Sir Alan Parker has confessed that a new stage version of his hit film Bugsy Malone reduced him to tears — and he predicts its young performers will go on to stardom.
Speaking as the show launched a £20 million redevelopment of the Lyric Hammersmith, the director said: “This is magnificent. I’ve never liked theatrical productions before but this is in a stratosphere somewhere else.”
Sir Alan, 71, added that one of the reasons he sanctioned the first professional production in Britain for more than a decade was the Lyric’s longstanding work with young people.
He paid credit to artistic director Sean Holmes: “No one realises how hard it is — much harder than doing a totally adult piece. But there are so many talented kids here. I think my agent should sign everybody.”
The redevelopment, which has been led by executive director Jessica Hepburn, is the building’s first facelift in 35 years and includes new state-of-the-art facilities.
Major support came from the Reuben Foundation, founded by businessmen David and Simon Reuben.
Romola Garai, who has appeared at the Lyric, said the new facilities were crucial for training future generations. “Everybody who is working at the moment was supported or encouraged by organisations when they were young,” the actress added.
David Reuben’s wife Debra, who brought their children to see shows when they lived in Hammersmith and now brings grandchildren, said: “It brings enormous pleasure to know that this bigger and better Lyric will continue to touch so many lives.
Hammed Animashaun, 23, the oldest member of the cast, thanked the theatre for “having the belief that young people have the power to be whatever they want to be”.