Belfast’s Lyric Theatre to re-open July 2021

By Conor O’Neill

Belfast’s iconic Lyric Theatre is to reopen with two brand new shows at the end of July 2021.

Having had its doors shut for 16 months the team are delighted to announce details of two Lyric productions.

From left to right: Philip Crawford (Head of Creative Learning at The Lyric and director of Dracula), Sophie McGibbon (Actor in Drama Studio and Dracula), Tara Lynne O’Neill (Rough Girls writer and actor), Steven Cooke (Actor in Drama Studio and Dracula), Jimmy Fay, Executive Producer at the Lyric), Anne Smyth (Electric Ireland)

The first show will be a reworking of Bram Stoker’s gothic classic Dracula. The play has been adapted by Scottish writer and former Makar – Scotland’s equivalent to a poet laureate – Liz Lochhead. In case you’ve been living under a stone for the last 200 plus years – yes, the pandemic may have felt quite like that – Dracula is a masterpiece of the horror genre: probing questions of identity, sanity and Victorian sexuality and desire.

The play will be performed by young actors from the Lyric’s hugely successful Drama Studio programme. The programme has nurtured young talents such as Anthony Boyle – Scorpious Malfoy from Harry Potter and his Laurence Olivier Award winning role in 2016’s Cursed Child.

Dracula will run from July 27 – August 1 to a socially distanced audience, rough one third of the theatre’s usual capacity.

The second production will be Tara Lynne O’Neill’s (Derry Girls, The Most Fertile Man in Ireland and The Fall to name but a few) Rough Girls. Based on true events this new play focuses on the untold story of Belfast women who stepped onto a pitch in society-shocking shorts and football boots, with a ball at their feet and a point to prove. Rebels with a ball, who kept kicking their way through the outraged defence of a male-dominated game. In doing so they raged thousands of pounds for those returning from the war.

The Lyric promises Rough Girls will be an ambitious, large-scale production featuring an eleven strong female cast with live music creating the heartbeat of the city at the time.

This new production is generously supported by Garfield Weston and Electric Ireland… but get this, for all of you who thought that audience participation was a thing of the past, Rough Girls will provide audience members to sit among the action. 24 onstage tickets will be available each night. A play not to be missed by theatre or football fans alike!

Rough Girls runs from September 4 – 25th.

The Lyric’s executive producer, Jimmy Fay said: “I am delighted to announce that our reopening shows will be our Drama Studio production of Dracula and a brand new, Lyric commissioned play, Rough Girls by Tara Lynn O’Neill. Everyone at the Lyric is grateful for the continued support of The Arts Council of Northern Ireland and is delighted to welcome Electric Ireland as a sponsor for Rough Girls.

The Lyric’s cafe bar will be open to patrons from July 19th.

For booking details for both Dracula and Rough Girls visit


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