Lyric Belfast places life in lockdown under the microscope

Published: 24 April 2020
Reporter: Michael Quinn

Contributors to New Speak: Re-imagined with the Lyric's literary manager Rebecca Mairs (first left) and executive director Jimmy Fay (back row right) Credit: Lyric Theatre

Belfast’s Lyric Theatre is to launch a series of five newly commissioned online performances examining aspects of life in lockdown under the banner New Speak: Re-imagined.

The project has been inspired by the Lyric’s planned co-production with Bruiser Theatre Company of George Orwell’s 1984 which was postponed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Five performances will be screened on the Lyric’s YouTube channel in four performances featuring established and emerging artists in Northern Ireland, including physical theatre company Amadan Ensemble, the musician-composer and actor Katie Richardson, writers Dominic Montague and Lata Sharma, and Zara Janahi, founder of Ajendance Dance Company.

All of the participants had been working with funding from the Lyric’s Seed Commissions programme with a brief to create dynamic short performance pieces based on a quote from 1984: “I can see what the future will look like”.

Jimmy Fay, executive director of the Lyric, said the project demonstrates a commitment by the company to stay connected to its audiences while the theatre remains dark: “Our stages may be dark but our mission to create, entertain, inspire, as well as support and platform new works, continues as we adapt to engage our audiences during these challenging times.”

New Speak: Re-imagined launches on the Lyric’s YouTube channel on April 24 at 7PM with subsequent episodes debuting on May 1, 8 and 15. All of the videos will be available for free to watch for one week and viewers are asked to consider making a donation to the theatre.