Our Patch Autumn 2017 Hammersmith & Shepherds Bush - Page 8

Our Patch AUTUMN 2017 T he new-look Lyric is bold, dramatic and multi-purpose, but has never lost sight of its aim of entertaining the people of Hammersmith, Fulham and the whole of west London. So, two years after its reopening, how do three women at the heart of the theatre’s volunteering bodies feel about the place? Laura Banes’ Lyric links include being a mentor on the START programme, which for the past decade has used drama to connect with marginalised 16 to 21-year-olds. Liz Elston Mayhew has, for the past seven years, served on the theatre’s development committee, and believes it’s the fact that the building is in the heart of town that is key to its success. And former Blue Peter presenter Janet Ellis, who also serves on the board, says that the enhanced, expanded complex remains a joyous source of inspiration. “The entire development committee are currently focused on organising ‘Lyric Fest’ – the Lyric’s upcoming fundraising gala taking place on 24 September to raise money for the Lyric’s young people’s programmes,” said Laura. The event will bring awareness for the Lyric’s work, and features performances from Jude Law, Sophie Ellis Bextor and Joe Stilgoe, with Mel Giedroyc hosting. “The place energises me,” said Laura, who is not only a loyal theatre-goer but is also an active member of both the development and gala committees. “I’ve been involved for several years, not only because it is a producing theatre on our doorstep, but because of the incredible work they do with young people from all backgrounds,” she said. The Reuben Foundation Wing has quickly become a hive of the best kind of activity; drawing in and supporting young people from west London and beyond. “The Lyric truly makes a difference in the lives of young people, many of whom have had life experiences that are difficult to imagine.” Laura and her husband are Americans who have lived in the area for 21 of the last 23 years (they diverted to Frankfurt for two years), and have lived in their current house near Brook Green for 15 years, raising their three children there. “The Lyric succeeds in being a community hub at a time when it is tremendously important that we draw together as a community,” she said. “Everyone feels welcome at the Lyric 8/9 The Reuben Foundation opened in 2015 with extensive