Quietly by Owen McCafferty opens in Belfast during historic week

In an historic week marking the first state visit by an Irish head of state to Britain, Owen McCafferty's play Quietly which opens tonight (Tues) at the Lyric is more topical than ever as it tackles the issue of reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

Set of Quietly on Danske Bank Stage

It was at the Lyric Theatre two years ago that another historic precedent was set when the Queen shook hands for the first time with Deputy First Minister and former IRA commander Martin McGuinness. The Irish President Michael D. Higgins was present at that iconic meeting in June 2012.

Quietly is the story of two strangers, played by Belfast actor Patrick O’Kane and Declan Conlon. Their lives have been shaped by the events of a single night years previously. Now they want to know the truth so they can come to terms with the past. As they work through the trauma and hurt, they gradually reach an understanding between them.  The cast also includes Polish actor Robert Zawadzki who made his Abbey Theatre debut when it premiered on the Peacock stage in November 2012.

Belfast playwright Owen McCafferty’s powerful play wowed critics when it toured to the Edinburgh Festival last summer and has picked up a string of awards since it opened in Dublin in 2012. 

A series of post-show talks at the Lyric Theatre this week are set to fuel debate on the topical issues of dealing with the past, truth and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

The play opens on the Danske Bank Stage on Tuesday 8 April and runs until Sun 13 April. The post-show speakers are:

  • Wed 9 April - Kate Turner, Director of voluntary organisation Healing Through Remembering, who will speak on the theme of Healing Through Memory;
  • Thurs 10 April – Brian Rowan, Journalist/author and former BBC Security Editor, who will speak on the theme of Truth;
  • Fri 11 April – Dr Jimmy McAleavey, playwright and Creative Writing lecturer at Queen’s University, Belfast who will speak on the theme of Reconciliation;
  • Sat 12 April – Cast & Owen McCafferty General Q&A

The talks will be chaired by Dr Mark Phelan, Lecturer in Drama at Queen’s University and member of the Lyric Theatre’s Board. Writer and director Dan Gordon will chair Thursday night’s talk given by Brian Rowan. 

The play is directed by Jimmy Fay who shortly takes on the mantle of Executive Producer at the Lyric and is part of an international tour by the Abbey Theatre

“I’m very excited that Quietly is coming to Belfast,” said Jimmy. “It is a very powerful story which audiences in Northern Ireland will get. I would urge people to come see it. As it is a Belfast play by one of our greatest playwrights it feels like a sort of homecoming and no better place to stage it than at the Lyric Theatre.” 

Fiach Mac Conghail, Director of the Abbey Theatre said:  “Quietly is an important and extraordinary play about life in the aftermath of the Peace Process – it is a human, heartfelt story told brilliantly by Owen McCafferty. I’m delighted that this national theatre production will be seen across Ireland, the United Kingdom and Germany.”

Last August the Abbey Theatre toured Quietly to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe where it was hailed as one of the must-see festival shows and sold out at the Traverse Theatre during its three week run. It was critically acclaimed by the international media and went on to win three prestigious awards – Best Play at The Writers’ Guild Awards 2013, a Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and Best Actor for Patrick O’Kane at the Stage Awards for Acting Excellence. 

Quietly runs on the Danske Bank Stage at the Lyric from Tues 8 to Sun 13 April, including Sat matinee at 2.30pm and Sun matinee at 1.30pm. Tickets range from £10 - £22. Check website for info on post-show talks, performance times, and to bookor contact the Box Office on (028) 9038 1081.

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