Nivelli’s War | Set for Broadway & The Lyric
Presented by Cahoots NI
The Lyric Theatre, Belfast • 02 – 19 March 2017
New Victory Theatre, New York • 28 April – 11 May 2017
For over 65 years, the Lyric Theatre has utilised the power of live theatre to empower, inspire, engage and challenge audiences. Following extensive capital development in 2011 on its existing site on the banks of the River Lagan, the new Lyric is almost three times the size of its predecessor, and has attracted over 490,000 audiences and played to a further 50,000 on tour. As Northern Ireland’s only full-time producing theatre, it continues to be the largest employer of local theatre practitioners, providing over 500 weeks of employment for actors. Contracts for freelance directors and designers ensures that the blossoming film and television industry continues to have the talent and expertise for it to grow.
Now in his third year, the Lyric’s Executive Producer Jimmy Fay has attracted critical acclaim and toured successfully to New York, Dublin, London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Letterkenny, Cork, Perth and Wales. Programming has included actors such as Sir Kenneth Branagh, Simon Callow, Rob Brydon, Adrian Dunbar and Conleth Hill, and new collaborations with the Young Vic, the Dublin Theatre Festival, and the Abbey and Soho Theatre.
This Spring sees the Lyric Theatre joining forces with award winning theatre company Cahoots NI to present Nivelli’s War in both Belfast and on Broadway – on 42nd Street in the iconic Times Square.
New York has been a receptive home to the Lyric for many years, and strong links were evident during its capital development campaign, the success of Adrian Dunbar in Brendan and the Chelsea in 2013, and more recently, Jimmy Fay directed Owen McCafferty’s Quietly in the summer of 2016. Meanwhile, Cahoots NI have built up a distinguished international reputation, showcasing Northern Ireland as a region with a thriving theatre industry and a skilled creative workforce. The company has appeared at prestigious arts festivals in South Korea, Malta, Japan and Germany. In 2016, Cahoots NI embarked on their first tour of North America with their award winning production of Egg, their success stateside continues as they perform at the International Performing Arts for Youth Showcase in Madison, Wisconsin and premiere Lights! Camera! Math!; a multimedia and educational production featuring the magical world of Danny Carmo, which will tour North America for three months.
The Lyric’s Executive Producer, Jimmy Fay, commented
“The Lyric is extremely proud to be able to draw on the unusually rich quality of our artists and I am proud to say that the Lyric is a home to some of our finest practitioners in playwriting, directing, design and acting. Our programme of work is distinctive, it resonates and engages with Belfast’s people, but we also showcase our artistic excellence nationally and internationally. International engagement not only attracts investment and promotes Belfast as a creative city, but enables us to articulate and build cultural relationships and visibility for our exceptional talent. Through touring, the Lyric and her artists, offer a fresh, positive and energising narrative. We are thrilled to be collaborating with Cahoots NI on a story which has universal significance.”
Set at the end of World War II, Nivelli’s War is based on a true, heart-warming story of an incredible journey and an unlikely friendship. Starring Dan Gordon, it is told through a blend of theatre, magic, illusion and original music. Herbert Levin was a German-Jewish magician, who changed his name to the Italianised Nivelli to avoid transportation to the Nazi death camps. Having briefly found fame and popularity, he was taken to Auschwitz, where he escaped the gas chambers by performing magic tricks for the guards. When the war ended, he moved to the United States and forged a glittering career as The Great Nivelli. Levin’s experience has now been expanded and transformed into an inspirational piece of theatre by professionals who understand instinctively how to capture, hold and ignite youthful imaginations.
Director of Nivelli’s War and Cahoots NI, Paul Bosco Mc Eneaney, said
“I am delighted to be working in partnership with the Lyric Theatre, Northern Ireland’s leading repertory theatre, in bringing back to the stage one of Cahoots NI’s most successful productions, Nivelli’s War. Together the two organisations will re-imagine this extraordinary, award winning production, which captured audience’s imaginations when first produced and present it for Belfast audiences before opening on Broadway in April. I believe this, and our future plans together, shows a real and meaningful commitment to creating and presenting world class children’s theatre to young audiences and their families.”
The principal funder of the production is the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, and Gilly Campbell, Arts Development Officer for Drama and Dance, commented:
“The Arts Council is committed to supporting professional artists in showcasing their work on the international stage, demonstrating its world-class standing. The extraordinary quality and range of work produced by our artists here goes beyond what might be expected of such a small region. Cahoots NI and the Lyric Theatre are outstanding arts organisations whose work merits international exposure and we are delighted to support them as they open Nivelli’s War on Broadway, where it will be seen and enjoyed by thousands, putting Northern Ireland on the world map for all the right reasons.”
Tickets £15 (previews £13), Box Office 028 9038 1081