A NEW political drama will mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement at the Lyric Theatre this month as part of Imagine! Belfast Festival 2023.

‘Agreement’ will examine the negotiations leading up to the Good Friday Agreement and weaves real drama out of the complex, momentous and landmark moment for the North.

This major new play, commissioned by Michael Grandage Company (MGC), has been written by one of Belfast’s foremost playwrights Owen McCafferty, and is directed by Charlotte Westenra, with set and costume design by Conor Murphy.

Set in April 1998, the clock is ticking as the main political parties in the North, the British Government and the Irish Government, all under the watchful eye of Senator George Mitchell, try to hammer out a deal that could pave the way for peace after 25 years of violence, with no one leaving until Agreement is reached one way or another.

The stage is set for this political masterpiece which includes a stellar cast line-up featuring Richard Croxford as Senator George Mitchell, Dan Gordon as John Hume, Andrea Irvine as Mo Mowlam, Ronan Leahy as Bertie Ahern, Packy Lee as Gerry Adams, Patrick O'Kane as David Trimble and Rufus Wright as Tony Blair.

Writer Owen McCafferty, suggests that, while the play is set at a very specific moment, it is much more broadly about the process of negotiation. 

“We all spend a good deal of our lives negotiating," he said. "It’s how we solve the problems that confront us in our relationships with others. These negotiations always follow the same pattern. A problem arises and we blame the other and in return they blame us.

"There is a standoff. At this point a decision must be made. Do you continue to blame the other for the existence of the problem or do you realize you are part of the problem. The former leads to a breakdown in the relationship and the latter leads to negotiation – and the possibility of resolution.” 

Jimmy Fay, Executive Producer Lyric Theatre, said: "The Lyric Theatre main stage is the perfect setting for this historically significant piece of work by Belfast playwright Owen McCafferty and directed by Charlotte Westenra. Over the past 25 years Lyric has had its own part to play in the story and journey of The Good Friday Agreement.

"It is only fitting that Agreement premieres on the Lyric main stage, and what a moment it will be when the cast walk out onto the stage as these significant and important characters. Agreement will be one of those productions when you will want to say that you were there to witness this historic theatrical moment.” 

Nóirín McKinney, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented: “This year we mark the 25th Anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland is proud to support the Lyric Theatre and this powerful new production which takes us on the journey of this landmark in our collective history.  With superb writing from Owen McCafferty, a stellar cast and compelling story, this is a must-see production this spring and I would encourage everyone to go along and enjoy.”

Tickets for Agreement start from £15 and are available to book now on www.lyrictheatre.co.uk.