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Lyric Theatre reborn – 40 years ago in The Stage

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The Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith announced it would reopen in October 1979 after a four-year restoration, costing £3.2 million.

We reported: “In spite of receiving no Arts Council support, the Lyric, rebuilt by Hammersmith and Fulham Council, goes into full operation with an audience-catching programme including a full season of popular revivals and new works, under leading directors such as David Giles, Richard Cottrell and Michael Blakemore. With a year’s revenue subsidy of £320,000 from Hammersmith and Fulham Council and a small guarantee against loss from the GLC, the Lyric is determined to peg its seat prices at a £4 maximum to woo its audiences – predominantly a West London catchment, but also from further afield.”

The news story added: “The Lyric, in King Street, Hammersmith, has been totally rebuilt almost exactly on the spot of the original building, which was demolished in 1972. It is a replica of the beautiful 1888 theatre with all its intricate and delicate plaster work now highlighted in cream, mushroom and pale blue. With 537 seats in three tiers, it lies within a stark concrete shell exterior, but this in turn contains modern, spacious foyers with bars, refreshment areas and exhibition facilities. A large 130-seat flexible studio has been added.”

If you’d like to read more stories from the history of theatre, all previous content from The Stage is available at the British Newspaper Archive in a convenient, easy-to-access format. Please visit: thestage.co.uk/archive

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