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Playwright forced to raise festival cash in the wake of cuts

Playwright Martin Lynch
Connla Young

ONE of the north's best-known theatre production companies is being forced to raise £5,000 to put on a play at a major international festival next month after its funding was slashed.

Green Shoot Productions has launched an internet campaign to raise the cash which will be used to stage a production at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

The annual festival attracts festival goers from across the globe to the Scottish capital each year.

Green Shoot Productions, founded by playwright Martin Lynch in 2002, had hoped to stage Brenda Murphy's play Two Sore Legs.

The play tells the true story of Ms Murphy's mother and her struggle to raise the six children she had to a married man.

Mr Lynch, famed for the play ‘The History of the Troubles (according to my da)', last night said he has been forced to raise cash.

“It's not very nice thing for me personally as a playwright to call on friends to help raise the money but that is what we have to do,” he said.

“It is only rarely a play comes along and you say this play needs an international audience and it will go around the world, it will mean the same in New York as it does in Ballymurphy and Two Sore Legs is such a play.”

The play is due to be performed at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast later this year.

Earlier this year those involved with the production company were left devastated after the Arts Council cut all its funding.

A website set up to try and raise much needed cash reveal details of the costs involved including £4,400 for cast and crew, £3,600 for flights, travel and accommodation and £3,200 for theatre hire and marketing.

As well as founding the production company, Mr Lynch is also its artistic director.

Green Shoot Productions is a not-for-profit, independent theatre company which produces and commissions plays that are socially, politically and culturally relevant to the north. It also provides training in areas of social disadvantage.

Previous Green Shoot productions shows include Chronicles Of Long Kesh, New York State Of Mind, and Paisley and Me.

Mr Lynch is currently in Spain writing a follow-up to his ‘History of the Troubles (according to my da)' hit which will be called ‘The History of the Peace (according to my ma)'.

A spokesman for the Arts Council said it is “deeply regrettable” that it cannot support Green Shoot Productions.

“As a result of an 11.2 percent cut to the Arts Council's budget this year, the Arts Council didn't have enough money to support all organisations that we might otherwise have funded,” he said.

“Green Shoot Productions is an excellent, commercially-successful company, and they have done a lot of good work over the years, deservedly receiving acclaim for their high quality writing and productions.”

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