David Greig pictured in rehearsals for Glory On Earth and announcing Season 2017/18 at The Lyceum

Season 2017/18 announcement from David Greig

The Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh is delighted to announce David Greig’s second season as Artistic Director of Scotland’s largest producing theatre.

David Greig, Artistic Director of the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh says:

“This is a time of political uncertainty and civic upheaval …in these times more than ever we seek refuge in the theatre: an engine of etmpathy and play, a forum of understanding and ideas, a place where, through the prism of a great story, we can discover ourselves anew and hopefully have some fun in the process.

In this season the Royal Lyceum Theatre Company responds to a world in turmoil by staging a bold mix of rediscovered classics, new plays, and fresh adaptations each telling a story which reflects directly on the great issues of the day. If there was ever a time for a theatre to promote solidarity, empathy and joy this moment is it. I hope you will join us this season as we seek theatrical adventure!”

David Greig
Artistic Director

  • Public on-sale: 10 June 2017
  • Information for current Lyceum Season Ticket Holders: Your Season Ticket renewal packs are currently being prepared and will start landing on doorsteps through the post during May 2017.
  • Want to become a Season Ticket Holder and see the Season Ticket Productions from the best seats in the house from £54*: Find more information on this Newsletter and visit in person or call The Lyceum Box Office on 0131 248 4848 to book.
    *£54 Season Ticket for Under 26s


7 - 23 September 2017
Birmingham Repetory Theatre present
WHAT SHADOWS by Chris Hannan, directed by Roxana Silbert

Who would have thought that Enoch Powell would turn out to be the defining political figure of UK politics in 2017? And yet it is hard to escape the idea that his peculiar brand of anti-immigration, anti-Europe conservatism has become the guiding ideology behind Brexit.

Chris Hannan is the Scottish writer’s writer. His work combines muscular language, moral purpose, low comedy, high theatricality, and a total disdain for cliché. The moment he told me he wanted to write about Enoch Powell, I knew we had to have that play here at The Lyceum. When I discovered it was to star Ian McDiarmid, a great Scottish actor, I was thrilled. Don’t expect platitudes, propaganda, or having your preconceptions confirmed. Do expect a profound meditation on a central figure of our times.

★★★★ “Ian McDiarmid gives a standout performance as Powell” The Times

6 - 28 October 2017
COCKPIT by Bridget Boland, directed by Wils Wilson

In 1947, the Irish playwright Bridget Boland had a West End hit with an extraordinary play about a group of British soldiers guarding displaced persons in a theatre in Germany immediately after the war. Serbs, Latvians, Finns, Jews, Vichy French and Free French... all the flotsam and jetsam of Europe have washed up here and it’s up to Ridley and his platoon to do the right thing. The only problem is, it’s extremely unclear in this muddy moral world, what the right thing is! For this genuinely extraordinary play, the whole playhouse becomes the stage with the audience joining soldiers and refugees scattered around the stalls, circle and boxes.

I first heard of Cockpit around 10 years ago and tracked a copy down online, discovering a community of Boland enthusiasts in the process. When I finally read it I was blown away. Simply put Cockpit is a play for our times. With an Irishwoman’s sceptical eye, Bridget Boland digs right back to the moment of the creation of modern Europe and explores Britain’s troubled relationship with the continent.

20 January - 3 February 2018
THE LOVER by Marguerite Duras, adapted for the stage and co-directed by Jemima Levick and Fleur Darkin
a co-production with Stellar Quines and Scottish Dance Theatre

In 1986 I had a Saturday job in Waterstones on George Street. It was transformative for me. The staff were all in their twenties, but to me they seemed impossibly grown-up. They took me under their wing and shared with me their passion for novels, poetry, music and rancid Bulgarian country wine. I remember one particular evening in the Doric Tavern, pretending to be eighteen, when one of my colleagues pressed into my hand a slim volume, a novella, barely a hundred pages long. ‘Read this’ she said, ‘It’ll tell you everything you need to know about love.’ The book was Marguerite Duras’ memoir of her affair, as a girl, with an older man in the 1930s in French Colonial Vietnam.

I read it and was immediately obsessed. In fact, it was the very first book I ever adapted into a play when I went to university. So, when Jemima Levick approached me with the idea of creating a new stage adaptation mixing dance, music, and the extraordinary lyrical prose of Duras I was immediately hooked.

I hope it will be a blast of sensual heat for the dreich dark days of January.

15 February - 10 March 2018
THE BELLE’S STRATAGEM by Hannah Cowley, adapted and directed by Tony Cownie

In recent years at The Lyceum Tony Cownie, has forged a crack team of Scottish actors who have brought us dazzlingly funny Scottish versions of 18th century comedies by Molière and Goldoni. For next season Tony will turn his hand to a Restoration Comedy: The Belle’s Stratagem, Hannah Cowley’s, female riposte to Farquhar’s The Beaux’ Stratagem.

Tony’s version re-sets the play in 18th Century Edinburgh just as the New Town is being built and the Assembly Rooms is the place where everyone wants to see and be seen. In the play we find Doricourt, newly returned from Europe and disappointed by how dull Scottish women are compared to the exotic, sophisticated women he has met in Europe. His fiancée, Letitia, is unimpressed with this and recruits an unlikely band in a cunning stratagem to win him back.

In The Belle’s Stratagem Tony has picked an undiscovered gem of the genre with some cracking comic roles for women. I can’t wait.

23 March - 7 April 2018
RHINOCEROS by Eugène Ionesco, adapted by Zinnie Harris, directed by Murat Daltaban
a co-production with Edinburgh International Festival in association with DOT Theatre, Istanbul

When one by one, everyone around you seems to be changing, growing a new skin, becoming something other….do you join in? Or hold out? In his central character, the hapless Berenger, Eugène Ionseco created a 20th Century European everyman who watches his world fall apart around him as he desperately tries to make some sense of the madness.

Rhinoceros is my favourite Ionesco play, partly because it is a clever reflection on mass ideological movements, and partly because… well because it’s a play in which people turn into Rhinoceroses! Who wouldn’t want to see that?

Murat Daltaban, of DOT Theatre in Istanbul, has had a long relationship with the work of Scottish playwrights and of Zinnie Harris in particular. His productions are poetic, earthy and theatrical. At a time when Europe is teetering on the edge of turmoil once more, Murat and Zinnie are the perfect team to create a fresh new version of Ionesco’s masterpiece to help us reflect on the absurdity of the world we find ourselves in today.

27 April - 12 May 2018
CREDITORS by August Strindberg, adapted by David Greig, directed by Stewart Laing

Nobody writes a pressure-cooker play like August Strindberg. In plays like Miss Julie and The Father his wild writing finds passionate characters trapped together in rooms, like tigers pacing up and down their cages, always in danger of devouring each other and at the heart of Strindberg’s drama is always the tragicomedy of marriage.

Creditors is one of Strindberg’s funniest, darkest and strangest plays. Thekla, a successful novelist, and her younger husband Adolf are spending the summer on a holiday island away from the city. They are deeply in love, sharing their ideas about art and the world. Until a stranger arrives from town and begins to plant a seed of doubt in Adolf’s mind.

I adapted Creditors for the Donmar Warehouse in 2008 and have been awaiting a chance to revive it in Scotland ever since. It’s a play with one of the most perfect mechanisms I have ever encountered. So, when Stewart Laing, Scotland’s great conjurer of stage poetry, told me he wanted to direct the play, I knew the right moment had arrived to bring this version back.


As well as our Season productions, there are plenty of other events to enjoy on The Lyceum stage this year.

12 - 21 October 2017
LOVE SONG TO LAVENDER MENACE by James Ley, directed by Ros Philips

I was lucky enough to see a rehearsed reading of this last year and it brought back memories for me of the heyday of Lavender Menace, a radical LGBT and feminist bookshop that opened on Edinburgh’s Forth Street in 1982 and soon became the centre of gay life in the city.

James Ley’s funny and touching play transports us back to the shop’s 5th birthday. For the event, aspiring actors Paul and David, who work in the shop, are rehearsing Love Song to Lavender Menace – a play to be read in bookshops. A homage to shop founders Bob and Sigrid, it tells the history of the activism and enterprise that led to the shop’s opening. It explores the world of gay literature in the 20th Century and the links between radical feminist activism and LGBT liberation. The rehearsals prompt debates between the young men about capitalism encroaching on gay culture, queer spaces disappearing to the mainstream and dissent being drowned out.

Love Song to Lavender Menace explores the love and passion it takes to make something happen and the pain and grief that is caused when you have to let it go.

3 – 11 November 2017
WIND RESISTANCE by Karine Polwart, dramaturgy by David Greig, directed by Wils Wilson

A huge festival hit from our studio takes its place on the main stage with Wind Resistance, written and performed by singer-songwriter Karine Polwart.

In Wind Resistance, Karine focuses on her local wilderness, Fala Flow, a small patch of peat moorland just off the A68 to Jedburgh, looking out over the Forth.In the flow she finds a place of birds, song, medicine, history, and, myth. She also finds a powerful love story. In her sparkling writing she weaves these many threads into an extraordinarily moving show about the deep power of interconnection and our reliance on each other.

I have seen Wind Resistance many times now and it consistently moves me to tears but it is never sentimental. Instead it strikes me with each viewing, that Karine has created one of the most necessary and uplifting antidotes to the divided politics of our times.

★★★★★ “A stunning exploration of the myths and stories of the land around us” The Telegraph

31 May - 2 June 2018
THE HOUR WE KNEW NOTHING OF EACH OTHER by Peter Handke, in a translation by Meredith Oakes, directed by Wils Wilson
in association with Janice Parker Projects

Peter Handke’s play without words is a European classic. Its elegant premise: the simple joy of people watching for an hour in a town square. But Handke’s work has a depth to it, as well, an ache for connection, a sense of the gaps between us, and the secret moments we yearn to share. We have been recruiting participants from across the city and will be rehearsing for 6 months to bring the people onto an Edinburgh stage in this story of civic life.

If you are interested in taking part in this production, there are still opportunities to get involved, please email: getonstage@lyceum.org.uk


25 November 2017 - 6 January 2018
THE ARABIAN NIGHTS by Suhayla El-Bushra

This Christmas we will transport you to the marketplace of Old Baghdad in 1935 - a cosmopolitan place, a glamorous and exciting warren of streets full of colour and sound. People from all over the world are there, every religion, every race. There are carpet sellers, antique dealers, lawyers and pickpockets, spice traders, and spies. I love The Arabian Nights because it’s a story about the power of stories. Suhayla El-Bushra is one of the most talented and funny new writers in Britain and her work for young people caught my eye with its wicked wit.

In this delightful new version of an ancient myth, Scheherazade fights the power of the Sultan with the only weapon she has, her imagination. In her struggle she finds allies in the marketplace - the pickpocket Ali Baba, her young friend Aladdin, and many other familiar names from the tales. The Arabian Nights will be a joyful spectacle of music and colour calculated to warm the coldest winter night. It will also be a love-song to the magical power that comes wherever people and stories mix.