Overlooking Belfast’s River Lagan, the Lyric Theatre makes a unique and vital contribution to the community as one of only two full-time producing theatres in Northern Ireland. Premiering the works of playwrights such as Stewart Parker and employing some of Ireland’s finest actors as well as the theatre’s patron Liam Neeson, the Lyric’s mission is to be known as a professional theatre and use the power of live theatre to inspire, engage and educate its audiences.
Irish Times theatre awards
Shortlisted for the Stirling Prize
Theatre was founded
The result of an open architectural competition held in 2004, the stunning and custom-built Lyric Theatre was designed by O’Donnell & Tuomey Architects on the banks of River Lagan, with the aim of being ‘both strikingly beautiful and functional’. Responding to its urban and landscape surroundings, the angular building is crafted out of hand-cut red bricks, wood, stone and steel.
The multi-level atrium flows naturally into a 389-seat auditorium, clad in wood specifically designed to enhance the acoustics of the space and emulate the feeling of being inside an instrument. The flexible Studio seats up to 170 individuals but can be moulded to host different formats of performance.
With its naturally lit spacious lobbies and bars and an exciting artistic programme, the Lyric Theatre is much more than an arts venue - it’s a thriving social hub and an attraction for visitors to Belfast.
It is this marriage of form and function that Lyric wished to carry over into all elements of their business, most notably the online user experience and their website.
“We are thrilled to be embarking on this project with After Digital. Their creativity and strategy for the redesign were everything we were looking for and their corporate values tied closely with ours so, of course, we felt they were the best fit for the job. We’re looking forward to getting to know more of the After Digital team and continuing a long-term partnership".
Ryan Crown, Marketing Officer
The Lyric Theatre
The old website felt corporate and cold, failing to emulate the vibrant, dramatic nature of the Lyric. Our designers spent considerable time working with the client in order to establish a modern and bold new look and feel that reflected the Lyric - both the building and the performances on offer - in all its glory and diversity.
Naturally ticket sales are of central importance to commercial success, but the Lyric also wished to encourage the audience to interact with every part of the theatre, such as the creative learning department, summer schools and training programmes on offer. As such, social media is critical to the Theatre’s digital strategy and with very little integration with social channels on the old website, this was at the fore of the new solution.
Wireframing and UX Design
With an extensive track record of creating award-winning designs for arts and cultural organisations, our creative team began from a mobile and content first perspective wireframing key pages (based on popular user journeys identified in the workshops) and these were then crafted into design concepts. Working collaboratively with the Lyric Theatre, these designs were refined until the Lyric’s vision was realised.
With a relationship spanning five years and regular co-hosted conferences and speaker slots, we were delighted to hear Lyric wanted to implement Spektrix for their online ticketing solution. A cloud based ticketing, marketing and fundraising software, Spektrix has been making waves on the online ticketing scene in recent years.
“For the past five years we’ve had an amazing relationship with the team at Spektrix and with our extensive experience working in the arts and in ticketing integration, we’re delighted that our first Spektrix project is with the iconic Lyric Theatre. Having met with the Lyric team and getting a real feel for their amazing energy for the Lyric and this project, we knew this relationship was going to blossom into something exciting. We’re delighted to have now launched phase one of this beautiful responsive ecommerce platform, but it's not over yet and we can’t wait to work with them more - iterate and improve!”
David Johnstone, Managing Director
Taking over a decade’s experience in third-party system integration, and a wealth of expertise specifically in online booking system integration, our developers were able to deliver a customised end-to-end sales process for the Lyric via the Spektrix API. Now, visitors to the Lyric website can easily purchase tickets to shows from any device with complete ease.
Since the launch of the new responsive site, engagement has rocketed - in the first two weeks alone there was more than 70,000 pageviews (43% increase than the two weeks prior to launch) and, in line with the responsive design, there has been a 60% increase in visits from mobile and tablet devices. With 30,000 visits to the events page alone, the creative learning has also grown in popularity with 2,000 visits in just two weeks.
We are excited to continue this ongoing partnership with the Lyric Theatre and look forward to the next phase of work. Check the final masterpiece out here.