Belfast Telegraph

Political sex scandal inspires play

A controversial new play inspired by a sex scandal surrounding the shamed MP wife of Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson is set to open in Belfast.

Disgraced Iris Robinson, who sat in the Northern Ireland Assembly and the House of Commons, quit politics after the shock revelation earlier this year that she had had an affair with a teenager 41 years her junior.

God's Country was written by Colin Bell, 33, a gay man from Bangor, County Down, after Mrs Robinson sparked a huge row by calling homosexuality "an abomination".

Mr Bell, who lives in Edinburgh with his long-term partner, said: "Iris Robinson may have been engaged in a homophobic rant but my play isn't a rant against her.

"It is an examination of how other politicians in Northern Ireland are dealing with homosexuality.

"And it also explores how the DUP have changed in the wake of Irisgate."

The playwright was bullied at school because of his sexuality and left Northern Ireland aged 17 to escape the abuse.

Mr Bell's play is one of three new productions about life in Northern Ireland being staged by the Tinderbox Theatre Company in the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast which was featured in the BBC's Restoration programme in 2003 and which recently re-opened after a £4.5 million renovation.

A second play, the Cleanroom by John McCann, centres on how victims of Northern Ireland's troubles and other violence like car crime are dealing with the past.

The third play, Everything Between Us, by David Ireland, has already toured America and focuses on a fictional truth and reconciliation commission set up in Stormont, home to the Northern Ireland Assembly.


From Belfast Telegraph