Following Spring, Lyric Hammersmith Season to Feature Overcoat and Wuthering Heights

News   Following Spring, Lyric Hammersmith Season to Feature Overcoat and Wuthering Heights
The Lyric Hammersmith will follow the upcoming London premiere of the Tony-winning Spring Awakening with new versions of Gogol's The Overcoat and Bronte's Wuthering Heights.

Deepak Verma conceived the new musical version of Wuthering Heights
Deepak Verma conceived the new musical version of Wuthering Heights

The three works comprise a season that gives "classic stories an exciting new twist" and tell "some of Europe's greatest tales as they've never been told before," according to press materials.

The new season sees the return to the theatre's main house and studio of such cutting-edge physical, visual and devised-theatre companies as Gecko, Vanishing Point, Theatre-Rites and Ockham's Razor. In addition, the Lyric will host the new STORM program, providing a platform for showcasing the work of the next generation of visual, physical and devised theatre makers.

Spring Awakening, which begins performances Jan. 23 prior to an official opening on Feb. 3, runs to Feb. 28 only. It is directed by Michael Mayer and choreographed by Bill T. Jones, re-creating their work on the original New York production. The actors playing the adult roles are Sian Thomas (last seen on the London stage in the National Theatre's production of Fram, who has also appeared at the NT in House and Garden, Sleep With Me, Richard II, The Way of the World, Mountain Giants, The Misanthrope, Countrymania, The Wandering Jew and Square Rounds) and Richard Cordery (last seen on the London stage in Michael Boyd's History Plays cycle at the Roundhouse).

Spring Awakening will be followed by Gecko's version of Gogol's short story The Overcoat, beginning performances March 20, prior to an official opening March 23, for a run to April 11. According to press materials, this award-winning company uses a riotous blend of physical comedy, movement, cinematic images and evocative music to reinvent the classic tale of a downbeat draughtsman fixated on a glamorous new coat. Amit Lahav directs a cast that includes Natalie Ayton, Amit Lahav, Robert Luckay and David Price.

Next, Theatre-Rites – winner of the 2008 TMA Award for Achievement in Dance – join forces with award-winning aerialists Ockham's Razor for Hang On, a new show that is decribed as a "dizzying new family spectacular" in which "a tantalizingly high hanging-rig will be suspended above the Lyric stage as daring performers attempt to create a giant, spinning, human mobile for a live audience. During a journey both perilous and playful an international ensemble that includes an Italian juggler and Japanese Taiko drummer, will explore balance, boundaries, fear and bravery." It begins performances April 15 prior to an official opening April 17, for a run to April 25 only. Sue Buckmaster, artistic director of Theatre Rites, directs a cast that includes Alex Harvey, Tina Koch, Nao Masuda, Eric MacLennan, Charlotte Mooney and Stefano Di Renzo. Music is by Olly Fox, with live Japanese percussion by Nao Masuda. Tamasha — creators of A Fine Balance, Fourteen Songs, Two Weddings and a Funeral (winner of the Barclays Theatre Award for Best Musical) and the 1996 play East is East — will apply the Bollywood treatment to a new musical version of Wuthering Heights, that will tour nationally in March prior to arriving at the Lyric April 29, with an opening night on April 30. It will then continue at Hammersmith to May 23, before resuming its tour to June 20. Based on the novel by Emily Brontë, the production features original concept and book by Deepak Verma (best known for his role as Sanjay in TV's "EastEnders," and who has previously worked with Tamasha on Ghostdancing). Music is by Shema Mukherjee and Felix Cross. The scorched desert landscape of Rajasthan is the setting for this musical interpretation of Emily Bronte's classic tale of passion, jealousy and revenge. Shakuntala, headstrong daughter of spice merchant Singh, falls for Krishan, a street urchin her father brings home after one of his trips to market. But can their adolescent love withstand India's rigid social hierarchies, not to mention Shakuntala's yearning for a life of luxury?

The theatre then hosts STORM, a new platform for showcasing visual, physical and devised theatre. This initiative has been created by PUSH (a season co-founded by Josette Bushell-Mingo in 2001 with the aim of inspiring diversity and promoting more black artists into the mainstream of British arts), together with the leading disabled theatre company Graeae (led by Jenny Sealey), and the Lyric. From June 1-5, the Lyric will throw open its doors to invite theatre makers to learn about this variety of work; from installation to improvisation, devised theatre, dance and circus to spoken word, digital technologies to puppetry. The program of events include workshops led by iconic and groundbreaking theatre-makers in which participants will have an opportunity to learn and get actively involved; Directors Cuts: a platform for experienced directors to talk about how they make work; and Lyric Firsts: works-in-progress performed by established practitioners to provide a valuable opportunity for participants to understand the development process and give their feedback.

Meanwhile, in the Studio, playwright, performer and broadcaster Lemn Sissay (who is artist-in-residence at the Southbank Centre) will write and perform Why I Don't Hate White People (beginning performances Jan. 22 prior to an official opening Jan. 28, for a run to Feb. 14); Vanishing Point will return to the Lyric, where their production Subway enjoyed a sell-out run in 2007, with a new show Interiors, conceived and directed by Matthew Lenton (beginning performances April 21, prior to an official opening April 22, for a run to May 22); If That's All There Is, created by Inspector Sands, will debut for a run May 12-16 prior to premiering at the Edinburgh Fringe; and Amica Dance Theatre Company (community artists in residence at the theatre) and Wolfgang Stange will provide a unique opportunity to watch and take part in their work, in an Amici open door season June 8-12.

To book tickets contact the box office at 0871 22117 22 or visit

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