The Lyric Hammersmith Theatre has announced its 2019/2020 programme of work, Rachel O’Riordan’s inaugural season as artistic director.
- A Doll’s House: A new version of Ibsen’s play by Tanika Gupta and directed by Rachel O’Riordan with Niru – Nora in the original– played by Anjana Vasan
- Solaris: A new play by David Greig, adapted from the cult science fiction novel by Stanislaw Lem in a co-production with Malthouse Theatre Melbourne and the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh
- Cinderella: Panto returns for 2019, written by Jude Christian and directed by Tinuke Craig
- Love, Love, Love: O’Riordan directs Mike Bartlett’s award-winning play
- Sophocles’ Antigone: The Burial at Thebes: Roy Alexander Weise directs a new production of Seamus Heaney’s translation.
- The Beauty Queen of Leenane: Headlining the autumn 2020 season, O’Riordan directs Martin McDonagh’s darkly comic play.
- The Little Lyric autumn season, for audiences aged under 11 years, is announced, including the return of Raymond Brigg’s Father Christmas
Speaking about her first season at the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, artistic director Rachel O’Riordan said: “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.
“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.”
In collaboration with Headlong, the Lyric has also announced a long-term aspiration to commission and produce work of scale by women playwrights for the Main House and UK touring, with the first production in January 2020.
Plus the new artistic associates team is as follows: Stuart Burt (casting director); Tinuke Craig (director); Phillip McMahon (playwright and director); Nina Steiger (dramaturg) and Simon Stephens (playwright).
The Lyric also continues its commitment to nurturing the next generation of artists with the Lyric Ensemble. The Lyric Ensemble is a group of 15 -20 emerging performers, age 18 to 25 that make their home at the Lyric for nine months.
For 2019/2020 the Lyric is further expanding the opportunities for the Lyric Ensemble to perform on the Main House stage: in the autumn Ensemble members will perform in Cinderella and in the spring in the pivotal role of the Chorus in Roy Alexander Weise’s new production of Sophocles’ Antigone: The Burial of Thebes. They will also develop their own show with director Abigail Graham which will be presented in the Lyric Studio in summer 2020.
Main House Productions
A Doll’s House
(6 September to 5 October 2019, press night is 11 September)
Tanika Gupta reimagines Ibsen’s classic play of gender politics through the lens of British colonialism. Rachel O’Riordan makes her directorial debut as artistic director of the Lyric. Cast includes Anjana Vasan as Niru.
(10 October to 2 November 2019, press night is 14 October)
David Greig adapts Stanisław Lem’s cult science fiction novel for the stage, directed by Matthew Lutton. The international co-production arrives at the Lyric direct from The Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh and Melbourne, Australia.
(16 November to 5 January 2020, press night is 23 November 2019)
Jude Christian returns to write Cinderella following the success of last year’s panto Dick Whittington. She will be joined by director Tinuke Craig for her Lyric and panto debut, and members of the Lyric Ensemble in their first professional main stage production – an opportunity that has launched the careers of many young people in theatre.
Love, Love, Love
(5 March to 4 April 2020, press night is 11 March)
A family go to war over their personal politics in Mike Bartlett’s funny and scathing look at the opposing values of two very different generations. Rachel O’Riordan directs a major revival of this award-winning play that’s now more relevant than ever.
Sophocles’ Antigone: The Burial At Thebes
(18 April-27 June 2020, press performance is 23 April 2019)
Roy Alexander Weise directs Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney’s bold translation of Sophocles’ Antigone, in a large-scale production featuring a chorus of young performers from the Lyric Ensemble.
The Beauty Queen of Leenane
(Autumn 2020 – Dates to be announced)
Rachel O’Riordan directs a major London revival of this award-winning play by Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; The Lieutenant of Inishmore).