Green Shoot Production’s community engagement approach is one which engages community participants in a variety of ways. The programmes are tailored to the participants and GSP’s programme of productions. It is the aim of Green Shoot Productions that this work creates impacts over and go beyond any theatre production.
1932 - The People of Gallagher Street (2016)
GSP In The Community
Green Shoot Production’s community engagement approach is one which engages community participants in a variety of ways. The programmes are tailored to the participants and GSP’s programme of productions. It is the aim of Green Shoot Productions that this work creates impacts over and go beyond any theatre production
1932 - The People of Gallagher Street
(Research programme with QUB).
We imagined what it would be like to try to live on the small amount of money that you got on Outdoor relief.
For example,12 shillings for a man, woman and child.
We thought that might be the equivalent of 60 pence today
And we wondered how a family could cope…..
So we asked the question -
What would happen if you needed money for an emergency?
Your little girl has taken ill with bronchitis and you need the doctor But the doctor costs 16 pennies!
What will you do?
Extract from ‘Reflections on Outdoor Relief’ by Philip Orr (2015).
Some of the youth participant’s perceptions of 1932 …
“Feeding your family was a luxury”.
“It makes me more appreciative of the comforts and belongings I have”.
Having commissioned Gary Mitchell and Martin Lynch to work collaboratively writing a new play 1932-The People of Gallagher Street, Green Shoot Productions at the start of this year delivered ten structured creating writing classes in Duncairn Centre of Culture and Art and Strand Arts Centre. 42 Participants gleaned insights from the playwrights’ different experiences of playwriting theatre, radio and TV as well as consider practical examples of community stories they wished to write for stage. Being the entertainers these two big-name playwrights are – the places for these workshops were booked out practically overnight.
“The one thing I have learnt is that you can tell a big story and you can do that with limited resources”
“Thinking about how (my short stories) translate on stage has been a wonderful mind exercise”.
In 2016, GSP engaged Maggie Cronin to write a short theatre piece drawing on primary source materials including Letters and Speeches (gathered by Sean Mitchel) and to engage a cross-community group of young people in a theatre skills programme, again working with young people both new to and more experienced in theatre. This resulted in a public performance of “Ten Days that shook Belfast” (By Maggie Cronin) on 20th June 2016 in Linen hall Library followed by a discussion on ‘why 1932?’
The community theatre programme helped GSP identity community actors for a further and final workshop and rehearsal programme in Sept 2016 and a new casting process in the summer of 2016 – has resulted in the community cast of the world premiere of 1932-The People of Gallagher Street The commitment of our ‘1932’ community cast has been outstanding, with remarkable dedication shown to such an intensive workshop programme. This programme developed awareness of key figures in 1932, taking time to develop an awareness of the social conditions and politics of the time and within a cross-community context explore individuals own connections and responses to 1932.
Meanwhile, a Public Talk Series was held in the Linen Hall Library in April May and June 2016 created opportunities for public audiences to come along, develop greater awareness of the historical context and political relevance and to hear and discover more about the artistic representations of 1932.
The final element of the 1932 Shared Heritage is the Outdoor Relief Workers Strike: A Shared Heritage Exhibition and Online Resource bringing together historical photographs, research and newspaper articles, literary and theatre work, and ideas for learning activities and further reading. www.belfast1932.org
Green Shoot Productions would like to thank all the participants for their contributions to the conversations about 1932 over the past 18 months. Sincere thanks to all leaders, contributors and facilitators including: Dr Olwen Purdue, Prof Tony Gallagher QUB, Sean Mitchell, Joe Baker, Philip Orr, Anne Delaney Karen Purdy, Elaine and Kerri-Leigh, Brian Kelly, Dawn Purvis, Kellie Turtle, Alice McCullough, Maurice Leyden, Gerard Jordan , Ciaran Nolan, John Gray, Bill Rolston, Eamonn McCann, Maggie Cronin, Colm Doran, Gary Mitchell, Bryonie Reid, Gemma Reid ( Collective). Thanks also to all our venue partners Strand Arts Centre Duncairn Centre for Culture and Arts, Linenhall Library, QUB, Bloomfield Community Association, The Glenravel Project, Central Library and the Mac. And not least our funders. A special thanks to Ulster Garden Villages as the first funder to come on Board, ACNI who supported the commissioning, programme delivery and the production, Belfast City Council, Heritage Lottery Fund for funding several strands including the Public Talks and Exhibition, Department for the Communities, Halifax for supporting youth engagement and the Community Relations Council, and BCC Good Relations Department for enabling greater cross-community engagement and use of shared spaces.
Text and Images by Ruth Gonsalves Moore Project Manager