Sole Purpose Productions Theatre Company: An Appeal for Funding towards tour of Pits & Perverts, play dealing with the British miners’ strike of 1984-85 and the founding Lesbians & Gays Support the Miners

The Playhouse, Artillery Street, Derry Londonderry BT48 6RG
Contact: Patricia Byrne, Artistic Director
Tel: 02871279918 email: Website:

The Company
Sole Purpose Productions is a professional theatre company that uses theatre to investigate and illuminate social and public issues. Founded in 1997, Sole Purpose is a company limited by guarantee with charitable status and is core funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Charity ref no XR32282. The company produces new work for theatre and non-theatre venues, working in partnership with statutory and voluntary organisations to bring professional theatre to working class and marginalised communities, as well as touring theatres. Our repertoire includes plays which look at the issues of elder abuse, domestic violence, the ethnic minority experience in Northern Ireland, underage drinking and most recently issues affecting the LGBT community. The Artistic Director, Patricia Byrne, received The Noel Walsh Freedom Award from The Rainbow Project in 2012 for making a significant contribution to LGBT rights and furthering the equality agenda through theatre work.

The Project
Last year Sole Purpose produced and toured a new play, Pits and Perverts, by local gay activist and emerging writer, Micheál Kerrigan. The play tells the story of Sean, who leaves Derry in the 1980s at the height of the Troubles. After coming out as a gay man in London he becomes involved in the Gay Community’s support of the Miner’s Strike. Two Welsh miners come to stay with Sean and his partner not realising they are a gay couple. The events that unfold impacts on all their lives. This entertaining and poignant play is based on real events in Thatcher’s Britain. It highlights the power of community.

The play looks at the intersection between the Miners’ Strike, the Northern Ireland situation and the fight for Lesbian & Gay Rights as it tells the story of a critically important struggle in the history of the trade union movement. Following on from its premiere the play was a great success last year (2103). It sold out in Derry and Belfast, received standing ovations at every performance and a 4 star review in the Belfast Telegraph as well as other publications.

​“Kerrigan’s play successfully demonstrates how the little people of history can and do ​make a difference, even when momentous happenings are unravelling around them.” ​Terry Blain, Irish Theatre Magazine 16.10.13

​“Punctuated with humour, the poignant performance delves into the unlikely alliance ​between macho miners and gay activists in a touching and endearing way, revealing a ​common ground and real camaraderie. The cast received a well deserved standing ​ovation.” **** Fionnuala O’Kane, Belfast Telegraph 5.10.13

This year we are planning to tour the play to Wales and across the UK for the 30th anniversary of the miners’ strike. We aim to stage it in Derry for Foyle Pride which will be 25th – 31st August, then in Belfast for the first week of September, then over to Wales and London in September/October. This is a very ambitious schedule, involving a professional production where cast, crew and production team will be paid Equity Union rates. We have been in contact with venues in London and Wales, and the Arts Council of Wales, and there is a strong interest in the production. However, raising the necessary funds remains a challenge. We are asking Trades Councils, affiliated union branches, etc if they could possibly offer financial support to help ensure this meaningful and important production reaches a much wider audience across Britain this autumn.

All supporters will be acknowledged on any and all publicity material.


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