Premieres and hit revivals for new Lyric season

Published July 2, 2012

The Lyric Hammersmith’s company for young performers will take centre stage in the venue’s autumn season when Artistic Director Sean Holmes directs them in a new play by Simon Stephens.

Morning will open the venue’s new season from 4 September (press night 6 September) following its premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer. Written especially for the Lyric Young Company, Olivier Award-winning playwright and Lyric Hammersmith regular Stephens’ coming-of-age story depicts the moment when children enter adulthood, as Stephanie and her friends stumble towards an uncertain future.

The Lyric Young Company, which is open to West Londoners aged between 11 and 25, allowing members to participate in master classes with acclaimed theatremakers and audition for Lyric Hammersmith productions, will collaborate with musician and DJ Michael Czepiel to create an original soundtrack for the show.

Holmes will follow the drama by directing a rare revival of Eugene O’Neill’s Desire Under The Elms from 3 October (press night 8 October). Inspired by the Ancient Greek myth of Phaedra, the tragedy centres around the devastating influences of lust and greed on a dysfunctional family in 1850s America.

Having seen his two half-brothers off in search of Californian gold, Eben Cabot can finally claim rightful ownership of his mother’s farm. But when his elderly father returns to take charge with a pretty new wife in tow, Eben struggles to repress the battles between lust, pride and conscience that rage within him.

From 24 November the venue will take on a festive sillier tone with the previously announced pantomime Cinderella, which will see regular panto playwright collaborators Joel Horwood and Morgan Lloyd Malcolm join forces with Holmes who will make his panto debut directing the production.

Taking on the title role is musical theatre star Julie Atherton who is well known for her roles in Avenue Q, Mamma Mia! and Fame. As previously announced, Steven Webb will return to the venue, following roles in the theatre’s past pantomimes Dick Whittington And His Cat and Aladdin, to play Buttons.

Cinderella will not be the only festive offering from the Lyric Hammersmith this year, with Raymond Briggs’ famous picture book Father Christmas receiving its first ever stage adaptation at the venue from 30 November (press night 7 December).

Adapted by children’s theatre company Pins and Needles and directed by Emma Earle, who collaborated with the company for last year’s Holly And Ivan’s Christmas Adventure, Briggs’ family favourite tells the story of one Christmas Eve when Father Christmas has been asleep dreaming of summer sun only to awake to realise he must start work on his longest working night of the year.

2013 will open with the return of the acclaimed show Metamorphosis, which played sell-out runs at the venue in 2006 and 2008. Playing from 17 January (press night 21 January) to 9 February, Gísli Örn Garðarsson will reprise his role as Gregor Samsa in his and David Farr’s adaption of the Franz Kafka classic.

Marking 100 years since the story’s original publication, Metamorphosis tells the tale of a regular man who awakes one morning to discover he has been transformed into a monstrous insect. As initial reactions of revulsion turn to sympathy and then resentment, Gregor’s metamorphosis turns the unremarkable life of the Samsa family upside down.

As part of the autumn/winter season the venue is also launching Voodoo Nights at the Lyric, a new regular Sunday evening comedy slot. From 21 October, for one Sunday every month three of British comedy’s best up-and-coming acts, James Acaster, Nick Helm and Josh Widdecombe, will present a line-up of rising stars and established comedians.