It’s no exaggeration to say that the Bread and Roses was instrumental in the idea becoming a play, and the play becoming a successful and critically acclaimed production. “The Bread and Roses is not simply one of the best places in London to enjoy high quality fringe theatre;” says to Playboy writer Neil Weatherall; “it is simply unique in the generous and practical way it supports new writing. The Bread and Roses reaches out to prospective playwrights, encourages, nurtures and shares skills with them, and then provides a first class venue under terms which make it easier or young companies to take risks.”
The Passion of the Playboy Riots is set backstage during performances of ground-breaking Irish plays: Cathleen ni Hoolihan in 1902, The Playboy of the Western World in 1907 and The Plough and the Stars in 1926. It is based on the published writings of W. B. Yeats and Lady Gregory, who founded the Irish Literary Theatre, and Patrick Pearse, a charismatic but troubled schoolteacher and the first of the leaders of the Easter Rising to face the firing squad.
Yeats and Lady Gregory want to raise the profile and status of Irish culture in support of the campaign for Home Rule, and to support the best new Irish writers. They are shocked when Pearse and others accuse them of being unpatriotic and insufficiently Irish.
The Passion of the Playboy Riots examines the relationship between art and propaganda, the role of the theatre in the genesis of 20th century Irish nationalist feeling, and the balance to be made between ‘good patriotism’ and ‘bad nationalism’. As the world waits to see the effects of Brexit on the Northern Ireland Peace Process and the Scottish independence movement, and we see the rise of popular nationalism across Europe, the lessons of the Irish experience a century ago could hardly be more relevant.
Runs 4th to 6th January at 7.30pm!