A new musical drama about the life and work of Nobel laureate John Hume has received £50,000 from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
It is one of 66 grants worth over £2million awarded by the Arts Council Lottery Project.
The production honoring the longtime SDLP leader and key architect of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement will premiere next spring.
Beyond Belief will be performed in Hume’s native Londonderry to commemorate 25 years since the signing of the agreement that largely ended years of violent conflict.
The John and Pat Hume Foundation will work with The Playhouse theater to create the musical drama.
Tim Attwood, secretary of the foundation, said: “John and Pat Hume have had a long association with The Playhouse and have championed the cultural and peacebuilding work of the organization.
“The Hume Foundation’s partnership with The Playhouse on Beyond Belief is natural as they have a deep commitment to promoting healing, understanding and reconciliation.
“We are thrilled that the Playhouse, together with Beyond Belief, is developing an inspiring, creative and emotional work telling the story of John Hume’s journey of peace and reconciliation.”
Playhouse CEO Kevin Murphy said, “The difference The Playhouse and The John and Pat Hume Foundation make is that we bring people together to effect meaningful change creatively, peacefully and with hope.
The team behind the production will include writer Damian Gorman and composer Brian O’Doherty.
The production will also provide training and development opportunities for artists from the Playhouse Music Theater Company, which earlier this year staged The White Handkerchief to mark the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.
Other groups receiving Arts Council funding include Aisling Ghear Theater Company, Newry Chamber Music, BEAM Creative Network (Mid-Ulster), Portico of Ards, Arts for All (North Belfast), Carntougher Community Association (Maghera) and the Greater Shankill Partnership. .
Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: “We are very pleased to announce today more than £2 million in funding to support a wide range of arts activities through the financing of our lottery project.
“This vital source of funding will reach the heart of Northern Ireland’s cities, providing arts experiences for all.
“After two difficult years, we all understand the many positive benefits that the arts bring to our lives.
“There’s a lot to look forward to in the coming month, including brand new drama for local and international audiences from The John and Pat Hume Foundation, as well as festivals, concerts, new literature, as well as workshops and courses for adults and young people. ”