Tues 05 May, 2020.
I sincerely hope that this finds you and your family in good health.
The Lyric, as you know, remains closed, the first time in the Lyric’s remarkable history that this has happened; even during the very darkest days of the Troubles, the Lyric remained open as a safe space for our whole community. But these are strange times. In years to come, they’ll write about these days and how people survived in the time of COVID-19. Theatres suspended, limitations on movement, avoidance of crowds. It’s just like 1606 again, and what did that produce? King Lear. And a darker thirst for Jacobean tragedy. Post-World War, theatres became essential places for people to re-gather and recover. In fact, history shows us that in dark times, theatres and cultural spaces became more important than ever, as a place where we can socialise, can come together – particularly in times of crisis. And through our art and our writing and new work we will begin to process these strange times, reflect on them, and importantly imagine the possibilities for our futures after them.
And we will come together again, just not yet.
We have had to take the difficult decision to cancel our celebrated Lyric production of Good Vibrations this summer, which was coming back to the Lyric before going on tour to Donegal, Dublin and New York. The story of Terri Hooley and the punk bands he came in contact with, is one of the great ballads of Belfast and pointed towards a way out of the dark. It’s the uplifting, hopeful, fun-filled celebration that we all need, and we very much hope to re-stage it again next year.
Our audiences never cease to amaze us with their passion and generosity, and this continues even as our doors are closed. Even though you have not been able to attend, many of you have donated to the Lyric as you enjoy our Online programme at home, or have donated back the price of your tickets when shows have been inevitably cancelled. As a charity, the Lyric relies upon our audience for up to two-thirds of our income, through ticket and other sales to ensure we function as a full-time producing theatre. So all donations – big or small – will go a long way to ensuring the Lyric can withstand the financial impact of COVID-19 virus. To each and every one of you, Thank you from all of us.
The Lyric is still very busy. Most of you would have watched New Speak when we premiered it online on 24th April. The second episode aired last Friday night, and the final two episodes continue this week and next. This project was conceived as an artist response to the times we live in, and in light of the circumstances, the concept has grown in urgency. It has been incredible to be able to create this engaging and diverse work with 13 local artists, which is a terrific and comedic tapestry of life in lockdown. I am hoping we can develop more productions online as our closure is extended, so do keep an eye out on our website and in the email below on further plans.
The road in front of us may be foggy, but there’s one thing we know for certain: there are brighter days ahead! Soon we will re-open and then we hope you’ll join us, once again, to experience the cutting-edge theatre and music you’ve come to expect from your theatre, your Lyric.
With my heartfelt thanks. Please stay safe and healthy,
Jimmy Fay, Executive Producer