‘Pits and Perverts’ back at Playhouse

A scene from the critically acclaimed 'Pits and Perverts.'
A scene from the critically acclaimed 'Pits and Perverts.'

Sole Purpose Productions’ critically acclaimed ‘Pits and Perverts’ is back at The Playhouse for the Foyle Pride programme this month.

The concept, by local man Micheál Kerrigan, with script development by Patricia Byrne, has already toured theatres across Northern Ireland, receiving standing ovations and rave reviews.

And now, Sole Purpose Productions in association with The Rainbow Project, have announced that it’s back for 2014, with three performances in The Playhouse on August 20, 21 and 22 as part of the Foyle Pride programme, before touring to Belfast, Wales and London in September/October for the 30th Anniversary of the Miners’ Strike.

Pits and Perverts is set in 1984 in Thatcher’s Britain. It tells the uplifting true story of the birth of the Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) group and how two seemingly averse communities came together to support each other. The play follows the story of Sean, who leaves Derry at the height of the Troubles. He moves to London where he comes out as a gay man and becomes involved in supporting the 1980s strike. Two miners from South Wales come to stay with Sean and his partner, not realising they are a gay couple. The events that unfold impact on all their lives. The play highlights the power of community.

Last year’s cast return for this year’s performance featuring Conor Maguire, Patrick Buchanan, Orla Mullan, Jason Davies, Michael Johnston and Alex Wilson.

A spokesperson for the group said: “Everyone involved with the production is delighted that it is coming back for 2014 and that it will be touring the UK, especially to mark this anniversary. We can all remember the strike of the 1980s but few are aware of the impact the gay community’s involvement had, raising much needed funds for the struggling Welsh miners and their families. The play’s title comes from a newspaper headline which claimed that the connection between the gay community and the miners was ‘an unholy alliance of pits and perverts’. The LGSM group held a benefit gig for the miners which raised over £5000, they called it the Pits and Perverts Ball, as an act of defiance.

Mike Jackson, one of the founding members of the LGSM said: “Pits and Perverts’ is wonderful, embracing so much important detail, so much historical truth, the pain and the joys. A masterpiece expression of all that LGSM was about.”

The production has been made possible by funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland/Derry City Council Legacy Programme, the Arts Council of Wales, the Arts Council of England, the National Union of Mineworkers and Derry Trades Union Council. Director of Legacy with Derry City Council, Oonagh McGillion, said: “I am delighted to see the return of this powerful production, which was so warmly received as part of the city’s cultural programme for 2013. The play celebrates cultural diversity and highlights a pivotal moment in social history for the Lesbian and Gay community in the telling of this fascinating story. Derry City Council remains committed to supporting and nurturing emerging local talent as part of the city’s cultural legacy, and it’s fantastic to be able to support the work of such a talented local playwright.”

See Pits and Perverts at The Derry Playhouse from Wednesday 20 to Friday 22 August at 8pm. Tickets are £10. To book contact the box office on 028 7126 8027 or www.derryplayhouse.co.uk