By Conor O’Neill
Yep, it’s that time of year again, folks. With the Christmas trees in the bin or packed safely away for another year, it’s time to gear up for another exciting spring season with Belfast’s Lyric Theatre. So, what to expect this year?
Well, this spring sees six new works, five of which are Lyric productions, four by new playwrights, three classics, two world premieres, one award-winning production and for the second year running, The Lyric is in contention for Theatre of The Year by The Stage.
Whistles whetted yet? Well, here’s details on what to expect.
The season kicks off on February 4th to the 5th with a modern interpretation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. ‘Modern’? I hear the purists shudder, worry not, the Bard’s words are left untouched, it’s simply the setting that’s been updated.
March 12th sees Seisún a special one-night fundraiser of music, songs and storytelling by award-winning Northern Irish actor Fra Fee.
The Lyric is also highlighting the talents of new playwrights (opening picture) on March 16th, 17th, 31st and April 1st which will feature the works of Useult Dean, Niamh Finlay, Rod McCance and Cameron Tharmaratnam.
March 22nd and 23rd also sees the theatre being shared with Kids In Control, the foremost professional physical theatre company working with young people in Northern Ireland. The programme is profoundly inclusive cutting through divisions of physical and learning ability, religion and social background.
25 years since The Good Friday Agreement, two productions stand out: The first is a Lyric Theatre Production of Agreement, a gripping new play by Owen McCafferty which examines the negotiations leading up to the momentous day in 1998. The play runs from March 25th to April 22nd.
The other ‘must see’ is Green Shoots Productions’ The Man Who Swallowed a Dictionary by Bobby Niblock, a play about the life of ex UVF man and PUP politician, David Ervine. This play runs from May 2nd to the 14th.
Abbey Theatre Productions brings Moliere’s exuberant comedy Tartuffe comes to the Lyric’s boards from April 25th to the 29th. Adapted by Frank McGuinness and directed by Catríona McLaughlin the piece promises to be a night of opulent, Irish storytelling.
May 16th to the 21st sees Brian Foster Productions bringing Myra’s Story to Belfast. The play follows midddle-aged, homeless, acoholic Myra McLaughlin, now living rough on Dublin’s streets. Playing to packed houses the play has received five-star reviews and standing ovations. It’s been described by many as the finest, funniest and most heart-breaking piece of theatre they have ever seen.
Closing the spring season is a co-production by The Lyric and Prime Cut of The Beauty Queen of Leeane. Written by Martin McDonagh and directed by Emma Jordan, the play tells the darkly comic tale of Maureen Folan, a woman in her early forties who lives alone, and Mags her manipulative, ageing mother. The play runs from May 27th to June 24th.
That enough for you? Plenty there to fill every appetite. Pick what gets your juices flowing and get booking. For those with a magpie eye and who fancies a bit of everything the Lyric offers a wide range of membership packages.
For further information visit http://www.lyrictheatre.co.uk or simply phone the box office on 02890 381081