Amorous prelate takes to the stage search of love

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As the 1700s drew to a close Frederick Hervey, Derry’s Earl Bishop, was hungry for love. So, what on earth did he get up to?

In a bid to find out writer Ken McCormack is rolling back the clock in a major one-man drama that depicts the temperamental Earl Bishop in his final days.

Derry Playhouse has pulled out all the stops with a special stage setting and a reshaping of its auditorium. Some of the best musicians in Ireland will also be part of the drama.

Frederick Hervey, the Earl Bishop, lived up to the reputation of the ‘Age of Scandal. He became something of a playboy in royal courts and watering places around Europe. Always eccentric and mercurial Hervey was given to sudden outbursts and lascivious behaviour. And while he loved to shock polite society he was eloquent, cultured and a campaigner for religious freedom.

The Earl Bishop also was a builder of great houses and a connoisseur of the arts – his collection of paintings was unequalled in Ireland.

Having left his wife during his twilight years the Earl Bishop got into some bizarre tangles with the fair sex and it is this side of Hervey that the play explores.

‘On the Subject of Love’ is the Playhouse’s latest commission for UK City of Culture. “Much attention has been paid down the years to the Earl’s eccentricity,” says Ken McCormack. “But the play will reveal much more of the man himself…and therein lies a few surprises!” ‘On the Subject of Love’ will preview at The Playhouse on Tuesday February 19 and run until Saturday February 23 at 8pm. Tickets are £14/ £10 and are available from The Playhouse Box Office on (028)71268027