The Lyric Hammersmith has announced its programme for Spring 2019, Sean Holmes’ final season after almost a decade as Artistic Director.
Kicking off the season is the world premiere of Leave to Remain, by Matt Jones, with music by Kele Okereke, the lead singer of Bloc Party. Through ‘music, drama and movement’, it tells the story of the effect of a young gay couple’s marriage, and how it causes both their families to splinter. It opens on the 18th of January, directed by Robby Graham, with Tyrone Huntley in the role of Obi. Further casting is still to be announced.
Holmes asserts that ‘nurturing young people and providing space for them to develop as artists is a fundamental part of what the Lyric is’, and this tradition continues with the launch of the Lyric Ensemble for 2019. 15 actors between the ages of 19-25, chosen from auditions which take place in October, will make up the Ensemble. Directed by Holly Race Roughan, they will work together for 9 months of rehearsal, culminating in their showcase production. The Evolution Festival, another part of the Lyric’s continuing commitment to supporting young artists in London, will take place in March 2019. Feels, directed by TD Moyo, started as a scratch performance at 2018’s Festival, and, together with the Lyric Team, TD Moyo will develop it to become the lead show for the Festival in 2019.
After a hugely successful run in Holmes’ first year, performances across the globe and a film adaptation in 2017, Ghost Stories returns to the Lyric in March. Written by Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson, and directed by Andy Nyman, Jeremy Dyson and Sean Holmes, the production comes with a warning advising ‘those of a nervous disposition to think very seriously before attending’. It opens on the 29th of March and promises 80 minutes of ‘extreme shock and tension’.
1927 are bringing The Animals and Children Took to the Streets to the Lyric from the 19th of February. Directed and written by Suzanne Andrade, with Film, Animation and Design by Paul Barritt and Music by Lillian Henley, the show blends live music, storytelling, film and animation, giving glimpses of lives and social tensions in Bayou Mansions, a dingy tenement block.
Rounding off the Season is Kneehigh’s run of Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs) from the 21st of May. Written by Carl Grose, the musical is based on John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera, which ran at the Lyric for 1,463 performances in 1920. Gay’s original themes of corruption and crumbling morality remain at the heart of the re-imagined musical, brought up to date with today’s version of ‘twisted morality’.
The season looks set to be what Holmes says he’s always ‘strived for the Lyric to be – provocative entertaining and eclectic’, combining known successes with risk-taking new projects to create a compelling range of shows. He will certainly be leaving an exciting legacy for Rachel O’Riordan, who was announced today as his successor.