Belfast’s Lyric launches a new outdoor theatre space

Published: 22 May 2024
Reporter: Michael Quinn

Poster image for Lyric Theatre's A Midsummer's Night Dream Credit: Lyric Theatre, Belfast
Stuart Marshall's "Wooden O" set design Credit: Lyric Theatre, Belfast
The mixed ability disability group from Rogue Encounters who will play the faeries in A Midsummer Night's Dream Credit: Lyric Theatre, Belfast

The Lyric Theatre, Belfast is to transform its grounds on the banks of the River Lagan into an immersive theatre space—the Amphitheatre—for an adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The project aims to “celebrate the Lyric’s relationship with the river, animating the space between King’s Bridge and Governor’s Bridge” and will see the construction of a bespoke “Wooden O” playing space designed by Stuart Marshall.

The centrepiece of the four-day-long Midsummer at the Lyric Festival, the production marks the venue’s contribution to Belfast City Council’s Belfast 2024 celebrations and will feature nine mixed ability disability performers as Shakespeare’s faeries and a 10-strong band comprising musicians from Ukraine, Syria, Iran and elsewhere who are refugees and asylum seekers living in Northern Ireland.

Full casting for the production to be directed by the Lyric’s Executive Producer, Jimmy Fay, has yet to be confirmed. The creative team includes lighting designer Mary Tumelty, costumes by Catherine Kodicek and musical direction by Conor Pelan.

The festival will also present work inspired by The Dream by local organisations Rogue Encounters, Beyond Skin, ArtsEkta, the Chinese Welfare Association and 5th Element.

Fay describes Midsummer at the Lyric as “not just a festival; it’s a celebration of unity, creativity and community spirit—a testament to Belfast’s commitment to cultural vibrancy and inclusivity. It promises to be a transformative experience not only for the Lyric, but for all the artists and participants from our community partners. We are making a dream come true in the heart of the city as we celebrate Belfast 2024”.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream will have five performances July 4–7.

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