Derry Girls creator Lisa McGee and Cyprus Avenue playwright David Ireland have been commissioned by the BBC and Belfast’s Lyric Theatre to create new theatre pieces responding to lockdown.
Six short dramas have been created for Splendid Isolation: Lockdown Drama, each written by a different Northern Irish writer and directed by Northern Irish talent including Conleth Hill.
Exploring the positive and negative effects of social isolation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the "five-minute theatrical pieces" will be broadcast on BBC2 Northern Ireland in June and then on BBC4. They will also be available on iPlayer.
McGee and Ireland have each written a piece for the series, as has Owen McCafferty, Sarah Gordon and Stacey Gregg.
Directors include Hill, Des Kennedy, Emma Jordan, Cathy Brady, Daman McCann and Jimmy Fay, the Lyric’s executive producer, while the pieces will be performed by actors including Harry Potter and the Cursed Child star Anthony Boyle, Stella McCusker, and Kerri Quinn.
Fay said: "All of the 20 artists involved have a connection to the Lyric Theatre and have responded to our invitation to create for this project with imaginative, versatile and provocative pieces. We are also delighted that some of our very best theatre directors like Emma Jordan and Des Kennedy are getting their TV directorial debut with this wonderful partnership."
Stephen James-Yeoman, commissioning executive for BBC Arts added: “For the time being the theatre curtains remain down but the talent, whether on stage or behind the scenes, are no less creative. Unsurprisingly one of the things that has figuratively brought us together while being apart is the world-class theatre brought to our living rooms. That is why BBC Arts is working with a host of theatre companies in all four nations of the UK, commissioning new and thought-provoking work to keep audiences thinking.”
The initiative is supported financially by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.