£50,000 Arts Council grant for new John Hume drama

A new play about the life and work of John Hume is to receive £50,000 from the Arts Council of NI.
John and Pat Hume.John and Pat Hume.
John and Pat Hume.

Awarded through the Arts Council’s £2 million Lottery Project Funding, the grant is one of 66 awards announced to support the development of arts activities across the North.

The John & Pat Hume Foundation are first time applicants to the scheme and will work with The Playhouse in Derry to create an original musical drama, entitled ‘Beyond Belief’, to premiere and broadcast internationally on the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in 2023.

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Tim Attwood, Foundation Secretary, said: “The John & Pat Hume Foundation is delighted that the Arts Council of Northern Ireland has agreed to support the production of ‘Beyond Belief’. John and Pat Hume had a long association with The Playhouse and championed the organisation’s cultural and peacebuilding work.

John and Pat at the polling station.John and Pat at the polling station.
John and Pat at the polling station.

“The Hume Foundation partnership with The Playhouse on ‘Beyond Belief’ is a natural one as they have a deep commitment to promoting healing, understanding and reconciliation. We are excited that The Playhouse, with ‘Beyond Belief’, will develop an inspiring, creative and emotional work telling the story of John Hume’s journey of peace and reconciliation.”

Commenting on the award, Playhouse CEO Kevin Murphy said: “The difference that The Playhouse and The John & Pat Hume Foundation both make is that we bring people together to effect meaningful change creatively, peacefully and with hope. We each strive to support positive changemakers, nurturing their creativity and confidence. In addition, when we work together, the possibilities only grow and, through this partnership, we can contribute to sustaining peace in societies

worldwide as well as here in our home city.”

The creative team behind the production will include artists Damian Gorman (writer) and Brian O’Doherty (composer). The production will also provide training and development opportunities for performers from The Playhouse Music Theatre Company which played a significant role in the staging of ‘The White Handkerchief’, produced earlier this year to mark the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.

John and Pat Hume celebrate his election to the Euro Parliament in 1979.John and Pat Hume celebrate his election to the Euro Parliament in 1979.
John and Pat Hume celebrate his election to the Euro Parliament in 1979.
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Playhouse Theatre Director and Producer Kieran Griffiths said:  “One of the ways we are actively making a lasting difference in our creative communities is by offering free conservatoire level education in music theatre, tuition and practical education in movement, vocal and acting tuition. Focusing on the practical experience of performance, being a member of The Playhouse Music Theatre Company offers the very best local talent the opportunity to help us tell our communities’ stories, performing to and for the public, building the CV, confidence and practical experience required to make it in the industry.

“The company provided the ensemble, and several principal roles, in our phenomenally successful production of ‘The White Handkerchief’, performed and broadcast from the Guildhall on the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday. This year’s company will do the same for ‘Beyond Belief’, a major new musical drama about the life and mission of John Hume, to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.”