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Sole Purpose Productions bringing professional theatre to communities

Annual Report 2011/12

Sole Purpose Productions is a professional theatre company that exists to use the discourse of imagination to investigate and illuminate social and pubic issues. We aim to produce new theatre that contributes to social change, explores the dynamics of human relationships and promotes good relations. We bring art to the heart of the social, economic and creative life of communities locally, nationally and internationally. We bring professional theatre on contemporary and relevant issues to working class and marginalised communities as well as mainstream theatre audiences. We value imagination, creativity, participation, access and inclusion. We aim to engage in cultural production in the widest sense, continually expanding our artistic horizons.

Introduction from Catherine Ming, Chairperson

It seems like only yesterday since I was writing the introduction for the 2010/11 report, how fast this year has gone and how much work Sole Purpose has managed to squeeze into it! Not one, or two but three new productions in one year - Galatea by Lawrence Aronovitch in August - a wonderful achievement for all concerned, especially the amateur actors who worked so hard to produce such professional performances on the night. In November, A Wee Taste by Patricia Byrne toured to 12 schools and was performed to sell out audiences in The Playhouse and in The Ardhowen Theatre, Enniskillen. This play was hard hitting and made not just the young audience members think about their drinking, but also their parents! This was followed in March by Every Move You Make also by Patricia Byrne, a play also for young people on the subject of relationship abuse which toured to six schools and once again was performed in The Playhouse and in The Ardhowen Theatre, Enniskillen. Theatre Lab has gone from strength to strength with the development of the new individual full script lab. We were delighted to have Zoe Seaton from Big Telly Theatre Company and Margo Harkin from Besom Productions facilitating the two inaugural full script workshops. Over the past three years I have watched Sole Purpose continuously aim high and achieve a level of quality and professionalism that is second to none. I now feel it is time for me to hand over the reigns to the eminently capable Maoliosa Boyle. I would like to thank everyone involved with Sole Purpose, Patricia and Nicola and all my fellow Board members. I would also like to thank all the funders who have made the wonderful work that Sole Purpose do, possible. Long may it continue,

Report from Jim Doherty, Treasurer

One look at the packed programme for 2011/12 shows just how busy Sole Purpose have been. However they have been just as busy behind the scenes in what has been a crucial year for all Arts Organisations. In November 2011, a hefty application was submitted to the Arts Council for Multi Annual Funding which would cover the next three years. This application was accompanied by a comprehensive three year Corporate Plan and a one year Business Plan outlining the direction the company would like to take over the next few years. I am delighted to say that this application has been successful. Many congratulations are due to Patricia and Nicola for all their sterling work in getting the application and Business plans ready, not an easy task! 2011/12 also saw an increase in funding from trusts and foundations, a source that is becoming ever more important to organisations like Sole Purpose. I would like to thank The Drink Aware Trust, the Trusthouse Foundation and the Garfield Weston Foundation for their support for A Wee Taste and Every Move You Make. So it is with a positive outlook that we head into the next year and all that it may hold. I would like to thank the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Derry City Council for their continued support. I would also like to wish Catherine well and thank her for all her support to myself and the other Board members over the past three years, 3


Who we are Patricia Byrne is the Artistic Director of Sole Purpose Productions. She co-founded the company in 1997 with Dave Duggan and has continued as Artistic Director since Dave's departure in 2008. The company was set up to use theatre as a tool to raise awareness of social and public issues in a way that is accessible and relevant to communities in Northern Ireland and beyond. Patricia aims to produce work to high artistic standards and to bring professional theatre to marginalised and hard to reach communities. Her one woman play, Don't Say A Word, directed by Shauna Kelpie, has been touring Ireland for eight years. It was nominated for an Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2008. Patricia recently received The Noel Walsh Freedom Award from The Rainbow Project for making a significant contribution to LGBT rights, furthering the equality agenda, building confidence and personal and professional development of LGBT people through her theatre work.

Nicola Schnurr

is the Administrator of Sole Purpose Productions. Nicola has been working in the arts since 1994, firstly in Edinburgh where she worked for the Scottish International Children’s Festival. On returning to Northern Ireland in 1999 she worked with various arts organisations including the Foyle Film Festival and the Verbal Arts Centre before joining Sole Purpose Productions in 2008.

Board of Directors Maoliosa Boyle - Chairperson

Maoliosa is the Manager of the Void Gallery in Derry Londonderry and has a wealth of experience in running and managing a successful ar ts organisation. She has exhibited her own work extensively in group and solo shows in Ireland and further afield and has created stage installations for contemporary dance and theatre productions.

Jim Doherty - Secretary

Jim has a background in ‘live arts’ and worked at the ICA London for 12 years. He has interests in the arts, international politics, peace agreements and reconciliation. Since 2005 he has coordinated the political and historical programme at the Gasyard Feile, Derry’s biggest community arts festival. He has worked with the Foyle Film Festival and Foyle Pride.

Pauline McClenaghan - Treasurer

Pauline is the Executive Director of the Lifestart Foundation. She has presented papers and spoken at conferences on social inclusion, education and learning and she is particularly interested in how theatre can be used to address social issues.


We would like to take this opportunity to thank Catherine Ming who is stepping down from the Board after three years as Chairperson. Catherine, Marketing Officer with the Millennium Forum, has been a g reat suppor t to Sole Purpose Productions and we wish her well in all her future endeavours. James King is also stepping down from the Board after two years in the role as Vice Chair. James, a performance ar tist, was also a g reat support to the Company and we would like to thank him for everything he has done for the Board and for Sole Purpose.


GEORGE ROW is a photographer and website developer. He provides ongoing technical support and advice for all Sole Purpose Production's computer needs.

MICHEÁL KERRIGAN played Georgie in Galatea. A gay activist, Socialist and member of the anti war coalition, Micheál is also writing his first play.

ABBY OLIVEIRA is a writer and performance poet with The Poetry Chicks and an accomplished actress. She has performed in many productions for Sole Purpose and also in Theatre Labs.

HANNA SLATTNE is the Dramaturg with Tinderbox Theatre Company where she runs the dramaturgy strand of the company's activities. She was the facilitator for Theatre Lab 19.

NICKY HARLEY is a drama facilitator, director and actress. She directed Every Move You Make and has been an actor in Theatre Labs.

ALEX WILSON played the part of Freddie in Galatea. He has also acted in Theatre Labs and was the Assistant Stage Manager for A Wee Taste.

HELEN QUIGLEY is a highly talented costume maker and set dresser. She worked on costumes for Galatea, A Wee Taste and Every Move You Make

ANNE CRILLY is a writer and director of the award winning short film Limbo and lectures at the University of Ulster. She has facilitated many Theatre Labs for Sole Purpose.

JACK QUINN appeared in Big Telly's stage production of Spike Milligan's Puckoon. He has been an actor in Theatre Labs and See No Evil for Sole Purpose.

ANNE MARIE L ANGAN has worked as a technician with An Grianán Theatre in Letterkenny and at The Playhouse. She worked on sound and light for Every Move You Make.

JOE CONNOLLY is an artist and set designer. He designed the set for Galatea and A Wee Taste.

CAHAL O’SULLIVAN is a volunteer for The Rainbow Project. He was the volunteer Assistant Stage Manager for Galatea. CARMEL McCAFFERTY is an actress with numerous credits on stage, screen and radio. She played Kate in A Wee Taste. DAMIAN FRIEL won the coveted role of Mr Gay Derry in 2011. He played the role of Eli in Galatea and has also acted in Theatre Labs. DEBBIE CAULFIELD is a writer and performer. She was stage manager for Galatea, A Wee Taste and Every Move You Make. She also facilitated the workshops for A Wee Taste. FRANK RAFFERTY performs as one half of the duo Ivory Cutlery, dedicated to the work of Ivor Cutler. He played the role of Harry in Galatea. GEMMA WALKER is an actress. She played the role of Jenni in A Wee Taste and Every Move You Make. She has also been an actor in Theatre Labs.

KIERAN FERRIS is a talented graphic designer based in the Void Gallery. He designed the print for Galatea, A Wee Taste and Every Move You Make KIERAN GRIFFITHS is an actor, writer, producer and director. He has been employed as an actor on our Theatre Labs. LAWRENCE ARONOVITCH is a Canadian writer and was Artistic Director of Toto Too Theatre in Ottawa. Lawrence is the writer of Galatea. LENNY NELSON is a musician, technician and set builder. He constructed the set for A Wee Taste. MARGO HARKIN is a well known film-maker who runs Besom Productions. She facilitated our first ever Theatre Lab for screenwriting. MARTIN McDONALD is a vastly experienced lighting designer and technician. He worked on light and sound for Galatea, A Wee Taste and Every Move You Make.

PETER McDONALD is the Theatre Manager of The Playhouse. He sources sound effects for many productions for Sole Purpose. SHAUNA KELPIE has a wealth of experience in theatre and film. She was the director for A Wee Taste and has directed many previous productions for Sole Purpose. ZOE SEATON is the Artistic Director of Big Telly Theatre Company. She facilitated our first ever individual Theatre Lab for a full length stage play. Conor Barr, Gabrielle Hyland and Francis Harkin have all been actors in our Theatre Labs.. RAINBOW PROJECT VOLUNTEERS who helped with the production of Galatea both during rehearsals and on the night - Adam Fox, Conor Irwin, Emmet Wilson, Kareena Harkin, Kevin Murray, Peter Malone and Seana Hampstead.

New Productions


has been a very busy year for Sole Purpose Productions with not one, not two but three new productions! First up in August 2011 was Galatea by Canadian writer Lawrence Aronovitch. This lively yet poignant study of gay relationships proved to be huge hit when it was performed in The Playhouse during Foyle Gay Pride. In November 2011, we toured A Wee Taste, by Patricia Byrne. This hard hitting play was aimed at young people and their parents and examined the issue of underage drinking. It was accompanied by workshops in the schools. In March 2012, we produced Every Move You Make, also by Patricia Byrne, which was again aimed at a youth audience. It looked at relationship abuse among young people and was a reworking of the highly successful Don’t Say A Word. This production toured schools throughout the North West and also to The Playhouse and t The Ardhowen Theatre in Enniskillen.


A modern day Pygmalion On the night of 23rd August 2011, cheers could be heard resounding from The Playhouse Theatre as the audience rose to their feet following the performance of Galatea by Lawrence Aronovitch. This highly entertaining play, produced by Sole Purpose Productions in association with The Rainbow Project takes a fresh look at the Pygmalion legend from a gay perspective. The story focuses on two gay couples. One couple are older, intellectual, academic and artistic and the other couple are young and working class. The play explores the dynamics of their relationships and touches on themes such as love, loyalty, infidelity, marriage, class and art. Sole Purpose worked very closely with The Rainbow Project on the production of Galatea. We recruited actors and some production team from their membership, who all worked on a voluntary basis. The four actors had very little, or no, experience of acting and worked extremely hard to learn the lengthy script. They attended many months of rehearsals, fitting them in around their day jobs. The actors were Micheรกl Kerrigan, Frank Rafferty, Damian Friel and Alex Wilson.

Funded by Derry City Council Good Relations Department, Galatea was staged in The Playhouse at the beginning of Foyle Pride week. Demand for tickets was very high and the performance was a sell out. Volunteers from The Rainbow Project helped out as front of house on the night. Young people from Headliners conducted interviews with the cast and vox pops with the audiences. The performance was followed by a lively question and answer session with the writer and actors. 8

“It was a charming production that punched below in a light hearted style. The ironic humour of the writing was greatly enhanced by light touch directing and the fact that we could sense resonance between the play and the 'lived lives' of the people acting it. I loved its exuberance and haven't laughed so much for a long time. And so I didn't even expect the punch until it hit me.” Jim Keys, Producer, Gaslight Productions. “The production was very professionally run, There was a committed cast and team. It was exceptionally empowering for all concerned. Really challenging and ultimately successful.” David McCartney, Manager, Foyle Centre Rainbow Project. “Derry City Council were delighted to have worked in partnership with Sole Purpose Productions on Galatea. This was a very successful, high quality production which will hopefully be brought to other areas of Northern Ireland in the future.” Angela Askin, Derry City Council.










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A play on underage drinking Written by Patricia Byrne, A Wee Taste tells the story of Jenni, a 13 year old, who wants to be like everyone else. Her mother notices a change in Jenni’s behaviour but is powerless to do anything about it - a glass of wine helps. Gradually Jenni is led into a web of deception, lies and trouble, until one evening tragedy strikes. Featuring gripping performances by Gemma Walker and Carmel McCafferty, A Wee Taste was directed by Shauna Kelpie. This hard hitting drama toured to 12 schools in the North West in November 2011, as well as performances in The Playhouse and The Ardhowen Theatre, reaching 2490 people in total. It was accompanied by workshops run by Community Direct and facilitated by Debbie Caulfield. The play was a huge success, especially among the 2146 young people who saw it. Responses from teachers and pupils demonstrated just how deeply they had been affected by the performance and also by the insight gained in the workshops. Demand was such that we will be performing the play specifically for parents in 2012. swer u didn't an o Y ! SCENE 14 u o y r fo ow ht waiting dit cos I kn half the nig had no cre p u u o y n e e e m b ll e te KATE  I'v that alley? , and don't drinking in of my texts g y n in a o d u o y hat were you did! W yway. business an r u o y f o e n no e craic. It's st havin' th u  J   I ess to know N N E J 's my busin It r. e th o m . I'm your my business is It e!     E T A K   all the tim re you are e h w t I like. can do wha I . re o m y n not a kid a JENNI    I'm e drunk. can't! You'r u o y o N     KATE JENNI    So

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A Wee Taste was written in consultation with The Northlands Centre, Divert, The Drink Think Project and Community Direct. It was funded by Derry City Council, Derry Community Safety Partnership and the Drink Aware Trust. “Using DRAMA to raise issues relating to teenagers is so important. This wasn’t teachers ‘banging on about drinking’. The play removed the ‘authority’ label, brought it down to everyone’s level, raised the issues and the workshops were absolutely vital to drive the message home in a relaxed way. Absolutely fabulous!” Judith Norris, Head of Drama, Lisneal College 10

“It makes you realise that you don't need to drink to have a good time. The play made me think that drinking can have bad consequences and it’s not worth it.” Pupil, 13 - Loreto College, Omagh

“This happens in real life” Pupil, 15 - St Cecilia’s College Derry

“An outstanding per for mance which was thoroughly enjoyed by all in the audience. The script and performance struck home with the children in a way that was entertaining, educational and above all believable. Schools need more work of this quality!” Damien Clarke, St Patrick's College, Maghera “It definitely made me think about my own drinking.” A parent “The play has made me think ... might not drink no more” Pupil, 13 - Oakgrove Integrated College


A portrayal of young people and relationship abuse Every Move You Make, written by Patricia Byrne, looks at the increasing problem of relationship abuse among teenagers. It continues the story of Jenni from A Wee Taste as she plans her 16th birthday. Her new boyfriend will be there. He is so sweet, he really cares for her, that's why he is always checking her texts and calling her up, he just wants to know she is safe, doesn't he? But will Jenni stay safe? Can she distinguish between being caring and being controlling? Directed by Nicky Harley, Every Move You Make is a one woman show with Gemma Walker giving a compelling performance as Jenni. Developed in consultation with NSPCC and Youth Action NI Safe and Sound Project, the play is a reworking for a younger audience of Sole Purpose Production's highly successful play on domestic violence, Don't Say A Word, which has been touring constantly for eight years and was nominated for an Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2008.


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“This has greatly helped us with our personal development work. As part of the the curriculum we look at factors that contribute to a healthy relationship. This will help pupils cope with the emotions involved.” Fionnvola McCaul, St Josephs Boys School “A fantastic production that deals professionally and sensitively with serious social issues. Well done!” Mary-Claire McDaid, St Ciaran's College, Ballygawley “This production has been a success. Domestic Violence does not play a big enough role in PSE/ Pastoral Prog rammes in schools -but this production has helped raise awareness of this vital issue” Michael Quigley, Pastoral Manager, St Peters High School

“I learned to say ‘no’ if you are in a situation that you don't want to be in” Pupil, Lisneal College

“I learned that girls are not all like Rihanna” Pupil, Lisneal College

Theatre Lab Our scriptwriting workshops continue to go from strength to strength and this year we introduced a new individual lab which focusses on one writer’s full length script. Zoe Seaton, Artistic Director for Big Telly Theatre Company was the guest director for the first lab of this kind in June. The writer selected was Abby Oliveira with her play Burning Books. As with all Theatre Labs, professional actors were on hand to act out scenes and help the writer develop and improve their script. We also held group Theatre Labs in May and December which were facilitated by Patricia Byrne, Artistic Director of Sole Purpose Productions, Anne Crilly, Film maker and Lecturer at the University of Ulster (May) and special guest facilitator Hanna Slattne, Dramaturg with Tinderbox Theatre Company (December). In March 2012, we held another full script lab which this time looked at film scripts and was facilitated by Margo Harkin from Besom Productions. Chris Coyle, a long standing Theatre Lab participant, was selected as the writer for the day with his script Godfellas. “This is a very engaging opportunity for aspiring writers to explore their creativity and potentially develop new and exciting theatre for the city. The Theatre Lab programme is supported through the Arts Council's Small Grants Programme and is a perfect example of how the arts can enrich communities and how community participation can enrich the arts.” Edel Murphy, Small Grants Project Officer, Arts Council of Northern Ireland

“The workshop has helped me develop as a writer as I can see now where my strengths and weaknesses lie” Abby Oliveira, Theatre Lab participant

Workshops Foyle Down Syndrome Project For six weeks during May and June 2011, Patricia Byrne worked with young people from the Foyle Down Syndrome Trust. The aim was to devise a short piece of drama to be performed to friends and family at The Alley Theatre in Strabane on June 26th 2011. Using acting skills, music and their own choreography, the group created a piece which looked at the ups and downs of everyday life. A lot of hard work but an equal amount of fun culminated in an excellent performance on the night.

A Wee Taste Workshops As part of the production of A Wee Taste, schools availed of free alcohol awareness workshops to accompany the performance. These were run by Community Direct, facilitated by Debbie Caulfield, and were a fantastic addition to the play. 1020 pupils took part in the workshops across 8 schools over four months from November to March. The workshops looked at the effect alcohol has on young bodies and minds and how to keep safe. They were facilitated in a lively and entertaining way. This was a vital follow up to the performance for pupils, giving them the opportunity to look at the dangers of alcohol in a different way, that wasn’t as one teacher put it “Teachers banging on about alcohol”. Some comments from the participants were “If alcohol was only being invented now, it wouldn’t be allowed” “If you can’t remember then you’ve damaged your brain” “I didn’t know how depressing alcohol is or that it is linked to suicide” 15


April 2011 to March 2012

May 2011

December 2011


Theatre Lab with Anne Crilly

Full Script Theatre Lab with Hanna Slattne

May/June 2011

March 2012

The work performed throughout this year was made possible by funding from the following organisations, we thank them for their support:

Foyle Down Syndrome Project

Theatre Lab with Margo Harkin

June 2011

March 2012

Full Script Theatre Lab with Zoe Seaton

Every Move You Make

August 2011

Galatea by Lawrence Aronovitch The Playhouse Theatre, Derry November 2011

A Wee Taste by Patricia Byrne

by Patricia Byrne The Playhouse Theatre, Derry Lisneal College, Derry St Ciaran’s College, Ballygawley Ardhowen Theatre, Enniskillen St Joseph’s Boys School, Derry Oakgrove Integrated College, Derry St Peters College, Derry Strabane Academy, Strabane

St Josephs Boys School, Derry The Playhouse Theatre, Derry Lisneal College, Derry Oakgrove Integrated College, Derry St Mary’s College, Limavady Foyle College, Derry Strabane Academy, Strabane St Peters College, Derry St Cecilia’s College, Derry Westville Hotel, Enniskillen Loreto Grammar School, Omagh Castlederg High School, Castlederg


Arts Council of Northern Ireland Small Grants Programme Derry City Council Arts and Culture Department Derry City Council Good Relations Department Derry Community Safety Partnership The Drinkaware Trust The Garfield Weston Foundation The Trusthouse Charitable Foundation Fermanagh Community Safety Partnership Sole Purpose Productions is core funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland National Lottery Fund.

Repertoire and Past Productions Current Repertoire Galatea

Past Productions by Dave Duggan Riders to the Road

a tragedy on road traffic deaths

a modern day Pygmalion by Lawrence Aronovitch

Every Move You Make

a play for young people on abusive relationships by Patricia Byrne

A Wee Taste

a portrayal of underage drinking by Patricia Byrne

Don’t Say A Word

a play on domestic violence by Patricia Byrne


a one man monologue on the challenges of truth recovery

The Recruiting Office

a restoration comedy on the search for work

Scenes from an Inquiry

a theatrical evocation of The Saville Inquiry

Past Productions by Patricia Byrne See No Evil

a portrayal of elder abuse

Under the Carpet a play on sexual abuse

Camden Tales

on women, wealth and poverty

Snow White - The Remix

an alternative fairytale on self image

Did You Come By Boat?

on the ethnic minority experience in Northern Ireland by Elly Omondi Odhiambo and Patricia Byrne

by others

Clouds on a Mountain Road by Orna Akad on women, war and words

the Shadowmen by Debbie Caulfield and RĂŠa Curran a musical theatre production on climate change


Waiting..... a drama of a political ex-prisoner and a victim

Without the Walls

a Greek tragedy about policing

The Shopper and the Boy a short epic about marching

Support Us

Thanks to

As a non profit organisation and a charity, Sole Purpose Productions depends on grants, trusts and donations to bring professional theatre to marginalised communities throughout Northern Ireland and beyond.

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland

Gilly Campbell, Damian Smyth, Maria O’Kane, Edel Murphy

Derry City Council Brendan McMenamin, Sue Divin, Angela Askin

If you would like to make a donation to the company or are interested in supporting us in any way - perhaps your company would like to sponsor a performance - please contact us at or call 028 7127 9918.

The Playhouse

Pauline Ross, Niall McCaughan, Gregory Peck, Paul McLaughlin, Max Beer, Edel Harrigan, Breige Keenan, Áine McCarron

Photography by

“Once again Sole Purpose has brought to a young audience a piece of theatre to make them think. This production imparts a message without preaching and communicates through a medium which the audience enjoys. In an age of digital technology, it is a rare treat to have such a live performance brought to your school hall.”

Jim O’Neill Ocean Creative Media, Patricia Byrne, Lawrence Aronovitch and Cahal O’Sullivan

John Harkin, Vice Principal, Oakgrove Integrated College


Contact Us Sole Purpose Productions The Playhouse 5-7 Artillery Street Derry Londonderry BT48 6RG Tel/Fax: 028 7127 9918 Email: Web:

Sole Purpose Productions is a company limited by guarantee, registration number N137481 Recognised by the Inland Revenue as a charity, reference number XR32282 Financial statements are available on request

Sole Purpose Productions Annual Report 2011/12  

A report on the work of Sole Purpose Productions for 2011-2012