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16 October 2014
BBC NI - Eyewitness

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Voice 1: I’ll get a wee aspirin out - my head’s thumping.

Voice 2: Och, I know - it’s all the tension.

Voice 1: It’s the same tension any mother would have at her daughter’s wedding!

Reporter: Rehearsals are still going on for the play which takes its audience on a mystery tour of east Belfast. Six community groups from Catholic and Protestant areas have linked-up to tell this story of a mixed marriage.

Voice 3: I’m an eighteen year old bride, getting married to a Catholic, and basically our families aren’t supporting us. And my veil has totally fallen now, I’m so sorry. And em, we’re just sort of trying to tell everybody that it’s going to work out and we’re really determined that it will work out.

Reporter: The logistics of showing the play has its own built-in problems. Two homes are being used: one of a Catholic family in Short Strand, and the other nearby in a Protestant part of east Belfast. The audience of seventy-two will be split into two groups and they’ll be taken by bus to each house in turn. But because the rooms are small, they’ll circulate around the houses in batches of twelve to witness a series of dramatic scenes in each room.

Voice 4: Aaaagh!

Voice 5: I can’t get it right.

Voice 4: Och, you’re bloody useless.

Voice 5: Don’t you take this out on me.

Reporter: And the travelling doesn’t end there. After that the audience gets to see the marriage in a real church, and go to a pub for the reception! The project began in April and has taken up a lot of time for the fifty people involved.

Voice 6: "Very, very difficult. People have families, some people…most people work - so we have had to rehearse at nights and weekends. So that’s the level of commitment that theatre groups have gave to this project, and sorry, children at school as well."

Reporter: Martin Lynch and Marie Jones wrote the script, but doesn’t it go against the principles of community theatre to have professionals writing the words?

It does, but then we had brought in a lot of other community groups. And it was such a big project that we thought…and it was such an important project to us, that we thought it would be better to bring in, maybe, professionals. But in saying that, we put a lot of input into it. It was a lot of our ideas and things that we knew had happened that…we gave the writers that feedback from us, you know?

Reporter: It seems a shame that, after the eight booked-out shows, there are no plans to repeat it. - Maggie Taggart, BBC News, east Belfast.







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