The acclaimed production Under The Hawthorn Tree is returning to Belfast in a presentation by the award-winning children’s theatre company, Cahoots NI and the MAC, featuring a star-studded cast of exceptional performers including Frankie McCafferty and Julia Dearden.
Based on the internationally acclaimed book by award-winning author Marita Conlon-McKenna and published by The O’Brien Press, Under the Hawthorn Tree follows the journey of three brave siblings as they fight for survival during the Potato Famine in Ireland, 1845.
Running in Belfast from January 30th until February 9th before touring Ireland, there are already limited tickets for some shows.
The story is told alongside compelling music and song and is suitable for children from seven years and up.
It is the tale of three children, Eily, Michael and Peggy. When their father goes to find work and their mother leaves to find him, the trio, starving and faced with the workhouse, embark on a treacherous journey to find the great aunts they have heard of only in stories.
Directed by Paul Bosco Mc Eneaney of Cahoots NI this remarkable story of endurance, in a defining moment of Irish experience, is told like never before in the play by Charles Way, with a stirring live original score from Garth McConaghie.
Paul said that the response to Under the Hawthorn Tree has been phenomenal.
“We knew that this was a special show,” he said. “That we received such a great response the first time it was performed was overwhelming. That so many tickets have been sold ahead of this run is an outstanding tribute to Marita’s story, Charles’ adaptation and all involved in bringing it to the MAC.”
Frankie McCafferty, who plays Mr O’Driscoll, will be familiar to TV and film audiences with appearances including BBC One’s ‘Death and Nightingales’, ‘Ripper Street’ (S2), ‘Vikings’ and ‘Middletown’.
“Under The Hawthorn Tree is such a compelling piece,” he said. “The adaptation brings the story from the pages to the stage in a work that is sure to entertain and educate.”
With Frankie the cast includes Julia Dearden, Adam dDougal, Colette Lennon Dougal, Conor O’Donnell, Philippa O’Hara and Maeve Smith.
Julia has appeared extensively on stage, with TV credits including ‘After Life’, ‘The Fall’ and ‘Line of Duty’.
The three siblings are played by Adam Dougal (Michael), Maeve Smith (Eily), and Philippa O’Hara (Peggy).
Author Marita Conlon-McKenna said the production of her award-winning book delighted her.
“Cahoots NI and Director Paul Mc Eneaney have done a marvellous job with this truly innovative production which combines music, song and story to help tell the story of The Great Irish Famine,” she said.
“The play surpassed all my hopes and expectations and I was overwhelmed by the reaction of kids, families and lovers of the book, to the show. The hard work and effort of the cast and crew have resulted in a very memorable stage production which I promise is different from anything else most of us have seen.”
This dramatisation of Under The Hawthorn Tree is based on the book Under The Hawthorn Tree © text 1990 Marita Conlon-McKenna, published by The O’Brien Press, Dublin.
Under The Hawthorn Tree runs at The MAC from January 30 – February 9 before touring Ireland.