Northern Irish acting legend Liam Neeson has sent his personal congratulations to a Belfast theatre after winning the top award at The Stage Awards 2023.
The Lyric Theatre won 'Theatre of the Year' at the national awards which celebrate the best of the UK theatre industry and was held in London’s West End earlier this week.
Neeson, who is a patron of the Lyric and has been no stranger to its stage during his career, expressed his pride at hearing the news.
Read more: Belfast venue wins 'Theatre of the Year' at prestigious UK awards
He said: “Many, many congratulations to Jimmy, his superb staff and of course the audiences: we couldn’t make theatre without them and their loyal and constant support over the past 70 years.
"I, personally couldn’t be more proud of you all!"
Sharing the award alongside London’s Bush Theatre, the Lyric Theatre was recognised for its programme, which featured eight-full scale productions, seven of which were new works, as well as for its online festival of skills development sessions, called Play/Write, and its open call for new work.
It also received recognition for its work to attract under-represented audiences through LGBT+ productions, and for its extensive education and outreach programme.
Lyric Executive producer Jimmy Fay said the Lyric Theatre was " about the people who make the work" and dedicated the award to the venue’s staff, audiences, actors and writers.
Jimmy also added it was "vital" that an active producing theatre remained at the heart of our creative arts and industry in Northern Ireland.
The Stage editor Alistair Smith added: "At a time when new writing in the UK is facing damaging cuts, we are delighted to be able to celebrate two wonderful producing theatres who are staging some of the most exciting new work around, while also maintaining and extending their support to playwrights."
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