Hunger Strike play set for Armagh

Newry Times News Posted by
Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Former Armagh blanket men pictured at the ‘1981’ launch: Paddy Quinn, Seanie McGerrigan, Freddie Toal and Paddy Murphy along with Sinn Féin councillor Cathy Rafferty.

A stage play recounting the inside story of the 1981 blanket protest and hunger strike in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh will be making its way to Armagh on Friday 23rd March for its debut city performance. The play, which was written, performed and produced by well-known Belfast actor Tony Devlin completed its first successful sell out tour across Ireland during 2010 and a full house is anticipated for the performance in the Pearse Og’s Social Club.

The play charts the individual stories of each of the ten Republican prisoners, their capture, prison experience and ultimate deaths on hunger strike, combining the drama with music and song in a dignified and fitting tribute to the H-Block blanket men. Its author Tony Devlin is a recognised and accomplished actor, known across Ireland in particular for his regular television appearances on TG4.

Organiser of the event Freddie Toal, a former H-Block blanket man and Sinn Féin activist said, “We are delighted to be hosting a performance of the stage drama, ‘1981’. I watched the play during its previous tour and was extremely keen on it being performed in Armagh City. The play in my opinion is a most powerful, emotional and telling account of the hunger strike period, told in a way which almost brings to life the struggle of the H-Blocks. I would particularly encourage our young people, and those keen on learning more about that period of Irish History to attend the event.”

Sinn Féin councillor, Cathy Rafferty added, “The people of Armagh City and beyond played an important role during the H-Block protest period, whether it was trying to publicise the prison protest, organising collections or holding rallies so I have no doubt that there will be a keen interest and would therefore encourage people to get their tickets early. Popular Irish Folk group Paddywagon will perform at 10.30pm after the play, so it certainly will be a night not to be missed.”

The play ‘1981’ will be performed in the Pearse Og’s Social Club, Armagh on Friday 23th March at 8.00pm sharp. Tickets are £10 and a limited number are still available from the Sinn Féin Office, Armagh. For further information call 02837511797.

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