The Lyric Theatre, aka the Lyric Hammersmith, is a popular performance venue in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.
Famous for its ground-breaking original productions, the theatre comprises two primary spaces for performance. They include the 19th-century Main House, which was rebuilt from the original design by Frank Matcham and now stages the house's main productions, and the 120-seat Studio, set aside for smaller shows by emerging companies. The Lyric Hammersmith also hosts Sunday Night Comedy, as well as Lyric Music and Lyric Children regularly.
In 1888, the venue was once a music hall on Bradmore Grove, Hammersmith. Its success led to reconstruction and expansion of the hall on the same location twice, in 1890 and '95 respectively. The latter was the work of the famous English architect Frank Matcham. It reopened as The New Lyric Opera House with the renowned actress Lillie Langtry's inauguration speech.
In 1966, a powerful campaign saved the building from demolition. Instead, the auditorium was taken apart and reinstalled within a new-age structure on the present site, just a few steps from the previous location in Bradmore Grove. The house reopened in 1979.
Sean Holmes joined the Lyric Hammersmith in 2009. He reintroduced Panto and several remarkable productions to the venue, such as Sarah Kane's Secret Theatre Project: 'Blasted', 'Three Kingdoms', 'The Seagull Saved', and 'Ghost Stories'. The theatre also won the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre in 2011 for Sarah Kane's 'Blasted'.
The theatre underwent an extensive redevelopment programme in recent years. Rick Mather Architects' new design included modern facilities for the local community and young people - The Reuben Foundation Wing – a cultural and educational space. The theatre reopened with a production of Bugsy Malone by Sean Holmes, which received immense spectator and critical acclaim.
At the 2016 RICS Awards, the theatre received nominations in the categories of "tourism & leisure" and "community benefit". In 2018, the Frank Matcham Main House underwent renovation after forty years since its origin, which saw the redecoration of the plasterwork. The Studio Theatre also underwent rewiring and refurbishment to provide a flexible, fully lit LED space.
Rachel O'Riordan is the Lyric Hammersmith's current artistic director after joining in 2019, while Sian Alexander is its executive director. The first season under Rachel's direction began in September. The first show was an adaptation of 'A Doll's House' by Tanika Gupta.
The Lyric Hammersmith strives to create works that provoke, entertain, is diverse, unique, and immediately immerses the audiences. It is the largest creative space in West London, where various arts organisations collaborate to offer opportunities to young Londoners and deliver outstanding productions.