The Lyric Theatre is a 120 seat theatre in Bridport West Dorset. Previously a theatre, dance school, and liberal hall, the building is Grade II listed and was built in 1742.
It reopened in 2011 as a theatre and has since gained a reputation for presenting new work, puppetry, physical theatre, comedy and cabaret. It is an artist-led venue, owned by Niki McCretton. Companies are also supported to come for R&D, to present new work and showings of work-in-progress.
Stage is 4×4 metres and productions can also be played flat on the floor if more space is required.
After being closed for many years the much loved Lyric Theatre, with its inviting auditorium, intimate stage and iconic, flock wallpaper re-opened in September 2010. The Lyric Theatre has a unique place in Dorset in providing a professional, working base for the range of professional artists involved in creating theatre – performers, circus artists, directors, puppets makers, set designers, composer, costumiers and the list goes on! The Lyric has gained a reputation for bringing superb contemporary shows and more ‘fringe’ theatre to the area, so there is plenty to come and watch! There is a welcoming atmosphere and cosy bar to come to before the shows, which stays open afterwards so you can hang out with friends, meet new people and the performers.
These performing artists come from all over the world, some by invitation and others who ask to come to have a dedicated space in which they can create and present their productions. Spaces like this are few and far between in the UK and we are proud that we have enabled many productions to be born, worked on and premiered here in Bridport. These performances are usually shows that are not on tour as we like to bring unique and experimental, innovative theatre to enhance what is already here with Bridport Arts Centre, The Electric Palace and all the places that present live music in the town.
We are proud to invite you to see this work, and to come a be part of the development process for these artists, to watch a work in progress performance and give your feedback to help create the work. Just like any visual artist – this work is a process and takes time to create, often using a team drawn from different art forms, brought together to hone a production. We also have Q&A performances where you can meet those involved and quiz them on their artistic process and choices.
Alongside this programme, we also encourage visiting professionals to hold masterclasses and workshops in: writing, puppetry, acting, clowning, physical theatre and many other aspects of working with the stage. These are open to anyone who would like to have a go, alongside a mix of those who are working in the arts or are amateur or semi-professional. They are great sessions and always welcoming of new faces and every participant so far has really enjoyed the experience of being part of one of these.
We also have a resident professional company housed in the building. Stuff and Nonsense Theatre Company are one of the UK’s leading family theatre companies, who create their work with and for children and families. Directed by Niki McCretton, you may have seen them performing at larger theatres (we can’t put on their shows here as they need a bigger stage!) A regular at Theatre Royal Plymouth and The Octagon Theatre in Yeovil, Stuff and Nonsense are known for their brilliant mix of live performers and puppets creating visually engaging shows which are highly original! They are Associate Company also at The Berry Theatre in Hampshire and tour all over the country. Having them here creating their work in the building offers again a unique opportunity for people to watch their rehearsals, bring children to get involved in the creative process and also to watch dress rehearsals and the creation of all the props and scenery. We try to host work experience students in the building when Stuff and Nonsense are in production so that young people who are interested in arts careers can meet the professional team and assist in the creation process.
The Lyric Theatre is run by a community of artists and currently does not get any public funding. We exist because people volunteer their time and donate expertise. We have together raised money over the last 7 years to get the building up to fire safety standards, create new walls and gantry area around the stage and through very generous donations from all over the world, we are in the process of replacing the damaged windows to flood the space with light again after the windows one by one fell into disrepair. Phase one completed last year, phase 2 on the way!
Drop us a line at email@example.com to tell us about you and your work. The office is staffed one day a week on Tuesdays.