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Community Engagement

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 

1932 Shared Heritage Community Engagement

In July 2015, Green Shoot Production kicked off on its multi-faceted eighteen-month long community engagement programme 1932-Shared Heritage project engaging several community groups and participants by working with 20 young people from Bloomfield Community Association and North Queens Street, New Lodge Youth Club and New Lodge Arts in researching the story of 1932. The process involved visiting key archives in Belfast, undertaking a tailored and scripted tour developed by Sean Mitchell of key city centre sites relevant to the 1932 story e.g. Belfast shipyards, Belfast City Hospital where the Board of Guardians used of meet, Custom House steps and some of the streets in Belfast where workers gathered in protest. In December young people working with the support of Joe baker, Philip Orr and Olwyn Purdue presented a newspaper based exhibition and delivered an animated reading of “Reflections on Outdoor Relief’ to community workers, academics and playwrights in Queens’ University, Belfast.


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(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 theatreradio 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. 


Participant comments…


“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.


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

My English Tongue, My Irish Heart (2015)

Irish Migration - Creative writing programme


Community Engagement Project Irish Migration - Creative writing programme Creative writers in Belfast are taking part in a six-week creative writing workshop programme on Irish migration as part of a wider Ireland and UK project. A similar programme is taking place in Castlebar’s Linenhall Arts Centre and Manchester’s Irish World Heritage Centre. The Belfast workshops are being led by the experienced poet Moyra Donaldson*


Participants are exploring the theme of migration between Ireland and Britain, historically and in the present time; reflecting upon the meanings of journeys ‘across the water’, whether freely chosen or coerced.


Participant have received a copy of The Literature of the Irish in Britain, Autobiography and Memoir 1725 -2001 by Liam Harte (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009; paperback ed., 2011), a highly acclaimed book which shows that the ‘story’ of Irish migration to Britain has been narrated and imagined in a variety of ways. In addition, participants will receive a ticket to the Belfast performance of a play, My English Tongue, My Irish Heart, written and directed by the award-winning playwright Martin Lynch and produced by Green Shoot Productions, Belfast. The workshops, book and the play acting as
stimulus to the creative writing process.

Creative outputs which take any literary form e.g. memoir, prose fiction, poetry or drama) and it is the intention that (The University of Manchester) that an edited selection of these workshop outputs will be included in a volume to be published after the event, by Dr Liam Harte (The University of Manchester)

*Moyra Donaldson: Poet, creative writing facilitator and editor. Her latest collection of poetry The Goose Tree was published in June 2014 (Liberties Press, Dublin). Liberty Press also published Selected Poems (2012). Other collections include Snakeskin Stilettos, 1998, Beneath the Ice, 2001 and The Horse’s Nest 2006 (published by Lagan Press Belfast). The project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, which supports academic research in the UK.

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