“Helps in ways that judicial structures have been unable to, demonstrating the potential of the arts in reconciliation and peacebuilding work...”
A “visceral, gritty and emotional, local testimony of the conflict and the struggle for truth and justice” has finished its sold out tour of Newry, Belfast and Dundalk.
Developed with and performed by victims and survivors of the tragedies of South Armagh, Border counties and Dublin in the darkest days of The Troubles, ‘Blood Red Lines’ received standing ovations and overwhelming feedback since it began its tour in Newry Town Hall on February 23 and 24.
BAFTA winning film and theatre maker Robert Rae undertook a six month residency in Newry as part of an ambitious EU PEACE IV funded arts programme, The Playhouse Theatre and Peacebuilding Academy.
Rae collaborated with those worst affected by the conflict, including the Dublin and Dundalk bombings, to develop and perform in the contemporary piece of verbatim theatre.
Audiences praised the “important stories that need to be heard… Courageous and determined voices” and said “This type of work is vitally important in ‘dealing with the past’, and helps in ways that judicial structures have been unable to, demonstrating the potential of the arts in reconciliation and peacebuilding work.”
In the play, victims and survivors wrestle with the complexity of how and what to tell the next generation, their individual rights set against the refusal of those responsible and government bodies to share the truth, growing anxiety about the effect Brexit will have on peace… and the impact upon their own lives of the events they endured.
The play is part of a wider ‘Border Stories’ programme, delivered by the Theatre and Peacebuilding Academy in Spring 2019, to foreground stories related to The Troubles in the South Armagh and Border Counties region.
Local projects include award-winning documentary filmmaker Declan Keeney using ground-breaking VR technology to create an immersive documentary filmed in Virtual Reality; composer, musician and vocalist Emer Kenny composing music inspired by interviews and experiences related to The Troubles, to be released as an album in April 2019; and playwright, scriptwriter and filmmaker Laurence McKeown creating a multi-media, live event with focus upon the land and the landscape, to be staged in April 2019.
The Playhouse Theatre and Peacebuilding Academy creates theatre and art that allows reflection, active dialogue on consequences of conflict, and builds techniques to engage with painful memories. Artists will draw upon the skills of internationally-renowned artists with extensive experience in the use of drama and art to help heal divided communities emerging out of conflict.
The PEACE IV Programme is an EU funded Programme designed to support peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the border region. It is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).
The Playhouse will work in partnership with Holywell Trust, Thomas D'Arcy McGee Foundation and Queens University Belfast to deliver the two and a half year project, which will work with representatives from interface and highly segregated areas, historical atrocities, victims and survivors and public sector.
Match-funding for the project has been provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.
More information on The Playhouse Theatre and Peacebuilding Academy is available here
“important stories that need to be heard… Courageous and determined voices.”
“This type of work is vitally important in ‘dealing with the past’, and helps in ways that judicial structures have been unable to, demonstrating the potential of the arts in reconciliation and peacebuilding work.”
“more human stories to deepen my understanding of the conflict”
“It is a lesson that we must never allow the troubles to start again in any form”
“… there are so many troubles related stories to be told that although each story is individual, they are all binded by the same emotions, by a common humanity.”
“I learned that everyone has a story. I learned that it is very healing to share your story. I learned that we have to do everything we can to educate our young people about war.”
“I was so affected by the performance that I had to return a second time. I also learned there is hope for me if this group can come together as they did & support each other so well to tell their stories & remember the people we have lost.”
“Blood Red Lines should be on a curriculum”
“It was a very moving and thoroughly courageous bunch of amateurs who delivered a remarkable performance.”
“I’ve never been so moved by such personal & intimate stories. This is why #legacy & the search for #truthandjustice must continue. Huge admiration for eachone who shared their stories in #Newry last night. You are #brave #inspirational and I hope you find #peace #BloodRedLines ”
“Just out of #Newry Town Hall after a performance of ‘Blood Red Lines’ - a production by The Playhouse & Peacebuilding Academy.
A powerhouse of visceral, gritty and emotional, local testimony of the conflict & the struggle for truth and justice.
Photographs: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie