Pigtown returns to the Belltable after ten year gap

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

MIKE Finn’s Pigtown is returning to a stage in Limerick for the first time in over a decade.

MIKE Finn’s Pigtown is returning to a stage in Limerick for the first time in over a decade.

Finn’s seminal homage to his native city was last produced in Limerick in 2002, winning awards and drawing plaudits both nationally and internationally.

The play will run in the Belltable in June, where it was debuted as an Island Theatre Company production in 1999. It will be the inaugural presentation of the Belltable Community Theatre project and, the cast of ten, while led by professional actor John Anthony Murphy in the lead role of Tommy Clocks, will be a mixture of amateurs and those making their debut on stage.

“Community theatre is something I have always been interested in,” said Mike Finn. “While Pigtown wasn’t originally a community play, thinking back it was probably influenced by the idea of telling stories from a city’s past, the idea that a city or a place could almost be a character in a play, that a play could be about a place rather than just the people,” he added.

The production will be directed by Paul Brennan, who has worked with Druid and the Abbey and has a background in community theatre.

“Ideally we looked to see if we could do it with a fully professional cast, but it was just too expensive,” explained Mike. “Rather than not doing it at all, the Belltable suggested doing it as a community play, and it really lends itself to that. We held open auditions and invited anybody and everybody to be in it - people could walk in off the street, and people did.

“The cast is a nice mix of some experienced local amateur actors and those who have never tread the boards before.”

The story revolves around Tommy Clocks, who takes the audience on a whizz through 100 years of Limerick history. The tale of old industries, characters and shops consistently struck a chord with those who have seen it.

“It is a love song to the city, so many places are mentioned that are since gone and I think people can really relate to that,” explained Mike. “It is great to see it back and people have been constantly asking me about it, so if half of those people turn up it will be very successful.”

Pigtown runs from June 5-16 in the Belltable. See www.belltable.ie.