27/04/2011

Lyric Theatre Stages Opening Festival

The newly built Lyric Theatre - which officially opens on Sunday 1 May - is pulling out all the stops with a festival of events to welcome the iconic name back into production.

Opening with a gala performance of its first production The Crucible by Arthur Miller, rehearsals will also be under way for Brendan at the Chelsea, the opening production of the theatre's second main space in the Naughton Studio. Adrian Dunbar returns to the Lyric to direct and play the leading role in the play, which runs in the Naughton Studio, from 21 May to 19 June.

As The Crucible plays out in the main auditorium, with the hellish Salem witchcraft trials as an allegory to McCarthyism in the USA, the rest of the theatre will open up with a series of unique and taster events.

The McGrath Suite, the Spare Room and the theatre's new Café Bar will spring to life with a special opening fortnight festival of events including rehearsed readings, story-telling, music sessions, dance and drama workshops suitable for all ages.

Workshops include Shadow Play, Story Trekkers, prop making, drama workshops, set and lighting design.

Scottish super group Session A9 bring their unique fusion of traditional tunes and sophisticated Celtic class to the Lyric's stage to close the celebratory opening fortnight on 15 May on the Northern Bank-sponsored Stage.
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World-class traditional musicians John McSherry, Donogh Hennessy and Mike McGoldrick will open the concert and bring a festival flavour to the stage. And there will be free traditional music sessions in association with An Droichead on 6, 13 and 14 May in the Café Bar.

The Lyric is also to celebrate Northern Ireland's fifth Polish Cultural Festival with a performance from renowned Polish pianist Pawel Kaczmarczyk and his Audiofeeling Band on 5 May and on Sunday 8 May a one-off performance of Poland 3 - Iran 2, a theatre football drama event which affectionately looks back at the memorable game in the 1976 Olympics.

The Lyric's Artistic Director Richard Croxford commented: "We are delighted to open up the doors of this wonderful building to the public.

"We have been planning for this moment for nearly three years and it has finally arrived.

"There has always been a great sense of family when you work at, or visit, the Lyric, and I am determined that we will continue that great tradition in our beautiful new home.

"Our doors will always be open to old friends and new - artists and audiences. We will achieve this through a diverse repertoire of classical, popular and contemporary drama. The opening fortnight of events is befitting the opening of this epic building."

See: www.lyrictheatre.co.uk

(BMcC/GK)

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