One of Northern Ireland’s leading theatre companies, c21, takes its latest production, ‘I Shall Wear Purple’ to the Grand Opera House this Spring. Youth and experience collide in a scintillating, hilarious clash of culture in this new black comedy. As Olivia and Thomas find themselves in Malinderry Care Home for very different reasons; one tries everything to escape while the other never wants to leave.
Kick starting a Northern Ireland wide tour, ‘I Shall Wear Purple’ will run at the Grand Opera House Belfast from Tuesday 26th February to Saturday 2nd March, followed by a six-show tour across the province.
I Shall Wear Purple is the fifth collaboration between writer, Rosemary Jenkinson and c21 Theatre Company; this fantastic show is directed by co-founder of c21, Stephen Kelly, produced by Tom Rowntree-Finlay and stars the renowned Stella McCusker as the headstrong and compassionate Olivia, alongside Patrick McBrearty as footloose dreamer Thomas.
After suffering a heart attack, Olivia is persuaded to move into a care home despite feeling much younger than her years. Here she strikes up an unlikely, tongue and cheek friendship with struggling art therapist, Thomas, who needs the care home to keep his head above water financially and out of trouble! Facing this chapter of their lives with each other for support Olivia and Thomas navigate a number of real-life problems facing many in Northern Ireland today.
Ahead of the tour, Director and Co-founder of c21 Theatre Company, Stephen Kelly said, “Once again I am very privileged to be working with Rosemary [Jenkinson] and Tom [Rowntree-Finlay] on this production. Rosemary has tapped into the myriad of issues facing many in today’s society. Purple symbolises ‘spirit’ which is something both our characters have in abundance, and it’s the kindred spirit they find in each other which proves that age really is just a number.
“Given her links with local theatre in Northern Ireland, we are thrilled to have Stella McCusker as part of our production. For those that remember her appearance in ‘Lovejoy’ and more recently ‘Game of Thrones’ this really is quite a coup. Likewise, Patrick McBrearty will add much value and distinction to the production with his charm and presence on stage. We are only too delighted to have them both star in I Shall Wear Purple”.
Writer, Rosemary Jenkinson, continues, “I am delighted to be showcasing ‘I Shall Wear Purple’ at the Grand Opera House. Although the play deals with the realities of life’s journey, it’s a rallying cry for the arts, and the main component to take away is how someone from a different background can completely transform your outlook on life. We want the audience to sympathise with these two people in their plight, while seeing the funny side and willing them to swallow their pride and accept help from each other.”
Following the success of previous comedies brought to you by c21 Theatre Company such as ‘Love or Money’ and ‘May the Road Rise Up, ‘I Shall Wear Purple’ is set to become another hit.
The production is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland through National Lottery Funding. Damian Smyth, Head of Drama and Literature, Arts Council of Northern Ireland said; “The Arts Council is pleased to support this new production from c21 Theatre Company which highlights the power of the arts in dealing with challenging subjects. I am also delighted to see the play tour regionally, helping to bring great art to everyone.”
‘I Shall Wear Purple’ is also proudly sponsored by Belfast City Council and Doyle Shipping Group. Performances take place 26th February – 2nd March 2019, Grand Opera House, Belfast followed by six shows in venues throughout Northern Ireland.