One new climate action arts project, nine young people speaking in public for the first time, one presentation at Parliament Buildings Westminster and a new urban community garden.
2022 saw the first full year of live audiences, more transformational stories, and even a new climate action arts project for The Playhouse in Derry-Londonderry.
Over the last year The Playhouse produced four major productions (including one at Parliament Buildings, Westminster), twelve new Music Theatre Company members and one new climate action officer.
2022 began at The Playhouse with our most ambitious production yet with the opening of The White Handkerchief by Liam Campbell, performed and broadcast from the Guildhall on the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday” Kevin Murphy, CEO of The Playhouse said.
“Another rich year of creative activity followed, in which we strove to create opportunities for artists, cement partnerships and thrilling collaborations with other community and cultural organisations, and give more platforms for fresh voices and perspectives.”
January saw the announcement of The Playhouse Artitude: Climate, Culture, Circularity Project, an exciting community engagement project grounded in the circular economy, using the arts and creative practice to encourage behaviour change and challenge attitudes to waste, consumption and climate action.
Since then Artitude has delivered 12 climate events and workshops, including workshops in visible mending, zero waste Halloween costumes, protest banner making and a photovoice project and exhibition of resistance to mining in the Sperrins.
The project will also see the transformation of a currently underused outside space into a zero waste community herb, vegetable and wildflower garden, developed in conjunction with local community groups, including Lilliput Theatre Company for adults with learning disabilities.
The Playhouse Theatre of Witness Project continued this work bringing people together to bear witness to truth, healing and reconciliation through art and storytelling by delivering 45 workshops in Northern Ireland, 37 cross-border workshops, and 12 international workshops to 1,600 participants.
Testimonies gathered from siblings of six children killed during the Northern Ireland Troubles were delivered by their families working alongside actors in a special presentation to MPs at Parliament Buildings, Westminster in June. Co-produced with Macha Productions, the presentation of The Crack in Everything by Jo Egan marked a key milestone in a drive by The Playhouse and its partners to explore new creative ways to make peaceful change and support positive changemakers.
Nine young people tried public speaking for the first time as local young people transformed a former shop front and part of a train station as part of a new exploratory art project in June and December. The public art showcases were organised by young people taking part in The Playhouse Street Talk Project, Choice and Voice in the Richmond Shopping Centre and Street Talk Showroomsin the North West Transport Hub.
Street Talk worked with 340 young people throughout 2022, delivering 140 art workshops as part of its work helping them creatively address youth related issues, including an new events management training programme by The Playhouse.
A new e-book, a 'Holy Grail' guide on working with individuals who are deaf and/ or disabled written by individuals who are deaf and/ or disabled as well as their discovery of their Holy Grail: creativity and the arts was launched in October by creative artists Andrew Thompson and Richard 'John Boy' Nicholls.
Members of The Playhouse Music Theatre Company presented The 39 Steps in September and The Producers in November as part of a training programme offering free conservatoire level education in music theatre.
The company provided the ensemble, and several principal roles, in the phenomenally successful Playhouse production of The White Handkerchief. This year’s company will do the same for Beyond Belief, a major new musical drama produced in partnership with The John and Pat Hume Foundation about the life and mission of John and Pat Hume, to mark the 25th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement next year.
An installation revealing key moments of the lives of John and Pat Hume, including their work founding the credit union movement, was launched at The Playhouse in October ahead of 2023 production.Derry Credit Union allowed access to their vault for the exhibition, Hume: A Pilgrimage to The Light, launched the exact time and date of the first ever Derry Credit Union meeting in 1960, donating John and Pat’s Credit Union membership cards and the minutes of the first Derry Credit Union meeting.
“As you can see it has been an extraordinary year at The Playhouse, which has also included a performance of new music and dance by and with stroke and brain injury survivors; a keynote address by Taoiseach Micheál Martin T.D. on Building Common Ground; and work exploring International creative practice with theatre, dance, music, research and community development practitioners from Rwanda, Kenya, Northern Ireland and England." Kevin Murphy said.
“We would like to thank all those who have supported us throughout this year, all our funders, project and community partners, artists, participants and audiences who have helped us flourish and grow.
“We look forward to building on that in 2023, to create more opportunities for our community, to celebrate diversity and empower people through the arts”.
Gilly Campbell, Director of Arts Development at the Arts Council commented: “Congratulations to everyone at The Playhouse on what has been a remarkable year! There have been so many highlights and achievements but of particular note is the quality and extraordinary reach of their work over the last 12 months. Pioneering, inclusive, brave, topical, sensitive, thought-provoking – we very much look to seeing what’s planned for 2023!”
The Playhouse is core funded by the Arts Council for Northern Ireland, Derry City and Strabane District Council and Community Relations Council.