A feast of entertainment is waiting to be devoured at the Lyric this summer as the Hammersmith arts hub takes centre stage at the annual HF ArtsFest.
Highlights include dance, singing, theatre and poetry for the borough-wide series of events from 6-12 June, supported by Hammersmith & Fulham Council.
HF ArtsFest, which celebrates the cultural richness in the borough, is the biggest so far, with even more events aimed at engaging young people.
Better still, most of the components in this year’s festival programme are free.
Once again the Lyric is at the heart of many of the most intriguing events at HF ArtsFest, as well as being the place artists gravitate to for a cuppa, wifi and chat when they’re not performing.
The arts festival also coincides with the Lyric in the Square programme, running for six weeks from 7 June, including two new commissioned outdoor theatrical productions, Home and The Little Gardener, which are free-entry.
The Lyric is also hosting a week of professional dance performances with DanceWest as part of Lyric in the Square, supported by HammersmithLondon.
This summer is the 20th anniversary of the Lyric’s free first night partnership with the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, with free theatre tickets made available to people who live or work locally. Over the years an estimated 50,000 tickets have been handed out, with this summer’s free first night for Bugsy Malone on Saturday 11 June.
The sheer breadth of talent on offer has impressed Cllr Andrew Jones, H&F Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Regeneration. “The variety is astonishing,” he said. “From dance to circus skills, serious theatre to ridiculous fun, this year’s HF ArtsFest has the lot. I’m not sure where to start, but I know it’s going to be an unforgettable week.”
In all, this year’s festival features 400 entertainers in more than 130 events at locations as diverse a churches, public spaces, shopping centres and libraries.
Pick up a booklet, or visit www.hf-artsfest.com to find out more.
Lyric highlights at this year’s festival include:
- Scariofunk Collective, two nights of entertainment allowing young people the chance to express themselves through music and dance in the Lyric Studio. Wed 8 June and Thu 9 June, 6.30pm. £5
- Blink Dance Theatre presents Four Corners – a fresh combination of storytelling, dance and sound at Lyric Rehearsal Room One on Fri 10 June and Sat 11 June at 2pm and 8pm. It’s a powerful glimpse into four lives, and is devised and performed by a team including artists with learning disabilities. £12/£8
- Musiko Musika is a collection of Chilean voices celebrating the culture of Chile, with words and music from poets and players on Fri 10 June from 6.30pm until late in different parts of the Lyric, including foyers, studio, cinema and music practice rooms. Letras y Acordes at 6.30pm is music and words, Cantata Socavón at 8.30pm is a concert by the Anglo-Chilean group Quimantu, with guest musicians and narrator Selma Ortiz, while the Peña Palo Brujo folk club from 9.45pm is a relaxed way to round off the evening with Latin vibes
- Chile is again to the fore on Sat 11 June with a morning musical event, Voces Chilenas, at 10.30am. At the same time there is a free poetry workshop for 8 to 16s, led – in English – by Chilean poet Consuelo Rivera-Fuentes. At 12.30pm watch for the free Ecco performance (Ethnic Contemporary Classical Orchestra) by young people based at the Lyric, followed by an adult poetry workshop (De Memorias y Andenes) at 2pm. There is a mix of poetry and film at 3.30pm, with the poetry coming before the screening of Patricio Guzmán’s film Nostalgia De La Luz. At 8pm the festival concert is staged (£15/£8, with under 16s free); a celebration of the best of Chilean artists and music.
- Lyric in the Square starts on Tues 7 June with performances of The Little Gardener, an adaptation of Emily Hughes’ children’s book, performed in a glass box at 1pm and 5.30pm in the open air
- Home is performed in the square on Tues 14 June, 1pm and 5.30pm, and Wed 15 June, 1pm and 4pm. It’s an aerial circus show, combining slapstick and movement
- From Tue 21 June to Wed 22 June DanceWest performs free in the square
- Pop-up free performances from the young players at the Lyric will be staged in the square from Mon 11 July to Wed 13 July
- Bugsy Malone’s free first night is on Sat 11 Jun, 7.30pm, at the Lyric’s main house. Book free tickets via www.lyric.co.uk.