Lyric Hammersmith Theatre Announces Rachel O'Riordan's First Season As Artistic Director

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Lyric Hammersmith Theatre Announces Rachel O'Riordan's First Season As Artistic Director

The Lyric Hammersmith Theatre today announces its 2019/2020 programme of work, Rachel O'Riordan's inaugural season as Artistic Director. Book tickets here!

A Doll's House: A new version of Ibsen's play by Tanika Gupta and directed by Rachel O'Riordan her first show as the Lyric's Artistic Director, with Niru Nora in the original played by Anjana Vasan (Summer and Smoke).

Solaris: co-produced with Malthouse Theatre Melbourne and The Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh, the Lyric presents a new play by David Greig, adapted from the cult science fiction novel by Stanislaw Lem.

Cinderella: Panto returns for 2019, written by Jude Christian and directed by Tinuke Craig. Featuring the Lyric Ensemble.

Love, Love, Love: Rachel O'Riordan directs Mike Bartlett's award-winning play.

Sophocles' Antigone: The Burial at Thebes: Roy Alexander Weise (Nine Night) directs a new production of Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney's translation. The Chorus will be played by the Lyric Ensemble.

The Beauty Queen of Leenane: Headlining the Autumn 2020 season, Rachel O'Riordan directs Martin McDonagh's darkly comic play.

In collaboration with Headlong, the Lyric announces a long-term aspiration to commission and produce work of scale by women playwrights for the Lyric Main House and UK touring, with the first production in January 2020.

The Lyric announces new Artistic Associates team: Stuart Burt (Casting Director); Tinuke Craig (Director); Phillip McMahon (Playwright and Director); Nina Steiger (Dramaturg) and Simon Stephens (Playwright).

30,000 tickets in the season are 15 or under, with 5000 of these completely through the Lyric's community ticket schemes such as Free First Night.

Continuing the Lyric's commitment to reducing its impact on the environment, e-tickets are introduced for all Main House shows.

The Little Lyric Autumn Season, for audiences aged under 11 years, is announced, including the return of Raymond Brigg's Father Christmas, along with the new sponsor of Little Lyric shows and classes, The Collective.

The Lyric continues its commitment to nurturing the next generation of artists with the Lyric Ensemble and Evolution Festival.

Priority booking for Lyric Friends and Supporters opens today, 21 May 2019, with public booking opening at 9am on Friday 24 May.

Speaking about her first season at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, Artistic Director Rachel O'Riordan said:

I'm delighted to be announcing my inaugural season as Artistic Director of the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre. I am very proud to be here. We have a stunning 590 seat Frank Matcham designed Main House and will produce plays that celebrate our unique theatre in the heart of Hammersmith. Today we announce seven new productions by exceptional playwrights including reimagined classics, contemporary plays and bold new work; these plays are as dynamic and varied as our audience.

My first play as director is a bold new version of Ibsen's A Doll's House by the award-winning West-London born Tanika Gupta. Tanika sets the play in Calcutta, 1879, using the themes of the play to explore British colonialism, in a radical reframing of this classic text. Playing the lead role of Niru, Nora in the original, will be Anjana Vasan, who was compelling in Summer and Smoke. I'm really looking forward to working with her, Tanika, and designer Lily Arnold, to bring a new perspective to this iconic play. An element of my vision for the Lyric is rooted in reimagining classic texts; putting the interpretation of them in the hands of artists (writers and directors) whose voice brings new perspective.

Collaboration will be a vital part of the Lyric's work. Our first co-production will be with The Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh and Malthouse in Melbourne, with David Greig's Solaris. I'm also delighted that we today announce a new partnership with Headlong, focused on commissioning and producing major new work of scale by women writers, both on the Lyric Main House stage before the UK. Our first production together will be in January 2020. I am excited to see the great work that will come from these ambitious plans that we are making together.

Christmas at the Lyric is a magical time. Our panto is such an important event for our community, and I'm thrilled that Jude Christian returns to write Cinderella. She will be joined by Tinuke Craig for her Lyric - and panto - directing debut, and members of our Lyric Ensemble in their first professional Main House production - an opportunity which has become the springboard for many young people into a career in theatre.

At the heart of the vision for the Lyric is great writing, giving our audiences the opportunity to see work by extraordinary playwrights. I'm very excited that in spring I will direct Mike Bartlett's Love, Love, Love in a major new revival. Bartlett's play addresses intergenerational conflict with sharp humour and political precision; I can't wait to see how audiences now will respond to the themes he addresses with such bold theatricality and skill.

Nobel Prize winning poet Seamus Heaney's The Burial at Thebes, translated from Sophocles' Antigone, is a powerful and immediate text. Pairing this great work with powerhouse director Roy Alexander Weise will take this text into thrilling new territory. This large scale, ambitious production in the spring of 2020 will also include performers from the Lyric Ensemble, playing the pivotal role of Chorus.

In autumn 2020, I am delighted to say that Martin McDonagh's ground- breaking, wave- making The Beauty Queen of Leenane is our headline show. This is a play I have wanted to direct for many years - its black humour and acute observations on rural Ireland are both hilarious and disturbing. It is a fascinating and compelling study of dysfunctional mother/ daughter love and is, rightfully, a modern classic. I can't wait for its West London debut on our beautiful stage.

Today we also announce our new team of Artistic Associates. Continuing their association with the Lyric, Simon Stephens and Stuart Burt are joined by our new Associates; Tinuke Craig, Nina Steiger, and Phillip McMahon.

Join us for world class theatre from the heart of Hammersmith.

Executive Director of the Lyric Hammersmith Sian Alexander said:

We want the widest possible audience to enjoy the world class theatre that we make and for the Lyric to be open to everyone who wants to come and experience the work on our stages. I am therefore delighted that we are announcing today that there will be over 30, 000 tickets available this season for our Main House productions for 15 or under. 5000 of these tickets will be free tickets offered through our community ticket programmes to people who live, work or go to school in Hammersmith and Fulham. Most importantly these tickets are for some of the best seats in the theatre.

Little Lyric continues to delight our youngest audiences providing their first introduction to theatre and last year we welcomed more than 25,000 children and their families to our Studio programme. Today we announce a new season of autumn shows including regular Saturday performances, for October Half Term Lost and Found based on the popular book by Oliver Jeffers and from November the return of perennial favourite Raymond Briggs' Father Christmas. I'm also pleased to announce the support of West London-based company The Collective Dairy, who will be sponsoring our Little Lyric shows and classes for under 11s.

Building on our work to reduce our environmental impact, from this Autumn, audiences will have the option to use E-tickets for all our Main House shows. This year we have been awarded the highest 5 Star Creative Green certification by Julie's Bicycle as well as a local business award, and The Stage Award for Sustainability. Ensuring audiences have the option of E-tickets is part of our fight against the climate emergency.

Young people are at the heart of the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre and nurturing a new diverse generation of theatre artists is central to our work. We want talented young people from all backgrounds to have viable pathways into our industry and to develop their skills and own artistic practice.

I'm therefore incredibly excited for the new opportunity we will offer this season for our Lyric Ensemble of young performers age 18 25 to perform professionally in the Main House as the Chorus in The Burial at Thebes. Each year, as part of their training our Ensemble works with an up and coming theatre director to create their own show in our Studio Theatre each summer. I'm delighted to announce that this year's Ensemble show director will be Abigail Graham.

Our festival for young emerging artists, Evolution, will return in Spring 2020. Today we are announcing the inaugural winner of The Bill Cashmore Award 2019 is Eve Cowley whose show Screwdriver will headline Evolution 2020. This newly established award, worth 10,000, will support the winner's professional development and the creation of their new show.

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