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Lyric life

Heart of Hammersmith

We’re delighted to announce our creative team and the 17 young members of The Lyric Community Company for Heart of Hammersmith, our first ever community play which goes on sale today. This production will bring together a cast of over 40 West Londoners, including 17 young members, aged 18-25, made up of first time actors, a secondary school teacher, drag artist, call centre worker, students, new graduates and community volunteers. It is written and created by Nicholai La Barrie (Tina – The Tina Turner Musical Resident Director) with The Lyric Community Company, and directed by Eva Sampson (Decades) with Alex Hurst (Lyric Resident Assistant Director, Birkbeck Placement), and celebrates West London stories past and present. The production will also feature a community chorus from Young Lyric partner organisations and we are now inviting applicants to sign up for adult cast roles. Heart of Hammersmith will run from Thursday 12 to Saturday 14 August with socially distanced seating. All tickets are £10 on sale today HERE.

Working together with Nicholai La Barrie, the script has been created with the Lyric Community Company’s 17 young members aged 18-25, who started rehearsals online during the pandemic. They are: Gehna Badhwar, Eva Bate, Wes Bozonga, Ömer Cem Çoltu, Tom Claxton, Kitty Cockram, James Douglas-Quarcoopome, Harry Drane, Harri-Rose Hudson, Lex MacQuire, Ella McCallum, Ele McKenzie, Alfie Neill, Priyanka Patel, Danielle Tama, Wilf Walsworth, Aliyah Yanguba.

Our Young Lyric partner organisations collaborating on Heart of Hammersmith are Action on Disability, Amici Dance Company New English Ballet Theatre, Turtle Key Arts, Tri-Borough Music Hub and Zoo Nation Academy of Dance.

Heart of Hammersmith tells intergenerational stories of the people, places, sights and sounds of Hammersmith past and present. From lives lived to lives lost, lives forced out and lives brought together, Heart of Hammersmith celebrates West London through all of its hardships and triumphs and the vibrant individuals who make it what it is. Inspired by true stories from West London, the play tracks immigrant arrivals, million-pound homes and social housing sitting side by side, the rise of gentrification and the shadows left by the Grenfell tragedy, the changing of attitudes, facing of tragedies and the rallying of a resilient community. It is set on Dieppe Street, a street from West London’s past that today unites us.

Nicholai La Barrie, Creator/Writer, said: “Working with this group of 17 young performers has been a revelation, their stories and the stories of their communities have broken my heart and built it back up again. We didn’t know what we were going to make when we started off, so we just talked and what started to emerge was this sense of family, and friends that become family, of lives that crash into each other and become ever changed as a result. The question of what it means to live and grow up with people, the question of how my endz informs the rest of my life, the question of who is my family. This is where we ended up with a deeply personal play about the beautiful lives of our neighbours and friends that hold us, and define us and teach us how to be more human.”

Alfie Neill, company member, said: “I have lived beside the theatre all my life, from a young boy playing on the roof areas of the Lyric causing mischief to becoming directly involved in projects in my teenage years. We are being listened to and Heart of Hammersmith is a truly collaborative experience like never seen before from any theatre on this scale. West London has defined my journey, character and outlook on life, my heart has been crafted on these streets and in my home.”

Priyanka Patel, company member, said: “It makes me excited to know by August 2021 there will be a main stage show, based around community and the love of the area at such an important theatre in London – and I get to be a part of that process. Shepherds Bush has been my home for 25 years and I feel incredibly lucky to share why it’s so special to me. Hopefully these messages will resonate with every West Londoner who walks through the doors.”

As part of the Lyric Community Company, we are now seeking adults from West London to perform in the production in August. There will be a mix of speaking and non-speaking roles and no previous acting experience is required. Adults aged 25+ who live in West London and are passionate about the community are invited to apply via by 10am on Monday 24 May. Expenses for all in person engagement will be provided for by the Lyric.


Your Hammersmith Story

Residents and workers across Hammersmith & Fulham are being invited to share their memories of the area in Your Hammersmith Story which will see selected stories featured in a new podcast from the Lyric.

Rob Lehmann, Director of Young Lyric said: “We’ve loved hearing from our community members for Heart of Hammersmith, and now we want to invite residents and workers from Hammersmith & Fulham to share their memories with us as part of Your Hammersmith Story to celebrate the history, people and places of our home borough. What does Hammersmith mean to you? It could be a story from your first visit, a special occasion, celebrating a local hero, your favourite places to visit, anecdotes from your time here, you name it.”

To take part in Your Hammersmith Story, forms are available to download from the Lyric website and in person from the box office and from various local businesses in the area. Selected individuals will be invited to tell their story in a new podcast set to be released this summer. See for further information.