The Lyric Theatre in Belfast is celebrating a major success story after finally reaching its £18.1 million capital fundraising target. The appeal began in 2003 when the Lyric launched plans to build a new theatre on its riverbank site.
The theatre’s Patron, Liam Neeson, has been closely involved from the outset, hosting fundraising dinners in Belfast, London and, most recently, in New York where he was joined by Meryl Streep and Aidan Quinn. Many other well known local faces have also championed the Lyric’s cause, including Ciaran Hinds, Brian Kennedy, Dan Gordon, James Nesbitt, Seamus Heaney, and Brian Friel.
Welcoming the news, Liam Neeson said: I am overjoyed at this extraordinary achievement and would like to thank the many generous individuals and organisations who have made this possible. I visited the new theatre recently and was incredibly impressed with the progress that has been made.
Everyone who has donated to the campaign should feel very proud in the knowledge that they have helped to build a wonderful and lasting legacy for the people of Northern Ireland, which will continue to celebrate the great richness and diversity of our cultural life for generations to come.
During the capital campaign – the largest ever undertaken by an arts organisation in Northern Ireland – the Lyric has raised £6 million in private donations and sponsorships, including £1 million in donations from the United States, and over £12 million in public funding from the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, and Belfast City Council.
The new theatre, scheduled to open in Spring 2011, is in the final stages of construction.