Playhouse welcomes two new artist residencies

Video artist Conan McIvor and movement director Eileen McClory use arts to explore North West stories of bereavement, loss, atonement and catharsis.

Two new artist residencies have been announced by a major creative initiative, The Playhouse Theatre Peace Building Academy, that gives artistic expression to experience of living in Northern Ireland and memory of The Troubles.

Conan McIvor and Eileen McClory’s work has been inspired by one-to-one interviews with individuals who have been significantly impacted by The Troubles.

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‘TURF’ is a live multi-media theatre event exploring our troubled past through a fusion of original poetry and music and performed by a professional and community cast. Choreographed by prominent choreographer Eileen McClory, with poetry by Maria McManus and music by Keith Acheson, ‘TURF’ has been developed from source material: memories, writings / poetry, experiences of many of the performers who have taken part in production, storytelling, and memoir workshops.

The evocative dance theatre production will come to An Croí theatre space in Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin in Derry. Londonderry on Wednesday, December 12 at 8pm.

The debut screening of ‘Forgive me Not’, a new short film by filmmaker Conan McIvor, will then be held at The Playhouse on Saturday, December 15 at 7.30pm and 8pm.

Those interviewed for the film includes two sisters whose brother was murdered by the British Army in 1976, a former quartermaster of a paramilitary grouping, a lady whose husband was murdered by the IRA, a nurse who cared for victims from both sides of the community in the darkest days of the conflict, and a lady whose family owned the Dropping Well Inn (bombed by the INLA in 1982).

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The testimonies of these interviewees helped shape the script, and two of the participants appear in the film. Set in Derry / Londonderry in the present day, the film tells the story of a former paramilitary member seeking atonement from the elderly wife of a man he murdered during The Troubles.

“The Playhouse has a strong record of developing arts and peacebuilding initiatives which promote a wide range of personal and social benefits- including community relations development, conflict transformation, truth recovery, social inclusion and personal development” project co-ordinator Liam Campbell said.

“With these two new pieces, Eileen and Conan have expanded no this work in brand new ways, they have uncovered untold hurt, and created a safe space for reflection and active dialogue on the consequences of conflict on these people’s lives.”

The Playhouse will work in partnership with Holywell Trust, Thomas D’Arcy McGee Foundation and Queens University Belfast to deliver The Playhouse Theatre Peace Building Academy.

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The PEACE IV Programme is an EU funded Programme designed to support peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the border region. It is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

Match-funding for the project has been provided by the Executive Office and the Department for Rural and Community Development.

Tickets for both events are free. ‘TURF’ will come An Croí theatre space in Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin on Wednesday, December 12 at 8pm, and ‘Forgive me Not’ will be screened at The Playhouse on Saturday, December 15 at 7.30pm and 8pm. Contact The Playhouse Box Office on (028)71268027 or online at