Duke Special to be the new Artist in Residence at the Lyric Theatre

Jimmy Fay and Duke Special

Jimmy Fay, Executive Producer at the Lyric Theatre, announced last night that Peter Wilson, aka Duke Special, will be the Lyric’s new Artist in Residence.

One of Northern Ireland’s most prolific and innovative musicians, Duke Special has released a succession of albums that have been met with critical and popular acclaim.  His work for theatre has been equally well-received: in 2009 he appeared on stage at the National Theatre in London as part of a new production of Bertolt Brecht’s play Mother Courage and Her Children for which he wrote music for a number of songs, and earlier this year he wrote the music for Youth Music Theatre’s production of Gulliver’s Travels at the Lyric.

As part of Duke Special’s residency, he will be writing a musical adaptation of Huckleberry Finn, based on songs written by Kurt Weill, which will premiere on the main stage in the spring of 2017.

Duke Special said, “I am thrilled to be this year’s Artist in Residence at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast.  I hope to learn as much as I can, absorb all that’s going on there and to write lots and lots of songs.  Very pleased and excited!”

Jimmy Fay said, “Duke Special’s music is distinctive, original, and highly theatrical, and his residency at the Lyric will give us something completely new and different.  I’m particularly excited about the work he’ll be doing on Huckleberry Finn, which already has the potential to be a major part of our 2017 programme”.

Duke Special - Artist in Residence


Duke Special (born Peter Wilson) is a songwriter and performer based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. A piano-based songwriter with a romantic style and a warm, distinctly accented voice, his live performances have a theatrical style inspired by Vaudeville and music hall. His albums include Adventures in Gramophone (2005), Songs from the Deep Forest (2006), both of which were nominated for the Choice Music Prize, I Never Thought This Day Would Come (2008), Little Revolutions (2009), The Silent World of Hector Mann (2010), Mother Courage and Her Children (2010), Under the Dark Cloth (2011) Oh Pioneer (2012) and Look Out Machines! (2015).