This year Sole Purpose Productions celebrates TWENTY YEARS of creating ambitious theatre reflecting social issues. It has already been a year packed with high quality theatre which toured nationally as well as local based projects working directly with marginalised communities.
We were delighted with the success of Blinkered, written by Patricia Byrne and directed by Shauna Kelpie, with a stellar cast including Patrick McBrearty, Gemma Walker, Pat Lynch and Cathy Brennan Bradley. The play toured to fifteen venues throughout Ireland in February and March.
Also in February and March we ran The Marhaba Project which was coordinated by Jo Bird and Asem Sweidan. This project brought together artists from ethnic minorities including people from the recently arrived Syrian community. We ran workshops in Arabic singing and dancing which culminated in a brilliant evening of celebraton on 25th March, presenting for the first time the singer Mohamad Noor and his Band.
There was also an Arabic Cafe held on 11th March in the Nerve Centre where delicious Arabic food was prepared and served by our local Syrian community.
We were pleased to welcome co-founder of Sole Purpose Dave Duggan, who left the company in 2008 to focus on full time writing, as guest facilitator at a Special Theatre Lab on 11th March where writers of all levels were able to have their work acted out by professional actors under Dave's expert guidance.
Patricia is working in Seattle for three weeks in May /June where she will be working with Roosevelt High School on their Mental Health Awareness Programme, which came about as a direct result of the students seeing Blinkered last year while in Derry on an exchange trip as part of the Hands For A Bridge project. She will work with students examining the issues in the play and developing Scenes of Intervention which will be presented at an event on 2nd June. She will also meet with various venues and organisations in Seattle, and in New York, with a view to touring Blinkered in the US in 2018. This work is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland International Development for Organisations Award through the Lottery Fund.
In September we will launch the Sole Roots Theatre Lab Programme which will offer opportunities to people of different abilities to develop scripts and performance skills through workshops.
Next year will be 21 YEARS of Sole Purpose. We are hosting the Sole Purpose 21 Years Festival of Theatre for Social Change. Taking place in The Derry Playhouse, this will be a festival in February 2018 where people working in theatre for social issues across the UK and Ireland will come together for workshops, talks and performances including Red Ladder, Collective Encounters and Smashing Times.
We would like to thank everyone who has helped us in any way, large or small, over the last twenty years. Sole Purpose Productions has always gathered together talented, dedicated and creative people to produce memorable work both on the stage and behind the scenes. We are lucky to have such talent to call upon. We would also like to thank all our funders who have made the work possible throughout the years.
Here's a video to remind you of some of that work...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhG6Oe9RH-s