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Spokesong - Finborough Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

SPOKESONG, by renowned Ulster playwright Stewart Parker, opens at the Finborough Theatre for a limited run of nine Sunday, Monday and Tuesday performances from May 25 to June 10, 2014.

Imagine a fleet of civic bikes gleaming with the city’s coat of arms stacked on covered racks on the corner of every street which anybody can ride anywhere…Earth would not have anything to show more fair.

Belfast, 1973. The city is being torn apart by the Troubles. But to bike shop-owner Frank Stock, the greater threat is the imminent demolition of his neighbourhood to make way for a motorway through the city. Frank thinks what Belfast needs is an antidote to the car – ‘50,000 free bicycles distributed round the city centre’.

However, the arrival of his estranged adoptive brother and a burgeoning romance bring the reality of the streets blasting through his shop…

A haunting story, blending song and a century of history, told through the lens of the humble bicycle, Spokesong is described as a fascinating exploration of how we process our own personal and national history.

A runaway hit at the Dublin Theatre Festival, Spokesong was last seen in London in 1977.

Playwright Stewart Parker (1941–1988) remains one of Ulster’s most acclaimed playwrights. Following the massive international success of Spokesong, which won him the Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwrigh, Parker embarked on a decade of writing that saw his vision of Northern Ireland’s past and present take flight.

His other works include Kingdom Come and Catchpenny Twist (1977), Pratt’s Fall (1981), Northern Star (1984) which recently received its English premiere at the Finborough Theatre, Heavenly Bodies (1986) and Pentecost (1987), winner of the Harvey’s Irish Theatre Award.

Spokesong is directed by Guy Jones, a former Resident Assistant Director at the Finborough Theatre.

Tickets: £18, £16 concessions – available from the box office on 0844 847 1652 or online at www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk/.

Times: Sunday and Monday evenings at 7.30pm; Tuesday matinees at 2pm.