition of Chilled Environment and BSL interpreted performances to all Main House shows alongside the pre-existing Audio Described and Open Captioned performances.

The Lyric believes that everyone should have the opportunity to access theatre. Through the Free First Night scheme across all Main House shows, over 2,500 free tickets will be given to the Hammersmith & Fulham community. The Free First Night scheme, supported by the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, offers two free tickets to the first night of all Main House productions and four free tickets for Lyric pantos to people who live or work in Hammersmith & Fulham. Plus anyone aged under 25 living in the Borough can become a Young Lyric member to access £5 tickets to all Main House shows. £10 tickets also continue to be available for Main House shows, and special ticket offers for schools.

God of Carnage

A Lyric Hammersmith Theatre production

Written by Yasmina Reza

Translated by Christopher Hampton

Directed by Nicholai La Barrie
Friday 01 - Saturday 30 September 2023

Press Night: Wednesday 06 September 2023

The other day in the park, 11 year old Ferdinand knocked 11 year old Bruno's two front teeth out. Their parents meet up to have a civil conversation about the misdemeanours of their children in a suitably calm and rational way... what can go wrong? As night falls chaos ensues with explosive tantrums, name-calling and tears. They say kids will be kids, but the adults are worse - much worse.

Lyric Associate Director Nicholai La Barrie directs Yasmina Reza's Olivier and Tony Award winning play, translated by Christopher Hampton. With her sharp corrosive wit, Reza rips the thin veneer of civility with heart-pounding honesty. God of Carnage is the unmissable darkly funny roller-coaster you won't want to end.

Yasmina Reza (Writer) is a French playwright, actress, novelist and screenwriter. Her plays include Conversations apreès un Enterrement (1987 Molière Award for Best Author), La Traversée de l'hiver, Art (1994 Molière Award for Best Author, Best Play and Best Production, and 1998 Olivier Award for Best Comedy and Tony Award for Best Play), L'Homme du Hasard, Trois Versions de la Vie, Une Pièce Espagnole, Le Dieu du Carnage (2009 Olivier Award for Best Comedy and Tony Award for Best Play), and Bella Figura. Her novels include Hammerklavier, Une Désolation, Adam Haberberg, Nulle Part, Dans la Luge d'Arthur Schopenhauer, L'Aube le soir ou la nuit, Heureux les Heureux, Babylone, Anne-Marie la Beauté and Serge.

Christopher Hampton (Translator) is a British playwright, screenwriter, translator and film director, who has collaborated frequently with Yasmina Reza translating her work. His plays include When Did You Last See My Mother?, Total Eclipse, The Philanthropist, Savages, Treats, Tales from Hollywood, White Chameleon, Alice's Adventures Under Ground, The Talking Cure, Appomattox, A German Life and Visit From an Unknown Woman. As a translator, his work includes The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Hedda Gabler, Don Juan, A Doll's House, Tales from the Vienna Woods, Don Juan Comes Back from the War, Faith, Hope and Charity, Art, Enemy of the People, Conversations After a Burial, Life x3, God of Carnage, Judgement Day, Rebecca, The Father, The Mother, The Truth, The Lie, The Mentor, Christmas Eve, The Height of the Storm and The Son. His Musicals include Sunset Boulevard, Dracula, Rebecca and Stephen Ward. His work as a screenwriter includes A Doll's House, Able's Will, Tales from the Vienna Woods, The History Man, The Honorary Consul, The Wolf at the Door, Hotel du Lac, Dangerous Liaisons, The Ginger Tree, Carrington, Mary Reilly, The Secret Agent, The Quiet American, Imagining Argentina, Atonement, A Dangerous Method, The Thirteenth Tale, Adoration, Ali and Nino, The Father, The Singapore Grip and The Son.

Nicholai La Barrie (Director) is a theatre and film director, Associate Director of the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre and has been a MOBO Fellow. His work in theatre includes: Tina - The Tina Turner Musical as Resident Director (Australia & previously West End); Jack and the Beanstalk, Liar Heretic Thief (Lyric Hammersmith Theatre); Portrait For Posterity (Arcola Theatre); Statements After an Arrest Under the Immorality Act (Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama); Grey, There is Nothing There (Oval House); White (Edinburgh Festival); Gob (London International Festival of Theatre); The Book of Disquiet (Blue Elephant Theatre); I'll Take You There (Gate); Chet Baker: Speedball (606 Jazz Club). Film credits include: Hamlet Sort Of, North East South West, Aingeal, Dark Stranger (2009 Official selection Caribbean film festival). Dramaturge credits include: Feels, The Mob Reformers (Lyric Hammersmith Theatre).

In response to God of Carnage, Young Lyric will deliver a performance project with young people aged 16 - 25 from West London exploring the intersection between class and race through the lens of the contemporary world they live in. This project will culminate in a performance sharing at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre.

Lyric Hammersmith Theatre presents the Royal Shakespeare Company production of

The Empress

Written by Tanika Gupta

Directed by Pooja Ghai
Wednesday 04 - Saturday 28 October 2023

Press Night: Tuesday 10 October 2023

Designer Rosa Maggiora; Lighting Designer Matt Haskins; Music and Sound by Ben and Max Ringham; Movement by Wayne Parsons; Fights and Intimacy by Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown

This autumn the Royal Shakespeare Company brings the acclaimed play The Empress by Lyric Hammersmith Theatre Artistic Associate Tanika Gupta to The Lyric for four weeks only from 4 October.

It is 1887, the year Queen Victoria celebrates her Golden Jubilee.

Sixteen year old Rani Das, ayah (nursemaid) to an English family arrives at Tilbury docks after a long voyage from India, to start a new life in Britain.

On the boat, Rani befriends a lascar (sailor), an Indian politician and a royal servant destined to serve the Queen. Full of hopes and dreams of what lies ahead, they each embark on an extraordinary journey. 

Will their expectations come true or will they have to forge a different path in their new country?
Spanning 13 years over the 'Golden Era' of Empire, this story blends the experiences of Indian ayahs and lascars who worked on the ships carrying trade goods, alongside the first Indian politician to be elected as a Member of Parliament. This epic story reveals how socially diverse the Asian presence was in nineteenth century Britain.

Transferring directly from the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon and directed by Pooja Ghai, Artistic Director of Tamasha, this new production of The Empress will take you from the rugged gangways of Tilbury docks to the grandeur of Queen Victoria's Palace, whilst unveiling the long and embedded culture of British Asian history.

Tanika Gupta has written over 25 stage plays that have been produced in major theatres across the UK. Her critically acclaimed adaptation of Ibsen's A Doll's House set in colonial Calcutta launched Rachel O'Riordan's first season as Artistic Director of the Lyric in 2019. She was awarded an MBE for Services to Drama and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She is an Artistic Associate at the Lyric and was recently announced as one of two new Writers in Residence at the Bush Theatre in 2023.

Pooja Ghai is Artistic Director of Tamasha, and artistic associate at Kali. Prior to this she was Associate Director at Theatre Royal Stratford East. Her most recent directing credits include Hakawatis and Lions and Tigers at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse; Lotus Beauty at Hampstead Theatre; Seriously Annoying by Mark Thomas for Tin Cat Productions, 2020 at Tara Theatre, Approaching Empty at the Kiln (Tamasha/Kiln/Live Theatre) and Rapunzel, Counting Stars and House of in Between at Theatre Royal Stratford East. Awards include Best Director for Lions and Tigers at the Eastern Eye Arts, Culture and Theatre Awards (ACTA) in 2017. Pooja is a Dramaturg for Voxed, Meeting, Out Late, Vestige and It's Not Me.

In response to The Empress, Young Lyric will create a series of teacher CPD sessions for secondary schools across West London which examines Gupta's text and curriculum links. The production will be accompanied with a complimentary teachers guide exploring The Empress as a set text on the AQA Drama curriculum, this guide will be created in collaboration with RSC Education.


A Frantic Assembly, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Curve, MAST Mayflower Studios and Lyric Hammersmith Theatre co-production

Written by Franz Kafka

Adapted by Lemn Sissay OBE

Directed by Scott Graham

Thursday 01 February - Saturday 02 March 2024

Press Night: Tuesday 06 February 2024

One morning Gregor Samsa awakes to find himself changed. To those around him he is dangerous, untouchable vermin. Worse than that, he is a burden.

A word said, an action out of place, the opening of old wounds, none of which can be undone. Until now Gregor has woken every morning, quietly left to take the same train, and worked to pay off the family debt. But that world explodes on this morning of brutal metamorphosis.

In their first commission since 2019, Frantic Assembly and Lemn Sissay OBE collaborate on this thrilling new adaptation of Metamorphosis. Combining the fluidity and lyricism of Lemn Sissay's adaptation and Frantic's uncompromising physicality, this promises to be an unmissable retelling of Franz Kafka's shocking tale of cruelty and kindness; a visceral and vital depiction of humans struggling within a system that crushes them under its heel.

Directed by Frantic's Artistic Director Scott Graham (Othello, Lovesong, Beautiful Burnout,) the new production will premiere at Theatre Royal Plymouth from 12 - 16 September 2023, followed by an extensive tour including Leicester's Curve 19 - 23 September 2023, MAST Mayflower Studios 26 - 30 September 2023 and a four-week run at the Lyric from 01 February - 02 March 2024. Further tour venues to be announced soon.

This is Frantic Assembly's first new production since 2019's I Think We Are Alone and is a co-production with Theatre Royal Plymouth, Curve, MAST Mayflower Studios and Lyric Hammersmith Theatre. Frantic are renowned for their use of physicality and movement in their work and Metamorphosis will be no different.

Scott Graham (Director) is Artistic Director of Frantic Assembly, co-founding the company in 1994. He has received nominations for his work on Beautiful Burnout (Drama Desk Award, New York), Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Olivier, Tony and Fred Astaire Awards). With Steven Hoggett he won the TMA Award (now UK Theatre Awards) for Best Direction for Othello. He has provided movement direction for shows at the Royal National Theatre, National Theatre Wales and National Theatre of Scotland. He has developed and written extensively about the Frantic Method. With Steven Hoggett, he has written The Frantic Assembly Book of Devising Theatre (Routledge) and Frantic Assembly is the subject of a book in the Routledge Performance Practitioners series. Scott is passionate about creating opportunities for people who might see theatre as a challenge or alienating, and believes that these new voices and fresh perspectives are vital to the health of the arts sector.

Lemn Sissay OBE (Adaptor) is a poet, playwright, memoirist, performer and broadcaster. Lemn was the recipient of The Pen Pinter Prize in 2019 for his memoir My Name is Why, and in 2021 he won Indie Book Awards non-fiction prize. Lemn is an Honorary Professor at the University of Manchester, a Visiting Fellow at Jesus College Cambridge and an Honorary Bencher of The Inner Temple. As an author, his work includes Tender Fingers in a Clenched Fist, Rebel Without Applause, Morning Breaks in the Elevator, The Fire People, The Emperor's Watchmaker, Listener, Hidden Gems, Refugee Boy, My Name is Why. As a playwright his work includes; Skeletons in the Cupboard, Don't Look Down, Chaos by Design, Storm, Something Dark, Why I Don't Hate White People and Refugee Boy. His television documentaries have been BAFTA and RTS Award nominated. He has judged many literary competitions including 2020 Booker Prize, The Gold Man Booker Awards, The National Poetry Competition, The Forward Prize, The Ted Hughes Prize, Cardiff International poetry competition, The Creative Future Literary Awards, and the Bridport Prize.

In response to Metamorphosis, Young Lyric in collaboration with Frantic Assembly will deliver a schools' response project for West London secondary schools. Using devising and physicality taken from the Frantic Method, theatre students will explore the production themes over a series of free workshops in schools. The response will culminate in a new schools performance at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre as part of a collaborative sharing of learning and ideas between theatres and educational institutions.

Faith Healer

A Lyric Hammersmith Theatre production

Written by Brian Friel
Directed by Rachel O'Riordan

Thursday 14 March - Saturday 13 April 2024

Press Night: Wednesday 20 March 2024

Trawling through the remote and lonely villages of Ireland, Wales and Scotland is, The Fantastic Frank Hardy, who for one night only promises miracle cures for the sick and the suffering. He might just be more showman than shaman but... the promise of the impossible is irresistible.

But it's Frank's shapeshifting gift and proclamations that bring him into conflict with his wife Grace and manager Teddy. As they each recount their lives together, they unveil a well of fractured memories.

Brian Friel's extraordinary play Faith Healer is one of Britain's top 100 plays of the 20th Century. Its spellbinding allure, and powerful stage mystery has thrilled audiences across the world since it first opened on Broadway in 1979. Artistic Director Rachel O'Riordan (A Doll's House, Iphigenia in Splott) directs Friel's "masterpiece" (The Guardian).

Brian Friel (9 January 1929 - 2 October 2015; Writer) is widely regarded as one of Ireland's greatest dramatists, having written over 30 plays across six decades. He was a member of Aosdána, the society of Irish artists, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Irish Academy of Letters, and the Royal Society of Literature where he was made a Companion of Literature. He was awarded the Ulysses Medal by University College, Dublin. Plays include Hedda Gabler (after Ibsen), The Home Place, Performances, Three Plays After (Afterplay, The Bear, The Yalta Game), Uncle Vanya (after Chekhov), Give Me Your Answer Do!, Molly Sweeney (Winner of the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Foreign Play), Wonderful Tennessee, A Month in the Country (after Turgenev), The London Vertigo (after Charles Macklin), Dancing at Lughnasa (Winner of 3 Tony Awards including Best Play, New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play, Olivier Award for Best Play), Making History, The Communication Cord, American Welcome, Three Sisters (after Chekhov), Translations, Aristocrats (Winner of the Evening Standard Award for Best Play and New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Foreign Play), Faith Healer, Fathers and Sons, Living Quarters, Volunteers, The Freedom of the City, The Gentle Island, The Mundy Scheme, Crystal and Fox, Lovers: Winners and Losers, The Loves of Cass Maguire, Philadelphia Here I Come!

Rachel O'Riordan (Director) is Artistic Director and CEO of the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre. Prior to this, she was Artistic Director of Cardiff's Sherman Theatre, which in 2018 won The Stage Awards Regional Theatre of Year. For the Lyric, her work as a director includes Gary Owen's critically acclaimed Iphigenia in Splott (also for the Sherman and National Theatre), Mike Bartlett's Love, Love, Love, and Tanika Gupta's triumphant adaptation of A Doll's House, which launched her debut season in autumn 2019. She also co-directed the Lyric's 2020 summer reopening production Out West, and Martin McDonagh's The Beauty Queen of Leenane with Chichester Festival Theatre. Between 2011 and 2014, she was Artistic Director of Perth Theatre, Scotland and won The Critic's Award for Theatre in Scotland for Best Director and Best Ensemble for The Seafarer by Conor McPherson. Other recent directing credits include the Olivier Award-winning Killology (Sherman Theatre and Royal Court) as well as Romeo & Julie (National Theatre); published work includes Women in Irish Theatre. Rachel has been named as one of the most influential people in UK Theatre in The Stage 100.


For the Culture: Celebrations of Blackness
Third year of events honouring Blackness through art, performance, conversation, love, and joy
Curated by Associate Director Nicholai La Barrie
Autumn 2023

Following the inaugural For The Culture: Celebrations of Blackness Festival in 2022, this multidisciplinary festival celebrating Black joy, talent, culture, and creativity will return to the Lyric in Autumn 2023. Through a programme of curated events and performances, highlighting Black culture, identity and history, this continued work is a space for reflection, conversation and resistance. The festival features theatre, film, music, visual art, food, and discussion, inviting artists and audiences back to experience this inclusive programme to facilitate new discussions.

Kindly supported by Hammersmith BID.


A Lyric Hammersmith Theatre production

Written by Vikki Stone

Saturday 18 November 2023 - Saturday 06 January 2024

Press Day: Saturday 25 November 2023

The Fairy Godmother of panto returns! Dust off your carriage and polish your slippers, for you shall go to the ball next winter.

Award-winning writer and composer Vikki Stone returns to the Lyric following her British Panto Award for Best Script for Aladdin in 2021.

Vikki Stone (Writer) is an award-winning writer, composer, comedian and musician. Most recently she was musical director, pianist and band leader of the ITV Saturday night show Romeo & Duet, making her the first on-screen female musical director of a primetime entertainment show in the UK. Writing credits include: co-adapting hit TV show Hey Duggee for a UK tour, #zoologicalsociety for Royal & Derngate, Aladdin for the Lyric, Ten Pieces Special Report for BAFTA-nominated children's music series BBC Ten Pieces, and Alice In Wonderland, which is heading to the Liverpool Everyman in 2023. TV appearances include: BBC Proms coverage for BBC Four, Romeo & Duet, Richard Osman's House of Games, Celebrity Pointless and the BAFTA award-winning Ten Pieces for BBC. Awards include: 2022 - The British Panto Awards - Best Script - Winner; 2021/2020/2019 - Stiles and Drew Best New Song - Nominee; 2019 - Best Musical Show - Leicester Comedy Festival - Winner.


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