Acclaimed Belfast playwright, Owen McCafferty, has been announced as the new Playwright-in-Residence at the Lyric Theatre.
As Northern Ireland’s only full-time producing theatre, the Lyric appoints a Playwright-in-Residence annually as part of its aim to support new writing. It is one of the best-funded residencies in the UK, supported by a private bursary.
Speaking at an informal reception where the announcement was made at the Lyric on Tuesday, Owen McCafferty said: “It is an honour and privilege to be the Lyric Theatre’s Playwright-in-Residence. The Lyric under Jimmy Fay is moving into an exciting new artistic era and I’m delighted to be in at the start of that.”
Over two decades as a writer, McCafferty has created an extensive body of work including early plays like Shoot The Crow, Closing Time and Mojo Mickybo. His play, Scenes From The Big Picture at the National Theatre in 2003 which won the John Whiting Award, the Meyer Whitworth Award and the Evening Standard Charles Wintour Award for New Playwriting. His most recent work includes a version of Antigone for Prime Cut in Belfast in Autumn 2008 and The Absence of Women, which was produced by the Lyric Theatre Belfast in February 2010 before transferring to the Tricycle Theatre in London. His play Titanic (Scenes from the British Wreck Commissioner’s Inquiry 1912) was the inaugural production at The MAC Belfast in 2012.
McCafferty’s play Quietly was hailed as a must-see show at last year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe and sold out at the Traverse Theatre during its three week run. It was critically acclaimed by the international media and went on to win three prestigious awards – Best Play at The Writers’ Guild Awards 2013, a Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and Best Actor for Patrick O’Kane at the Stage Awards for Acting Excellence. His play Unfaithful has just finished a run at this year’s Edinburgh Festival.
The Lyric is set to premiere Owen’s latest play Death of a Comedian this February as part of the Northern Soul season (8 Feb – 8 March 2015 on the Danske Bank Stage).
Lyric Executive Producer, Jimmy Fay said he was delighted to make the appointment.
“I am delighted to welcome Owen McCafferty as the Lyric’s new Playwright-in-Residence. We are hugely honoured to have him join the theatre for this coming year. Given the recent news of cuts to the arts budget this is a rare good news story in the arts sector and is one of the best paid residencies in the UK. Owen is one of our finest playwrights. I had the honour of directing the award-winning Quietly so I am delighted to have such a quality playwright of integrity, passion and talent take up this position.”
The reception was attended by a number of local writers, actors and artists including the celebrated actor Patrick O’Kane who starred in Quietly which toured to the Lyric earlier this year. Speaking on the subject of Owen’s new residency at the Lyric, Patrick remarked that it would be ‘an award that will be mutually beneficial for both the Lyric and Owen.’