A new play exploring the legacy of 1916, Halfway House, is now running in venues across Northern Ireland (18-26 January). Admission is free or a recommended donation of just £5 in all venues.
The play is the latest by Philip Orr, and is a project of Contemporary Christianity. Set in 1966 in the context of the 50th anniversary commemorations of the Easter Rising and the Battle of the Somme, Halfway House is based around a conversation between two women stuck in a pub in the Glenshane Pass during a blizzard.
On top of the naturalistic script and the deft way that historical facts are lightly woven into its narrative, another aspect of the play’s success is the avoidance of preaching equivalence or seeking reconciliation. The use of women’s voices – and the considerable talents of Louise Parker and Antoinette Morelli – also contributes to a more rounded telling to what is so often a man’s tale.
Orr’s After Dresden, based on the life of Corrymeela founder Ray Davey, ran to sold-out audiences last May. In 2012, Orr and Alan McGuckian worked in conjunction with Contemporary Christianity to produce 1912: 100 Years On.