And the winner is.....Lyric wins two leading awards at UK Theatre Awards
Thu Nov 10 2022
The Lyric Theatre Belfast has won two awards at the UK Theatre Awards 2022, the key annual event in UK Theatre's calendar. They are the only nationwide awards to celebrate the outstanding achievements of regional and national theatre. The awards took take place at London's historic Guildhall on Sunday 23 October 2022.
Along with producing partner the Abbey Theatre Dublin, Lyric Theatre won Best Play Revival for a co-production of Brian Friel’s Translations. The Lyric was also announced as a winner for excellence in arts education across Northern Ireland.
The highly acclaimed production of Translations opened in Belfast earlier this year, over 40 years after its first production at the Guildhall Derry which starred Stephen Rea and Liam Neeson, before touring to Dublin, Limerick, Galway and Donegal. It was described by The Guardian as “a timeless study of change and identity”, finding a new potency in a time where Brexit has thrown current Anglo-Irish relations into sharp relief. It was directed by Abbey Theatre Artistic Director and Donegal native Caitríona McLaughlin.
The second UK Theatre award was for Excellence in Arts Education, and recognised the Lyric’s Drama Studio, an actor-training programme which has been running for 30+ years, and is led by the Head of Creative Learning at the Lyric, Philip Crawford. With no full-time actor training available in Northern Ireland, the Lyric’s Drama Studio has helped bridge that gap. Famous alumni include Anthony Boyle and Zara Devlin.
Commenting on the production and the Best Play Revival award,Jimmy Fay, Executive Producer Lyric Theatre, said:
“This is a seminal play dealing with language, identity and borders that contains one of the most extraordinary scenes of love written in any language. The fact that this award was given to two Irish companies from north and south in the very grand and historic GuildhallLondon demonstrates the power of sharing and understanding between our islands.”
“The Excellence in Arts Education award is a wonderful acknowledgement of the truly trojan work Philip and his Creative Learning team has done for our community and our theatre over the years. A theatre such as the Lyric is no good unless it can be a vital part of our community and society. Creative Learning offers a gateway for the young and curious to experience the power and magic of what theatre can do and does. Discovering the power and democracy of theatre is one of life's great joys, and what the Lyric's Creative Learning department proves week after week is just how transformative that engagement with our own and others' imagination really is. We are incredibly grateful to the UK Theatre and Society of London Theatre for these awards.”
Caitríona McLaughlin and Mark O’Brien, Co-Directors of the Abbey Theatre, said:
“We are delighted that Translations won Best Play Revival at the UK Theatre Awards. While we got to attend in person, the award belongs to the company and we want to thank them for all their work. We couldn't be prouder of this co-production with the Lyric Theatre. It is a very special play and we love its world and language. What feels particularly pertinent about Translations right now, is Brian Friel’s ability to tap into our shared humanity through the complexity of our language. It is always valuable to examine how we communicate both individually and culturally and in the context of Brexit it feels more relevant than ever before.”