"Anyone who wants to be a songwriter should listen to as much folk music as they can, study the form and structure of stuff that has been around for 100 years. I go back to Stephen Foster" Bob Dylan
Based on the life of the 'father of American popular song', Kind Hearts and Gentle People is a fascinating look at a songwriter who has become the stuff of legend in America, but whose roots begin in Ulster.
Regarded as America's first professional song-writer, Stephen Collins Foster penned some of its earliest and most famous songs, including ‘Oh! Susanna', ‘Hard Times Come Again No More', ‘Old Folks at Home' (‘Swanee River'), ‘My Old Kentucky Home' and ‘Beautiful Dreamer'.
These songs, which all feature in the production, remain popular over 150 years after their composition. His songs have influenced many iconic music legends such as Al Jolson, Bing Crosby, Bob Dylan, John Prine, James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen and Mary Black, all of whom have covered his songs.
He is also one of the North West's forgotten famous sons; his ancestors emigrated from the port of Londonderry in the 18th century.
Written by playwright Peter McDonald [The Green Room, Five Years Time] and directed by Anne McMaster [Sad Silence of Snow, Noir], Kind Hearts and Gentle People is a tale of the triumphs and tragedies that encompass the life and times of a songwriter who, despite passing away over a decade before the invention of sound recording, a long career in music that is still cherished today.
Tickets: £11/ £8 Opening night offer, all tickets only £5
Northern Ireland and Donegal Tour dates
The Playhouse Theatre, Derry- Londonderry (Wed 12th- Sat 15th Oct) 02871268027 www.derryplayhouse.co.uk
The Riverside Theatre, Coleraine (Tues 18th Oct) 02870 123 123 www.riversidetheatre.org.uk
The Marketplace, Armagh (Wed 19th Oct) 02837521821 www.marketplacearmagh.com
The Ardhowen Theatre, Fermanagh (Thurs 20th Oct) 0286632 5440 www.ardhowentheatre.com
The Alley Theatre, Strabane (Wed 26th Oct) 0287138 4444 www.alley-theatre.com
An Grianan, Letterkenny (Thurs 27th Oct) 00353 74912 0777 www.angrianan.com
Baby Grand, Belfast (Fri 28th Oct) 0289024 1919 www.goh.co.uk
The Waterside Theatre, Derry- Londonderry (Sat 29th Oct) 0287131 4000 www.watersidetheatre.com