Theatre-goers can enjoy two thought-provoking dramas on stage at the Lyric Theatre this week about two very different strikes, marking their 40th and 30th anniversaries respectively this year.
On the Danske Bank Stage is Stewart Parker’s masterpiece, Pentecost, which tells the story of a group of people living through the momentous Ulster Workers’ Council Strike which toppled the power-sharing Stormont Executive in 1974.
Starring Judith Roddy as Marian, a Catholic antiques dealer who seeks to preserve a tumbling wreck of a house in an interface area of Belfast but finds she has to confront her own personal issues at the height of the Troubles.
Then in the Naughton Studio for four nights only, comes the hit play Pits & Perverts about the Miners’ Strike of 1984.
Sole Purpose Productions and The Rainbow Project present Micheál Kerrigan’s play which tells the quirky story of Sean from Northern Ireland who moves to London in the 1980s and becomes involved with the ‘Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners’ group. The heart-warming story is based on real events in Thatcher's Britain and highlights the power of community. The title Pits & Perverts comes from an actual headline used in a British tabloid to describe the unlikely alliance between the gay support group and the miners.
The subject of the play was recently made into the critically acclaimed film, Pride, which was in cinemas last month. The play is returning to the Lyric where it sold out last year and runs from Wed 8 to Sat 11 October at 8pm each night. Tickets cost £10.
Pentecost was the last play written by East Belfast playwright Stewart Parker before his untimely death in 1988 and is much more than a Troubles’ play. It deals with the fraught relationships of a group of people, including the breakdown of marriage and dealing with grief within a family. However, there is a lot of humour in the dialogue which makes it far from a gloomy drama.
The full cast are Roisin Gallagher as Ruth, Will Irvine as Peter, Paul Mallon as Lenny, Carol Moore as Lily and Judith Roddy as Marian.
Pentecost is directed by Jimmy Fay, the Lyric’s newly appointed Executive Producer. He said:
“Stewart Parker is one of the most extraordinary artists to have emerged from Belfast. His rich legacy is, alas, all too brief. His plays evoke a rich tapestry of life in Belfast throughout her history. Pentecost is a ghost play as finely tuned to the present realities and frailties of the human soul as any true classic play can claim to be. It is an honour to be staging this wonderful, complex, comic, richly dramatic work on the Lyric stage this autumn.”
There is just over a week left to catch Pentecost on the Danske Bank Stage as it finishes its run on Saturday 18 October. Tickets range from £10 (students; unemployed) to peak prices of £24.50. To book or for further information go to the What's On page or Telephone Lyric Box Office on 028 90381081.