“a pair of open arms to those who think differently about the world”
In 2010 Niki McCretton sold her house to buy The Lyric, a Grade II listed building dating from c.1742, which developers wanted to turn into flats. Over the last decade, Niki has achieved her vision to transform The Lyric into a creative, community hub that draws national and international artists to make work, in the heart of a Dorset market town. Community support and response in that time has been overwhelmingly positive.
A vital part of The Lyric’s vision is our commitment to creating links and opportunities between artists and the local community, to provide Dorset with access to excellence in performance and practice. Since opening we have been able to provide research and development space for artists, unique opportunities to showcase international companies, premieres of new work, showings of work in progress, mentoring and rehearsal space.
The theatre comprises a 120 (stackable) seat, parquet floored auditorium with original red and gold flock wallpaper; a 4m square, proscenium arch black box raised stage, flanked with red velvet drapes; a high ceiling for wonderful acoustics and recently reinstated heritage arched windows, filling the hall with south-facing daylight. There is a grand piano and an upright piano. Also on the ground floor is a café/bar and toilets, and at the rear of the auditorium is a kitchen. Upstairs is the office and Holly Miller’s puppet making studio, the gantry above the stage, and an attic filled with props, sets and costumes.
As a non-funded, not-for-profit Community Interest Company (CIC), we are proud that The Lyric punches above its weight. This is a playful, experimental and anarchic space and we work in partnership with all artists who come here. The Lyric makes opportunities for people to get involved in arts, culture and community through:
- Bespoke residencies for artists and companies across the world;
- Housing nationally acclaimed Stuff & Nonsense Theatre Company, experts in co-creation and child-centred practice;
- Supporting artists’ development through mentoring, masterclasses, and space to make, take risks and network;
- A select performance programme, offering audiences access to open rehearsals and preview performances as well as touring work;
- Providing local community opportunities to participate, co-create and volunteer;
- Giving young people access to the industry via training opportunities in partnership with Lighthouse Poole and local FE colleges.
The Lyric doesn’t have a seasonal programme like many venues, but instead we have select performances once or twice a month, alongside regulars such as Laughs at the Lyric and Story Café. We are predominantly interested in working with artists who create devised theatre and in puppetry, physical theatre, visual performance, circus and innovative children’s theatre.
There is a vibrant artistic community in Bridport and The Lyric has built a reputation as a space that encourages and presents innovative and experimental work. Our audiences enjoy taking a risk on seeing something new and supporting work that is in the process of being created. They often say to us “we don’t quite know what we’ve come to see but know it will be great and that we’ll still be thinking about it next week”.
Patron – Chris Chibnall
“When times are hard we need experiences that connect our families, that make each of us laugh, that challenge and surprise us together. Niki McCretton, the talented Artistic Director at the heart of Stuff and Nonsense Theatre Company, creates theatre that does this. She creates with passion with a stunning team of artists supported via her very own building The Lyric Theatre, Bridport; a hub of creativity for professionals and the community.”
Chris Chibnall, Head Writer/Show Runner Dr Who; Writer/Producer Broadchurch