Belfast Telegraph

Seamus Heaney joins Lyric birthday celebration

By John Mulgrew

Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney will lead a fortnight of celebrations to mark the first anniversary of Belfast’s rebuilt Lyric Theatre.

While much of the focus has been on Northern Ireland’s latest arts and culture building the MAC, the Lyric will celebrate its first birthday with a diverse range of events.

Taking the stage tonight, world-renowned poet Heaney will address the sold-out audience at the landmark theatre, delivering a lecture entitled ‘Speak The Speech’.

Heaney unveiled the new £18m Lyric’s threshold stone on the banks of the Lagan back in 2009.

At the time he heralded the building as a “a reminder of the vital artistic achievement in the past and the promise of ongoing creative vigour in the future”.

Also celebrating a year of the well-loved venue is acclaimed Irish actor Stephen Rea.

Rea will take to the stage on Monday, April 30 in a special one-off performance narrating The Third Policeman, a darkly comic work, accompanied by a trio of string musicians.

The Lyric’s artistic director Richard Croxford said: “It’s hard to believe a whole year has flown by — it has been a whirlwind of magnificent and varied drama, events and creative learning at the Lyric.

“We have had amazing artists working with us the last year supported by a fantastic team of staff and it’s been a pleasure to welcome such wonderful audiences.

“We are now looking forward to another exciting year and are delighted to have Tim Loane’s The Civilisation Game on stage during our anniversary month.”

Since its opening the theatre has welcomed a range of performers including some of the stage’s greatest names.

Belfast’s own Kenneth Branagh joined Rob Brydon in The Painkiller, which enjoyed a sell-out run last year.

A series of events celebrating the anniversary begin this evening, with performances taking place over the next two weeks.

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