Read the full nomination below:
Belfast’s leading producing house has been nominated for Theatre of the Year for a second year in a row. It enjoyed a hugely impressive year – especially given the extra difficulties faced by arts organisations in Northern Ireland this year.
Its programme featured eight full-scale productions, seven of which were new work. Highlights included its co-production of Brian Friel’s Translations (with Dublin’s Abbey Theatre), which toured across Ireland and won best play revival at the UK Theatre Awards, and Conor Mitchell’s Propaganda: A New Musical, which The Stage’s reviewer described as “artistically audacious”.
The theatre is a large employer in the region, with 100 people on staff and engaging 450 freelance creatives over the past year. It also boasts an extensive education and outreach programme working with more than 15,000 young people and communities over the judging period. This included providing free tickets to its Christmas productions to schools in deprived areas. Elsewhere, it continued a six-year partnership with Hydebank Wood College for young offenders and created resources that support individuals working with cancer patients.
As one of Northern Ireland’s few producing theatres, it plays a crucial role in artistic development in the region and impressed through its Play/Write scheme, an online festival of workshops across five weeks that offered free skills development sessions and its New Work Open Call, which received 188 applications: of which, more than 80 received dramaturgical, development or mentorship support, 13 projects received seed commissions and four artists were selected for its New Playwrights Programme.
During 2022, it sought to attract previously under-represented audiences through the promotion of LGBT+ productions, providing discounted tickets to LGBT+ organisations and charities. Thanks to a combination of this activity, audiences at the Lyric reached 94% of pre-pandemic levels in 2022.
The Stage, 15th December 2022