New play starring Marie Jones and Ian McElhinney keeps spirit of Lyric alive

Lyric Theatre Belfast is delighted to announce it welcomed its first performance in over five months this week – a rehearsal and audio recording of Denouement, a new play by Irish writer John Morton starring theatre giants Marie Jones and Ian McElhinney. The recording will be included in the Traverse Festival, a new year-round online programme of activity from the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh and will be available for audiences to enjoy online for 2 weeks from 7th September.

A Lyric Theatre commission, and a co-production with the Traverse Theatre, Denouement was the first of a series of new cutting-edge plays due to kickstart a very special season of new work at the Lyric.  It was scheduled to premiere at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh as part of the 2020 Edinburgh Festival Fringe and play for one week on the Main Stage at the Lyric next month. Both of which have been postponed due to restrictions from the ongoing pandemic.

Set in Ireland during the apocalypse, 2048, Denouement follows Edel (Marie Jones) and Liam (Ian McElhinney), a couple in their 60s who are facing the end of the world. Liam is scrambling to finish his memoirs on an old typewriter, while Edel is keeping it together, preparing for the worst and trying to say goodbye to their daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter on screen.  Directed by Traverse’s Co-Artistic Director Gareth Nicholls, it also features Patrick McBrearty, Nicky Harley and Leah McGregor.

John Morton’s Denouement is shortlisted for the 2020 Popcorn Award for new writing, one of eight plays shortlisted out of 133 eligible plays that were due to premiere at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.  The awards prize fund of £5,000 is presented to the best writing which seeks to question and address current affairs, societal trends and contributes positively to public debate.

Jimmy Fay, Executive Producer at Lyric Theatre, said:

Whilst we were devastated to postpone an entire season dedicated to staging new work, we are delighted to open our doors and welcome the cast and creative team of Denouement for their rehearsal and audio recording for Traverse Festival 2020.  It is wonderful to be working on this co-production with Traverse Theatre – a fantastic relationship that began with last year’s monster Fringe hit Crocodile Fever by Meghan Tyler – and we very much congratulate John on reaching the Popcorn Award for new writing shortlist  – a tremendous accolade. There is no doubt the past few months has been a challenge to everybody in the industry.  However, we have been working hard and tirelessly behind the scenes to, not only keep the spirit of Lyric Theatre alive, but explore how we can remain accessible throughout these challenging times, adapt and evolve to ensure that, when we are ready to open our doors to all our audiences, that we can do so in a safe capacity.”

Gareth Nicholls, Co-Artistic Director Traverse Theatre, commented:

When we first started working with the Lyric Theatre on Denouement at the end of 2019, we never could have imagined that the real world would have become, in some ways, not dissimilar to the landscape of catastrophe in which Liam and Edel find themselves. But the heart of John’s story has remained constant and true, and more important than ever – it’s about how we put aside differences and regrets to come together and find what matters the most in times of uncertainty. It’s a joy to be working with Ian McElhinney and Marie Jones on this audio, work-in-progress version of the show, and explore the lives of characters at a stage of their lives which isn’t often depicted in stories. We hope this shows that even in the face of chaos there can be hilarity, misbehaviour, reconciliation – and hope.”

Denouement will be available for free online from Monday 7 September on Lyric Theatre  and Traverse Theatre  for 2 weeks.

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