Lyceum plots free giveaway for Paterson & Cox play

Bill Paterson, left, and Brian Cox appear in Waiting for Godot. Picture: Contributed
Bill Paterson, left, and Brian Cox appear in Waiting for Godot. Picture: Contributed
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IT PROMISES to be one of the most eagerly-awaited theatre events of the year in Scotland.

Two of the nation’s acting heavyweights will join forces on stage for the first time to help celebrate the golden anniversary of one of its leading theatres.

I hope audiences grab the chance to share that moment

Alex McGowan

Now the Royal Lyceum, in Edinburgh, has revealed it will be offering theatregoers in the capital a birthday gift – in the form of 100 free tickets to see Brian Cox and Bill Paterson perform together in September.

The first 50 customers in the queue for tickets for previews of their performance in Waiting For Godot will secure a complimentary pair of briefs for the Samuel Beckett classic. The offer, which opens at 10am today and is only available “in person”, revives a long-standing tradition at the theatre of offering free tickets to a preview of a new production.

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Thousands of tickets costing up to £29.50 have already been sold for the full three-week run of the show, which is being staged exclusively at the Lyceum to mark its landmark anniversary. However, the theatre is staging three £10-a-head previews on 18, 19 and 21 September.

The Lyceum building, which sits at the heart of Edinburgh’s culture quarter, first hosted plays in 1883 when it was opened by theatre managers Howard and Wyndham, but was bought over in 1965 by the council for a new theatre company. Cox, named honorary patron of the Lyceum in November 2012, starred in the first ever show, The Servant O’ Twa Maisters.

Cox last performed at the theatre in 2004 in John Byrne’s Uncle Varick, while Paterson will be making his first appearance at the Lyceum for 21 years, when he appeared in Mikhail Bulgakov’s A Mongrel’s Heart.

More than 5,000 tickets have already been sold for Waiting For Godot, the official curtain-raiser to the 50th anniversary season. It will also feature a new stage version of the Sarah Waters novel Tipping the Velvet, the Victorian coming-of-age drama adapted into a controversial BBC TV series, the C S Lewis classic The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – the theatre’s festive show – a revival for Athur Miller’s 17th century-set drama The Crucible and a new comedy based on Thomas Aitkenhead, a 17th century Edinburgh student who was the last person executed for blasphemy in Britain.

Alex McGowan, executive director, said: “Times and funding have changed since the days we used to offer free tickets for previews, but it is great to see the tradition being revived for this 50th anniversary production. Previews are an exciting time for an actor as the performance, sets, costume and lighting all comes together on stage. That first performance before an audience is where the production really comes to life for the first time. I hope Edinburgh audiences grab the chance to come along and share that moment with us.”