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Rachel O’Riordan unveils first season as artistic director of Lyric Hammersmith

Lyric Hamersmith artistic director Rachel O'Riordan with executive director Sian Alexander. Photo: Helen Maybanks Lyric Hamersmith artistic director Rachel O'Riordan with executive director Sian Alexander. Photo: Helen Maybanks
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Rachel O’Riordan has announced her first season as artistic director of the Lyric Hammersmith, which includes an adaptation of A Doll’s House set in colonial India and revivals of plays by Mike Bartlett and Martin McDonagh.

O’Riordan, who joined the Lyric earlier this year from the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff, will open her inaugural season with an adaptation of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House by Tanika Gupta and set in India in 1879.

Q&A with Lyric Hammersmith new artistic director Rachel O’Riordan: ‘I want to mix things up a bit’

It will star Anjana Vasan – most recently seen in Summer and Smoke – when it opens in September, and will be directed by O’Riordan.

She will also direct a new production of Bartlett’s Love, Love, Love as part of her first season, and in 2020 will take the reins on a revival of McDonagh’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane.

Later this year will be a new play, Solaris, by David Greig, adapted from the science fiction novel of the same name by Stainsław Lem, and will be co-produced with Malthouse Theatre in Melbourne and the Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh, where Greig is artistic director.

Nine Night director Roy Alexander Weise will direct Sophocles’ Antigone: The Burial at Thebes, a staging of Seamus Heaney’s Antigone translation.

Elsewhere, Jude Christian and Tinuke Craig will respectively write and direct the Lyric’s 2019 panto – Cinderella. Craig is one of several individuals named among O’Riordan’s group of artistic associates.

She is joined by casting director Stuart Burt, writer and director Phillip McMahon, dramaturg Nina Steiger and writer Simon Stephens.

O’Riordan also announced initial plans for a long-term partnership with theatre company Headlong to commission and produce main-stage plays by women.

The first co-production is yet to be announced and will take place in January 2020, however O’Riordan said she hoped to develop several plays with Headlong to be staged at the Lyric and on tour.

Season at a glance

A Doll’s House by Tanika Gupta
Directed by Rachel O’Riordan
September 6 to October 5, with press night on September 11

Solaris by David Greig
Directed by Matthew Lutton
October 10 to November 2, with press night on October 14

Cinderella by Jude Christian
Directed by Tinuke Craig
November 16 to January 5, 2020, with press night on November 23

Love, Love, Love by Mike Bartlett
Directed by Rachel O’Riordan
March 5 to April 4, 2020, with press night on March 11

Sophocles’ Antigone: The Burial at Thebes by Seamus Heaney
Directed by Roy Alexander Weise
April 18 to June 27, 2020, with press night on April 23, 2020

The Beauty Queen of Leenane by Martin McDonagh
Directed by Rachel O’Riordan
Autumn 2020

Lyric Hammersmith announces large-scale shows by female playwrights and e-ticket scheme

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