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Spring 2019 at the Lyric Hammersmith includes the world premiere of Leave to Remain

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE Lyric Hammersmith has announced its Spring 2019 season, the final productions programmed by outgoing Artistic Director Sean Holmes. Read more.

The season celebrates Holmes’ tenure – bringing back one of his most successful shows, reflecting the Lyric’s partnerships with the UK’s leading theatre companies, and embodying a reputation for daring new work alongside a commitment to nurturing the creativity of young people.

Productions include The Animals and Children Took to the Streets from 1927 Theatre Company and Kneehigh’s Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs), plus Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson’s Ghost Stories.

However, the season opens with the world premiere of Leave to Remain. Written by Matt Jones, with music by the lead singer of Bloc Party Kele Okereke, it runs from January 24 (previews from January 18) to February 16.

Give me your worst day
Give it to me
I’ll take the strain
Give me all the times you go insane
Your leave to remain

A remarkable story of a young gay couple suddenly faced with an uncertain future, told through a mixture of music, drama and movement, Leave to Remain explores the effects of one couple’s marriage, and what happens when it begins to fracture both their families.

To listen to a track from the production, click here.

Directed by Robby Graham and designed by Rebecca Brower, Leave to Remain stars Olivier Award nominated actor Tyrone Huntley in the role of Obi, with further casting to be announced.

Matt Jones has written for Stan Lee’s Lucky Man, Mr Selfridge, Doctor Who, Torchwood, and Dirk Gently. Working out of Los Angeles, he wrote an episode and served as supervising producer on the second season of Rogue, starring Thandie Newton. As a non-writing executive producer, he has worked on twenty dramas for television, and has produced or executive produced over eighty hours of drama, including Paul Abbott’s BAFTA-award winning Shameless, which he developed and went on to executive produce for its first four UK seasons. He also served as executive producer on the American remake of the teen drama Skins.

Kele Okereke is the frontman (principal songwriter and lead vocalist) of the English rock band Bloc Party, whose debut album Silent Alarm was nominated for 2005’s Mercury Prize and named ‘Album of the Year’ by NME. Over the course of Bloc Party’s career, they have released five full-length albums and sold over four million records, quickly garnering a reputation as one of Britain’s most thrilling live acts. Since 2010, whilst continuing to lead Bloc Party, Kele has embarked on a solo music career which has seen the release of three full-length albums, most recently Fatherland.

Tyrone Huntley’s theatre roles include TJ in Sister Act (UK Tour), Doctor in the original London cast of The Book of Mormon, Gator in the original London cast of Memphis and White in Dreamgirls. In 2016, he won the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Emerging Talent. He also played the role of Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, for which he received great acclaim for his performance and was nominated for both the WhatsOnStage Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical, and the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical.

Spring Season Early Bird Offer: Book for the first show of the season, Leave to Remain, and get £10 off your second show booking. (Terms and conditions apply). Tickets available from the box office on 020 8741 6850 or online at lyric.co.uk/.

Continuing the Lyric’s commitment to providing opportunities for young creative talent, Holly Race Roughan is announced as the Director for the Lyric Ensemble for 2019 and TD Moyo as the director for the lead show of the Evolution Festival.

Speaking about the new season, Sean Holmes said: “This new season follows an exciting autumn with Jude Christian taking over the Main House; first with othellomacbeth her innovative synthesis of two of Shakespeare’s most iconic plays. Then Cariad Lloyd joins Jude to give Dick Whittington the full Lyric treatment, celebrating 10 years of the Lyric Pantomime, first introduced during my initial season as Artistic Director.

“Our new spring season is everything I’ve always strived for the Lyric to be – provocative, entertaining and eclectic bringing the best theatre artists to our beautiful Hammersmith home.

“I’m especially excited by the potential of our first show of the season, Leave to Remain, a new play with songs. We have brought leading artists from different fields together – Matt is one of the UK’s leading television writers, Kele is an astonishing musical talent, both as a solo artist and with his band Bloc Party, Robby has a beautifully physical choreographic style and Rebecca is an exciting award-winning designer. They are creating something unique for us and I can’t wait to experience this truly special piece of work.

“One of the joys of being Artistic Director of the Lyric has been bringing theatre companies from across the world to visit us. This season sees two genre defying companies make us their home. I’m a huge fan of the work of 1927. The Animals and Children took to the Streets, will introduce their form defining work to a Hammersmith audience. I am also delighted to welcome back Kneehigh with their ground-breaking show Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs), it has toured nationally and internationally and now finds a new London home here at the Lyric.

“Nurturing young people and providing space for them to develop as artists is a fundamental part of what the Lyric is. It is an absolute honour to watch young people from all backgrounds explore their talents and become the next generation of theatre makers under our roof. I am delighted that Holly Race Roughan is joining us as the Director of the Lyric Ensemble for 2019. This year’s Evolution Festival was a brilliant success with young artists from across London showcasing their work. Next year the lead show for the festival is Feels directed by TD Moyo.

“The opening of Ghost Stories was a monumental moment when it first landed on our stage in 2010. It has since gone on to achieve worldwide cult status, most recently as a hit movie. Now horror is coming home to Hammersmith.”