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‘A Day in May’ – IRELAND’S JOYFUL EQUAL MARRIAGE PLAY COMES TO BELFAST, 11th April

LOVE EQUALITY: CAMPAIGN FOR EQUAL MARRIAGE IN NORTHERN IRELAND

‘A Day In May’ will be presented for one night only at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast on Thursday 11 April, 7:45pm, in association with the Social Change Initiative, Love Equality and Pat Moylan productions, with profits going to the campaign for marriage equality in Northern Ireland.

“Bittersweet” for Donegal LGBT campaigner now living in Northern Ireland

On a day in May 2015, the Republic of Ireland became the first nation in the world to introduce marriage equality by popular vote. ‘A Day In May’ is the story of the long fight that led to that day, of the in-fighting along the way, and of the inspirational campaign that finally won it. It’s a story, too, of ordinary people whose lives were caught up in the struggle, drawn from Charlie Bird’s landmark collection of interviews. And it’s a masterclass in how to achieve political change. Now the play, written by Colin Murphy and directed by Gerry Stembridge, is coming to the Lyric Theatre in Belfast, for one night only on April 11th, in support of the Love Equality campaign for marriage equality in Northern Ireland.

One of the real-life personal stories featured on stage is that of Noel Sharkey, in 2015 a medical student and a Yes Equality campaign leader in his native Donegal. Four years on, he’s now Dr Noel Sharkey and working in Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital. Alongside his partner, a Northern Ireland-born lawyer, he finds himself living on the side of the Irish border where same-sex marriage is still banned by law. He says:

“The marriage equality campaign in 2015 was one where the personal became public. By sharing our vulnerability and experience, LGBT people were rewarded with the affirmation of the Irish electorate that they were no longer going to be treated as second class citizens.

“Victory for the campaign in Donegal was somewhat bittersweet, knowing that change in law would not apply to Northern Ireland. My partner is from Belfast, a city we both call home and where we both work as a doctor and a lawyer. We put a lot into society here and I don’t think it’s too much to ask to be able to get married here, without having to knock on more doors for the privilege.

“It is incorrectly assumed that Northern Irish attitudes are behind others when it comes to marriage equality, but this assumption really only applies to the politicians here.”

Conor Gormally is one of the actors who will be bringing A Day In May to life on the Lyric stage. As a gay man from Belfast, the production is more than just another job:

“I am from Belfast and I am beyond thrilled that we are bringing this piece to the Lyric, my local theatre.

“As an actor in this play, it’s an honour to create characters based on real people from the extraordinary campaign for marriage equality in the Republic. When we performed it in Dublin last June, the atmosphere was a celebration of triumph, a celebration of queer people feeling like they belong in their own country.

“The audience in Belfast will feel the joy of that referendum results day, but it will also be bittersweet, as we have still don’t have marriage equality in Northern Ireland. Whilst we can celebrate the victories of our queer siblings across the border, we cannot yet celebrate our own.

“The extension of marital rights to LGBTQ people is about showing that we are not second-class citizens. That we are entitled to all the same rights and protections that our straight family members, friends and neighbours enjoy.

“This production coming to Belfast is a bit like the Pride parade; a celebration, but more importantly a protest.”

‘A Day In May’ will be presented for one night only at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast on Thursday 11 April, 7:45pm, in association with the Social Change Initiative, Love Equality and Pat Moylan productions, with profits going to the campaign for marriage equality in Northern Ireland.

A video trailer of the play is available here

Buy tickets here