A new drama which tells the story of how many of Derry’s Protestant people moved away from the cityside in the 1970s because of the troubles, will open next week at the Waterside Theatre.
The Exodus, which is written and directed by Jonathan Burgess for Blue Eagle Productions centres around a middle aged man and his daughter who are both struggling to come to terms with the recent death of his wife, while also dealing with the ongoing violence and unrest in their home town.
Through its script, costumes and set, The Exodus will transport the audience back to the Northern Ireland of the early 1970s and Jonathan Burgess is excited to see how theatre goers react to what they see.
“I would urge people to come to see the show which is a drama based on factual experiences and so should not only entertain but also give people something to think about.”
Burgess has undergone three months of research, interviewing Protestant people who had left the area during those years and using these stories to create the play.
“In the latter 60s and early 70s Protestants left this part of Londonderry for many reasons,” he said. “Some were intimidated and many were frightened with good reason. I was three weeks old when my family left the west bank of the Foyle and so this story is very close to my heart”.
Burgess also believes that the production is dealing with an aspect of Northern Ireland’s heritage that rarely gets an outing on stage or screen and that it is important for a local audience to see this material.
“The Protestant Unionist working class have never been given a voice through theatre and this project will change that. The sense of The Exodus of the Protestants from the west bank of the Foyle still lingers within the city today and is arguably standing in the way of us truly moving forward towards a shared future. In order to do this it is important that all cultures and heritages are respected and acknowledged.”
The Exodus is in the Waterside Theatre on Wednesday 13th and Thursday 14th April before moving on to Ballybofey, Strabane, Omagh and Ballymena.Tickets are priced at £10. For more information and to book visit www.watersidetheatre.com or call 7131 4000.