She Wants to be a What? joins Stonewall celebrations

Roma Harvey, Caitriona Cunningham, Joseph O'Hagan stage She Wants to be a What? in Derry.
Roma Harvey, Caitriona Cunningham, Joseph O'Hagan stage She Wants to be a What? in Derry.

Single mother Gwen sees herself as an open-minded, liberal feminist. With her lifelong friend Maggie, she’s actively involved in a steady succession of protests aimed at putting the world to rights.

Then, shortly before her 50th birthday, one seismic event throws her life into disarray, making her question her perception of herself.

Sole Purpose Productions is delighted to present She Wants to be a What? play as part of the 50 years since Stonewall celebrations in association with the Foyle Pride Festival and Greater Shantallow Community Arts.

Performed by a local cast and directed by Patricia Byrne, Berni Kerr’s new drama explores the journey of a transgender man from a mother’s perspective. It charts with empathy, incisiveness and dark humour the impact on their friends and family circle, and the support that is available.

Writer Berni Kerr commented: “Understanding of the impact of gender transition on family members is not widely discussed and the importance of support cannot be stressed enough. The mother’s experiences of inpatient psychiatric care are explored as she struggles to be heard by carers who, though they care deeply, simply do not know what to say. Hopefully this play will open up discussion around these matters.”

Sole Purpose held a Rehearsed Reading of the play last year where it received very positive responses. Audience member, Eamon Baker in Community Development at Holywell Trust, explained: “Berni Kerr’s intimate, compassionate and sometimes comic script gives voice both to the family tensions arising and to the loving family response that ultimately wins the day in this transgender story.”

The local, dedicated and talented cast includes Caitriona Cunningham, Maureen Wilkinson, Joseph O’Hagan, Paul O’Doherty, Roma Harvey, Felicity McCall and Anita Jackson.

An award winning theatre company that has toured extensively in Ireland, the UK and USA, Sole Purpose Productions is core funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. This production is supported by Derry City and Strabane District Council Good Relations Programme.

Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland added: “The award-winning Sole Purpose has established a reputation for excellence in using the arts to produce powerful, moving theatre that shines a light on and encourages discussion around challenging social issues. The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is delighted to support Sole Purpose and would encourage everyone to go along to this latest production.”   

To book contact the venue:

Thursday, August 15 (12.30pm) at Hillcrest Community Hub, Trench Road BT47 2DZ Lunch provided. Admission free 028 7134 7515 www.hillcresttrust.com

Tuesday, August 20 (8pm) Studio Two, Skeoge Industrial Estate BT48 8SE, followed by an evening of music and poetry. BYOB £5 028 7135 8750 www.studio2derry.com

Thursday, August 22 (7pm) The Derry Playhouse BT48 6RG £7/£5 028 7126 8027 www.derryplayhouse.co.uk