Neil Bartlett’s final season at west London’s Lyric Hammersmith, after ten years as artistic director (See News, 26 Apr 2004), will feature co-productions with company favourites Kneehigh, Told by an Idiot and Tamasha as well as Bartlett’s own new version of Moliere’s Don Juan.

After a visit from Shared Experience with its adaptation of EM Forster’s A Passage to India (See Today’s Other News), from 14 to 25 September 2004, the in-house season gets under way with Don Juan, starring James Wilby (Gosford Park, Maurice, Howard’s End in the title role.

Moliere’s 1665 black comedy, about a man who has lived only for pleasure and must now face the consequences, is newly translated and directed by Bartlett, whose other dark adaptations for the Lyric have included Marivaux’s The Dispute and The Island of Slaves and Dickens’ Oliver Twist.

Also designed by Bartlett, Don Juan is lit by Bruno Poet, with sound by Nick Manning. Joining Wilby in the cast are James Bellorini, Kirsty Bushell, Patti Clare, Giles Fagan, Giles Havergal and Paul Ritter. The production runs from 4 to 30 October 2004 (previews from 30 September).

Following success with The Red Shoes at the Lyric in 2002, Kneehigh Theatre returns with its retelling of Euripides’ ancient Greek classic, The Bacchae. Co-produced by Kneehigh and the Lyric with Bristol Old Vic and Hall for Cornwall, its London dates run from 4 to 20 November 2004 (previews from 2 November) as part of a national tour.

From 27 November 2004 to 22 January 2005, Told by an Idiot will present Stephen Russell’s stage adaptation of The Firework-Maker's Daughter by Philip Pullman, whose other children’s books include His Dark Materials, staged earlier this year at the National where it returns for a second season from December.

In The Firework-Maker's Daughter, Lila wants to be a firework-maker more than anything, but her father won't tell her the final trade secret. The play, directed by Told by an Idiot's Paul Hunter and Hayley Carmicheal, premiered at Sheffield Crucible in March 2003 (See News, 20 Dec 2002). Following its Lyric season, it will embark on a six-week tour in February and March 2005.

From 27 January to 15 February 2005, Tamasha Theatre will bring back its production of Strictly Dandia, which was a sell-out this past January. Tamasha’s other hits at the Lyric have included East Is East and Fourteen Songs, Two Weddings and a Funeral.

Meanwhile, in the Lyric Studio’s eclectic season, there will be visiting productions of Rasa’s Edinburgh hit Curry Tales, Asian Theatre School’s Silent Cry, Half Moon’s Cutter, Punch’s Tru School Antics, Duende’s Autobiography of a Face and Naach’s The Maids.

Neil Bartlett announced his resignation as Lyric Hammersmith’s artistic director in April (See News, 26 Apr 2004). He steps down in November. A successor has not yet been appointed.

- by Terri Paddock