Award-winning drama reflecting struggles of living in care system to be showcased in Brussels

8th February, 2023

One of Northern Ireland’s leading theatre companies, Prime Cut Productions, will take to the stage of the Bozar Theatre in Brussels on Wednesday 15th February with its critically acclaimed production ‘Removed’.

Production shot  from 'Removed' by Prime Cut Productions. Male actor stood in the middle of the stage with his back to the audience.
Production shot 'Removed', Prime Cut Productions

The play, written by Fionnuala Kennedy and jointly directed by Emma Jordan, is a fictional account of a young man’s experiences living within the state care system. The story is based on a series of real life interviews and accounts from looked after children in Northern Ireland.

The production is the latest to travel to the Belgian capital as part of the Brussels Platform, a joint initiative by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, with funding from the National Lottery, and the Northern Ireland Executive Office in Brussels. Launched in 2011, the Brussels Platform has previously hosted writers, musicians, theatre practitioners and dancers, providing opportunities for NI based artists to showcase their work to international audiences, including MEPs and EU representatives in Brussels.

Looking forward to the performance and future tour dates in Paris, The Hague and Adelaide, Una NicEoin, Executive Producer at Prime Cut Productions said: “We are all so proud here at Prime Cut Productions to be able to tour this wonderful production again. We have been privileged to work with an amazing team of artists and have the support of really visionary and committed partners – Arts Council NI, Belfast City Council, Centre Culturel Irlandais, Culture Ireland, The Bozar, The MAC, STET Theatre and of course VOYPIC and Young At Art, who were there from the very start. We are so looking forward to sharing Removed with audiences across Europe.”

Siobhán Molloy, Arts Development Officer, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, congratulated Prime Cut on the production saying, “It’s a pleasure to once again be working with the NI Executive Office in Brussels to bring Prime Cut’s Removed to the Bozar Theatre. It’s a hugely powerful and emotive work and we know the themes and stories will resonate with international audiences. The Arts Council has been working closely with the Northern Ireland Executive Office in Brussels to support our artists as they set about forging international careers. The opportunity to showcase our exceptional talent in the headquarters of the European Union is a testament to the talent and excellence of Northern Ireland artists.”

‘Removed’ originally debuted at the Belfast Children’s Festival in 2019 but the idea for the play was six years in the making and first came about when Prime Cut were engaged in a large scale multidisciplinary community engagement project, The Secret City, with ten youth groups across Greater Belfast. The project explored youth culture and how younger people experienced and felt about living in an urban post-conflict city. One of the groups involved was VOYPIC, a charity for children and young people living in care. From there grew the aspiration to develop a piece which would reflect their experiences of being ‘Looked After’.

Playwright and Director Fionnuala Kennedy spent time talking and listening to the young people at VOYPIC using their experiences to shape the story and the play’s central character, Adam. She says it’s an honour to have the opportunity now to take Adam’s story to new audiences: “I’m delighted ‘Removed’ is traveling to the Bozar Theatre. It’s a privilege to get to take this story, inspired by young people in Care in Northern Ireland and share their stories internationally, hopefully making connections with those with similar experiences in Europe.”