By Conor O’Neill
In the 25th anniversary year of the Good Friday Agreement, The Lyric Theatre, as part of the Imagine! Belfast Festival 2023, presents a new political drama Agreement. The play will run from Saturday March 25th to Saturday April 22nd.
This major new play, commissioned by Michael Grandage Company (MGC), has been written by one of Belfast’s foremost playwrights Owen McCafferty and is directed by Charlotte Westerna. It examines the negotiations leading up to the Good Friday Agreement and weaves real drama out of this complex, momentous and landmark moment for Northern Ireland.
The clock is ticking, it’s April 1998 and the main political parties, the British government and the Irish government, all under the watchful eye of Senator George Mitchell, try to hammer out a deal that could lead a way to peace in Northern Ireland. Every word, every movement, every stare means something. This is the last chance saloon and no one is leaving until Agreement is reached one way or the other.
*Left to right: Rufus Wright, Owen McCafferty, Andrea Irvine, Patrick O’Kane, Richard Croxford, Ronan Leahy, Dan Gordon and Packy Lee*
The stage is set for this political masterpiece which includes a stellar cast line-up featuring Richard Croxford as Senator George Mitchell, Dan Gordon as John Hume, Andrea Irvine as Mo Mowlam, Robert Leahy as Bertie Ahern, Packy Lee as Gerry Adams, Patrick O’Kane as David Trimble and Rufus Wright as Tony Blair.
The Lyric will also be teaming up with Tenx9 to bring nine true stories on the theme ‘Agreement’ – as an echo of the new play by Owen McCafferty. Tenx9 is all about life stories by the people who lived them. It began in 2011 in Belfast.
Writer, Owen McCafferty suggested that while the play is set at a very specific moment, it is much more broadly about the process of negotiation. He added: “We all spend a good deal of our lives negotiating. It’s how we solve the problems that confront us in our relations with others. These negotiations always follow a certain pattern. A problem arises and we blame the other and they blame us.
“At this point a decision needs to be made. Do you continue to blame the other for the existence of the problem or do you realise you are part of the problem. The former leads to a breakdown in the relationship and the latter leads to negotiation – and the possibily of resolution.”
*Left to right: Jimmy Fay, Richard O’Kane, Andrea Irvine, Owen McCafferty, Charlotte Westerna and Packy Lee*
Chief producer of the Lyric, Jimmy Fay said: “The Lyric Theatre main stage is the perfect setting for this historically significant piece of work by Owen McCafferty and Charlotte Westerna. Over the past 25 years the Lyric has had its own part to play in the story of the Good Friday Agreement. It’s only fitting that Agreement premieres on The Lyric’s main stage. Agreement will be one of those productions that you will want to say that you were there to witness this historic theatrical moment.”
If you fancy a piece of the action then get booking now.
For dates, times and tickets visit http://www.lyrictheatre.co.uk or simply phone the box office on 02890 381081