Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 31 January 2015

A spooky tale for Halloween chills

Are you one of the 24 hour party people? Those who answer ‘Yes’ are probably still drawing breath after the end of the Belfast Festival.

But when you’ve poured yourself another drink, maybe you’ll reflect on what it means to have a good time.

Playwright Damian Gorman has joined forces with Tinderbox Theatre Company to create Sleep Eat Party, a Verbatim theatre production based on interviews with young men and women across Northern Ireland.

Over the last six months they’ve spoken to dozens of young people and listened to their stories. Some are funny, some are sad. They include tales of substance abuse and brushes with the law, fears of suicide, the joys of parenthood and the daunting prospect of having to grow up and learn about responsibility when they still feel too young to take charge of their lives.

Gorman said: “This project has been many months in the making and has taken myself and the Tinderbox team on countless journeys.

“What we really wanted to achieve was to put across what young men think is good about life and what takes the good out of life.”

If you fancy joining in the craic, slip into your best party suit, ease into your dancing shoes and shuffle round to the Old Museum Arts Centre, where the party runs from November 10-19.

There are new voices too in Bright Sparks, a series of five mini chamber operas created by a collaboration of industry professionals like Donal Sarsfield and Mark Ravenhill, alongside local talent such as Conor Mitchell and James Johnston.

The project aims to jolt opera into the 21st century, and attract a new, young audience. It is the brainchild of Spark Opera Company, a Belfast-based youth opera group. It runs from November 12-14 at Stranmillis University College Theatre.

Meanwhile, it’s Halloween, the perfect time for stories of ghosts, spirits and things that go bump in the night.

So it’s fitting that Down Arts Centre will be staging a show with its fair share of chills tomorrow night.

Love&Madness theatre company will perform Martin McDonagh’s inky black comedy A Skull in Connemara.

Described as part thriller, part whodunnit, part farce, the play tells the story of gravedigger Mick who is faced with the task of exhuming the bones of his dead wife.

As bodies resurface, so do questions about how exactly Mick’s wife died.

This isn’t one for sensitive souls, and you’ll be shocked at how funny you’ll find it.

And Smashing Times Theatre Company takes to the road next week with its touring production, Testimonies.

The show comprises three dramatic monologues adapted from the experiences of those who have lost loved ones to |suicide, and those who have been driven to try and take their own lives.

Each performance is followed by a post-show discussion about issues raised during the evening.

Testimonies will be running at the Courtyard Theatre in Ballyearl on Sunday evening, the Riverside in Coleraine on Monday, and in Ballymena and Magherafelt next week.

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