posted on February 20th, 2019

I Shall Wear Purple heads to the Grand Opera House


Belfast-born playwright Rosemary Jenkinson has collaborated with one of Northern Ireland’s leading theatre companies, c21, to create a hilarious production reminding us that life is for living and age is just a number!

I Shall Wear Purple, which will run at the Grand Opera House Belfast from Tuesday 26th February to Saturday 2nd March, followed by a six-show tour across the province, tells the story of Olivia and Thomas who find themselves in Malinderry Care Home for very different reasons; one tries everything to escape while the other never wants to leave.

This black comedy, which which is the fifth collaboration between Rosemary Jenkinson and c21 Theatre Company, examines what happens when youth and experience collide. I Shall Wear Purple, which stars the renowned Stella McCusker as the headstrong and compassionate Olivia, alongside Patrick McBrearty as footloose dreamer Thomas, is directed by co-founder of c21, Stephen Kelly and produced by Tom Rowntree-Finlay.

After suffering a heart attack, Olivia is persuaded to move into a care home despite feeling much younger than her years. Here she strikes up an unlikely, tongue and cheek friendship with struggling art therapist, Thomas, who needs the care home to keep his head above water financially. Facing this chapter of their lives with each other for support Olivia and Thomas navigate a number of real-life problems facing many in Northern Ireland today.

Ahead of the tour, Director and Co-founder of c21 Theatre Company, Stephen Kelly said, “Once again I am very privileged to be working with Rosemary [Jenkinson] and Tom [Rowntree-Finlay] on this production. Rosemary has tapped into the myriad of issues facing many in today’s society. Purple symbolises ‘spirit’ which is something both our characters have in abundance, and it’s the kindred spirit they find in each other which proves that age really is just a number.

“Given her links with local theatre in Northern Ireland, we are thrilled to have Stella McCusker as part of our production.  For those that remember her appearance in Lovejoy and more recently Game of Thrones this really is quite a coup.  Likewise, Patrick McBrearty will add much value and distinction to the production with his charm and presence on stage.  We are only too delighted to have them both star in I Shall Wear Purple”.

Writer, Rosemary Jenkinson, continues, “I am delighted to be showcasing I Shall Wear Purple at the Grand Opera House. Although the play deals with the realities of life’s journey, it’s a rallying cry for the arts, and the main component to take away is how someone from a different background can completely transform your outlook on life.  We want the audience to sympathise with these two people in their plight, while seeing the funny side and willing them to swallow their pride and accept help from each other.”

Following the success of previous comedies brought to you by c21 Theatre Company such as Love or Money and May the Road Rise Up, I Shall Wear Purple is set to become another hit.

The production is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland through National Lottery Funding. Damian Smyth, Head of Drama and Literature, Arts Council of Northern Ireland said; “The Arts Council is pleased to support this new production from c21 Theatre Company which highlights the power of the arts in dealing with challenging subjects. I am also delighted to see the play tour regionally, helping to bring great art to everyone.”

I Shall Wear Purple is also proudly sponsored by Belfast City Council and Doyle Shipping Group. Performances take place 26th February – 2nd March 2019, Grand Opera House, Belfast followed by six shows in venues throughout Northern Ireland.

Tickets are on sale now at the Grand Opera House, Belfast, contact 028 9024 1919 or online via www.goh.co.uk. Make sure to like c21 Theatre Company on Facebook and follow then on Twitter for exclusive updates and show information.

Stella McCusker as Olivia, alongside Patrick McBrearty as Thomas, in Rosemary Jenkinson and c21 Theatre Company’s production of I Shall Wear Purple, which runs at the Grand Opera House from 26th February – 2nd March 2019.