Chatting to the director of 1984 ahead of Bruiser Theatre’s coproduction with Lyric Theatre (from 18 April to 16 May)

Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan’s Olivier Award-nominated stage adaptation of the classic novel is coming to the stage of the Lyric Theatre in April. “Fantastic, bold, immersive and very clever” is how Bruiser Theatre Company’s director Lisa May described the script when I sat down to talk with her last week. “This production really shakes you up, it’s not easy viewing,” says May. “I want the audience to feel that discomfort … This adaptation is so clever that it turns the cameras back on us and suggests we are complacent in this, that we should take responsibility for what we put online and how we choose to live our lives.”

Behind the scenes of Spotlight on The Troubles: Willie Frazer, Alan Oliver, Patrick Ryan, and ongoing questions about ‘The Secret War’ film (Thu 9pm on BBC One NI)

At a screening of the behind-the-scenes companion show about the making of Spotlight on The Troubles (to be broadcast next week on Thursday at 9pm after the final extended episode airs on Tuesday at 8.30pm), Mandy McAuley explained her shock when victims’ campaigner Willie Frazer – with whom she had worked while making programmes about victims for two decades – admitted to his role in the distribution of weapons to loyalist paramilitaries. Further questions about the making and suppression of US film The Secret War that captured footage of the IRA at work, and the painstaking efforts to line up interviews and tie down evidence is explained.

The Alternative – what if Ireland was still part of the UK and an in/out referendum was to be held tomorrow? (Lyric Theatre from 8 October)

Speaking to The Alternative’s co-writer Michael Patrick about new counterfactual play The Alternative – Fishamble’s winning A Play For Ireland – which is set in an Ireland that is still part of the United Kingdom, but on the eve of an in/out referendum. Live from the studios of BBC Dublin, it’s the final leaders’ debate the night before the poll … In the Lyric Theatre from 8-13 October.

Michelle & Arlene – a fine foemance on a satirical trip away (24-26 August)

NEW DRAMA by Rosemary Jenkinson taking a satirical look at the state of local politics. Pantomime, pantyhose, and politics in this fictional imagining of two leaders who keep bumping into each other on Ibiza. “In spite of their initial hostility, it’s almost as if they are fated to be closer than they ever thought possible!” (Accidental Theatre, 24-26 August)

Cross Currents in British & Irish Working Class Life: a day of talks, debate, performance & song #workingclasslife

A research group at the Institute for Collaborative Research in the Humanities at QUB has spent a year organising public-academic engagements posing and interrogating new research questions relating to working class history, politics, culture, literature and music. They’ve been asking … How has working-class life been created in Northern Ireland’s imagined and material worlds? Have the commonalities of class, across sectarian lines, been distorted, or indeed effaced, by the perennial focus on national division in NI politics? How can we …

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Dave Duggan’s DENIZEN – a dissident republican addresses the court – drama performed in an actual courtroom

The word ‘denizen’ conjures up the notion of a citizen, yet perhaps one with fewer rights or living somewhere that isn’t home. It’s also the title of Dave Duggan’s new play, a courtroom drama written in verse which opens in the north west this weekend and will be performed in two courthouses. Interviewed last week, the playwright told me: The conceit in the play is that the judges have given Denizen an hour to speak to the court of public …

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SDLP Conference Preview

Margaret Ritchie SDLP leadership campaign promotional poster - with the ink running in the Newcastle rain

I’ve found my thick pack of papers from February’s SDLP conference in the Slieve Donard Hotel in Newcastle and the memories are flooding back. Right in the heart of Margaret Ritchie’s rain-swept South Down constituency, she wrestled the leadership of the party from the clutches of Alasdair McDonnell. Lamp posts were adorned with water-damaged posters. Inside the hotel, there was the air of an Ideal Home Exhibition with badges and stickers being handed out everywhere you went. … the candidates’ …

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