SPOKESONG Begins 25 May at Finborough Theatre

Renowned Ulster playwright Stewart Parker's Spokesong - which won him the Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright - opens at the Finborough Theatre for a limited run of nine Sunday, Monday and Tuesday performances from Sunday, 25 May 2014 (Press Night: Monday, 26 May 2014)

Belfast, 1973. The city is being torn apart by the Troubles. But to bike shop-owner Frank Stock, the greater threat is the imminent demolition of his neighbourhood to make way for a motorway through the city. Frank thinks what Belfast needs is an antidote to the car - '50,000 free bicycles distributed round the city centre'. But the arrival of his estranged adoptive brother and a burgeoning romance bring the reality of the streets blasting through his shop.

A runaway hit at the Dublin Theatre Festival which transferred to both London and New York, Spokesong was last seen in London in 1977. A haunting story, blending song and a century of history, told through the lens of the humble bicycle, Spokesong is a fascinating exploration of how we process our own personal and national history.

This new production - with a playful new score by Ben Osborn - comes at a time when London is examining its own relationship with the bicycle. Going by two wheels has become increasingly popular, while Frank's utopian fantasy - to litter Belfast with public bicycles - has been made reality in London today.

Playwright Stewart Parker (1941-1988) remains one of Ulster's most acclaimed playwrights. Following the massive international success of Spokesong, Parker then embarked on a decade of writing that saw his vision of Northern Ireland's past and present take flight. His other works include Kingdom Come and Catchpenny Twist (1977), Pratt's Fall (1981) Northern Star (1984) which recently received its English premiere at the Finborough Theatre, Heavenly Bodies (1986) and Pentecost (1987), winner of the Harvey's Irish Theatre Award.

Director Guy Jones is a former Resident Assistant Director at the Finborough Theatre. Direction includes Twelfth Night (Orange Tree Theatre), On Reflection (Southbank Centre and Body Gossip), Caterpillar (Bush Bounce), The Ripple Effect (Richmond Theatre as part of the Cultural Olympiad), What Will Survive of Us (Islington Community Theatre and the National Theatre), No Wonder (National Student Drama Festival and the Library Theatre, Manchester), How Hard it Happens and Beowulf (Edinburgh Festival). He is an Associate Artist of Islington Community Theatre. As an assistant director Guy has worked with the National Student Drama Festival Ensemble on Touched (North Wall Arts Centre and Latitude Festival).

The cast:
Ben Callon | The Trick Cyclist
Trained at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
Theatre includes A Little Bit OCD, Eliza and the Wild Swans (BikeShed Theatre, Exeter), Wounded (Birmingham REP), Bristol Ferment (Bristol Old Vic), The Good Soul of Szechuan, Macbeth, Hamlet, Tom Jones, King Lear, The Nativity, Talking to Terrorists, Hay Fever, Punk Rock, Therese Raquin (Bristol Old Vic Theatre School), Hard Times the Musical and What the Dickens! (The Tobacco Factory, Bristol).
Television includes Doc Martin.

Stephen Cavanagh | Frank
Productions at the Finborough Theatre include Blackwater Angel.
Trained at Gaiety School of Acting and the British-American Drama Academy.
Theatre includes A View From The Bridge, The Lonesome West, Journey's End, Coriolanus, Death of a Salesman, Romeo and Juliet, The Dance of Death (Mercury Theatre, Colchester), Srebrenica (Tricycle Theatre and UK Tour), Dial 'M' for Murder, Pleasure and Pain, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme (Citizens Theatre, Glasgow), The Comical Mysteries, A Midsummer Night's Dream (Civic Theatre, Dublin), Code of the West, Good Morning, Alamo! (Tabard Theatre), Melmoth the Wanderer (Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh), Bell, Book and Candle (Greenwich Playhouse), Hurried Steps, Riddance (Cockpit Theatre), Being Norwegian (The Karamel Club), The Night Pirates (UK Tour), Mountain Language (The Albany), Breaking News: The Rachel Corrie Ban (Theatre503), Three Tall Women and A Moon for the Misbegotten (Irish Tour).
Film include Dream On, Krish and Lee and Hamlet.

Elly Condron | Daisy
Trained at Drama Centre London.
Theatre includes Measure for Measure (Lion Pub) and Framed (Etcetera Theatre)
Film includes Wasp.
Short films include IT, Scene 25, Group 37, Orange, Strangers When We Meet, To Have and To Hold, Girls' Night, Step Right Up and Here Comes the Sun.

Paul Mallon | Julian
Trained at Manchester Metropolitan School of Theatre.
Theatre includes Macbeth, Uncle Vanya, Blocked (Lyric Theatre, Belfast), The Miniaturists (Arcola Theatre), Digging for Fire, Dying City (Rough Magic Theatre Company), Both Side (Ransom Theatre Company), Translations (The Curve, Leicester), True North - The Cleanroom, True North - God's Country (Tinderbox Theatre Company), Bad Behaviour (Frantic Assembly), Off Plan - A New Adaptation of the Oresteia (Project Arts Centre, Dublin), Seesaw, Tom's Midnight Garden (Library Theatre, Manchester), Antigone, The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek (Waterfront Studio, Belfast), Blue Remembered Hills (Bruiser Theatre Company), Patriaslava (Russia) (Queens Theatre, Belfast), After the Blood Rush (Palace Theatre, Manchester), The Exam (Merseyside Young People's Theatre), Danny, King of the Basement (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield), Marvin's Room, A House of Pomegranates, A Laughing Matter, Twelfth Night and Three Sisters (Manchester Metropolitan School of Theatre).
Television includes The Inquiry, London Irish, Wodehouse in Exile, Shameless, The Royal Today, Coronation Street and Bradford Riots.

Melanie McHugh | Kitty
Productions at the Finborough Theatre include Over the Bridge.
Trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.
Theatre includes Blushing (Landor Theatre), Durang/Durang (Jermyn Street Theatre), Twelfth Night (Creation Theatre Company, Oxford), Shining City (Greenwich Theatre and National Tour), Dancing At Lughnasa (New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme), Pedro The Great Pretender, Tamar's Revenge, The Dog in the Manger (Royal Shakespeare Company at the Swan Theatre), The Art of Success (Arcola Theatre), The Playboy of the Western World, Peer Gynt, Romeo and Juliet (National Theatre), Silas Marner (Tivoli Theatre, Dublin), Blood Wedding (Northern Stage, Newcastle), Playgirl, Rumpelstiltskin (Abbey Theatre, Dublin), The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs, Summerhouse (Druid Theatre, Galway), The Illusion (Charabanc Theatre Company, Belfast), The Lament for Arthur Cleary (7:84 Theatre, Scotland) and Translations (Chandler Theatre, Glasgow)
Radio includes Burnt Bolognaise, Brush Up Your Shakespeare and Never Say Die.
Writing includes three short plays Bungalow, Clocked and Blushing, performed at the Landor Theatre.
Voiceover includes audiobooks for Audible.co.uk and the RNIB.

Jack Power | Francis
Theatre includes Dancing at Lughnasa, Noises Off, Hay Fever, Someone Who'll Watch Over Me (Theatre By the Lake, Keswick), Vivat Vivat Regina, Chopped Hamlet, The Circle (Chichester Festival Theatre), Collinder (Theatre Royal Bath), Great Expectations (Northern Stage, Newcastle), The Taming of the Shrew (UK Tour), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Broken Glass (West Yorkshire Playhouse), The Duchess of Malfi, The Herbal Bed (Royal Shakespeare Company), The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Canterbury Times (New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme), The Vanek Plays (The Young Vic), Measure for Measure (UK Tour for Thelma Holt Productions), Dial M for Murder (Farnham Repertory Theatre), Book of Job (Theatre Royal Norwich), Macbeth (UK Tour), Othello, Speed the Plow, Twelfth Night (Factotum Theatre) and The Cherry Orchard (Capitol Theatre).
Film includes The Violent Patient, It's Good To Talk and Last Post.
Television includes The Bill, Hello From London, Ruth Rendell Mysteries, London's Burning, Dr Who, Toby and Rosie's Story and Campion.

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