Histories and Mysteries Of The Downshire Hospital Revealed In New Production
The Downshire Hospital in Downpatrick and the lives of the patients and staff that called it home, will be the focus of a brand new production by Belfast-based Wireless Mystery Theatre and Down Arts Centre, The Down Chorus, which will take place in the old hospital from Friday 13 – Tuesday 17 June.
The action takes place over the course of one night in the Downshire Hospital in the 1950’s. Audience members will be guided by a professional cast of three actors through areas of the hospital that are not generally open to the public, blurring the lines between the past and the present, as the story unfolds.
Through the central character of Edward Flynn, a resident of the hospital, it explores issues of institutionalisation and recovery in a positive way. Flynn is our way into and through the stories of the patients and staff of the Downshire; his experiences permit us to consider the experiences of other people.
As he leads the audience through the corridors and wards, he introduces them to rooms of installations with photographs (including 15 prints of staff and patients by local photographer Bobbie Hanvey) and artefacts relating to the place. His one story allows the audience to bring their understanding to the many other stories represented in these items, thus getting a sense of the magnitude of life in the Downshire Hospital.
Flynn is a frustrated musician, living in a building with few resources. When, at last, his music is heard, it is as a chorale piece, uniting the voices of the Downshire and Downpatrick: The Down Chorus.
Through the course of the piece, Flynn introduces the audience to Nurse Thornton, the optimistic, young staff nurse on the night shift, and Flynn’s mother, a woman who, on the outside, must battle with the stigma from which he is protected inside. The action of the play works through the nightshift towards dawn, a metaphor for recovery.
This is a must-see show for anyone interested in the central role that The Downshire Hospital played in the life of Downpatrick, for more than 100 years.
The Down Chorus is written by Reggie Chamberlain King and directed by Aislinn Clarke, with new music by Nicholas Boyle, sound by John D’Arcy and lighting by Conleth White.
To purchase tickets (£10 / £8 concession) and for further information on any Down Arts Centre events, please contact the box office on 028 4461 0747. The complete Down Arts Centre Season Programme is available to download at: