Theatre Preview: Romeo and Juliet, Lyric Theatre, Belfast, This Coming Spring.

By Conor O’Neill

Shakespeare’s classic Romeo and Juliet is to get a modern make-over this February as director Philip Crawford, in association with Belfast’s Lyric Theatre, tells this age-old tale with a contemporary twist.

Starring Adam Gillan as Romeo and Emma Dougan as Juilet, director Crawford’s twist will see the pair from rival families whisked forward to the 21st century opposing fashion houses based in Verona.

But worry not aficionados of the bard’s skilful quill, the two will be quoting the words as you remember them from your GCSE studies.

The contemporary setting of the story, with the original text, takes audiences to Verona, summer 2022, in the world of Italian high fashion, with Lady Montague and Lady Capulet propelled to the forefront as the leading designers for the two rival fashion houses.

The play has been adapted by dramaturg Dr Anne Baile to create a fresh and modern tale. The love story of Romeo and Juliet and the rivalry between the two families is well known to many and remains as the key part of the story. Tis Lyric production will also themes from the play that resonate strongly with young people today: relationships, mental health issues and the tragic decision of the two young lover to take their own lives.

The production will be accompanied by workshops designed in conjunction with a number of local charities, in schools and youth groups to further discuss and provide support on these issues.

The Lyric’s executive producer, Jimmy Fay said: “We are delighted to open 2023 with Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet directed by the brilliant Philip Crawford, who recently picked up a UK Theatre Award for his work in our creative learning department. W are delighted to welcome such a wealth of talent onto our stage.

“While love remains at the core of this play, this production presents an opportunity to explore the range of themes affecting young people today, themes we are committed to doing through our outreach programme.”

Romeo and Juliet runs from February 4th to March 5th, 2023.

For booking details visit http://www.lyrictheatre.co.uk or simply phone the box office on 02890 381081

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