In search of the Lost City Kids

Do you recognise any of these children
Do you recognise any of these children

Do you recognise anyone in this photograph?

Ulster-born children’s author Shaun Traynor is trying to trace the children in the picture which was taken in the 1990s.

Or these?

Or these?

The group are young cross-community actors from diverse areas including the Falls, Shankill, Divis and Duncairn.

They had just arrived back in Belfast after bringing Traynor’s children’s novel, The Lost City of Belfast, to a stage in Co. Dublin.

The play, adapted by the fledgling Playboard and Scarecrow Children’s Theatre Company, had already toured the north before the children - aged from five to 10 - headed across the border to stay with host families in a Tallaght housing estate for a groundbreaking performance in south Dublin.

Now Shaun wants to know what happened to the young actors after they returned to their ‘partitioned’ areas of Belfast.

Speaking from his London home, he said: ‘‘I have always wondered what happened to those wonderful child actors and what their stories are.

‘‘And as it is exactly 25 years on, I thought it would be interesting to find out.

‘‘The early 1990s were full of examples of sectarian abuse and violence.

‘‘My novel The Lost City of Belfast was an exploration into Irish history to try to find out what it was all about. The plot of my book was that a girl called Kate time travels through an archaeological dig through episodes like the famine and like the Battle of the Boyne. She was really there.’’

He added: ‘‘The producers got parents’ permissions to allow the children to meet together, to rehearse together and then finally perform the play professionally. Catholic children played protestant parts and vice verse.’’

Shaun said he would also like what effect, if any, being part of that project has had on the lives of the children, who would now be in their 30s.

‘‘This was a deliberate anti-sectarian project and I was very pleased to be a part of it. That is why I would now like to know what happened those wonderful child actors -what are their stories?’’

*Anyone involved in the Lost City of Belfast project or who can help put Shaun Traynor in touch with the young actors from 1992 can contact him via email:shaun.traynor@googlemail.com.