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February 18, 2011

Martin Lynch Brings Hit Play Chronicles of Long Kesh to Kildare

Green Shoot Productions present CHRONICLES OF LONG KESH

Chronicles of Long Kesh Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge, Co. Kildare

Thursday 10th March, 8pm

Price: €18/€16

Booking 045 448327/

“… ripping theatre”  “A Must--See!”   Sunday Times

Martin Lynch’s smash-hit play Chronicles of Long Kesh, produced by Green Shoot Productions, Belfast, has been taking audiences by storm since it first premiered at the Belfast Waterfront Studio Theatre in January 2009. Following this initial 3-week sold-out run, Chronicles of Long Kesh also toured Ireland (north and south) for two months before crossing the Irish Sea to perform at the prestigious Assembly Rooms during 2009 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  International audiences and critics alike went mad for Chronicles in Edinburgh and the show was a run-a-way hit winning the coveted Best Ensemble Award from London’s STAGE Magazine.  The nightly standing ovations and intense word-of-mouth helped the production land a London transfer later that season where Chronicles opened on 16th March 2010 at London’s Tricycle Theatre and the initial month-long engagement was extended by an additional week due to ticket sale demand.  The production then transferred directly to the Tron Theatre in Glasgow and the Everyman Playhouse in Liverpool each for a week-long run.  To date, more than 50,000 people have seen Chronicles of Long Kesh and that number is expected to catapult as Green Shoot Productions continues the show’s 2011 World Tour!

Chronicles of Long Kesh tells the story of the prison – also known as The Maze – from its opening in August 1971 to its closure in July 2000. The story concentrates not on the big politics of the day or those who became well known as a result of their time in prison, but on the experiences of ordinary prisoners, prison officers and their families. Audiences will be confronted with a rich assortment of republicans, loyalists, prison officers, chancers, escapers, wives, Smokey Robinson-imitators and hypochondriacs!

Whilst the play deals with major developments such as the 1974 burning of Long Kesh, the Hunger-strikes, the Big Escape, etc. it also contains its fair share of hilarity, black humour and plenty of Motown songs!

Chronicles of Long Kesh, co-directed by Martin Lynch and Lisa May, features a strong cast of Northern Ireland’s finest actors including Marty Maguire, Andy Moore, Packy Lee, and Jo Donnelly and London actors Chris Corrigan and Billy Clarke.  This powerful cast is garnering terrific reviews and standing ovations after every nearly every performance.

 “The response to the play has been overwhelming”, says playwright Lynch. “Dozens and dozens of audience members have sent emails saying how powerfully the play affected them.  Some folks have a personal experience with the prison, but others, with no personal connection to the Troubles, have explained how this play has caused them to look at the men involved in the decades-long conflict in a slightly different manner.  It’s humbling and extremely gratifying to see how Chronicles of Long Kesh is impacting audiences.”

Playwright Lynch interviewed dozens of ex-prisoners from both sides of the 35-year conflict in Northern Ireland (IRA & Loyalist UVF/UDA paramilitary groups).  The ex-prisoners revealed many personal stories about the experience in the conflict and in the prison.  Many of the stories were heart-breaking, shocking and also hilarious.  These stories have made their way into the play woven into the lives of the characters. 


The Characters

Unbelievably, Freddie The Prison Officer (screw) has served at Long Kesh for almost the entire time it was there. He is a good man who has tried to earn his living as a Prison Officer, do right by the prisoners and bring up his family to be good decent people. Things don’t work out however and one incident on the wings changes his life forever.  Freddie also doubles as our narrator, giving us insights into the inner-workings of the Camp & the personalities that inhabit it.

Eamon, the plumber, night-school teacher is the IRA handyman. His speciality is building underground escape tunnels but he is also a dab hand at making fake arsenals. His life is utterly changed when he has to decide whether to put his name down for hunger-strike. 

Hank is a long-term Loyalist prisoner, with a penchant for philosophy and the music of Bob Dylan. His life changes when he decides he no longer supports violence but still has 14 years of his sentence left to do.

Oscar is a Smokey Robinson-loving undertaker from Derry who also doubles as the greatest cross-border guns-smuggler the IRA ever had.

Thumper is the tasty-dressing, cleanliness-fanatic UDA Catholic-killer.

Toot McGinley the republican is innocent! Innocent when he was interned and innocent when he was sentenced to 10 years! If you believe that you’ll believe anything.

Dominic Donnelly hates the world - the sort of guy who does his bird on every body else’s shoulders.  There isn’t an illness he hasn’t suffered……..

…….. the characters just go on and on and we haven’t even told you about Steal-The-Sheets the Prison Officer ……..!

Venue: Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge, Co. Kildare

Date: Thursday 10th March, 8pm

For three decades, Northern Ireland’s infamous prison – Long Kesh – was home to both Republicans and Loyalists, in an era of riots, hunger strikes and “The Troubles”.  Martin Lynch’s dramatic portrayal of life on the inside tells a painful, shocking and poignant story of the day-to-day reality of history in the making.  Time is marked with Motown classics, prison breaks are conducted under the cover of Smokey Robinson, and the stories are angry, devastating and, at times, hilarious.

A huge crowd-pleaser, Chronicles of Long Kesh is told through the eyes of prison officers, Republicans and Loyalists, a rich assortment of patriots, chancers, leaders, wives, escapers and hypochondriacs!  Full of 1960’s Motown songs and wild, irreverent humour, this is the inside story of The Troubles.

Following its world premiere in January 2009 at the Belfast Waterfront Hall Studio Theatre, Chronicles of Long Kesh has since performed for international audiences totalling more than 50,000 people throughout Ireland, London, Liverpool, Glasgow, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, receiving standing ovations after nearly every single performance.

PLEASE NOTE: this production contains strong language and themes of an adult nature and as such is deemed unsuitable for those under the age of 16.

Tickets for Chronicles of Long Kesh are €18/€16 conc. and can be booked through Riverbank Arts Centre’s Box Office on 045 448327 or online at