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Lyric Hammersmith

  • Theatre
  • Hammersmith
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Lyric Hammersmith

Time Out says

Leftfield theatre remains at the heart of this striking Hammersmith arts hub

The Lyric Hammersmith is closed due to the coronavirus epidemic. The programme is technically due to resume with ‘Antigone: The Burial at Thebes’ on April 18.

Emerging in 2015 from a multimillion pound makeover, the Lyric Hammersmith is less a simple theatre, more a multipurpose community hub that includes everything from recording studios to digital development rooms.

But plays remain at the heart of it all, thanks to the singular artistic directorship of Sean Holmes, who has turned the Lyric Hammersmith into a venue both avant-garde and accessible, marking it with his own, very European directorial style. He's leaving in 2019, to be replaced by incoming artistic director Rachel O'Riordan, who's had an impressive run of success at the helm of Cardiff's Sherman Theatre.

Exploring the Lyric's interior is a play of two halves; the front of house areas are all shiny concrete-floored modernity. But step inside the theatre's auditorium and you're suddenly transported into a carefully preserved 1895 Frank Matcham-designed roccoco interior of rare splendour, complete with an unusual, curved proscenium arch. That's because when the original Lyric Theatre was demolished in 1969, its auditorium was painstakingly removed and carefully preserved in a new theatre down the road, which opened in 1979, before being thoroughly revamped and expanded in the 21st century. 

The Lyric Hammersmith's tickets are cheaply priced, with many major shows staging a free preview for local residents. It's never fuller than at panto season, when the auditorium is packed out with families, and its regular Little Lyric strand of programming lures in kids during the school holidays. 

It's also arguably one of the best spots in central Hammersmith to grab a pint and a bite to eat, not least on its first floor roof terrace, which is a green and pleasant oasis in the middle of gritty W6.


Lyric Square, King St
W6 0QL
Tube: Hammersmith
Opening hours:
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What’s on


  • Drama

Timberlake Wertenbaker's adaptation of Jean Racine's play is a gripping, Freudian study of the corridors of power in Ancient Rome. It follows Agrippina, who makes her son Nero emperor in her attempt to cling to power - only to discover that he's a tyrant with an appetite for cruelty. This revival of 'Britannicus' is directed by Atri Banerjee, a rising young director who landed a Stage Debut Award for his production of 'Hobson's Choice' at Royal Exchange Manchester. 


  • Children's

There’s no turning into swans here as a new version of cabaret star Le Gateau Chocolat’s reimagining Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘The Ugly Duckling’ as a parable of acceptance calls in at the Lyric for half-term. The big difference this time is that Le Gateau has moved on to fresh projects, with performer Paula Brett now taking over the reins. Ages three-plus.


  • Drama

Patrick Marber's 1997 play 'Closer' won an Olivier Award on its premiere, and was a massive hit when it played Donmar Warehouse in 2015. Now it's back for a fresh revival at Lyric Hammersmith, where its story for four strangers meeting and falling for each other in different combinations is getting an apparently radical new staging by director Clare Lizzimore. 

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