New Artistic Director Sean Holmes Announces Lyric Hammersmith Season

News   New Artistic Director Sean Holmes Announces Lyric Hammersmith Season
Sean Holmes, the incoming artistic director of the Lyric Hammersmith who recently succeeded David Farr, has announced his first season at the helm.

Holmes will direct Matthew Kelly in a revival of Trevor Griffiths' 1975 play Comedians as well as collaborate with Filter on a new version of Chekhov's Three Sisters, presented in a bare-staged, stripped-back style. He will also jointly direct Ghost Stories with its writers, Jeremy Dyson (co-writer of the League of Gentlemen's TV shows) and Andy Nyman (co-writer and co-director of Derren Brown's live and TV shows). In addition, the season will open with the world premiere of a play by Lyric artistic associate Simon Stephens, and the theatre will stage a traditional high-quality pantomime for Christmas. The theatre has also announced that its 112-seat studio theatre will become London's only dedicated theatre space to be programmed and run by teenagers and emerging artists. Highlights will include a monthly showcasing opportunity for some of the UK's finest young voices in Lyric Lounge, with different evenings curated by Dean Atta and Deanna Rodger, Gemma O' Duffy and Iwan Rheon (who were recently in the Lyric's production of Spring Awakening), Tay Shan and Sam Thompson, Gus Miller and Dionne Reid.

In a press statement, Holmes said, "I've always loved the Lyric and I love it even more since becoming artistic director. The commitment of the staff, the groundbreaking work with young people, the scruffy beauty of the auditorium, the blossoming of our new garden all provoke real excitement in me on our collective journey over the next few years. The journey for audiences begins with this new season of plays which embrace and celebrate our proscenium. There's work to provoke, to chill, to surprise and to amuse. New writing, classics with a twist, ghost stories and the rebirth of Panto at the Lyric."

The season will open with the world premiere of Punk Rock by Simon Stephens, beginning performances Sept. 3 (prior to an official opening Sept. 8) for a run to Sept. 26. Sarah Frankcom, co-artistic director of Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre and who previously directed Stephens' Olivier Award-winning On the Shore of the Wide World, will direct. According to press materials, the play is drawn on the playwright's past experience as a teacher to present a group of educated, articulate, aspirational young people and reveals step-by-step the dislocation, disjunction and latent violence simmering under the surface of success. A young ensemble cast will include 18-year-old Harry McEntire, recently seen in the Lyric's production of Spring Awakening that transferred to the West End's Novello Theatre, as well as Nicholas Draka and Henry Lloyd-Hughes. The production is designed by Paul Wills, with lighting by Phil Gladwell and sound by Pete Rice.

Next, Holmes directs Trevor Griffiths' play Comedians as his debut production as the Lyric's artistic director, with performances beginning Oct. 7 (prior to an official opening Oct. 14), for a run to Nov. 14. Matthew Kelly, recently seen at the Trafalgar Studios in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and about to join Shakespeare's Globe to play Pandarus in Troilus and Cressida, will play Eddie Waters. Also in the cast are David Dawson as Gethin Price and Mark Benton (best known for his role in TV's "Northern Lights," "The Street" and "Murphy's Law") as Ged Murray. In the play, six budding comics embark on the most important evening of their lives. Will they experience failure or success? What will be the price of each? The production is designed by Anthony Lamble, with lighting by Simon Bennison and sound by Nick Manning.

Pantomime returns to Hammersmith with its next production, Jack and the Beanstalk, co-written by Richard Bean (most recently represented by England People Very Nice at the National), Jocelyn Jee Esien, Joel Horwood and Morgan Lloyd Malcolm and directed by Steve Marmion. Performances begin Nov. 21 (prior to an official opening Nov. 30), for a run to Jan. 3, 2010. The production will be designed by Tom Scutt, with lighting by Malcolm Rippeth, music by Steve Edis and sound by Nick Manning. Holmes and theatre company Filter, who previously collaborated on Twelfth Night (for the RSC) and Caucasian Chalk Circle (for the National), will reunite to stage Chekhov's Three Sisters, beginning performances Jan. 15, 2010 (prior to an official opening Jan. 25), for a run to Feb. 20. Filter, formed in 2001 by actors Ferdy Roberts (one of Holmes' new Artistic Associates), Oliver Dimsdale and musician Tim Phillips, create an onstage fusion of live and recorded music — their trademark of live integrated sound. In 2007 they presented their highly acclaimed production Water on the Lyric Hammersmith's main stage.

Finally, Ghost Stories, co-written by League of Gentlemen writer Jeremy Dyson and Derren Brown collaborator Andy Nyman, will be co-directed by its authors and Holmes, beginning performances Feb. 24, 2010 (prior to an official opening Mar. 1), for a run to April 3. In the show, three men gather, each with an uncanny tale to tell; according to press materials, "their chilling stories will bleed off the stage and into your dreams." Performances will begin a little later than usual, at 8:30 PM (except press night, which will begin at 9 PM) "as the dead of night approaches, the shades of past, present and future worlds are conjured under the Lyric's historic proscenium arch."

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

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