Hunger Strike play performed at An Culturlann

Mary McGuinness, Gavin Deery, Aisling McSheffrey, Owen Deery and Patrick Deery.
Mary McGuinness, Gavin Deery, Aisling McSheffrey, Owen Deery and Patrick Deery.

‘1981’ is a play from actor, writer and director Tony Devlin and his award-winning company Brassneck Theatre which focuses on the harrowing experiences of the ten Hunger Strikers who died in 1981.

Devlin’s play was performed at An Culturlann in Derry on Monday night.

Group pictured at the play about about the 1981 Hunger Strikes. Included, third from left is 1980 Hunger Striker and current Sinn Fein MLA Raymond McCartney.

Group pictured at the play about about the 1981 Hunger Strikes. Included, third from left is 1980 Hunger Striker and current Sinn Fein MLA Raymond McCartney.

Devlin wrote the play himself and performs it as a one man show depicting more than thirty characters covering the Hunger Strikers, their families, friends and communities.

Music plays a large part in the play which features live musicians on stage as well as projection of archive footage of the funerals of the Hunger Strikers which adds a powerful visual element to the narrative.

In writing the play Devlin met and spoke with family members of some of those who died on hunger strike in Long Kesh in 1981.

Devlin said he learned much about personal quirks of the men, getting to know their humour and friendships.

“They (the family members) came to the opening night of ‘1981’ and said it was the most uplifting account of those times they had seen. It is full of warmth and humour as well as tragedy. To hear that from the families is really rewarding,” he said.