Film Festival premiere for ‘McLaughlins 100’

Gary Crossan and Sorcha Shanahan perform the clock scene from 'McLaughlins 100'.
Gary Crossan and Sorcha Shanahan perform the clock scene from 'McLaughlins 100'.

A film of Dave Duggan’s ‘McLaughlins 100’ play is to premiere at Foyle Film Festival.

The charming site-specific theatre piece was commissioned earlier this year to celebrate the centenary of the family-owned business in Derry’s William Street. It played out to a full house within the local hardware shop itself.

Produced by Fiona McGonagle from the Bluebell Arts Project, Duggan’s ‘McLaughlins 100’ ran in July 25 and brought to life some ancestors of the McLaughlin family. The story dramatises incidents and stories from the 100 years of the family business through the all-seeing magic eye of Red Maisie, who presents the future to James McLaughlin on his first day in his new business. With an audience of just 20 people filling the aisles of the hardware shop for each performance, there were many who missed the opportunity to see this unique insight into local history. With this in mind, writer Dave Duggan had the vision to employ a film crew to capture this thought-provoking, funny and, at times, emotional slice of theatre on film. As Dave says: “It’s a way of reaching a wider audience than the live show could.”

On Thursday, November 21, at 6pm sharp, the film of ‘McLaughlins 100’ will premiere at Derry’s Nerve Centre as part of this year’s Foyle Film Festival. The McLaughlin family are even bringing a birthday cake to mark the occasion!

Speaking to the ‘Journal’, Seamus McLaughlin - one of the three Mclaughlin brothers to inherit the family business - told of the family’s pride at being portrayed first in theatre, and now on the big screen.

“We’re all really looking forward to this - it’s just brilliant that the Foyle Film Festival are showing it,” says Seamus. “So many people didn’t get a chance to see it when it was in the shop, so this is a way to please them. It’s a great way to end our 100th birthday celebrations. We’ll be having a bit of a party on the night, with tea and a big birthday cake saying 100 years for everyone who comes to the screening.”

“We do intend to produce a DVD of the film too, something that we can actually give away to customers in the shop, because so many people have asked about it since.and it would be nice to have for Christmas.”

Of the play itself, Seamus adds: “It was pretty emotional for us - it had everything in it. Dave Duggan did a fantastic job.

Within the hardware shop itself, centenary celebrations are continuing.

“We’ve got an exhibition upstairs in the shop that we’ve put together ourselves, filled with artifacts and old furniture and things that we have sold at one time or another. That’s going really well, and we have people coming in steadily to see it. To be honest, we’ve been a bit overwhelmed at just how interested people are. It’s been great to hear people sharing their own stories of the shop too. One woman told us about a huge soup pot she’d bought her mum when she was just 14 years-old - and she [the daughter] is 82 now and still has it!”

Starring Gary Crossan, Sorcha Shanahan, Pól McLoone, Ruairí Friel and extras from Bluebell Arts Project, the ‘McLaughlins 100’ project is supported by Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Come see actors and audiences fill McLaughlins aisles with stories and songs that animate the passing of a century.