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Lyric theatre unveils its spring season after triumphant renovation

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Image captionImage 1: The Lyric Hammersmith's artistic director, Sean Holmes

Theatre lovers can fill their diaries for the coming months as the Lyric has unveiled a variety of exciting productions for the spring season.

The New Year starts off in provocative style following a £20million expansion and refurbishment – partly funded by Hammersmith & Fulham Council – and the festive productions of Cinderella and Raymond Briggs’ Father Christmas.

Simon Stephens’ Herons will kick off the spring season, as the Lyric Hammersmith’s artistic director Sean Holmes revives the moving story of a 14-year-old’s misery at the hands of a gang.

The play – which has not been professionally produced since its premiere at the Royal Court in 2001 – will run from January 15 to February 13.

Herons is followed by the return of the Lyric’s co-production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Filter Theatre, which was last staged in 2012.

Given a unique and irreverent twist, and featuring music from members of The London Snorkelling Team, this classic tale of young lovers and warring fairies will be staged from February 20 to March 19.

Meanwhile, there’s a chance to take a new look at the world of opera, as the Royal Opera presents two contemporary productions.

A former BBC Young Musician of the Year winner, composer Mark Simpson has created the opera Pleasure, which will feature British soprano Lesley Garrett during its premiere run from May 12-14.

On a similarly adult theme, composer Philip Venables has adapted the play 4:48 Psychosis, by the playwright Sarah Kane, into an opera to debut on May 24, 26, 27 and 28.

The redevelopment was the Lyric’s first major facelift in 35 years. It included a new café and bar, toilets and a two-storey extension which will be named the Reuben Foundation Wing in recognition of a generous grant from the Reuben brothers’ charitable foundation.

The new facilities also include drama, dance and recording studios, an editing suite, music practice rooms, a film & TV studio, a 50-seat cinema, a digital playspace, a sensory space for children with disabilities, props and costume stores, wardrobe and scenic workshops, as well as meeting and seminar rooms.

Sean Holmes, artistic director of the Lyric Hammersmith, said: “2015 has been monumental for the Lyric with the reopening, and the coming years will be a very exciting time.

“So we are delighted to announce our 2016 spring season – a provocative and playful programme of reimagined texts.

“The return of Filter's crazed Midsummer Night’s Dream; a disrespectful revival of Herons - Simon Stephens’s searing examination of pained youth; and the premiere of two radical new operas - Philip Venables' adaptation of Sarah Kane's 4:48 Psychosis as well as Mark Simpson's Pleasure.”

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