Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56 Page 57 Page 58 Page 59 Page 60 Page 61 Page 62 Page 63 Page 64 Page 65 Page 66 Page 67 Page 68 Page 69 Page 70 Page 71 Page 72 Page 73 Page 74 Page 75 Page 76 Page 77 Page 78 Page 79 Page 80 Page 81 Page 82 Page 83 Page 84 Page 85 Page 86 Page 87 Page 88 Page 89 Page 90 Page 91 Page 92 Page 93 Page 94 Page 95 Page 96 Page 97 Page 98 Page 99 Page 100 Page 101 Page 102 Page 103 Page 104 Page 105 Page 106 Page 107 Page 108 Page 109 Page 110 Page 111 Page 112 Page 113 Page 114 Page 115 Page 116 Page 117 Page 118 Page 119 Page 12032 connect 2016 | THE LYRIC THEATRE Q. Ciaran, what makes the Lyric so special? A. TheLyricisNorthernIreland’sonlyfull-timeproducing theater. There are other theaters where they receive produc- tions that are on tour. We don’t do that. We make it here. So from the moment of inception we get the writer and the director, we employ the designers and the actors. We have a technical crew, our stage management crew and a project could run for 3 months or even 18 months before it ever hits the stage. We’re also the largest employer of theater practi- tioners in Northern Ireland. Q. So you consider the Lyric an incubator rather than a shell? A. Yes – we’re an incredible breeding ground for talent. What we do is we make great theater. Everyone here from the person who sells you your tickets to the actor on the stage is part of that. Every night, all of us collectively go on stage, we rip the hearts out of people’s chests, we play around with them for two hours on stage, and we stick them back in their chests and say, “now go home and think about what you’ve just seen.” Hopefully, they’ll love it. But they can hate it as long as we created an emotional reaction in that person. Q. During the Troubles, what was the Lyric’s role in the community? A. The idea for the theater began in the 1950s but the first theater was opened in 1968, much smaller than this: one space, one auditorium, 308 seats. The Troubles were just starting at that stage so Northern Ireland was in a period of conflict. And throughout that time the Lyric created a space where people could come to explore ideas without any sense of one side or the other. It was a true mutual space. I think the joy of experiencing theater is you experi- ence it as one. You come in as 300 individual people, but you’re sharing in something. So while it’s not overtly about bringing people together, there’s no doubt in my mind that theater contributes to that process of healing and bringing communities together. Q. How about the Lyric’s role in the community today? A. It has also enabled us to invite the community in to a great new space and experience. We love changing people’s impressions that theater is snooty or not for them. We believe it is for them. This building gives us the space and allows us to change that perception. We’ve lifted everything we do to a new level. The new building we’re in has two spaces, one with 400 seats and one with 120 seats. So our capacity for doing work has increased. Q. Can you share an example? A. We’re working with young people from Hydebank Wood Young Offenders’ Centre, a facility for 18-24 year olds who are incarcerated. Young people have come and served as hosts or worked on productions and have learned about the theater process, often expressing a level of pride they didn’t have before. They have also consulted with our Drama Studio program in creating a play called “Blackout” about a young man who wakes up in jail and his understanding of the consequences of his actions. One of the young men said, “I want to go out and tell people of my age, from my community, what happens if you get it wrong.” The play toured 23 schools in Northern Ireland and gave teenagers a chance to talk to the people who had been through that experience. We took surveys afterward and 84% of people had their opinions of young people in incarceration changed by that process. Q. At the end of the day, what keeps the Lyric inspired? A. When we see the young men and women from Hydebank after two weeks standing tall. When we see young children come into our storytelling workshop on a Sunday and their eyes light up hearing stories from around the world. When we see a member of the community who began passing out programs and is now creating costumes for our plays. That’s the work that we do, that’s the changing-lives part of what we do. That’s the journey we’re on, as well as creating professional theater, we’re changing lives. The Lyric is not just a theater. We’re a lot more than that. Connect Magazine sat down with Ciaran McAuley, Chief Operating Officer at the Lyric Theatre to learn about the latest initiatives of the Lyric and how it is using the power of live theatre to empower, inspire, engage and educate. “We are demysti- fying the theater experience. We are instilling skills and instilling confidence. My objective is that a young actor from Belfast should have exactly the same expectations and confidence as a young actor from London.” Philip Crawford, Head of Creative Learning at the Lyric Theatre