“This is in the ethos and context of the Theatre of Witness tradition, well known to the people of the city, in which a theatre professional works at the shoulder of people carrying their own stories to an audience.” Damian Gorman
The Theatre and Peacebuilding Academy, based at The Playhouse Derry has asked poet and playwright Damian Gorman to work with people around their experiences of 1972, the worst year of the ‘Troubles’.
Damian is the latest artist to be announced for the two-and-a-half-year EU PEACE funded Theatre and Peacebuilding Academy project, which will work with a range of internationally based artists with significant experience of utilising arts activity in conflict and areas of social breakdown throughout the world.
The Co. Down writer’s residency will finish with a free performance in The Playhouse, which will run from Thursday 23 to Saturday 25 April 2020.
Damian was founding director of ‘An Crann/ The Tree’ in the 1990’s, a project which worked to help people tell, and hear the stories of the ‘Troubles’ when they were still undeniably with us.
Derry people were absolutely central to the work of that project, he said. “This is in the ethos and context of the Theatre of Witness tradition, well known to the people of the city, in which a theatre professional works at the shoulder of people carrying their own stories to an audience. Each artist will do it in his or her own way, but a big drive in me is to make things easier, more comfortable, and hopefully enjoyable for participants who feel that this process might be for them.”
“It won’t be for everyone” he said, but he and The Playhouse want to “extend the invitation as widely as possible.”
“If the process seems daunting, hopefully meeting me for a chat about it is not.”
Damian will be inviting people to drop in to The Playhouse for an informal chat this Saturday morning (November 9) from 10am.
Anyone interested can also arrange a meeting at another time by contacting project co-ordinator Elaine Forde on firstname.lastname@example.org.
As well as working on ‘An Crann/ The Tree’, Damian worked with young Israelis and Palestinians for nearly 10 years from 2006, and has worked with thousands of people in many dozens of groups, including two writing groups currently meeting in The Playhouse. In August of this year he was appointed a fellow of the Oxford Initiative for Global Ethics and Human Rights.
Delivered in partnership with Holywell Trust, Thomas D'Arcy McGee Foundation and Queens University Belfast, The Playhouse Theatre and Peacebuilding Academy aims to use theatre as a tool to promote healing and reconciliation in a healing and transformative way.
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).
Match-funding for the project has been provided by the Executive Office and the Department for Rural and Community Development.
More information about The Playhouse Theatre & Peacebuilding Academy is available HERE