Over the Wire for City of Culture year at Playhouse

Pauline Ross, pictured at the Playhouse on Tuesday morning with BAFTA award-winning film and tv director Kenny Glenaan and Seamas Keenan (writer).

Pauline Ross, pictured at the Playhouse on Tuesday morning with BAFTA award-winning film and tv director Kenny Glenaan and Seamas Keenan (writer).

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The first shot in the Playhouse’s own year of culture will be fired on Monday next when the curtain lifts on what has been described as a “challenging, provocative, controversial and explosive play.”

The description is from Kieran Griffith, producer of Seamus Kennan’s ‘Over the Wire.’ Directed by the BAFTA award winning Kenny Glenaan, the production tells the remarkable story of the burning of Long Kesh.

“It is not an easy play,” said Kieran Griffith, the recently appointed Playhouse producer.

“There are a lot of challenges in telling this story of torture and psychological abuse. It is an explosive play and shows we are serious about the purposeful enquiry element of the City of Culture programme. ‘Over the Wire’ is the story of coping and survival in the face of extreme brutality. That is not to say there are not lots of laughs, as of course the republican prisoners had a strong sense of black comedy and humour in order to help them deal with their situation.

“The play very certainly has a wider audience than those who were interned in the cages. It is testing but it is also funny.”

‘Over The Wire’ follows hot on the heels of a Playhouse and Field Day double header last month, those productions also examined difficult and testing subject matters.

“We have taken the purposeful enquiry element of the City of Culture programme and run with it,” explained Mr. Griffiths.

“We want to examine how culture can explore the difficult issues we as a society are faced with. All the while we are doing so, through the commission and promotion of new works. It is a very exciting time at the Playhouse. Not only are we commissioning new work but we are marrying local talent with the best international talent out there when we stage them.”

Kenny Glenaan has directed TV shows such as ‘Being Human,’ ‘New Tricks’ and ‘Wired.’ In this production he is directing the very best in local talent namely Martin Bradley, Jim Lecky, Michael McDaid, Andy Doherty, Geoff Coke and Pat Lynch.

Kieran has certainly to hit the ground running in his new post as the production schedule is unrelenting.

“I am really excited as we have Ken McCormick’s ‘On The Subject of Love’ and Gary Mitchell’s ‘Re-energise, not to mention the spectacular that will be Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus in July.

“That will be an unbelievable spectacle. The performance will be held in the courtyard and I am already confident in stating that it will be unbelievable.

“‘On the Subject of Love’ is based on the three love interests of the late Earl Bishop. It is a one man show which will be played by Howard Teale who has vast West End and National experience. While Gary Mitchell’s script, which will be produced in May, is very excitingly to be scored by The Undertones. They are currently finishing the music for the play. It really is going to be a great time at The Playhouse.”

Over the Wire by Seamas Keenan and directed by Kenny Glenaan opens on Monday and runs to Saturday (curtain 8pm) tickets from £10. Box Office on 028 71 268027.