Funding, Organisations

£50,000 Arts Council grant will support staging of new drama about John Hume

7th July, 2022

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has announced funding of £50,000 for a new play about the life and work of John Hume. Awarded through the Arts Council’s £2million Lottery Project Funding, the grant is one of 66 awards announced, to support the development of arts activities across Northern Ireland.

Female actress holding White Handkerchief during a performance at the Playhouse Derry-Londonderry.
The White Handkerchief performance at the Playhouse Derry-Londonderry.

The John & Pat Hume Foundation are first time applicants to the scheme and will work with The Playhouse in Derry/Londonderry to create an original musical drama, entitled Beyond Belief, to premiere and broadcast internationally on the 25th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in 2023.

Tim Attwood, Foundation Secretary of The John & Pat Hume Foundation said:

“The John & Pat Hume Foundation is delighted that the Arts Council of Northern Ireland has agreed to support the production of Beyond Belief. John and Pat Hume had a long association with The Playhouse and championed the organisation’s cultural and peacebuilding work. The Hume Foundation partnership with The Playhouse on Beyond Belief is a natural one as they have a deep commitment to promoting healing, understanding and reconciliation. We are excited that the Playhouse, with Beyond Belief, will develop an inspiring, creative and emotional work telling the story of John Hume’s journey of peace and reconciliation.”

Commenting on the award Playhouse CEO Kevin Murphy said,

“The difference that The Playhouse and The John & Pat Hume Foundation both make is that we bring people together to effect meaningful change creatively, peacefully and with hope. We each strive to support positive changemakers, nurturing their creativity and confidence. In addition, when we work together the possibilities only grow and through this partnership we can contribute to sustaining peace in societies worldwide as well as here in our home city.”

The creative team behind the production will include artists Damian Gorman (Writer) and Brian O’ Doherty (Composer). The production will also provide training and development opportunities for performers from The Playhouse Music Theatre Company, which played a significant role in the staging of The White Handkerchief, produced earlier this year to mark the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.

Speaking about The Playhouse Music Theatre Company and the opportunities the new production would bring, Playhouse Theatre Director and Producer Kieran Griffiths said:

"One of the ways we are actively making a lasting difference in our creative communities is by offering free conservatoire level education in music theatre, tuition and practical education in movement, vocal and acting tuition. Focusing on the practical experience of performance, being a member of The Playhouse Music Theatre Company offers the very best local talent the opportunity to help us tell our communities stories, performing to and for the public, building the CV, confidence and practical experience required to make it in the industry.

“The company provided the ensemble, and several principal roles, in our phenomenally successful production of The White Handkerchief, performed and broadcast from the Guildhall on the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday. This year’s company will do the same for Beyond Belief, a major new musical drama about the life and mission of John Hume, to mark the 25th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement."

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented:

“We are very pleased to announce today over £2million of funding to support a huge range of arts activities through our Lottery Project funding.

“Thanks to National Lottery players, funding raised for good causes will directly benefit communities here in Northern Ireland through quality arts programming. This vital source of funding will reach into the hearts of towns and cities across Northern Ireland, providing arts experiences for all.

“After a difficult two years, we all understand the many positive benefits the arts brings into our lives. There’s much to look forward to over the coming month including a brand new drama for local and international audiences from the John & Pat Hume Foundation, as well as festivals, concerts, new literature, plus workshops and classes for adults and young people.”

For a full list of awards made through the Arts Council’s Lottery Project funding, visit