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‘Tintown’ turns lens on our past

Going Out

LOOKING BACK Bob Kelly as Bernard Carroll in ‘Tintown’, which will be staged in Ballina on Tuesday, February 4.

Sligo’s Blue Raincoat Theatre Company are taking ‘Tintown’ on the road this February, and the tour is kicking off next Tuesday, February 4, at Ballina Arts Centre.
Directed by Niall Henry and written and performed by actor Bob Kelly, ‘Tintown’ is the story of Bernard Carroll, a naïve young Dubliner who joined the IRA as a young man in the 1930s.
With the outbreak of World War II, the Irish Government introduces internment without trial for all suspected IRA members, and Bernard – who believes he is a revolutionary – is swept up with hundreds of others and held in a ramshackle internment camp on the plains of the Curragh.
The camp is packed with militant republicans, left-wing revolutionaries, civil war veterans. They can leave any time they want, but there’s one catch: they must first renounce violence and take an oath of loyalty to the Irish government.
They choose to stay, despite the cold and hunger – studying, training and preparing themselves for the struggle. After all, they’re the future leaders of the secular socialist Irish Republic – aren’t they?
Meticulously researched through access to rare internee interviews, the play turns a lens our violent past, the development of socialism and fascism within Ireland and the political contradictions and absurdities of the time.  
Reviewing the Sunday Independent wrote: “[Tintown] is serious comedy … Kelly writes and performs with fierce, almost manic intensity … a wonderful, sobering production, terrifically directed by Niall Henry.” The Irish Independent described the play as ‘elegant and clever’ and Kelly’s ‘beguiling’ solo performance as ‘detailed and authentic’, while Eoin McNamee of The Irish Times said the play was simply ‘mesmerising’.