Accidental's Lastest Assortment of Tantalising New Plays

Each year Accidental selects several new plays to help develop from an international call for scripts. We choose work that is unconventional, exciting, modern, unique in voice and style, and capable of challenging audiences. This year's rehearsed readings gave the authors the chance to see their work in action and give Belfast audiences a taste of quality theatre from beyond Belfast.

The readings of 2013 take place on the last Thursday of each month, July to September at 7pm.

Grievances & Whirligigs

by Donna Latham

Thursday 25th July // 7pm

Ulster Hall Group Space, Belfast

Like love, empathy, and compassion, violence begins at home. When Mary Claire visits her parents after a lengthy absence, she carries her grievances home. Attempted murder, bottled emotions, and toxic chilli boil to the surface when Mary Claire’s abusive father threatens her daughter. First in the 2013 Biscuit Tin Readings is Grievances & Whirligigs by USA born Donna Latham, directed by Claire Lamont. Latham’s Grievances & Whirligigs provides a heart-rending insight into America and family-life.

Directed by Claire Lamont

Cast: Hannah Coyle, Susan Davey, Mary Jordan, Jenna Byrne, Megan Armitage, Stephen Clarke and Fra Gunn


by Clair Parker

Thursday 29th August // 7pm

Ulster Hall Group Space, Belfast

When society shuts them out, a family cling to one another and discover how deep their bonds really go. Based on a true story of a family who starved themselves to death in their own home in Dublin in 2000, Parker's play explores our own boundaries and beliefs and questions how far we will go with our convictions. The second in the series, directed by Stephen Beggs and written by English playwright Clair Parker, is a story of a family divided and united by their religion.

Directed by Stephen Beggs

Cast: Mary Jordan, Rachael McCabe, Hannah Coyle and Margaret McClelland

Down on the Main Road

by Damian Kearney

Tuesday 24th September // 7pm

Ulster Hall Group Space, Belfast

Faith Hartnett, the principal of Main Road School, and Dad-Man, the custodian of the school are - for different reasons - cursed to remain forever bound within the school. They take us through a day in the school’s life and try to get our heads round the fact that the school is a living, pulsating organism. The walls and boiler fall prey to colds and mood-swings, experiencing first love, reacting tempestuously to a student that had a bad time and had to leave. Directed by Fionnuala Kennedy, and written by Damian Kearney from Co. Cork, the final in the series is a real treat. 

Directed by Fionnuala Kennedy

Cast: Maggie Cronin, Fra Gunn and Bronagh McCrudden

G&W BTR 2013 4.jpg

In 2012 we focused on developing plays by Gillian Grattan, Philip Hurst, Patrick Quinn, Richard Woulfe and Terry Dugan. A selection of both local, national and international writers, bringing this new and diverse work to Belfast for the first time. We were very proud to be showcasing the work of such talented writers and performers for the third year running. 


by Gillian Grattan

Thursday 23rd August // 7pm

Lydia, a Dubliner, moves in next door to Tom and Mary. She is here to rebuild her life and win back her son, Wolf who is in the custody of his father and the father's new girlfriend, “Blonde Slapper”. Set in a rural village in the south east of Ireland, Hooked! is a story of secrets, deceit, jealousy and a whole basket of dirty laundry in a small, close-knit community, told in three interlocking monologues.

Directed by Fionnuala Kennedy

Cast: Jo Donnelly, Mary Jordan and Noel McGee.

Head of State 

by Philip Hurst 

Thursday 27th September // 7pm 

As protests rage outside his grand palace, Arthur, an ailing dictator near death is under threat from his two sons as they vie to be his successor, when one of his sons reveals his cunning plan to transplant Arthur's brain into his brother’s body! Power, revenge, love and government swirl around in this surreal and dark play about family and control.

Directed by Mary Jordan

Cast: Matthew Faris, Tripti Tripuraneni, Stephen Clarke and Patrick Strain.

The Painter's Hand

by Patrick Quinn

Thursday 18th October // 7pm 

Julie the owner of a lavish and creepy old Irish mansion and her young tenant Damian have a close relationship, too close. Damian feels smothered and is plotting to escape, but just before he sneaks away, Julie interrupts him with the news that she plans to marry him and leave him the house in her will. Themes of obsession, entrapment and the supernatural abound in this exciting and atmospheric play.

Directed by Stephen Beggs

Cast: Patrick Strain, Enid Crowe, Cathy Brennan-Bradley, Matthew Faris and Hannah McClean

The Civilised

by Richard Woulfe

Thursday 29th November // 7pm 

In 1585 two native Americans are imprisoned in the lower deck of a ship bound for England. Both from different worlds they barely understand each other but are being taught English by the crew before they arrive. When one becomes involved in a relationship with a female servant on the ship, it stirs up arguments about propriety, taboo and civilisation.

Directed by Richard Lavery

Cast: Chris Grant, Jack Geary, Tom Dart, Bronagh McCrudden and Gary Crossan.

Dies and Feng Shui for Cubists

by Terry Dugan

Thursday 13th December // 7pm 


Vi’let, an aging regional leading lady, has landed an audition for an improbable role, when her lifelong rival Flora also shows up at the callback. The two are thrown for a loop when Sapphire, a transvestite, enters the fray to audition. The rivals become partners to defend a woman’s role against the threat of a man, but they soon find that the greatest threat to them all is the demented, death-obsessed mind of method director Clappy. Written in blank verse and beautifully absurd, Dies is the first of two short plays by Terry Dugan.

Directed by Richard Lavery

Cast: Cathy Brennan-Bradley, Elaine Duncan, Stephen Clarke, Matthew Faris and Enid Crowe.

Feng Shui for Cubists

Recruited from Los Angeles by a top New York ad agency, a young copywriter learns things run a little differently in the big city. As his first assignment, Gruen must come up with the perfect pitch for selling an ice-cream-like treat made with the by-products of hydraulic fluid. If The Trust Corporation finds favor with his pitch, the company’s CEO will cut off a part of Gruen’s anatomy. The price of success makes Gruen want to fail, but the more experienced ad men, Cox, McDonalds, Pulater and Leach, work their motivational magic to persuade Gruen to become one with them in spirit.

Directed by Richard Lavery

Cast: Chris Grant, Stephen Clarke, Hannah Coyle, Megan Armitage, Matthew Faris, Morgaine FitzSymons and Elaine Duncan.


In 2011 we developed plays by Mike Coleman, Jaki McCarrick, Roy Endean, William Patterson and James McAnespy, being performed in the Ulster Hall Group Space, with one reading a month from July to November. We were very proud to be showcasing the work of these talented writers and performers for the second year running and the first under the new Biscuit Tin Readings title. 

Photography by Twy Miller

Robots in Disguise

by Mike Coleman

Thursday 20th July // 7pm

The government's Transformation Team have revolutionised the Welfare and Education sectors. Now they're turning their attention to the least evolved part of society: the family. Barry and Sheila have been chosen to lead a Beacon Family; they'll become the pinnacle of efficiency and grace - if they survive the process. 

Director Gayle Dennison

Cast: James McAnespy, Ed Boyd, Emma Little, Kim Moylan and Chris McCurry

The American Hotel

by Jaki McCarrick

Thursday 17th August // 7pm

A single hotel room in a lonely town might hold the secret to time travel - tunnels that can lead people back to that mythical point in their lives where everything went wrong ... at least that’s what Joe and Malone have heard. But they’ve got a dead body to deal with before they can dig their way out of past follies. Jaki McCarrick’s play The American Hotel twists the idea of what’s before us and what’s behind us.

Director Emily DeDakis

Cast: Chris McCurry, Jason McLaughlin and Chris Grant

The Portrait Keeper

by Roy Endean

Thursday 20th September // 7pm

Driven by mesmerising language, The Portrait Keeper examines an odd relationship between a wealthy art collector and the artist he has hired to paint his portrait. The painting of the portrait is at the foreground of a dance-like power struggle between the two men, one cantankerous servant, and the portraitist’s seductive wife. 

Director Mary-Frances Doherty

Cast: Matthew Faris, Jason McLaughlin, Susan Davey and James McAnespy

Stumpergasse 31

by William Patterson

Thursday 19th October // 7pm

1908. Gustl (a young musician) arrives in Vienna to live with his friend Adolf (a would-be art student). Gustl is looking forward to a simple sort of success - time at the conservatory, teaching music, settling down with a wife. But Adolf wants him to “think a little higher than that”. He predicts the artistic pair will flourish, building “cities of marble and gold” and restoring honour to the German nation ... if they can just win the lottery. 

Director Gayle Dennison

Cast: James McAnespy. Matthew Faris, Ariel Killick and Susan Davey

Sitting Up for Michael

by James McAnespy

Thursday 16th November // 7pm

Michael’s children and grandchildren have gathered for his wake. James McAnespy’s inter-generational comedy-drama (fueled by half-eaten sandwiches, colourful friends and neighbours, and plenty of booze) shows that life keeps ticking on - funeral or no - and that there’s more than one way, place and time to sit up for the dead. 

Director Helen Donnelly

Cast: Jason McLaughlin, Charmaine McBride, Mary Lindsay, David Bell, Chris Grant, Victoria Gleason and Tom Dart