CAN young people make their own decisions, or do they simply inherit them from their parents?
That was the question that was posed by Nismat Theatre School’s The Ceasefire Babies by Fiona Doyle at Belvoir Studio Theatre at the weekend. Nismat Theatre School is based in Finaghy and gives acting opportunities and theatre training to young people. Their latest production on Friday and Saturday night could not have been better timed, coming as it does ahead of bonfire season. 
With preparations for the annual anti-internment bonfire under way, tyres and wooden pallets are strewn on one side of the stage, while on the other side, what has become a peace wall has a tricolour on one side and a union jack on the other. Two parallel events are taking place as the young people from today goad the other side and defend their area, while back in 1971 the same young people's parents are caught up in the introduction of internment, which culminates in the shooting dead of one of the teenagers.
What was a barricade becomes a permanent interface both physically and mentally and prevents the young people of today from breaking free from their parents’ past. Add to the story that the young man who died in 1971 is the uncle of two of the characters from the new generation and the topical debate around intergenerational trauma from the Troubles takes centre stage.

Looking down on the new generation from the past

Looking down on the new generation from the past

Culminating in a riot scene, the audience is trapped on the frontline, coming face to face with their own younger self. Suddenly the decisions that the young people make have very real consequences.

Brilliantly acted by the talented young cast and superbly directed by Hannah Reilly, The Ceasefire Babies benefited from its fast pace and its raw punk soundtrack. No doubt we’ll be seeing more of these young actors in the near future.