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New play marks Community Relations Week

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Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council is supporting a new play about one of Irish history’s most turbulent times as part of Community Relations and Cultural Awareness Week 2016.

The Lantern, by award-winning playwright Jane Coyles, is set against the backdrop of the months leading up to the Easter Rising and is coming to Coleraine for one night only on Thursday, September 22.

Directed by Stephen Beggs, with an excellent cast of actors from Ireland and England, the drama was inspired by the real life discovery of a collection of World War I lantern slides in a Belfast church.

The play is set in Dublin in the months leading up to the Easter Rising. Wounded in body and spirit, Johnny McGrath returns from active service on the Western Front to a city he barely recognises. He discovers that he has inherited hundreds of glass lantern slides showing images of soldiers in action. He decides to put them on show, to tell the public the real story of the war.

In the process, he brings together two women from different social backgrounds, united by a single tragic event that unfolded in the heat of battle. As tension mounts on the streets, Johnny comes to realise that there is more to the photographs than meets the eye and that secrets can be hard to keep.

The evening will also include a professionally facilitated post-show audience discussion hosted by broadcaster and writer Padraig Coyle.

The Council’s Good Relations Officer Joy Wisener said: “Council is delighted to support this production as part of its Good Relations Programme and in celebration of Community Relations and Cultural Awareness Week. The play and the after-show discussion will provide an opportunity for audience members to understand differing viewpoints on this period in our history and to exchange views in a safe, non-judgmental forum. We hope that the experience will help to deepen participants’ awareness of their part in the shared history of this island and we would encourage people to take the opportunity to go and see The Lantern Man.”

Jacqueline Irwin, Chief Executive of the Community Relations Council said Community Relations & Cultural Awareness Week was set to be thought-provoking and varied: “It was Abraham Lincoln who said “the best way to predict the future is to create it” and Community Relations & Cultural Awareness Week is a reminder that we all have a part in creating what is yet to be. “We can all help to build the future and possibly make the difference to how positive it is. This year’s programme is a wonderful mix of events including serious and focussed forums and initiatives celebrating culture and heritage as well as inviting a deeper understanding and appreciation of our differences.”

Details of all events across Northern Ireland can be found at www.nicrc.org.uk. The performance on September 22nd in the Riverside Theatre begins at 8pm and will last for approximately 75 minutes with no interval. Audience members are encouraged to stay for the discussion afterwards.

Tickets are on sale now from the Riverside Theatre, priced at £15 or £13 concession (age 65+). Telephone number 028 7012 3123. This project has received financial support from The Executive Office

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