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Presenter Lesley Garrett walks the red carpet at the Olivier Awards 2014 with MasterCard (Photo: Pamela Raith)

Presenter Lesley Garrett walks the red carpet at the Olivier Awards 2014 with MasterCard (Photo: Pamela Raith)

Lesley Garrett leads Lyric spring

First Published 20 October 2015, Last Updated 20 October 2015

Lesley Garrett will take to the stage of the Lyric Hammersmith next year as part of an eclectic spring season featuring two Royal Opera collaborations, the first major revival of Simon Stephens’ Herons and the return of 2012’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Sean Holmes’ production of Herons will kick off the season from 15 January to 13 February, bringing Stephens’ disturbing tale of 14-year-old Billy to the London stage for the first time since its premiere in 2001.

The play, which tells of a brutal campaign of terror inflicted on Billy, was originally a hit at the Royal Court and led The Telegraph’s theatre critic Charles Spencer to say: “I have rarely left a theatre feeling so shaken or so helpless”.

The critically acclaimed Filter co-production A Midsummer Night’s Dream will follow from 20 February to 19 March. Led by actors Olivier Dimsdale and Ferdy Roberts, the Holmes and Stef O’Driscoll-directed production brings Shakespeare’s classic tale of young lovers and warring fairies to life with music from members of experimental band The London Snorkelling Team.

British soprano Garrett will lead the cast of Mark Simpson’s Pleasure (12 to 14 May), the first of the Royal Opera co-productions to play in the Lyric Hammersmith’s spring season.

The opera tells the story of Val (Garrett). Val has been a confidant and shoulder to cry on for customers of hedonistic gay club Pleasure for years, but when one young man leaves her a gift it marks the start of a passionate and violent night.

As well-known on screen as she is in the opera world, having appeared in popular series including Strictly Come Dancing and Loose Women, Garrett will be joined in the cast by Timothy Nelson, Steven Page and Nicholas Pritchard.

The second of the venue’s operatic offerings, also a collaboration with the Royal Opera, is the world premiere of a new work inspired by Sarah Kane’s final play 4.48 Psychosis (24 to 28 May). Brought to life by British composer Philip Venables, the contemporary piece takes its name from a time of morning that Kane felt offered great clarity.

Marking the first time that any of the late British playwright’s works have ever been adapted, 4.48 Psychosis will feature a cast including Gweneth-Ann Jeffers, Clare Presland, Lucy Schaufer, Jennifer Davies and Emily Edmonds.

The new season, which the Lyric Hammersmith’s Artistic Director Holmes described as “A provocative and playful programme of reimagined texts”, will kick off in the new year following a number of festive offerings including the return of Raymond Briggs’ much-loved Father Christmas and Tom Wells’ 2015 panto Cinderella.


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