The Irish version of Galatea had its roots in Derry and the Sole Purpose production was welcomed home with gusto.
As was the case last year, the performance at the Derry Playhouse was part of Foyle Pride, and the audience was in a warmly embracing mood, cheering the actors – all from Derry themselves – with as much pride and affection as they could muster. This provided a wonderfully warm and satisfying close to this year’s tour.
Once again, I had the chance to speak with audience members and get a sense of what this play has meant to them. There was a formal Q&A talkback after one performance, with questions for both myself and the actors, but I also spoke with people during the interval, after the show, and even in encounters on the street – and was again struck by how much this was a Derry story now, not (only) a Canadian one.
The Foyle Pride parade, now in its third year, is rapidly becoming a “normal” event in the city’s calendar, with the mayor and other politicians marching, face painting for kids, music and speeches, a tiny band of protestors waving their placards from across the street, and a rainbow flag that stretches as far as the eye can see. This year’s theme was “Exploring Identity,” and it was so clear to me from the comments I heard that “Galatea” was very much a part of the festival’s theme. I’m delighted to have been able to join the tour (thank you, Canada Council!) and grateful to have been made so welcome by my Derry friends.
As I’ve mentioned before, I hope that this production of Galatea will encourage Sole Purpose, its financial supporters and the community at large to ensure that something theatrical continues to be an integral part of Foyle Pride in the years to come – and that henceforth it will be Derry’s own playwrights who get to share their work with their friends and neighbors.