City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

A Strong Message of Looking Outwards from Lyceum’s New Artistic Director

By Irene Brown - Posted on 03 May 2016

04.David Greig, Artistic Director of The Lyceum. Photo credit - Aly  Wight.jpg

A sense of both inclusion and looking beyond theatrical confines were the strong themes that came across today at the launch of the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh’s new season under the artistic directorship of internationally acclaimed and award-winning playwright David Greig.

A modest man in spite of his success with the likes of the Sam Mendes’ West End hit, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Dunsinane (Royal Shakespeare Company and National Theatre of Scotland), and The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart (National Theatre of Scotland), Greig brings a great openness and aspiration to his new role. His vision that theatre and its space should be a focal part of debate and democracy is a laudable one. He says, “I’m keen to make new meaningful partnerships, such as our new exciting relationship with the Edinburgh Science Festival and build on existing relationships, such as our involvement with the Edinburgh International Festival, to ensure that we stay at the heart of this fantastic city and truly be a Civic Theatre for the people of Edinburgh and our visitors…I want to put our citizens centre stage at The Lyceum to share this beautiful space and the amazing experience of making theatre …I’m also keen that the citizens of Edinburgh have more opportunities to explore and appreciate the splendour of this Victorian building … I intend to use it to make the case for a producing theatre in Edinburgh’s capital which is worthy of the city.”

Despite recent cuts, the Lyceum is staging an exciting and eclectic programme that starts in August, as part of the Edinburgh International Festival, with the World Première of Scottish Singer/Songwriter Karine Polwart’s début into theatre with Wind Resistance that has been influenced by the bird sounds and seasons of Falla Flow. In September, Dundee ‘s highly successful production of the politically pertinent The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil starts its tour at the Lyceum where the play was staged in 1973 with an iconic set from John Byrne. That Scottish classic is followed by a new and first ever English language version of a play that’s over 2500 years old. The Suppliant Women will be Grieg’s first Lyceum play and is a re-imagining of this lost piece whose music will feature a set of pipes that require the incredible feat of circular breathing and will be performed by two pipers who can manage this. On top of that, 50 citizens of Edinburgh will play the pivotal role of the eponymous “suppliant” women.

October retains a feminine theme with Daniela Nardini returning to the Lyceum stage to play the lead role in Jumpy, the hit West End comedy about a mother-daughter relationship that will be directed by Cora Bissett. Gracing Edinburgh’s beautiful Victorian theatre this Yuletide is the “Victorian toy box” that is an adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland from Edinburgh born theatre-maker Anthony Neilson. The dark nights of January can be relished with a taste of Australia in the UK Première of Malthouse Theatre Melbourne and Black Swan State Theatre Company’s haunting tale Picnic at Hanging Rock that will be directed by Australian artist Matthew Lutton. Artist Max Webster, who recently directed Greig’s adaptation of The Lorax, brings a distinctive flair with a cast of Scottish actor-musicians to Shakespeare’s timeless The Winter’s Tale in February.

Bringing a “new eye” to a well- loved classic, Citizens’ award winning Artistic Director Dominic Hill will direct Noël Coward’s riotous 1920s' farce Hay Fever next Spring and in an exciting new partnership with the Edinburgh International Science Festival, renowned Scottish director and playwright Zinnie Harris will direct Caryl Churchill’s acclaimed sci-fi story A Number about cloning and its consequences that will be performed in an intimate ‘in the round’ space created on the Lyceum’s main stage. This will be followed by the World Première of Charlie Sonata from Scottish playwright Douglas Maxwell that is a tale of an addict’s road to redemption through tragedy.

Greig’s directorial debut at the Lyceum comes with new play from Scottish playwright Linda Maclean, Glory on Earth, that is a re-imagining of the historic meetings over two years between a very young Mary Queen of Scots and a much older John Knox who kept records of the events from his perspective. McLean’s play will give voice to Mary.

The season closes with an ambitious large scale production The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other directed by Wils Wilson, written by Austrian playwright Peter Handke, in a translation by Meredith Oakes based on a fleeting experience in a Tuscan square. It will feature 100 strong, all-Edinburgh cast and a soundtrack of entirely new music.

The Lyceum has plans to include a series of Sunday Variety Nights to showcase musicians, poets and theatre-makers as part of the ethos of looking outwards and engaging in community. David Greig’s first season will strengthen The Lyceum’s commitment to creative learning and widen the opportunity for community participation. Please email to get details on how you can be part of The Suppliant Women and The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other.

Greig’s ideal of theatre being a place of gathering and democracy as in ancient times where people meet face to face in real time looks like being reflected in this eclectic, inclusive and exciting season.

Royal Lyceum 2016/17 programme and dates

Wind Resistance
by Karine Polwart
Dates: 4 August – 21 August 2016 (not including 8, 9, 15 & 16 August)

The Cheviot, The Stag and the Black, Black Oil
by John McGrath
Dates: 14 – 24 September 2016

The Suppliant Women
by Aeschylus
in a new version by David Greig
(Cast to include a chorus of 50 citizens from the Edinburgh area)
Dates: 1 October – 15 October 2016

by April De Angelis
Dates: 27 October – 12 November 2016

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
by Lewis Carrol
devised and directed by Anthony Neilson
Dates: 26 November – 31 December 2016

Picnic at Hanging Rock
by Tom Wright adapted from Joan Lindsay’s novel
Dates: 13 January – 28 January 2017

The Winter’s Tale
by William Shakespeare
Dates: 9 February – 4 March 2017

Hay Fever
by Noël Coward
Dates: 10 March – 1 April 2017

A Number
by Caryl Churchill
Dates: April 2017

Charlie Sonata
by Douglas Maxwell
Dates: 29 April – 13 May 2017

Glory On Earth
by Linda McLean
Dates: 20 May – 10 June 2017

The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other
by Peter Handke
Dates June 2017