Lyric Theatre Hammersmith

Service description

The Lyric Theatre

A programme of theatre and creative activities for young people, including programmes targeting disadvantaged young people. Also, free first night theatre tickets for people living or working in H&F, local schools and community groups. Work with volunteers. Issue free tickets to local residents.

Funded until

31 March 2021

Annual funding level


In the past year

Due to COVID-19 the Lyric closed its theatre building in March 2020. This resulted in 75% less earned income and £500k+ losses almost overnight. The Lyric has continued to operate online, with dedicated priority on work that supported schools and young people in Hammersmith & Fulham and collaboration in national creative projects to actively contribute to strategic road-mapping for cultural recovery.

Number of residents supported

Over 5000 free tickets for local residents, including carers and school children.

Use of volunteers

The service’s 23 volunteers delivered 140 hours of work. This is the equivalent to £1,519 if the London Living Wage is applied to the volunteering hours.

Outcomes being achieved

Jan – Mar 2020:

In January 2020 the Lyric’s annual Panto of Cinderella finished its run. Through the Free First Night programme, 486 free tickets were given to residents, with priority given to postcodes with high deprivation.141 free tickets were given to community groups, including those working with refugees, mental health, victim support, carers and cancer patients; and more than 2,057 free tickets to local schools.

The Little Lyric programme of shows for family audiences ran from Jan – March 2020 with 34 performances welcoming 3,345 families to the Studio Theatre.

Mar 2020 – Jan 2021:

Despite its early closure, the Lyric’s critically acclaimed production of Love, Love, Love made a national impact as part of the Radio 4 Lockdown Theatre Festival in June 2020.

In July, the Lyric celebrated its 125th birthday sharing online the stories and people from the theatre’s past. As part of the birthday celebrations the Lyric launched ‘Born in the Borough’ a commitment to provide 25 years of arts opportunities to babies born in the borough of Hammersmith & Fulham during the theatre’s birthday year.

The Lyric launched Heart of Hammersmith, the theatre’s first large-scale community production, which will celebrate and tell the stories of the people and community of Hammersmith. This began with the recruitment of 17 young people from West London who will form the core of the production as ‘The Lyric Community Company’.

Education/outreach programmes targeting vulnerable/deprived young people and supporting talent development continued online. Providing creative enrichment for vulnerable children across Hammersmith & Fulham.

Work has continued in collaboration with the Learning Partnership on LCEP.

Flagship programmes START and REWIND continued the Lyric’s work with young people most at risk. They typically support nearly 70 marginalised young people a year, helping them to build new skills to re-engage with education or employment.

Open access classes continued online in collaboration with the Young Lyric Partners. With the Lyric Team delivering classes in ‘Theatre-making’ and Directing’ and ‘Acting Up’ classes for 500+ young people a week.

Funding raised

£4.1m through external fundraising including trusts, events and donations re-invested into Lyric services, including £1.1m grant from Arts Council England.

Future plans

  • The Lyric plans to re-open in April 2021 for casting, rehearsals and Young Lyric activity before welcoming the public for socially distanced performances from late Spring 2021.
  • Work will continue on the development and production of Heart of Hammersmith, which will open in Summer 2021.
  • The Lyric’s programme of open access classes will return in April for 500+ young people a week & we will host the NT Connections (9 local schools/youth theatres) event in April.
  • In collaboration with a committee of local stakeholders in May/June the Lyric’s popular annual festival returns- Lyric Fest. This 3 day outdoor event will bring the borough’s creative community together through live performance with multiple purposes, to celebrate the full reopening of the Lyric the theatre’s 125th year to thank the community for their support; enliven the public space; offer work to freelancers; offer free outdoor community activities; support the local economy; attracting visitors and re-establish Hammersmith as a creative place.
  • Through the Lyric’s digital strategy the Lyric will offer meaningful and high quality theatre digitally to a wider audience than pre COVID-19 by removing financial and access barriers for many, as well as for those hesitant, or unable to come to the building in person.
  • The Lyric’s work as part of LCEP will continue with the Arts Good Practice Network, West London Inclusive Arts Festival and Roundtable with cultural organisations in the borough to develop plans and support for schools.
  • We will programme a Black Lives Matter Symposium in 2022 celebrating Black success and amplifying Black Artists in the borough.

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