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Play telling story of Good Friday Agreement to get US premiere

A play which dramatises the final days of negotiations which led to the Good Friday Agreement is to get its US premiere later this year.

Agreement, by playwright Owen McCafferty, will be staged at the Irish Arts Centre (IAC) in New York from April 11 to May 12.

Ahead of its US run, the play will return to the Lyric Theatre in Belfast from March 9 to 30.

The play focuses on the final days of the negotiations which led to the historic 1998 peace deal which largely ended decades of violence in Northern Ireland.

It is the second time the Lyric Theatre has collaborated with the IAC following the US premiere of the punk-rock musical Good Vibrations, telling the story of Belfast punk legend Terri Hooley, last year.

Agreement was previously staged at the Lyric as part of events in Northern Ireland to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in 2023.

The award-winning play will be directed by Charlotte Westenra, with set and costume design by Conor Murphy.

The cast includes Andrea Irvine as former Northern Ireland secretary Mo Mowlam, Chris Corrigan as Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, Dan Gordon as SDLP leader John Hume, Martin Huston as prime minister Tony Blair, Richard Croxford as George Mitchell, the US senator who chaired the negotiations, Ronan Leahy as taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Ruairi Conaghan as Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble.

The US premiere will take place in a flexible, state-of-the-art theatre in the IAC’s new home in New York.

Aidan Connolly, executive director of IAC (left) with Jimmy Fay, executive producer at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast (Lyric Theatre/PA)
Aidan Connolly, executive director of IAC (left) with Jimmy Fay, executive producer at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast (Lyric Theatre/PA)

Jimmy Fay, executive producer at the Lyric Theatre, said: “The successful run of Good Vibrations, and shortly a run of Agreement, are not only a fantastic opportunity to showcase the immense creative talent from this place, but also a unique opportunity to tell important and significant cultural and historical stories.

“We look forward to the return of Agreement to our main stage following its sold-out run.

“Over the past 25 years the Lyric has had its own part to play in the story and journey of the Good Friday Agreement, and it is fitting that this powerful production is returning to Belfast and travelling to international audiences.

“We are very grateful to all our funders and our title sponsor FinTrU for their support in helping us get there.”

Aidan Connolly, executive director of IAC, said: “We’re thrilled to welcome the Lyric Theatre back to New York with Owen McCafferty’s extraordinary Agreement, building on the wonderful IAC-Lyric partnership inaugurated with last season’s hit musical Good Vibrations.

“Thanks to generous support from Culture Ireland and our many funders and stakeholders, this will be yet another opportunity for New York audiences to enjoy the great art – and artists – of Northern Ireland, and appreciate the enduring legacy of the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement.”