time: 9.30pm, cost: FREE, venue: The Derry Playhouse

Join us for a debate on the significance of theatre for social change in today’s current climate. The debate will be chaired by Dave Duggan with a panel including Patricia Byrne (Sole Purpose), Mary Moynihan (Smashing Times), Rod Dixon (Red Ladder), Sarah Thornton (Collective Encounters) and Niamh Flanagan (Theatre NI).



Patricia Byrne

Artistic Director of Sole Purpose Productions 

Patricia is a producer, director, writer and co-founder of Sole Purpose. She has written seven plays for Sole PurposeProductions including the most recent Blinkered which toured Ireland in early 2017 to great acclaim. Her play, Don’t Say A Word, was nominated for an Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2008. She was awarded the Noel Walsh Freedom Award in 2012 for making a significant contribution to LGBT rights through theatre. She has produced and managed many productions which have toured extensively throughout Ireland and the UK and has staged work in the USA. 


Dave Duggan

Co-founder of Sole Purpose Productions, Co-Artistic Director 1997 – 2008

Dave Duggan is a dramatist and novelist, writing in English and in Irish. His most recent stage plays are: DENIZEN (CE, 2015), which toured court-houses and MAKARONIK (Aisling Ghe?ar, 2014), which toured Ireland. Guildhall Press publish his novels, The Greening of Larry Mahon (2004) and A Sudden Sun, (Guildhall Press, 2012). They also published the play text, DENIZEN, in 2014. His film and on-line work includes the Oscar nominated Dance Lexie Dance (Raw Nerve Productions, 1996). His political comedy, Comhairleoiri?, went on-line for BBC in 2011. He wrote the pilot episode for Na Deich nAitheanta (Ulysses Films, 2010).



Mary Moynihan

Artistic Director of Smashing Times Theatre Company

Mary is a founding member and current Artistic Director of Smashing Times Theatre Company. Mary’s theatre work takes place in both professional and non-traditional theatre spaces. She is interested in intra-art collaborative practices and is the author of four new drama workshop models to promote anti-racism, anti-sectarianism, human rights and gender equality and storytelling to promote reconciliation. She has also co-designed theatre models called Acting for the Future, a project that uses theatre to promote positive mental health and suicide prevention run by Smashing Times in partnership with the Samaritans and the Irish Association of Suicidology. 


Rod Dixon

Artistic Director of Red Ladder Theatre Company

Rod became Artistic Director of Red Ladder Theatre Company in 2006, following his role as associate director at the Barbican Theatre in Plymouth. He also ran The Hub Theatre School in Cornwall and was an actor with several companies including Kneehigh Theatre. Directing credits for Red Ladder include Where’s Vietnam?, Forgotten Things, Riot, Rebellion & Bloody Insurrection, Ugly, Sex & Docks & Rock ‘N’ Roll, Big Society! and Promised Land. Rod is both a life-long Liverpool supporter and a believer in Proudhon’s principles of anarchy – the two might be connected. 


Sarah Thornton

Artistic Director of Collective Encounters

Sarah is founding Artistic Director of Collective Encounters, a professional arts organisation specialising in Theatre for Social Change. Sarah established the company in 2004 as a practice-as-research initiative whilst she was a theatre lecturer at Liverpool Hope University. Her research aimed to explore theatre’s potential as a tool for personal and political change, and to find its immediacy in the Twenty-First Century. Within two years demand for the work led to Collective Encounters becoming a full time concern. The company now has a deep-rooted participatory programme across the North West of England and an excellent reputation nationally and internationally.


Niamh Flanagan

Theatre NI

Niamh is the Executive Director of Theatre NI and has worked in the arts sector for over 20 years in a variety of different roles. Theatre NI is the representative body to support and develop theatre and the performing arts for all in Northern Ireland. Theatre NI aims to create a vibrant, healthy theatre sector by supporting its members and wider sector to encourage participation in theatre and performing arts. A key priority is ensuring the accessibility of theatre throughout the human lifecycle.


Bringing professional theatre to communities

Sole Purpose is a company limited by guarantee, registration number NI37481 and is recognised by the Inland Revenue as a charity, reference number NIC100618