THE LYRIC THEATRE - BELFAST 2016

FOTONIQUE

THE LYRIC THEATRE - BELFAST 2016

The Lyric Players' Theatre, more commonly known as The Lyric Theatre, or simply The Lyric, is the main full-time producing theatre in Belfast.

The theatre was first established as the Lyric Players in 1951 at the home of its founders Mary and Pearse O’Malley in Derryvolgie Ave., off the Lisburn Road, and moved to its current site on Ridgeway Street in 1968, between the Stranmillis Road and Stranmillis Embankment. Austin Clarke had laid the foundation stone of the property in 1965.

In 1974 the theatre staged Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar, leading to protests. In 1976 Liam Neeson appeared in Brian Friel's Philadelphia Here I Come!. Neeson's association with the Lyric has continued since, and he is currently the theatre's patron. Several of Friel's plays have been staged at the theatre, including Dancing at Lughnasa in 1996 and 2015. A number of Marie Jones plays have been staged there including A Night in November.

In 2004 the theatre announced a fundraising campaign to redevelop the theatre on its existing site. In June 2007 a £1m donation by Northern Irish businessman Dr Martin Naughton kickstarted the development. Naughton's donation was the largest in Northern Ireland arts history. He had previously made donations to Queen's University, where the Naughton Gallery is named in his honour.

The new theatre opened on 1 May 2011, with a Gala Performance of The Crucible. The new facility features a new main theatre with a seating capacity of almost 400 and a multi-function performance space 'The Naughton Studio' which can seat between 120 and 170. The Lyric's chairman is Sir Bruce Robinson. Former Chairman BBC Northern Ireland journalist Mark Carruthers, received an OBE at Buckingham Palace on 25 March 2011, in recognition of his leadership of the theatre at a highly critical time in its development.

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