“Loved In the Shadow of Gullion. It was moving, portrayed both sides of the conflict, and really captured what we all went through. Very moving.” Audience Member
“outstanding performance… It was a very poignant revisit for me which I struggled with to be fair.” Audience Member
A “moving, portrayed both sides of the conflict” has finished its sold out tour of South Armagh and Belfast.
The live EU PEACE IV-funded multi-media event exploring the landscape of South Armagh through the eyes of seven victims/survivors from the conflict received standing ovations and overwhelming feedback during its short run.
Renowned playwright, scriptwriter and filmmaker Laurence McKeown created the multi-media event with focus upon the land and the landscape, which was staged in Tí Chulainn, South Armagh on Thursday, April 4 and The Duncairn Arts Centre, Belfast on Tuesday, April 9.
In the Shadow of Gullion used film, sound, theatre, music, song, and narration to show how South Armagh, an area designated as one of natural beauty, is rich in folklore, culture, and tradition but has also suffered strife and conflict over many centuries.
The seven victims and survivors from South Armagh who collaborated and engaged with playwright for the piece (some of whom appeared on stage), include a former RAF pilot Mike Johnson, who was shot down by the IRA in South Armagh in the 1970s; Rita Restorick, whose 23 year old son Stephen who was killed by an IRA sniper in Bessbrook in 1997; Paddy Quinn, who took part in the 1981 hunger strike; Jimmy Fox, whose nephew, Seamus Ludlow (47), was killed by the loyalist Red Hand Commando in 1976; Michael O'Hare, whose sister Majella was shot dead by Paratroopers in 1976, aged 12, and Mary Mc Conville, whose sister Ann McGeeney was a victim of IRA harassment.
The production is the latest by The Playhouse Theatre Peace Building Academy, a cross border arts programme that gives creative expression to the experience of living in Northern Ireland and memory of The Troubles.
Other local projects include award-winning documentary filmmaker Declan Keeney using ground-breaking VR technology to create an immersive documentary filmed in Virtual Reality; and composer, musician and vocalist Emer Kenny composing music inspired by interviews and experiences related to The Troubles, to be released as an album.
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.
Photos by Ciaran Dunbar