No dark stages as Lyric Theatre Online shines a light on timely new performances

New Speak: Re-imagined is an initiative inspired by the Lyric Theatre’s co-production of 1984 with Bruiser Theatre Company (which was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic) engaging five exciting artists, working on their own art forms, and reacting to the current political, economic and social climate of today.

New Speak: Re-imagined offers compelling, invigorating new work from a range of Northern Ireland’s leading and emerging artists including Amadan Ensemble, Dominic Montague, Katie Richardson, Lata Sharma, and Zara Janahi (Ajendance).

While the Lyric stages may be dark, forced to close its doors like every other theatre in the country, the theatre lights will continue to shine online. The five performances, which were due to take place at Lyric’s Naughton Studio, will now move online and be featured in four weekly instalments as part of Lyric Theatre Online beginning on April 24.

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Each show will feature invigorating new work from the artists and will be available to watch for a week on the Lyric’s YouTube channel.

Supported as part of the Lyric’s Seed Commissions programme, the artists had already been creating dynamic short performance pieces for a number of months based on the quote from 1984 “I can see what the future will look like”, but much of their work has been re-visited to reflect the current coronavirus pandemic landscape; reflecting on how we got here, and imagining where we go next.

Jimmy Fay, Executive Producer, Lyric Theatre said: “As a response to the ongoing crisis, we’re moving our artist-led initiative New Speak: Re-imagined online and into your homes, with compelling, invigorating new work, which has been skillfully adjusted to reflect the current situation, from Amadan Ensemble, Dominic Montague, Katie Richardson, Lata Sharma, and Zara Janahi. 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 is supported by Arts Council of Northern Ireland National Lottery funding and Belfast City Council.

Caoileann Curry-Thompson, Drama and Dance Officer for Arts Council of Northern Ireland added: “Even in these troubling days of closed theatre doors, I am delighted and so proud that we can still look to our leading theatre, the Lyric, to create and present new and exciting drama. In these times we need to solace of the performing arts more than ever. With great innovation and flexibility, the Lyric has risen to the challenges of these unprecedented times. The fresh voices which they have engaged for New Speak will doubtless surprise, comfort, provoke and delight us, and make us reassess our current world and our place in it. This time that we’re in makes the reflections of our artists all the more important. Thank you to all involved for making this happen.”

Like all theatres all over the country, the Lyric Theatre is closed and facing a devastating impact from the coronavirus pandemic. As a charity, the Lyric relies upon its audience for up to two-thirds of their income and is the largest employer of freelance actors and other theatre professionals in Northern Ireland. To help Lyric withstand this impact please consider making a small donation as you enjoy this production of New Speak: Re-imagined at home. All support is greatly appreciated.

New Speak: Re-imagined is available to view for free from April 24 - May 22 at Anyone who had previously purchased a ticket for the event will be contacted by the Lyric Box Office team to make necessary arrangements. Due to the nature of the material, the production age recommendation is 14+. Follow Lyric Theatre on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @LyricBelfast #LyricEntertain.