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Our History

Early Years

Our Founding

Founded in 1974 by Ron Ritchell and Polly Hogan, the Lyric Stage is Boston’s oldest resident theatre company. After establishing a loyal following on Charles Street, Ron and Polly led a successful 1991 campaign to create the Lyric Stage’s current home on Clarendon Street.

Polly was the chief negotiator for the NEAT (New England Area Theatres) contract, which made it easier for local producers to hire members of Actors Equity Association, the union for actors and stage managers.

1974

The Lyric Stage founded by Ron Ritchell (pictured) and Polly Hogan.

1976

The fledgling theater company moves to a performance space above the hardware store at 54 Charles Street, producing The Importance of Being Earnest.

1990

After a comprehensive search of the unused spaces in the city of Boston, the Lyric Stage agrees to renovate a former auditorium in the YWCA building in Back Bay.

1991

Renovation of the former YWCA auditorium is complete and the first production in our new home, Red Hot & Cole, is staged.

1998

In 1998, Spiro Veloudos was appointed Producing Artistic Director. During his tenure, he continued Ron and Polly’s commitment to local artists; with few exceptions, the theatrical artists that work at the Lyric Stage live in the Greater Boston area. Spiro also established a reputation for staging large musicals in the Lyric Stage’s modest playing space, including a signature Sondheim Initiative, which covered ten musicals over twenty years.

Clarendon Hall

In 2016, the Lyric Stage opened Clarendon Hall,a year-round rehearsal space. Clarendon Hall is available at a subsidized rate to members of the Boston Dance Alliance and other arts organizations and individuals.

Following Spiro’s retirement in 2019, the board appointed Matt Chapuran as Executive Director, and shortly after, Courtney O’Connor was named Artistic Director. Their partnership centers Lyric Stage in Boston’s theatrical community, introduces live theatre to new audiences, and promotes new theatrical voices in Boston and nationwide.

Theatre-based education has been a core of the Lyric Stage’s mission since its founding days. In 2019, the Lyric Stage merged with City Stage Co. and its expanded education programs include performances at the Children’s Museum of Boston, teaching artists working in classrooms in the Boston Public Schools, and the Lyric First Page playwriting festival for students.