THEATRE / Notices

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An illustrious panel of theatre practitioners gathered at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, last week to launch the 'Keep the Lyric Alive' campaign. The theatre needs to raise pounds 350,000 by March, otherwise Neil Bartlett, the artistic director designate due to take over from Peter James on 1 April, will be without a job. 'You only lose a theatre like this once,' Bartlett said. 'It doesn't come back.' James said: 'Our deficit equals the sum of the cuts. If there were no cuts, there would be no deficit. Last year our combined grant was pounds 600,000 - the same as it was in 1986. The company is one third of the size it was when I started in 1981.'

Sir Ian McKellen led the chorus of voices expressing dismay at the theatre's predicament and urging a concerted effort to raise the money: 'Close a theatre like this and the National Theatre suffers. Not immediately, but in a few years.' Messages of support were sent by Richard Eyre, Glenda Jackson and Peter Brook. Nigel Planer offered an ode to the theatre's facilities: 'Please don't let the Lyric close / You're crazy if you do. / It's the only effing theatre / With a proper ladies' loo.' There is a benefit production of Oleanna at the Duke of York's on Sun 5 Dec, 7.30pm. All profits go to the Lyric. Tickets pounds 5-25 (from 071-836 5122, cc 071-836 9837). On Tue 14 Dec from 10am to 11pm, the Lyric hosts a craft fair in aid of the campaign. Watch this space for further details of fund-raising events. Lyric Theatre: 081-741 2311.

Robert Lepage's Coriolan makes its British debut at Nottingham Playhouse on 23 Nov. This is a coup for the Playhouse, which hosts Lepage's stylised production of Shakespeare's political tragedy (performed by Quebec's Theatre Repere in French with English surtitles) as part of its 30th birthday celebrations. Nottingham Playhouse: 0602 419419.

Snipping and styling paid off for Douglas Esson, who moved from Glasgow in 1978 to work in a lady's hairdressing salon but continued playwriting on the side. He has now won the 1993 South London International Playwriting Festival, his play chosen from over 300 scripts. Spitting in the Face of Eve receives a full production at Croydon Warehouse next year but the theatre offers a sneak preview on Sun 21 Nov as part of a weekend Playwriting Festival: 081-680 4060.

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