Three premieres feature in the new autumn/winter season at the Lyric Hammersmith (pictured), with unconventional and physical theatre and children’s productions leading the way.

The main house season opens with a new adaptation of Kafka’s Metamorphosis by the Lyric’s artistic director David Farr and Gísli Orn Gardarsson, artistic director of Icelandic company Vesturport. In the terrifying but darkly humorous tale, young Gregor Samsa awakes one morning from horrible dreams to find himself transformed into a giant insect. The production features an international cast performing aerial physicality, reuniting many of the creative collaborators behind last year’s sell-out Woyzeck, with original music by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis and design by Borkur Jonsson. Metamorphosis runs from 4 to 28 October 2006 (previews from 28 September).

Mark Ravenhill’s Pool (No Water), about the fragility of friendship and the jealousy and resentment inspired by success, receives its London premiere at the Lyric from 1 to 18 November 2006 (previews from 31 October). A famous artist invites her old friends out to her luxurious new home and, for one night only, the group is back together. However, celebrations come to an abrupt end when the host suffers an horrific accident. Frantic Assembly, Lyric Hammersmith and Theatre Royal Plymouth production opens in Plymouth ahead of its London season.

Classic children’s novel, Watership Down - adapted for the stage by Rona Munroe and directed and designed by Melly Still (Coram Boy) - will be the Lyric’s Christmas show, running from 27 November 2006 to 13 January 2007 (previews from 23 November 2006). It follows previous successful Christmas productions at the Lyric including The Firework-Maker’s Daughter and A Christmas Carol.

Meanwhile in the Studio, the Mix continues to present new and ground-breaking work, including a re-working of Biyi Bandele’s Brixton Stories directed by the writer, Bird Productions’ The Persian Revolution, Rani MoorthyToo Close to Home presented by Rasa, and Mojisola Adebayo directs and performs her own work for the first time, Moj of the Antarctic. Youth productions run during October and Christmas holidays, with co-productions with Fevered Sleep and Oily Cart, and the Lyric’s industry-led training initiative START launches in the summer, working with over 130 black and minority ethnic young people from across west London to give them the opportunity to gain nationally recognised basic skills qualifications.

Commenting on the new programme, artistic director David Farr said today: “The autumn/winter season establishes the Lyric as London's centre for innovative theatrical story-telling, where the most exciting theatrical practitioners can make work which both appeals to a broad and diverse audience and pushes the possibilities of the form in new and unexpected directions. Artists like Gisli Orn Gardarsson, Melly Still, Mark Ravenhill and Frantic Assembly represent a new generation that will take British theatre in a thrilling new direction over the next decade.”

- by Caroline Ansdell