Hammersmith's Lyric theatre celebrates its first birthday after a major makeover and expansion

The Lyric theatre in Hammersmith celebrates its first birthday after major makeover

The Lyric Hammersmith is celebrating its first anniversary since completion of its major makeover – and the redevelopment has helped the theatre to a record year for box office bookings.

Almost 159,000 people flocked to Lyric Square in the last year to watch one of the 639 performances shown at the theatre following its revamp – which received significant funding from Hammersmith & Fulham Council.

“The Lyric is proud to call Hammersmith our home and we are committed to ensuring that Hammersmith and surrounding areas are a vibrant and creative place to live, to work, to go to school and to grow up,” said the Lyric’s Executive Director Sian Alexander.

“What makes the Lyric unique is our wholehearted commitment to producing the highest quality contemporary theatre while nurturing the creativity of young people from all walks of life. 

“None of this would be possible without the extraordinary support of our partners, funder, donors, audiences and participants, and we are particularly grateful to Hammersmith & Fulham Council for their continued support,” Alexander added.

Staff at the Lyric celebrate the first anniversary of their re-opening
Staff at the Lyric celebrate the first anniversary of their re-opening

As part of the celebrations, the Lyric has created a special video devoted to its achievements in the past year, featuring television presenter Mel Giedroyc, who has appeared in panto at the venue. She said: “In April 2015, the Lyric Hammersmith reopened after a multi-million pound redevelopment and it’s been an incredible year.”

The makeover included the newly-built Reuben Foundation Wing, which is home to studios, sensory spaces and a 54-seat cinema, as well as a revamp of the main theatre building.

And success has come in the form of awards, as well as the box office boom.

The Lyric won the Get Creative Family Arts Festival Audience Choice Award for Best Venue, while its production of Bugsy Malone was nominated for Best Musical Revival at the Olivier Awards and won the Also Recognised Award’s Best Ensemble Performance. 

The Lyric is particularly proud of its commitment to nurturing young people’s creativity and Giedroyc added: “Young people are at the heart of the Lyric Hammersmith.”

Hit production Bugsy Malone returns to the Lyric theatre
Hit production Bugsy Malone returns to the Lyric theatre

The new Lyric has partnered with nine arts organisations, including New English Ballet Theatre, Action on Disability, and the Music Hub, to deliver 1,433 classes and projects, reaching more than 26,000 young people. 

Its START programme for young people not in education, employment or training has clocked up 10 years running, with three of the project’s graduates employed in the Lyric’s front-of-house team.

Meanwhile, in 2016 the Lyric is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its free first night scheme, part of a partnership with H&F Council, through which it gives free tickets to people who live or work locally. 

The next free first night production is for Pleasure on May 11, the London premiere of Mark Simpson’s new opera featuring British soprano Lesley Garrett, which runs to May 14, followed by a free first night on May 23 for 4.48 Psychosis, the world premiere of Philip Venables’ operatic adaptation of Sarah Kane’s seminal play, which runs until May 28.

For more details, or to book tickets, visit www.lyric.co.uk or call 020 8741 6850.

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