Bangor Castle to host RUC Troubles’ drama

The promotional image for the play 'In Search of Hope' which is includes a pixelated RUC officer and his police dog
The promotional image for the play 'In Search of Hope' which is includes a pixelated RUC officer and his police dog
  • Police perspective on terrorist attack

A play which details the aftermath of a terrorist attack from the point of view of a recovering RUC officer and his wife will be performed in Bangor Castle this afternoon.

The sold-out performance of powerful drama ‘In Search of Hope’ will also include a discussion between playwright Philip Orr and the former police officer who helped to inform the story.

While the officer in question will be present today at the event, he preferred that his identity was not revealed in the News Letter so as the focus would be about the wider story in the context of the Troubles, rather than the individual or the incident.

The ex-RUC man, known in the play by the pseudonym Dave, said: “It focuses principally on the aftermath of the terrorist attack, and how we as a young married couple came to terms with loss, life-changing injury, and wrestled with our faith.”

He said with the government’s current consultation on dealing with the legacy of the past, “the timing is apt”.

He said it was important to give a balanced account of the conflict: “It’s crucial that we re-focus on the reality of human experience, particularly the impact of on families, friends and those who came to our aid.

“The public often get a headline and just hear ‘police officers ambushed’. But this goes beyond and acknowledges wider impact.

“For me, personally, it’s about the crucial role my faith played. Whilst never forgetting, it’s about being able to break free from the power of the past.

“It’s acknowledging that if the body and mind can be injured, it stands to reason that the soul can be wounded too. And these are the injuries experienced by the many beyond the headlines.”

The play was written by historian and dramatist Philip Orr based on a series of interviews he had with the married couple.

Both have remained active in their community following the event which saw the officer among those injured and another officer killed.

The play is poignant, stark and still – at times – humorous.

For example, it begins with Dave’s wife Anne commenting: “My mother told me never to marry a policeman.”

Mr Orr, whose books include ‘The Road to The Somme’ and ‘Field of Bones: An Irish Division at Gallipoli’, said: “The question of forgiveness is addressed in the play along with the tests that the couple’s faith had to endure after the shooting.

“It’s a very close-up and intimate insight into how one couple endeavoured to wrestle with and make sense of everything that had gone on.”

The play will be on one day only at Bangor Castle, today at 4pm.

It was previously performed at venues across north Down last year.