The Lyric Hammersmith Theatre
The word "lyric" all in lowercase, styled as handrawn brushstrokes
Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, 2009
London, W6
United Kingdom
Coordinates51°29′35″N 0°13′35″W / 51.49306°N 0.22639°W / 51.49306; -0.22639
Public transitLondon Underground Hammersmith (District/Piccadilly)
London Underground Hammersmith (Circle/Hammersmith & City)
OwnerLyric Theatre Hammersmith Ltd
Capacity550 (main house)
110 (studio)
Opened1895; 129 years ago (1895)
ArchitectFrank Matcham (original)

The Lyric Theatre, also known as the Lyric Hammersmith, is a nonprofit theatre on Lyric Square, off King Street, Hammersmith, London.[1]


The Lyric Theatre was originally a music hall established in 1888 on Bradmore Grove, Hammersmith.[1] Success as an entertainment venue led it to be rebuilt and enlarged on the same site twice, firstly in 1890[2] and then in 1895 by the English theatrical architect Frank Matcham. The 1895 reopening, as The New Lyric Opera House, was accompanied by an opening address by the famous actress Lillie Langtry.[1]

In 1966 the theatre was due to be closed and demolished. However, a successful campaign to save it led to the auditorium being dismantled and reinstalled piece by piece within a modern shell on its current site on King Street a short distance from the former Bradmore Grove location. The relocated theatre opened in 1979.[3]

It has two main performance areas: the Main House, a 565-seat 19th-century auditorium maintaining the original design which hosts its main productions; and the 120-seat Studio, which houses smaller productions by up-and-coming companies. The Lyric also presents frequent Lyric Children and Lyric Music performances as well as Sunday Night Comedy.[1]

Its current artistic director is Rachel O'Riordan, and its executive director is Amy Belson.[4]

The Lyric has recently gone through a major redevelopment project, with new facilities for young people and the local community completed in 2015, designed by Rick Mather Architects[5] and was nominated in the 'community benefit' and 'tourism and leisure' categories at the RICS Awards 2016, London.[6]

In 2011, the Lyric won the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre for Sean Holmes' production of Sarah Kane's Blasted.[7]

In September 2018, it was announced that Sean Holmes would be succeeded as artistic director in February 2019 by Rachel O'Riordan.[8]

Five strands

The Lyric's programme is divided into five strands:

Production history

(Source: the Lyric official website[9])

Artistic directors of the Lyric Hammersmith

Name Period
... ...
Neil Bartlett 1994–2004[10]
David Farr 2005–2008[11]
Sean Holmes 2009–2018[4]
Rachel O'Riordan 2019–present[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e "About the Lyric" > "History", Lyric official website. Retrieved January 2024.
  2. ^ The Era classified ads 13 July 1895 online. Retrieved 27 February 2017
  3. ^ John Earl, "Presidential Address: The Crest of a Wave", Frank Matcham Society Magazine, n.d.. Retrieved 19 January 2011.
  4. ^ a b c "About the Lyric: Our Team", Lyric official website. Retrieved 26 April 2023.
  5. ^ "Capital Development", Lyric official website. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
  6. ^ Surveyors, Royal Institution of Chartered. "RICS Awards, London". Archived from the original on 15 March 2016. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  7. ^ "Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre - Olivier Awards". Archived from the original on 14 July 2011. Retrieved 14 March 2011.
  8. ^ "Rachel O'Riordan will take over from Sean Holmes at Lyric Hammersmith". 7 September 2018. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  9. ^ "Lyric website", Lyric official website. Retrieved 19 January 2011.
  10. ^ Taylor, Paul (26 January 2002). "Neil Bartlett – The Independent". London. Archived from the original on 29 November 2010.
  11. ^ Christiansen, Rupert (13 November 2002). "Innovator ready for a fight". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 28 January 2011.