David Greig has launched his first season as artistic director of Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum with a strong message to the theatre’s funders by increasing the number of main stage productions to 11.
He also has plans for up to 200 members of the public to be part of the season, with two productions that include large chorus elements. The subscriber season remains the same, with seven productions in total. And the total number of performances over the year has only marginally increased as Greig reduces the number of performances of each production.
Most of the productions will now play for two weeks only, where previously three-week runs were the norm. The strategy is a direct response to the recent cut of 17.5% to the theatre’s funding.
“I see the Lyceum as being a big city theatre for a capital city,” Greig told Æ. “Part of the job of a big civic theatre is to create and ferment and provoke discussion. and that is at the heart of this vision.
“A big city theatre needs to reach all of the people of its city. Now Edinburgh is a city of science, it is a city of law and of politics, but it is also a working city and a working class city.”
Highlights of the season include the return of Daniela Nardini in Jumpy, directed by Cora Bissett, an Australian adaptation of Picnic at Hanging Rock.
He continued: “I have tried to create a programme where there is an in-gathering. For example, we collaborate with the Science Festival so we have a two week period where, around our Carol Churchill show – A Number – we are going to try and fill the theatre with talks and events and maybe readings.
“But at the same time I want us to go out into the city, out beyond the postcodes that we are most used to.
“The way that is most obvious from the programme is that we are going to have people on the stage, so for example in The Suppliant Women we will have the Suppliant Chorus of up to 50 women between the ages of 16 and 25 who are going to form the chorus to allow us to realise that play.”
The 2016/17 season in full
Wind Resistance – 4 August – 21 August 2016
David Greig’s first production as Artistic Director (as Dramaturg) and the World Premiere of Scottish Singer/Songwriter Karine Polwart’s debut into theatre. This new theatre gig will be performed in a bespoke performance space the Lyceum’s Rehearsal Studio with direction by David’s long-term collaborator, Wils Wilson.
The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil – 14 – 24 September 2016
Joe Douglas’ widely acclaimed Dundee Rep production will mark his debut at The Lyceum and be the first time this iconic political play has been performed on The Lyceum stage since the original production in 1973.
The Suppliant Women – 1 October – 15 October 2016 (Part of Subscriber Season)
David Greig’s first play for The Lyceum main stage unites the creative team behind the international runaway 2013 hit The Events – David Greig, Ramin Gray and John Browne will create a new version of this Ancient Greek story about the flight of refugees and human rights that deeply resonates with our world today. One of the oldest surviving plays in existence -this story will be re-imagined with 50 citizens of Edinburgh playing the pivotal role – the “suppliant” women.
Jumpy – 27 October – 12 November 2016 (Part of Subscriber Season)
BAFTA multi-award winning actor, Daniela Nardini returns to the Lyceum for the first time since 1994, playing the lead role in this deliciously irreverent hit West End comedy of mid-life crisis, teenage rebellion and a mother-daughter relationship in meltdown. Olivier-award winning director Cora Bissett will bring a distinctively Scottish twist to this contemporary tale.
The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland – 26 November – 31 December 2016
Experiential Edinburgh born theatre-maker Anthony Neilson will return to his home town to make a magical Victorian version of this family classic story by Lewis Carroll for Christmas.
Picnic at Hanging Rock – 13 January – 28 January 2017 (Part of Subscriber Season)
Picnic at Hanging Rock. Photo: Pia Johnson
The Lyceum will welcome its first international mainstage production outside of the Edinburgh International Festival in its 50 year history, with hosting the UK premiere of Malthouse Theatre Melbourne and Black Swan State Theatre Company’s acclaimed production of this haunting, iconic Australian bush tale. Directed by Matthew Lutton.
The Winter’s Tale – 9 February – 4 March 2017 (Part of Subscriber Season)
Shakespeare’s timeless tale of love, betrayal and magic will be directed by acclaimed artist Max Webster, who recently directed David’s enchanting adaptation of The Lorax. Max will bring a distinctive Scottish flair with a cast of actor-musicians.
Hay Fever – 10 March – 1 April 2017 (Part of Subscriber Season)
A new co-production with the Citizens Theatre Glasgow, the Citizens’ award-winning Artistic Director Dominic Hill will direct Noël Coward’s riotous farce charting the unconventional antics of a self-dubbed ‘bohemian’ family of four. Revelation, romance, and outright outlandish behaviour set the tone of this 1920’s dark comedy.
A Number – 6 April – 15 April 2017
Marking an exciting new partnership with the Edinburgh International Science Festival, renowned Scottish director and playwright Zinnie Harris will direct Caryl Churchill’s acclaimed sci-fi story about cloning and its consequences. This eerie production will be performed in an intimate ‘in the round’ space created on The Lyceum’s main stage.
Charlie Sonata – 29 April – 13 May 2017 (Part of Subscriber Season)
An urban, funny, booze-soaked fairytale about redemption brings together the artistic talents of Scottish playwright Douglas Maxwell and internationally acclaimed director Matthew Lenton for this World Premiere.
Glory on Earth – 20 May – 10 June 2017 (Part of Subscriber Season)
David Greig makes his directorial debut at The Lyceum with a new play by Scottish playwright Linda Maclean. Glory on Earth re-imagines the historic meetings between Mary Queen of Scots and John Knox and charts the fatal relationship between a charming young queen and an uncompromising old zealot as they battle for the hearts and souls of 16th century Scotland.
The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other – June 2017
The citizens of Edinburgh take centre stage again in the season finale, a large scale production directed by Wils Wilson. Written by Austrian playwright Peter Handke, in a translation by Meredith Oakes the production will feature a 100 strong, all-Edinburgh and a soundtrack of entirely new music.
Additional strands include a series of Sunday Variety Nights to showcase musicians, poets and theatre makers.
Full details on the Lyceum website: http://lyceum.org.uk/