'And The Band Keeps Marching On' by Martha Barnett
'And the Band Keeps Marching On' is a provocative and humorous play exploring British identity post Brexit, from a Northern Irish Loyalist point of view - a group who often feel British in Ireland, but outsiders in England. It's a darkly comic study of identity, crisis and redemption, set in a Northern Irish Loyalist marching family in a border town. The play will be interwoven with verbatim text from interviews recorded during Loyalist parade season and will explore what Britain and Brexit mean to this community. Around 60% of the Northern Irish Loyalist community is estimated to have voted for Brexit.
Plot: Brian, a local band leader, goes on his first trip to the mainland to celebrate Brexit. The play starts on his return home to his family. Has a long weekend in London gilded his Britishness? How can he translate his experience to his family and friends who have never left the bubble of Northern Ireland? How will it affect this season’s marching and his desire for his son to wear the sash, learn the Lambeg drum and parade their Loyalty through the streets?
MARTHA BARNETT is a playwright, based in Edinburgh, but originally from Belfast. Her debut full-length play, ‘The Shift’, was shortlisted for the Theatre 503 Playwriting Award and her second, ‘Girl at a Stop’ was long-listed for the Old Vic 12 and has been in development at The Tron Theatre, Glasgow. She has also had readings and short plays produced at the 503, The Traverse and by Sky or the Bird. Martha likes to tackle controversial subjects in her writing - from backstreet abortionists to dementia - taking these issues and exploring them through the experiences of individuals.
Born into a Protestant Northern Irish family, in this play she wants to tackle the identity crisis she felt when she left Northern Ireland and to challenge the stereotypes other Brits had of her and the community she came from. She will tackle how people within the Loyalist community identify themselves and why – and what happens when this identity is questioned. The play will be an exploration and celebration of the complex, impassioned and sometimes absurd ways in which we define ourselves.