New cast unveiled for Dave Duggan play

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The cast has been unveiled for a new touring production of acclaimed play Still, The Blackbird Sings this September.

A script in hand version of the Dave Duggan play is being developed by Creggan Enterprises and will form a part of Rath Mor’s 25th anniversary celebrations.

First produced by The Playhouse in 2010, Still, the Blackbird Sings tells the story of poet-soldier Francis Ledwidge who was at Ebrington Barracks in late 1916 in the aftermath of The Easter Rising and The Battle of the Somme.

Gary Crossan joins a cast including Sharon Duffy, Francis Harkin, John Mulkeen and Andrew Porter.

“I’m delighted to be back working on another Dave Duggan play, produced in Creggan,” said Gary.

“It was thrilling to be in DENIZEN in court-houses last year and before that in McLaughlin’s hardware shop.

“There’s always something innovative with Dave and it’s part of a good mix for me after work in the Abbey and the Lyric. And always good to be working at home too.”

The five actors form a squad of Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers in 1916. Having just returned from war in the East, tensions grow amongst the group following the Easter Rising and the Battle of the Somme.

Their Lance Corporal and leader is Francis Ledwidge, who writes love poems and lyrical verses while wondering if he’s made the right choices.

When the lists start going up at Ebrington Barracks for a new campaign in France, tensions boil over as war beckons once more.

Producer Conal McFeely from Creggan Enterprises said: “This tour is a major part of Rath Mor’s celebration of 25 years as a social enterprise in Creggan, reaching across the city and district.

“We’re always using art and imagination as part of our wider social mission. Putting the show on in Irish Street, The Fountain and Galliagh as well as in Rath Mor is terrific.”

The production will tour to community venues across the city during September, including: September 12, 12pm: Eglinton Community Centre, and 8pm: Ollie’s Cafe (Ebrington Square); September 13, 7:30pm: Irish Street Community Centre; September 14, 8pm: New Gate Arts Centre (Hawkin Street); September 15, 8pm: Studio 2, Skeogh Industrial Park; September 16, 4pm: Royal British Legion Marquee (Ebrington Square), and 8pm: The Hive (Rath Mor Centre)

Writer and Director, Dave Duggan, said: “Our Production Manager, Jonathan Burgess, has played a blinder in putting this tour together.

“We open in Eglinton and close in Creggan. We’re in the new arts centre in the Fountain, the great Studio 2 space in Galliagh and in Ebrington Square twice.”

The production is supported by The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Derry City and Strabane District Council and by the Heritage Lottery Fund through the Nerve Centre’s Creative Centenaries project.

All performances are free to attend.