BBC NI brings the drama of lockdown to our screens

Lockdown drama SM Farm
n Writer Stacey Gregg and director Emma Jordan at work on Wake Cake.

As part of BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine, which aims to continue to bring culture into the homes of audiences during lockdown, BBC Arts, the Lyric Theatre, BBC Northern Ireland – with support from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland – are collaborating on some new theatre commissions from Northern Ireland.

These six new short drama commissions from some of Northern Ireland’s biggest names in writing and acting – including Lisa McGee (Derry Girls) and Conleth Hill (Game Of Thrones) – will explore the positive and negative aspects of social isolation and lockdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Under the title Splendid Isolation: Lockdown Drama, the five minute theatrical pieces, produced by some of Northern Ireland’s premier theatre talent, will be collated and broadcast on BBC Two Northern Ireland in June and made available afterwards on BBC Four and BBC iPlayer.

The project is part of a wider national collaboration between BBC Arts, theatres and arts councils in each nation in this challenging time for the creative sector.

The films have been written by top writers including Lisa McGee, Owen McCafferty, David Ireland, Abbie Spallen, Sarah Gordon and Stacey Gregg.

Derry Girls writer Lisa McGee says: “I’m thrilled to be working with the Lyric and the BBC on this ambitious project and to be collaborating with such exciting Northern Irish talent.”

They will be directed by Conleth Hill, Des Kennedy, Emma Jordan, Jimmy Fay, Cathy Brady and Damian McCann.

Actors featuring in the dramas, which have been shot in accordance with social distancing guidelines, include Anthony Boyle, who won an Olivier Award for his performance as Scorpius in Harry Potter & The Cursed Child in the West End and later on Broadway, Stella McCusker (Game Of Thrones, Ordinary Love) and Kerri Quinn (Coronation Street, Come Home).

Sarah Gordon, Abigail McGibbon and David Pearse (Vikings, Fifty Dead Men Walking) also feature.

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