Theatre of Witness performers "beacons of hope and true peacemakers"- Victims Commissioner

Posted on: 20th September 2013

Victims Commissioner has praised Theatre of Witness performers as "beacons of hope and true peacemakers" at the premiere screening of new Theatre of Witness documentary.

The Commissioner for Victims and Survivors, Kathryn Stone OBE, was guest speaker at the premiere screening of the new Theatre of Witness documentary entitled ‘Release' at the Brian Friel Theatre in Belfast last week.

The documentary which was shot and directed by Declan Keeney, explores the life stories of six remarkable men, told in their own words and in their own way through an original Theatre of Witness production of the same name which toured Northern Ireland and the Border Counties in 2012.

The film, which has already been entered into several international film festivals, premiered to a sold out theatre at The Playhouse on Monday (September 9). Chief Executive of SEUPB Pat Colgan was guest speaker at the prestigious event.

Speaking at the event, Mr Colgan said "We're at that place now where we're trying to acknowledge and deal with the past, and I think that's the great tribute I'd like to pay to Theatre of Witness. They have given us a vocabulary, they have given us a method, they have given us a way, of trying to do that. It's one of the most difficult things to do. I feel quite humbled and privileged to be part of it."

The film then premiered in Belfast's Brian Friel Theatre on Thursday (September 12) where the Commissioner for Victims and Survivors, Kathyrn Stone, OBE commended the courage and strength shown by those men to tell their stories.

"What this documentary has shown is six men, an unlikely alliance, who stand shoulder to shoulder with each other. Within their communities and within their families. Six men who become beacons of hope and true peacemakers. Despite their differences, it is their shared experience which, in the end, unites them" she said.

Theatre of Witness is a unique form of performance created by its founder and artistic director, Teya Sepinuck, in which the stories of those who have been marginalised in society are performed by the storytellers themselves.

Acknowledging the quality and sensitivity of their work Commissioner Stone said: "Theatre of Witness is a hugely respected company, deriving its credibility and integrity from understanding people's lived experiences in compassionate and mindful ways."

The Theatre of Witness project is supported by the PEACE III Programme, managed for the Special EU Programmes Body by the Community Relations Council and Pobal Consortium. More information is available at or (028)71268027.

Release Premiere

Pictured at the premiere of ‘release' in Belfast's Brien Friel Theatre Thursday (September 12), (L-R) Eamon Deane of Holywell Trust, Pauline Ross of The Playhouse, performer Vincent Coyle, Filmmaker Declan Keeney of Echo Gate Productions, Commissioner for Victims and Survivors, Kathyrn Stone, and performers William McKee, Adrian Duplock, Kevin Kelly, and Syd Trotter.


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