‘Pits and Perverts’ is heading for San Francisco

The San Francisco cast of 'Pits and Perverts'
The San Francisco cast of 'Pits and Perverts'

The critically acclaimed local theatre production, ‘Pits and Perverts’ by Micheál Kerriga - with script developed by Patricia Byrne - is to be staged in San Francisco, for five weeks at the New Conservatory Theatre Centre later this year.

The show, produced by Sole Purpose Productions, based at Derry’s Playhouse, has been performed across Northern Ireland and in Wales and London to mark the 30th Anniversary of the Miners’ Strike.

The play has gone down a storm with audiences, receiving standing ovations at every performance.

It tells the story of Sean who leaves Derry at the height of the Troubles. In 1980s London, he comes out as a gay man and becomes involved in the Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) group. 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 all of their lives.

The San Francisco opportunity occurred when Richard Giardina, a producer at NCTC was on holiday in Ireland and saw ‘Pits and Perverts’ in the Playhouse.

When he returned home he suggested to the Artistic Director, Ed Decker, that this would be a great play to open their new season with in September 2015.

Ed Decker contacted Patricia Byrne and Micheál Kerrigan last year and asked about staging it. After a few discussions and Skype meetings, a contract was signed and it was all systems go!

Micheál Kerrigan said: “This is an amazing opportunity to have the play staged in San Francisco in a well-known venue for five weeks.”

Patricia Byrne added: “It will be great exposure for the play. We’d like to thank the Arts Council of Northern Ireland for supporting the travel to the USA.”

Lizzie Devlin, Community Arts Officer at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: “Following on from the success of last year’s tour, we are pleased to continue our support by assisting Micheál and Patricia in bringing this landmark production to American audiences.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to provide a platform for our local writing talent and showcase Northern Ireland on the international stage. We wish them all the very best with this latest production.”

‘Pits and Perverts’ was developed through the Sole Purpose, LGBT Theatre Labs which are run twice a year. These innovative and groundbreaking workshops have been instrumental in providing opportunities for local LGBT writers to develop and improve their work.

The play has been renamed for its run in San Francisco, the new title is ‘For The Love Of Comrades’: this is because the production team at NCTC didn’t think that the word ‘pits’ would transfer well to the USA.

The casting has been completed and rehearsals are well under way.

Everyone who was involved in the development of the first production is very excited to see the play doing so well.

The opening night will be on 12th September.