- Film And TV
- 09 Oct 23
The established Lyric Theatre won two major prizes at this year’s UK Theatre Awards, held in London over the weekend. Irish director Garry Hynes also took home gold for the Druid Theatre production of DruidO'Casey, shining a spotlight on the Irish theatre scene.
Held at a ceremony in London on Sunday, the 2023 UK Theatre Awards saw Irish drama talent recognised at its finest. The regional sister to the Olivier Awards, this year’s ceremony was presented by West End star Zoe Birkett and organised by UK Theatre, a membership organisation for producers, managers, owners and operators. According to the organisation, the awards stand as the only nationwide awards to honour and celebrate outstanding achievements in theatre throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland by UK Theatre members.”
The renovated Lyric Theatre in Belfast won two of five nominations during the Sunday ceremony, winning awards for Best Play Revival for The Beauty Queen Of Leenane, produced by Belfast-based Prime Cut Productions.
The Lyric co-led the ceremony’s nominations, with recognition for Best Design, Best New Play and Best Show for Children and Young People. The theatre’s executive producer Jimmy Fay shared of the night, “It is a testament to the talent in our vibrant arts community that Northern Ireland theatre is getting this acknowledgment. It is vital therefore that this is recognised with funding that secures the legacy and future of the arts in Northern Ireland."
Established as The Lyric Players Theatre in 1951, the theatre ran out of founder Mary O’Malley’s home attic for over ten years before moving to Ridgeway Street in 1968. Since then, the new arts space has grown in esteem and pride, with some of Northern Ireland’s best performers and writers getting their start on the Lyric stage – Liam Neeson, Ciarán Hinds, Marie Jones, Stella McCusker and Conleth Hill, to name just a few.
An £18m rebuild revived the Lyric Theatre in 2011, allowing the space to produce high-quality productions and elevate emerging national talent. Its most recent production, DruidO'Casey, saw Tony-winning Irish director and Druid co-founder Garry Hynes take home Best Director at the UK Theatre Awards yesterday evening.
The Druid Theatre production of DruidO'Casey is a trilogy of stories written by Irish dramatist Sean O'Casey, first premiering in Galway in 1996 from Oscar-winning filmmaker Martin McDonagh. Of the production’s revival and her recognition, director Hynes said, “I am honoured to receive this award and wish to thank UK Theatre for recognising not only my work but the work of a legion of people who brought DruidO'Casey to life this year.”
A play cycle made up of O’Casey’s three plays The Plough and the Stars, The Shadow of a Gunman and Juno and the Paycock, the production first premiered at the Galway International Arts Festival in July, before commencing its tour at the Lyric in August and Dublin’s Abbey Theatre.
The award for Best Director recognises Hynes’ work for the production during its Lyric run. Hynes added, “I'm also very grateful to Druid’s funders and supporters including our core funder The Arts Council, DruidO'Casey production partner Smurfit Kappa, and our US tour supporter Culture Ireland."
Breaking box office records for the Druid Theatre during the company’s Irish tour, DruidO'Casey has received critical acclaim and five-star reviews from several notable publications during its run so far. The production has since made its war to North America, currently showing in New York City at the NYU Skirball Center (presented in partnership with the acclaimed Public Theater) and in Ann Arbor, Michigan at the University Musical Society.
- Film And TV
- 29 Feb 24