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World premiere of Fighting Irish to open at Belgrade Theatre this April

fighting irish image

Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre is to present the world premiere of Fighting Irish this spring.

The new drama based on a true story from Coventry writer Jamie McGough runs in B2 from Sat 2 – Sat 16 April.

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Co-Directed by the Belgrade’s Creative Director, Corey Campbell, and former Artistic Director, Hamish Glen – who stepped down in December 2021 following an 18-year tenure – Fighting Irish will see the flexible B2 auditorium presented in-the-round for the first time ever.

Set in Dublin in 1979, Fighting Irish follows Jarlath McGough, Coventry’s newest light-heavyweight champion, as he returns to Ireland to defend his title. Prejudice, corrupt officials and warring factions in Ireland mean that Jarlath faces more than one fearsome challenger to his crown. The remarkable fight for identity pushes the McGough family unity to the brink.

The debut play from Coventry writer Jamie McGough, Fighting Irish tells the true story of McGough’s own family, inspired by his family’s retellings of the historic events.

Writer Jamie McGough said: “I was lucky to have the story of Fighting Irish in my family and I wanted to pay tribute to them while contributing to Coventry’s City of Culture programme.

“I’m very grateful that the Belgrade have seen the potential in my story – I think we’re making something people can be very excited by.”

Co-Director Corey Campbell added: “I’m very excited to be working on Fighting Irish with Jamie, a local writer with a bright future ahead of him. My personal mission is to put local stories on stage and create a dynamic space for those stories and the local community.

“I’m also excited to learn what I can from Hamish in our handover show. He’s got a lot of experience and welcomed me into this organisation almost five years ago. I’m very grateful, very passionate about the work and very excited to make it happen.”

Co-Director Hamish Glen commented: “I’m very excited about my last production for the Belgrade, and having always believed that theatres are local places, I’m delighted to be part of Fighting Irish. Throughout my time at the Theatre, I’ve been looking for a local piece of work to engage with the Irish community in the city.

“It will be a real pleasure to work with Corey. The show cries out for a strong, expressive, physical production – all the hallmarks of Corey‘s work. I am proud to be contributing to the Belgrade’s City of Culture programme with a new, local play by a first-time writer, telling an extraordinary true story.”


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