Musical based on life of John Hume to be staged

Beyond Belief will be produced by the Playhouse theatre in Derry

A new musical drama based on the life of John Hume is to be staged in Derry next year to mark the 25th anniversary of the Belfast Agreement.

The former SDLP leader was one of the key architects of the 1998 agreement which ended the Troubles and was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize along with the Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble for their role in bringing peace to the North.

Beyond Belief, which will be produced by the Playhouse theatre in Derry, will tell the story of Mr Hume and his wife Pat through the medium of musical theatre.

It will be performed in the city’s Guildhall and broadcast internationally on the 25th anniversary of the signing of the agreement in March and April 2023.


The production also begins a partnership between the John and Pat Hume Foundation and the Playhouse "signifying their shared mission to promote leadership for positive change and social justice."

It is the second in a “peacebuilding trilogy” from the Playhouse and follows the performance in January of The White Handkerchief, which told the story of Bloody Sunday in Derry in 1972 on the 50th anniversary of the killings.

The Humes' daughter, Mo Hume, said the family "really admired" the peacebuilding work of the Playhouse and her parents had been "hugely impressed by the creativity, openness and international reach of the Playhouse's work over many decades.

“We are confident that The Playhouse will honour my father, and present his life and work with great integrity, but also joy,” she said.

“My father’s career had many triumphs, many hardships, but he was a warm, kind and funny family man, a man who loved to sing.

“He was a very proud Derry man and I know it will be emotional seeing his presence step on the stage of the Guildhall.”

The producer and director of Beyond Belief, Kieran Griffiths, said that while Mr Hume had frequently been described as a "titan, a giant and a hero of peacemaking and reconciliation" Beyond Belief would "reach for the man.

“In re-presenting John Hume, his life and his mission,” he said, Beyond Belief would seek to “inspire” fresh generations “through words, music and song.”

Freya McClements

Freya McClements

Freya McClements is Northern Editor of The Irish Times