House Lights Up

28 April 2020
The Lyceum announces House Lights Up – celebrating and supporting theatre from home

The Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh announces House Lights Up – a programme of activity to connect artists and audiences with The Lyceum during the theatre closure.

  • Curtain Up – The Lyceum is asking theatre-lovers everywhere to express their love of theatre in a crafted artwork 15cm x 15cm – which will be combined in a collective artwork of well over 1000 contributions to form a patchwork curtain with which to re-open the theatre.
  • Lyceum Letters – With The Lyceum auditorium sitting empty for the first time in decades, Artistic Director David Greig is inviting the public and artists including Val McDiarmid, Ian Rankin and Sam Heughan to contribute their stories about life in these unprecedented times in a project that aims to capture a collective portrait of a world turned upside down.
  • Creative Learning Online - Lyceum Youth Theatre to move online with the Coronavirus Time Capsule and the Over 60s Acting Classes to be run via – video conference with free online sessions for group members. We will also be producing free online videos and resources about Scottish Theatre to support teachers and home learners.
  • Working from Home – The Lyceum has a key role to play supporting Scottish Theatre through the COVID-19 Pandemic. Artistic Director David Greig, Associate Directors Zinnie Harris and Wils Wilson and Producer Liz King will be hosting a series of creative speed dates, pitch surgeries and open online auditions with actors, designers, choreographers and other creatives to support the generation of new ideas for the future and the emergence of new talent during theatre closure.
  • Plays in Partnership – A collection of plays and performances created for lockdown or displaced from the stage will be presented in other formats during theatre closure including David Greig’s new play Adventures with the Painted People


Artistic Director David Greig said of the programme:

“The Lyceum theatre, offices and workshops are now closed down with all but a skeleton team of Lyceum staff now on furlough. We are in a state of hibernation until such time as we are able to produce theatre again and once more invite an audience to see it. Theatres want to be full of people, stories and life, so the process of evacuating buildings, cancelling shows, and contacting artists and audiences has been sad and sobering, but it has also made clear just how vital the connections we have with artists and audiences across the country are and how much all of us miss theatre being made in Edinburgh.

I have been surprised, delighted and very moved by the generosity of our audiences and patrons who have made donations in extraordinary numbers to help protect The Lyceum in these difficult times. With no ticket income coming in, these contributions from donors are a truly vital lifeline for us. Many of these donations have come with kind words telling us just how much The Lyceum is valued and how people are missing the joy of live theatre - a coming together in time and space to share stories - it is the very opposite of social distancing and so, for many, theatre’s return has become a light at the end of the tunnel. This has inspired us to put together a series of activities to celebrate this hope and share our love of theatre together even while we are necessarily apart.

We simply do not know when the day of re-opening will come and what kind of changed world we will find when we next take to the stage, but while we are not making plays, we must not be closed to stories.

As Scotland’s largest producing theatre, we also feel a responsibility to theatre makers across the country to continue to engage with their ideas, to find new ways to encourage and engage with emerging artists and do all we can to keep the creative juices flowing. We want to meet the new generation of performers who have been denied their showcases by lockdown, and others we are yet to meet. We want to talk to producers, designers, writers and directors who can no longer pop in for a coffee to share ideas and we are finding ways to move these vital conversations online.

Around this time of year, I am normally able to announce a forthcoming year of new productions and activities. This April I am sad to say that I cannot do that, but I am encouraged that The Lyceum team has risen to this challenge to quickly find new ways to share stories with our audiences, involve our participants, young and old and continue to make connections with theatre artists during this unprecedented period of closure.”


Curtain Up

In a new project looking forward to the theatre re-opening, The Lyceum is inviting everyone to contribute to a totemic artwork of hope and promise by crafting a square patch artwork – 15cm x 15cm – a personal celebration of what you love about live theatre.

All submissions will then be stitched together to form a collective celebration in the form of a new patch-work theatre curtain of over 1000 individual artworks from theatre-lovers which will be raised to mark the full re-opening of The Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh.

Submissions are open now and more details, examples and instructions can be found at

Every submission will be also be showcased on the website alongside a short description of the inspiration behind each contribution.


Lyceum Letters

Artistic Director David Greig is inviting artists and audiences alike to contribute their stories about life in these unprecedented times in a letter to The Lyceum for a project that aims to capture a collective portrait of a world turned upside down.

Citizens of Edinburgh and beyond are invited to write to a letter of any length to the theatre: sharing insights, reflections and observations about life in lockdown and the significance of being able to share space. Contributors will include writers Ian Rankin, Val McDermid and Denise Mina, poets George Gunn and Alec Finlay, memoirist Raja Shehadeh, actors including Outlander star Sam Heughan, comedian Josie Long, and playwrights Jo Clifford, Hannah Lavery, Rona Munro, Elie Stewart and more.

A selection of letters will be read by actors and shared in a weekly podcast and will go on to form part of a special one-off show to re-open the theatre.

All letters submitted will also be shared in full on The Lyceum’s website

Letters can be submitted by posting to:
Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh
30b Grindlay Street,

Or can be emailed to


Creative Learning Online

The Lyceum Youth Theatre would normally start a new term this week with members meeting every night at the theatre. During this closure period their activities move online and connect with other youth theatres across the world as they take part in Company Three‘s Coronavirus Time Capsule.

The Coronavirus Time Capsule is a way of recording teenagers’ experiences during the global coronavirus pandemic and shutdown. Youth theatres across the world are responding to the Covid19 crisis and we want LYT’s voice to be part of that, providing our youth theatre members the ability able to have a space to process their experiences creatively and tell their stories.

The Lyceum Over 60s Acting Classes will continue their creative sessions during lock-down the Lyceums Creative Learning Team will be hosting free drop-in online classes for their weekly Over 60s Acting Classes. These will be an opportunity to connect with other group members and respond creatively to different weekly themes.

Schools resources - with schools as well as theatres closed this term, The Lyceum is finding new ways to work with our education partners by creating a series of resources to support teachers and online learners. We will be adding to our archive of resources weekly to support the Drama and English Curricula with short tutorial videos and a series of video interviews Scottish writers and theatre makers.

Teachers and learners looking for more information and to receive e-mail updates as resources are added should e-mail


Working from Home

The Lyceum is a place for inspiration, we go out into the world and meet performers, designers, directors, choreographers, musicians and who share their ideas and inspiration, our creativity is a collaborative process from the commissioning through audition, rehearsal and performance. Much of this activity is behind the scenes, but it is at the heart of our work making theatre in Edinburgh. During this period of closure, it is vital that we continue to make these connections and host these conversations, so we have tried to create these opportunities in the midst of this crisis by setting up a series of online engagements:

  • Open Auditions: In the coming weeks, we will be hosting a series of one-on-one open auditions for Scottish-based actors via video link in the coming weeks, with spaces at each session held for new graduates who have missed their showcase opportunities this year. These will take place on Fridays from 15 May and will be hosted by Artistic Director David Greig, Associate Directors Zinnie Harris and Wils Wilson and Lyceum Producer Liz King. More information will be available on our website soon – in the meantime expressions of interest can be sent to and we will send out details and criteria on 4 May. 
  • Creative Speed Dates: Designers, lighting designers, choreographers, and other creatives are invited to get in touch to arrange a virtual catch up with David Greig, Wils Wilson or Zinnie Harris as we plan out future activity. E-mail and let us know what you would like to catch up about.
  • Pitch Surgery: Artistic Director David Greig and Producer Liz King will host a series of surgeries for Scottish directors who have creative ideas, offering advice and help in shaping their pitches for the Scottish and UK theatre market. Directors are asked to E-mail with Pitch Surgery in the subject line and we will be in touch to arrange a video meeting online.
  • Producer Surgery: Lyceum producer Liz King has extensive producing experience having previously worked with international touring company, Kneehigh and during theatre closure is here help freelance producers who need advice about how to get projects off the ground or manage their current situations. Producers are asked to E-mail with Producer Surgery in the subject line and we will be in touch to arrange an online video meet-up.


Plays in Partnership

Adventures with the Painted People, a new play by David Greig, commissioned by Pitlochry Festival Theatre, was due to open this Summer. The stage production is now postponed until next year, but in the meantime it will be recorded for BBC Radio 3 as a BBC Arts – Culture In Quarantine, BBC Radio 3, Naked Productions, and Pitlochry Festival Theatre Production in association with The Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh.

The play will be broadcast this June with a cast including Olivier Huband who was appearing in the Lyceum / PFT co-production Barefoot in the Park when theatres closed and Kirsty Stuart who played the title role in Zinnie Harris’ new version of Webster’s The Duchess [of Malfi] at The Lyceum last season and is currently part of PFT’s Ensemble.

Scenes for survival - Lyceum Artistic Director David Greig and Associate Director Zinnie Harris will be contributing to the National Theatre of Scotland’s Scenes for Survival programme. A season of online works which will also act as a platform to raise money for a new hardship fund for artists and those in the theatre industry who have been hardest hit financially by the current crisis.



For further information, press requests, and images, please contact The Lyceum Communications Director Ben Jeffries on / 07947 475 067