“Northern Soul” season at Belfast’s Lyric Theatre features new plays from two of Ireland’s greatest living playwrights

New Executive Producer Jimmy Fay is wasting no time putting his stamp on next season’s programing at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast. Yesterday he announced “Northern Soul” for 2014-15, a season full of plays that relate to the North.

Among the lineup are new plays from Belfasters Owen McCafferty and Marie Jones, two of the most important (and funniest) Irish playwrights alive. Also featured will be a revival of Stewart Parker’s PENTECOST.

In recent years, as arts funding in the Republic has imploded, a lot of the most exciting theatre action on the island has been in Northern Ireland. So if you’re planning a theatre trip, do not miss a stop in Belfast (which locals affectionately refer to as “this shithole”).

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Owen McCafferty’s powerful play QUIETLY heads home to Belfast’s Lyric Theatre

The latest Irish play that you’ve never heard of (yet), by an Irish playwright you may have heard of, has been touring around Ireland lately. The Abbey’s successful 2012 production of QUIETLY by Owen McCafferty, a story about two men from opposite sides of Northern Ireland’s sectarian conflict and how a single act of violence in 1974 affected their lives, has been on a bit of a road show in the Republic. And now it’s time to bring it home to Belfast.

McCafferty is not a young gun from Belfast (he’s in his early 50s now). But he is still one of the leading lights of Northern Ireland playwriting. This muted, very relevant three character play will no doubt soon be popping up all over the US.

But for next week, McCafferty is getting ready for the hardest and smartest audience the play will probably ever have to handle – a home town crowd on the banks of the Lagan at Belfast’s stunning Lyric Theatre.

Here’s a current feature on McCafferty, and here’s another from 2008.

Lyric Theatre, Belfast.
All dressed up and lots of places to go. Lyric Theatre, Belfast.