At this time of great concern for us all, I sincerely hope that you and your family are in good health.
At the Lyric on Tuesday 17th March, St Patrick’s Day, we closed our building to the public, to play our part in combatting the spread of the COVID-19 virus amongst our audience, our staff, and our neighbours.
We took this unprecedented action as soon as it became apparent to us that distance and self-isolation were what it would take to combat this dreadful contagion. Unfortunately, this is the first time in the Lyric’s remarkable history that we’ve had to close our doors; even during the very darkest days of the Troubles, the Lyric remained open as a safe space for our whole community. The fact that now, a civic space as friendly and welcoming as the Lyric Theatre isn’t a safe place for the public to gather together graphically illustrates how vital it is to follow the health and safety regulations from our government.
I want to assure you that we in the Arts community are meeting this challenge head-on and I am confident we will see this through because we’re a strong and committed community, and the Lyric will go on to enrich people’s lives long into the future. Our re-imagined New Speak, our very first digital-only project is powerfully responsive to the strange moment we have now found ourselves.
But the closure of the Lyric theatre and other cultural venues right across the country will have a very real and devastating impact on the theatre industry and arts community as a whole. There are very concerning financial implications because of the closure of the Lyric Theatre. For all of us, there will be huge impacts on our community of artists and our audience.
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. We are asking our audiences to consider making a small donation if they can afford it. This donation of whatever size will go a long way to ensuring the Lyric can withstand the devastating impact of COVID-19 virus, and that we can continue to bring audiences fantastic work created at home, featuring homegrown talent and celebrated throughout the country. In the meantime, there will be work to enjoy online some old favourites and some exciting and some newly re-imagined work like New Speak.
The Lyric is a playhouse for all, and we will continue to be a creative hub for theatre-making and a shared civic space for all in Northern Ireland. We appreciate your continued support and your understanding more than ever, and I look forward to the day when we can re-open our doors and welcome you back to your Lyric. The Lyric is your theatre.
With my heartfelt thanks. Please stay safe and healthy,
Jimmy Fay, Executive Producer