Laurence McKeown to lead new peacebuilding workshop in Border Areas

The Playhouse has announced playwright Laurence McKeown as its new freelance Community Project Co-ordinator.

By Staff Reporter
Wednesday, 13th April 2022, 12:17 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th April 2022, 12:18 pm

The writer will lead the delivery of peacebuilding workshops in border counties.

Workshops will be led by facilitators from The Playhouse Theatre of Witness Project, a form of performance that gives voice to those who have been marginalised, forgotten or are invisible in society.

In the late-1990s Laurence co-wrote the feature film, H3, based on the 1981 hunger strike within the prison, which he participated in (for 70 days) and during which 10 prisoners died. Laurence then began to work as a playwright, using full-length plays and bespoke theatre to explore issues concerning the legacy of the conflict in the North of Ireland.

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Laurence McKeown (back right) and facilitators Anne, James and Kathleen (L-R centre seated), picture with members of Reach ACROSS, recent participants in The Playhouse Theatre of Witness Project workshops. Free peacebuilding workshops will be held throughout 2022. Photo credit Barney McGuigan.

The new post has been created with funding from the Department of Foreign Affairs, and is one of six new jobs announced by the arts centre- three of which are new to the organisation.

Mr. McKeown said: “I’m delighted to take up this new appointment with The Playhouse with whom I’ve worked on two projects in recent years: a multi-media story-telling production, In The Shadow Of Gullion, and a short film on police stop and search procedures, Section 24: Schedule 3.

“Everyone has a story to tell and, if provided with a safe environment and a structured approach, the telling of that story can be a liberating experience, even if simultaneously difficult and painful. I very much look forward to taking Theatre of Witness workshops to communities throughout the border counties in the coming months.”

Community Relations Co-ordinator at The Playhouse Kieran Smyth said: “We can’t think of anyone better placed to help us deliver the diversity of stories that Theatre of Witness explores. For almost 30 years Laurence has used the arts to engage true narrative and real life stories from all sides of The Troubles in Northern Ireland. We hope groups from all areas of the border join him and our facilitators as they share their true narratives through arts and peacebuilding.”

Laurence McKeown at The Playhouse with Community Relations Co-ordinator at The Playhouse Kieran Smyth. The author, playwright, and filmmaker will work with facilitators from The Playhouse Theatre of Witness Project to deliver peacebuilding workshops on border counties.

Workshops are free for anyone aged 14+ interested in exploring how art can inspire healing, empathy and understanding. For more information or to book a workshop contact [email protected] Or for more information about The Playhouse Theatre of Witness Project visit www.derryplayhouse.co.uk.