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The Boat Factory - King's Head Theatre

Dan Gordon and Michael Condron in The Boat Factory

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

AFTER winning acclaim at the 2012 Edinburgh Festival and transfering to New York, Dan Gordon’s The Boat Factory will receive its London premiere at the King’s Head Theatre.

Described as a poignant and uplifting two-man play, it will run for four weeks – from Tuesday, July 23 to Saturday, August 17, 2013.

On a July day in 1947, the sun shines down on a post-war world. A 16-year-old boy walks for the first time through the gates of Belfast’s Harland & Wolff Titanic shipyard.

More than 1700 ships built between here and the Clyde, 67 different trades, 300 acres of land and 35,000 men employed at its height. Regarded as the biggest and best there is, if you can dream it – they can build it. This is history – this is his story.

Dan Gordon’s play is an extraordinary evocation of a city in a century of great change. The many voices of the script carry echoes of other places, other worlds, other epics, but return eventually to the home place and the amazing eloquence of ordinary people.

Actors Dan Gordon and Michael Condron conjure up a host of colourful characters from the glory days of Belfast’s shipbuilding era to construct a poignant, funny, and moving picture of boat-building, male friendship, hardship, humour and heroism.

Gordon said: “I’ve lived in the shadow of those big yellow cranes all my life and I wanted to tell their story because they are so much a part of me and our collective heritage. Harland & Wolff built Titanic, the greatest ship in history, but there is a great deal more to the achievements of the thousands of yardmen. They built over 1700 ships with pride and skill unmatched anywhere else in the world, and we need to celebrate that. From East Belfast to Broadway and everywhere in between – The Boat Factory story sails on.”

The Boat Factory is produced by Happenstance Theatre Company and directed by Philip Crawford.

The production contains some mild swearing and is therefore suitable for ages 12+.

Tickets: £16 to £25; previews: (July 23 and 24) all tickets £10. Available from the box office on 020 7478 0160 or online at

Times: Tuesday to Saturday at 7.15pm; Sunday at 3pm.

Quasimodo, with Steven Webb in the title role, continues at the King’s Head Theatre until April 13, 2013.