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HISTORY OF THE LYRIC STAGE COMPANY OF BOSTON, INC.
PROLOGUE

During the 1970s, rising ticket prices in Boston theatres had ended playgoing for a great many people. High ticket prices place regular theatre attendance out of the reach of the average person. As a consequence, scores of adults and school children missed the opportunity to experience live theatre. The type of plays produced underwent change at the same time, Dramatic works by some of our greatest American and European writers were no longer produced. Many of Boston's theatre professionals left the city because there was no work to be found.

The Lyric Stage, Boston's oldest professional resident theatre, was founded in 1974 to create an intimate performing space for Boston professionals and to present a treasury of neglected and European plays to a diverse audience at the most affordable ticket price. For the past 20 seasons the Lyric has managed to achieve that mission first at the Community Church of Boston at 565 Boylston Street from 1974-76, at its Charles Street home from 1976 to 1991, and currently in its new home in Copley Square.

In addition to introducing a number of great plays to Boston audiences, the Lyric has presented a number of regional national and even international premieres during this time. Since its inception, the Lyric Stage has had uninterrupted growth without ever incurring a deficit. The Lyric has provided many jobs for our excellent Boston based creative people and performed plays which otherwise would have continued to be ignored. At the same time the Lyric Stage has introduced or restored the experience of live theatre to thousands of people.

A PLACE FOR BOSTON'S THEATRE COMMUNITY

In a city where theatre companies still look to New York for creative people the Lyric Stage has restored dignity and expanded opportunity by providing over 2,000 jobs for local professional actors, directors, designers, stage managers, technical firedogs, carpenters, scene painters, and photographers. Since 1974, only 9 jobs have gone to theatre professionals who reside outside of Massachusetts. Producers and casting directors from other Boston media attend each show as a result of gift subscriptions and continuous show updates provided them, which has helped increase income for local actors in films, commercials, industrials and print work. The availability of industrial and commercial acting jobs has decreased the need for actors to seek temporary jobs to supplement their income and made Boston a viable place for professional actors to remain.

Some of the other premieres at the Lyric Stage have included Tad Davis' Twain's Folly; Tina Howe's Painting Churches and Stephen MacDonald's beautiful play about the friendship between World War I poets Wilfred Owen and Slegfried Sassoon, Not About Heroes. This production included some revised text sent by Mr. MacDonald as well as a music score loaned to the Lyric by the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario, Canada. In 1990, Barbara Le Bow's A Shayna Maidel received its Boston premiere at the Lyric Stage. During its first 17 years, the Lyric Stage has had at least one production each season on a major critic's ten-best list. In 1977 and again in 1980, the Lyric received Medals for Excellence from tile Association for the Performing Art as The Lyric was voted a Best of Boston Award from Boston Magazine in 1986 and 1988. In 1987 and 1988, the Lyric Stage was voted a winner in The Boston Globe Annual Readers' Poll,

A JEWEL OF A THEATRE

In 1987 the Lyric Stage began a Capital Campaign to build a new theatre. The concerns were two-fold: rallying a little more than one million dollars and retaining the most important strengths from the Charles Street home, intimacy of playing space, absorbability of tickets, and fiscal stability, In spite of a severe recession and some tumultous events in the Campaign road, the Lyric, with the help of the Board of Directors, the generosity of the Corporate and Foundation Community, as well as so many individuals who gave gifts - both large and small - created its current home in the YWCA building. Not only was the necessary money raised, but unlike so many arts organizations, the Lyric opened the new home in November of 1991, with very little debt. More importantly, with the expert guidance of the architectural firm of Stahl Associates and the theatre consultant Richard Jete, the new Lyric is one of the lovely theatres anywhere in the country. The Boston Globe described the new Lyric as "intimate, comfortable and attractive." The South End News called the new space a new beautiful jewel of a theatre. The Boston Journal, The Patriot Ledger wrote "both commodious and intimate, a sense of warmth and richness enhanced by dark green walls and the maroon upholstery and wood frames of the seats," The Jewish Times wrote' "the most beautiful small space in the area," The Boston Phoenix described the theatre as "a handsome three-quarter arena as intimate as the old." And in 1992 the Lyric received a prestigious Eliot Norton Award for creating a brand new theatre for Boston audiences, But the most cherished praise the new Lyric received came from the celebrated actor Nehemiah Persoff who called the theatre the most extraordinary and intimate space he had ever played in. With so many people's help and contributions we succeeded in building a new home which continues the unique intimate connection between performer and audience found nowhere else in New England.