After the National Theatre of Scotland’s previously announced transfer of The Bacchae with Alan Cumming (See News, 18 Apr 2007), the Lyric Hammersmith’s newly announced autumn/winter season will continue with more intriguing co-productions, including poet Carol Ann Duffy’s new version of Casanova, a collaboration with Told by an Idiot, in which the world’s most notorious lover will be played by a woman.

The new schedule opens with The Bacchae - adapted from Euripides by David Greig, directed by John Tiffany and starring, as god of dance and wine Dionysus, Alan Cumming – running at the from 5 to 22 September 2007, following initial dates at the Edinburgh International Festival in August.

From 25 September to 13 October 2007, Headlong Theatre – whose production of Tony Kushner’s two-part epic Angels in America is at the theatre this month – returns with Rough Crossings (See News, 29 Aug 2006). American poet and novelist Caryl Phillips has adapted Simon Schama’s 2005 non-fiction bestseller, sub-titled Britain, the Slaves and the American Revolution, for the stage in a world premiere production marking the 200th anniversary of the end of slavery in British Empire.

Rough Crossings will also tour to three other co-producing theatres, starting at Birmingham Rep (14 to 22 September) and, after the Lyric, continuing to Liverpool Playhouse (16 to 27 October) and West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds (6 to 24 November). Originally, the play was meant to have its world premiere at Bristol Old Vic in September but that run was cancelled with last month’s announcement that the theatre would close in August for refurbishment (See News, 11 May 2007).

Back in London, Lyric Hammersmith artistic director David Farr joins forces with video specialists Filter theatre company and Radiohead’s live performance creative designer Andi Watson to create ‘live chemistry’ in Water, running 18 October (previews from 16 October) to 3 November 2007. In the devised piece, set against a backdrop of increasingly unstable climate change, two half-brothers clash over the legacy of their dead father, while another man runs from the impending birth o f his child.

Water is followed by two Told by an Idiot productions: Casanova from 6 to 24 November and, for a Christmas engagement, Beauty and the Beast, starring Lisa Hammond and directed by Paul Hunter, from 7 December 2007 (previews from 29 November) to 5 January 2008.

In Casanova (pictured), Told by an Idiot works with contemporary poet Carol Ann Duffy (whose collections include The World’s Wife) to create a radical female reinvention of a male archetype, the world’s most notorious lover. In the comedy, Hayley Carmichael will play the irresistible 18-century seducer. Another co-production with West Yorkshire Playhouse, prior to London, the play is in Leeds from 7 to 29 September 2007.

The Lyric Hammersmith season concludes in the main house with the return of last year’s sell-out aerial adaptation of Kafka’s literary classic Metamorphosis (See News, 16 May 2006). 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. Gísli Orn Gardarsson, artistic director of Icelandic company Vesturport, who co-adapted the piece with David Farr, reprises his performance as Gregor for the new run from 11 January to 2 February 2008.

Meanwhile, in the Lyric’s Studio, the schedule includes: Vanishing Point’s Subway (11 to 29 September 2007), accompanied by a seven-piece Kosovan band, transferring from the Edinburgh Fringe; and Gecko’s new show The Arab and the Jew (18 January to 19 February 2008), celebrating brotherhood across the Arab-Israeli divide.

- by Terri Paddock