Four local men who have lost parents through cancer will be putting on a production for local charity, Action Cancer later this month.
In the space of six months, Alan and Colin McClarty lost their father David, Richard Mairs lost his mother Emily, and Darren Gardiner’s father Desi, sadly passed away.
Since their personal losses last April, the men have grown closer as friends, and are keen to promote the local cancer charity.
In a tribute to their parents, the men will be staging ‘Stones in his Pockets’ a play by Ulster writer Marie Jones.
Last year, Alan, Richard and Darren staged ‘A Night in November’, also by Marie Jones to raise money for the charity. This year, Alan will be joined in the two-hander by his brother, Colin.
‘Stones in his Pockets’ had a very successful run in the West End and on Broadway.
It’s one of Ireland’s best known plays, and looks at the effects of the Celtic Tiger, as an American film crew rolls into a small County Kerry village.
It’s a tragicomedy that centres around two friends, Charlie Conlon and Jake Quinn, that are employed as extras on the film.
It’s a play that Alan has always wanted to be part of: “I wanted to do it last year, but the rights weren’t available,” explained the Dunluce School teacher.
“This year we have been given special permission to perform the show.
“It’s a thought provoking play that deals with many issues, I know that local audiences will really like it.
“We had a brief read through back in June, but we have really only started rehearsing properly since the start of August, ” he added.
Director and Producer, Richard Mairs continued: “ We felt that this would be a nice follow up to last year. And the dynamic hasn’t changed with the addition of Alan’s brother Colin.”
Last year’s performance raised just over £4,000 for charity.
“We don’t want to flog it to death, but we had a figure in mind that we wanted to raise, and I would be hopeful that after this show we might reach that,” said Alan.
“That’s not to say we might not do something else in the future,” he said.
Colin, also a teacher, said he is delighted to be involved this time around: “Myself and Alan have been on stage many times together down through the years, but I don’t think we’ve ever done anything like this before.
“There are only the two of us on the stage, and, between the two of us we play 15 parts, and that includes female parts too, “joked Colin.
Angela Chambers from Action Cancer said that the charity were delighted to be involved again this year.
“It’s lovely to maintain the link with the boys,” she said. “Sadly we all know someone who has lost a loved one to cancer. I know the boys picked Action Cancer because of the fact that all the money raised stays here in Northern Ireland.”