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Martin Lynch`s Chronicles of Long Kesh begins

Download photoquality version of From left: Marty Maguire, Chris Corrigan and Andy Moore 
Download photoquality version of From left: Marc O`Shea, Marty Maguire, Billy Clarke, Chris Corrigan, Andy Moore and Laine Megaw. Photographer: John Baucher :
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15 January 2009

Press release issued on behalf of Green Shoot Productions

Martin Lynch`s new play - Chronicles of Long Kesh at Belfast Waterfront from Thursday 15 to Saturday 31 January - is proving to be the hottest ticket in town!

Two special community performances at St. Kevin`s (North Queen Street) on 9 & 10 January were completely sold-out (1,000+ tickets) while seats for more than half of the three-week performance run at the Waterfront have already been sold!

Co-directed by Lisa May and Martin Lynch, Chronicles of Long Kesh features a strong cast of professional actors including Chris Corrigan, Andy Moore, Marc O`Shea, Billy Clarke, Laine Megaw and Los Angeles-based actor, Marty Maguire (recently seen at Belfast’s Grand Opera House in On Eagles Wing). In the last couple of years Marty has made a huge impact in the USA performing in Marie Jones plays’ A Night In November and Rock Doves.

Marty Maguire said, “I have a very well established career in the USA now but I came back for On Eagles Wing recently and enjoyed it so much I couldn’t resist the offer from Green Shoot to not only be in a Martin Lynch play but to do a load of singing which I know will be great fun. The play is powerful but also very funny.”

Chronicles Of Long Kesh tells the story of the prison - also known as The Maze - from its opening in August 1971 to its closure in July 2000. The story concentrates not on the big politics of the day or those who became well known as a result of their time in prison, but on the experiences of ordinary prisoners, prison officers and their families. Audiences will be confronted with a rich assortment of republicans, loyalists, prison officers, chancers, escapers, wives, Smokey Robinson-imitators and hypochondriacs!

Whilst the play deals with major developments such as the 1974 burning of Long Kesh, the Hunger-strikes, the Big Escape, etc. it also contains its fair share of hilarity and black humour.

Following the Waterfront engagement, Chronicles of Long Kesh will tour seven venues/towns throughout Northern Ireland and plans are underway for an international tour to include The Edinburgh Festival, New York Irish Theatre Festival and the Dublin Theatre Festival later this year.

Green Shoot Productions gratefully acknowledges the funding support of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council, Community Relations Council, Department of Social Development, and the John Hewitt Bar. In-kind support provided by Belfast Telegraph, Premier Inn and Farset International.

Tickets for Chronicles of Long Kesh at the Waterfront are available from the Waterfront Box Office, by calling 028 9033 4455 and online at www.waterfront.co.uk

There is a Waterfront Credit/Debit card handling charge of £1.00 per ticket for bookings made by telephone.
Online bookings attract a charge of just £1.50 per transaction.
A fee of 50p per booking is payable for tickets forwarded by post.

Chronicles of Long Kesh Education and Outreach Programme

Harking back to the pioneering days of Mary O`Malley in the 1950`s and 60`s when she commissioned poets, painters etc. to compliment Lyric Theatre productions, Green Shoot Productions has planned an exciting and comprehensive Education and Outreach Programme to run alongside the play.

Green Shoot Productions has commissioned two of Northern Ireland`s outstanding poets, Gearoid MacLochlainn and Moyra Donaldson to write a new poem based upon their thoughts on Long Kesh/The Maze. These poems will be mounted for exhibition at the Waterfront and published in the Play Programme. Additionally, Mr. MacLochlainn and Ms. Donaldson recently read their poem in front of an audience for the first time during Green Shoot Productions’ symposium on The Literature of Long Kesh – held on 7 January at Belfast Exposed, featuring noted authors Danny Morrison (Republican former prisoner and author of Then The Walls Came Down), Graham Reid (The BBC TV Billy Plays), Sam Millar (Republican former prisoner and author of On The Brinks) and William Mitchell (Loyalist former prisoner and playwright) and moderated by Marie-Louise Muir (BBC presenter Arts Extra). This symposium offered a debate on the literature that has come out of the prison, both by ex-inmates and professional writers.

Visual Artistes Raymond Watson and Laura Graham have been engaged to create new artwork based upon their thoughts of Long Kesh and prison themes. Their work will be displayed in the lobby of The Waterfront Hall. Raymond`s work will also be on display in the John Hewitt Bar during the month of January.

A second symposium will be produced on 24 January immediately following the 2.30pm matinee at the Waterfront (approximate start time 4.45pm). This panel discussion is titled: Experiences in Political Conflict and features panel members Billy Hutchinson (Loyalist former prisoner), Brian Erskine (former Long Kesh prison officer), William McQuiston (Loyalist former prisoner), and one more Republican former prisoner to be announced. The Panel`s Guest Speaker is Dr. Rona Fields, PhD (Washington DC, USA). Dr. Fields is one of the world`s leading psychologists specializing in the impact of political violence on communities, particularly on children. She did her first work in the field here in Belfast and L/Derry in the early 70`s, and has since carried out research work in trouble-spots all over the world. Experiences in Political Conflict will be moderated by Mr. Noel Thompson of the BBC.

Playwright Lynch, founder and Creative Producer of Green Shoot Productions said, “The response from the community has been overwhelming! This is Green Shoot`s most ambitious project, and we are thrilled to be offering the city of Belfast such a huge arts project which includes the world premiere of a new play, special community performances, two panel discussions engaging exciting voices and opinions, post-performances talkbacks, and the commissioning of new poems and artwork. It`s big. It`s bold. And it`s reaching our community on a multitude of levels. It’s exactly the kind of commitment to exceptional theatre and comprehensive arts education programming that Green Shoot hopes to become known for and all of us at Green Shoot are delighted by the city`s terrific response to our work”.

For further information and interview requests please contact:
Deirdre Ashe Green Shoot Productions
Tel: 028 9029 1555
Email: info@greenshootproductions.com

Ends

Press release issued by: Nicholas Sadlier, PR & Advertising Executive, Belfast Waterfront, Belfast BT1 3WH. Tel: 028 9033 4418. Email: sadliern@waterfront.co.uk

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