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Forty local residents take to Lyric stage to celebrate Hammersmith

Categoriesnews Arts and parksnews, Communitynews

Image captionImage 1: Pictured left to right are Denise Clarke-Williams, Colm Gallagher, Patricia Mantuano and Nutun Ahmed. PICTURE NAHWAND JAFF

An ambitious community play celebrating the lives behind some of west London’s most powerful stories is set to open at the Lyric theatre in Hammersmith.

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Image caption: Image 2: Heart of Hammersmith mural on display in the Lyric Hammersmith foyer

The play – Heart of Hammersmith – is the Lyric’s first-ever community production. It brings together an intergenerational cast of more than 40 locals to share tales from the area’s vibrant past and present.

The performances will be socially distanced in line with the ‘See It Safely’ guidelines to protect audience members from Covid.

Community resilience in H&F

Exploring a journey of decades of diverse immigrant arrivals, the rise of gentrification and the shadows left by the Grenfell tragedy, the play is a moving insight into changing attitudes, personal tragedies and the power of a resilient community.

The play tells the story of Dieppe Street – now part of the Gibbs Green Estate in West Kensington – in a production inspired by true stories from the borough and the dynamic individuals behind them.

Running from 16 to 18 September, the play has been written and created by Nicholai La Barrie, the Lyric’s associate director and the resident director behind West End smash Tina – The Tina Turner Musical.

La Barrie has worked alongside 17 young members of the Lyric Community Company to create the moving play, which shines a spotlight on the borough’s fascinating untold stories.

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Image caption: Image 3: Denise Clarke-Williams

Also involved in the production are an adult community chorus of local performers, the Amici Dance Theatre Company, and the Young Lyric partner’s chorus.

Thrilled to see it

With a cast spanning talented locals aged 11 to 88, rehearsals have been under way virtually since January, with live sessions in full force since May.

Among those performing in Heart of Hammersmith is Denise Clarke-Williams, a carer for her son and elderly mother, who is writing a book about her mum’s journey from Jamaica to England in 1953 in her spare time.

She said: “I’m excited to see the story come alive and knowing that others will be thrilled to see it, I wanted to join, especially as I grew up in west London. And one of the parts, Connie, reminded me of my mum.”

Tickets £10. For more details visit: Lyric shows or call 020 8741 6850.

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Image caption: Image 4: Heart of Hammersmith rehearsal

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