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Release_0212.jpg

A Better Boy


written by John Wilson Foster | starring Ian McElhinney

photo by Conleth White

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A Better Boy


written by John Wilson Foster | starring Ian McElhinney

photo by Conleth White

A Better Boy  
By John Wilson Foster

 

It is 1917. William J. Pirrie, Chairman of Harland & Wolff, has agreed to an interview in England about his nephew Tommie Andrews – Thomas Andrews, chief designer of RMS Titanic, a ship whose name Pirrie is loath to speak. 

He recalls Tommie’s boyhood, his beginnings as an apprentice aged 16 at Harland & Wolff, the world’s greatest shipyard. He re-lives the feverish inquiries after the sinking, the scorching sermons, the excited finger-pointing – and Tommie’s last moments aboard the stricken liner.

But Pirrie has another agenda, for he wishes to combat the heated defeatism and accusing anger that greeted the disaster. Just as Pirrie was and is the neglected cast-member of theTitanic tragedy, so his version of events is in conflict with the received notions and judgements still in place a century after.

Yet his manifesto of success – a Victorian philosophy for the 20th-century Machine Age – is tempered and threatened by his rediscovery of grief and loss.

Ian McElhinney is Lord Pirrie, master shipwright.

Past Productions


Past Productions


A Better Boy was first produced by the Belfast Titanic Company and staged by Kabosh Theatre Company as part of the Belfast Titanic Festival of 2012. The part of Lord Pirrie was taken by Lalor Roddy. That year the play was also staged by Kabosh at the Ulster Reform Club in Belfast.

A Better Boy was re-mounted in the Brian Friel Theatre (Queen's University Belfast) on December 5 and 6, 2013.

A Better Boy was also performed, courtesy of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, at the Centre for Fine Arts (Bozar) in Brussels on the 16 and 17 of December 2013.

 

PREVIOUS PRODUCTIONS INCLUDE

Strand Arts Centre, Belfast on Sunday, April 13, 2014.

Linenhall Library, Belfast on Thursday 12th June 2014.

The MAC, Belfast on Sunday 11th May 2014 (as part of Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival)

Aspects Literary Festival, Bangor on September 27, 2014.

Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris, on November 6, 2014.

 

The acclaimed screen and stage actor Ian McElhinney played the role of Pirrie in all the productions listed.

 

Reviews


Reviews


 “The audience leaves . . . with a new and vivid sense of the passion and conviction that drove William J. Pirrie, Thomas Andrews and their colleagues to build so many ships of the scale and ambition of the Titanic.”

Tony Macaulay, Culture Northern Ireland


 “Beautifully written, frank, uncompromising and fascinating...”

JANE COYLE, IRISH THEATRE MAGAZINE


 “A Better Boy is a lovingly crafted and condensed retelling of the Titanic tragedy from a refreshingly different angle. It addresses issues of class, nationality, politics, art, grief and much more without seeming bloated or awkward.”

ALAN SIMPSON, NI THEATRE


MEDIA


production photographs & video excerpts

MEDIA


production photographs & video excerpts

Photographs by Peter Cavanagh & Gerry McNally.

Video by Richard Jolly.


Upcoming Productions


Upcoming Productions


 

If you would like further information regarding upcoming productions of A Better Boy or you are interested in staging a production of a better boy, use the form below to get in touch.

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