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Innovative line up at Lyric Hammersmith

First Published 17 April 2008, Last Updated 21 April 2008

A Rupert Goold-directed adaptation of Simon Schama’s Rough Crossings, a new multimedia production created by David Farr and an alternative version of Casanova are some of the highlights in the Lyric Hammersmith’s autumn/winter season.

Following the already announced National Theatre Of Scotland production of The Bacchae (5-22 September) starring Alan Cumming, Headlong Theatre’s Artistic Director Goold makes his Lyric Hammersmith directorial debut with the premiere of Rough Crossings. The provocative book (which was published alongside an accompanying television series) by historian and broadcaster Schama has been adapted for the stage by novelist, screenwriter and playwright Caryl Phillips. Set just as the American War of Independence reaches its climax, Rough Crossings focuses on the story of a plantation slave and a British Naval Officer who embark on an epic journey in search of freedom. Divided by barriers of race but united in their ambitions for equality, their convictions will change attitudes towards slavery forever. Rough Crossings sees the Lyric Hammersmith marking the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire. The play runs from 25 September-13 October (press night 28 September).

Farr, the Lyric Hammersmith’s Artistic Director, joins forces with innovative theatre maker Filter (Caucasian Chalk Circle at the National) and Radiohead’s Live Performance Creative Designer Andi Watson to create the next show on the theatre’s main stage, Water, which runs from 16 October-3 November (press night 18 October). Using the distinctive theatrical style of Filter, mixing video and sound with live performance, Water aims to find an original way to explore a particularly pertinent issue – global warming. With the strange beauty of a dream, Water sets two deeply personal stories against a backdrop of increasingly unstable climate change: two half brothers clash over the legacy of their dead father, while another man runs from the impending birth of his child.

Poet Carol Ann Duffy teams up with theatre company Told By An Idiot to take a fresh and radical look at the story of Casanova from 6-24 November (press night 8 November). In this version, the notorious lover is a woman. The year is 1755 and a strange series of events has broken out across Europe. In Flanders, bakers’ bread rises without yeast, in Padua a church service is interrupted as the entire female congregation goes into labour, while in Cirencester several magistrates are seen cavorting naked on St Swithin’s Day. Could Casanova be the cause of these provocative miracles? The play stars Hayley Carmichael in the title role.

Told By An Idiot teams up with the Lyric Hammersmith once more for the theatre’s Christmas show, Beauty And The Beast, which runs from 29 November-5 January (press night 7 December). This new version of the classic fairy tale is directed by Paul Hunter and stars Lisa Hammond (TV’s Bleak House, Max And Paddy’s Road To Nowhere) as Beauty herself.

The new season is completed by the return of last year’s surreal hit Metamorphosis (11 January-2 February) and two shows in the Lyric Studio: Vanishing Point’s Subway (11-29 September), which visits the venue following the Edinburgh Festival Fringe; and The Arab And The Jew (18 January-19 February), created by Arab-Israeli theatre company Gecko.

CB

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