BY SEÁN P. FEENY
A UNIUQE story set in the shadows of the Titanic and its home in East Belfast will be touring the county next week. An Grianán Theatre is delighted to present The Boat Factory, as part of this year’s Earagail Arts Festival, which will be staged in five different locations.
Part drama, part documentary, it plots out the development of the world famous Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, as well as charting the social history of the shipyard workers.
It is set in 1947 as a 16-year-old boy walks through the gates of the shipyard into a world of initiation pranks, nicknames, a co-worker obsessed with Moby Dick, humour and innuendo.
Produced by Happenstance Theatre Company and directed by Philip Crawford, it’s the story Davy Gordon – played by Dan Gordon.
The story is based on Dan’s father – growing up and following his brothers into Harland and Wolff as an apprentice. Michael Condron play’s fellow worked Geordie Kilpatrick as well as filling in for countless other minor characters throughout the show.
The writer said you can mention the word ‘Titanic’ to anyone around the world and they will know about it, but no one knows that it was only one of 1,700 ships or about the 30,000 men, including his father and uncle, who worked at Harland & Wolff.
Dan is a regular visitor to Donegal and the Earagail Arts Festival. “I just love Donegal; we always stay at Carrickfinn in the Rosses and I love going to Iggy’s Bar in Kincasslagh where the seafood is second to none. A good friend of mine Neil Martin (well-known Belfast composer) always stays around there and we actually recently celebrated his 50th birthday there.”
The writer and actor said he loves coming to Donegal when it is quiet, but he also really loves spending time in the county during the Earagail Arts Festival.
He said: “So many people are up visiting Donegal during this time and there is so much to do, so I really enjoy being around for the festival when ever I can.
“When we had two spare weeks between our New York and London run, I decided to get onto Patricia McBride at An Grianán Theatre and organise some dates in Donegal taking the play back to smaller venues where we started with it.”
The Boat Factory first opened in Belfast a mere three years ago and even then the producers chose to shy away from the more traditional theatres and staged the play in more unique locations.
The Boat Factory tour dates are as follows: Kincasslagh, St Mary’s Hall, July 7; Ionad Naomh Padráig, Dore, July 8; Glenties Hall, July 10 and 11; Holy Trinity Parish Hall, Dunfanaghy, July 12; An Grianán Theatre, Letterkenny, July 13; and Ramelton Town Hall, July 15.
Please note that all performance of The Boat Factory will begin at 8.30pm with the exception of An Grianán Theatre which will begin at 8pm.