THE Lyric Theatre Belfast bagged a double at the UK Theatre Awards in London's historic Guildhall on Sunday past.
Along with producing partner the Abbey Theatre Dublin, Lyric Theatre won Best Play Revival for a co-production of Brian Friel’s Translations. The Lyric was also announced as a winner for excellence in arts education across the North.
The highly acclaimed production of Translations opened in Belfast earlier this year, over 40 years after its landmark first production at the Guildhall Derry, which starred Stephen Rea and Liam Neeson, before touring Dublin, Limerick, Galway and Donegal.
It was described by the Guardian as “a timeless study of change and identity" and has found a new potency at a time when Brexit has thrown Anglo-Irish relations into sharp relief. It was directed by Abbey Theatre Artistic Director and Donegal native Caitríona McLaughlin.
The second UK Theatre Award was for Excellence in Arts Education and recognised the Lyric’s Drama Studio, an actor-training programme which has been running for over 30 years and is led by the Head of Creative Learning at the Lyric, Philip Crawford. With no full-time actor training available in the North, the Lyric’s Drama Studio has helped bridge that gap. Famous alumni include Anthony Boyle and Zara Devlin.
Commenting on the production and the Best Play Revival award, Jimmy Fay, Executive Producer Lyric Theatre, said: “This is a seminal play dealing with language, identity and borders that contains one of the most extraordinary scenes of love written in any language. The fact that this award was given to two Irish companies from North and South in the very grand and historic Guildhall London demonstrates the power of sharing and understanding between our islands.”