Play about IRA shooting to debut in Hackney

ARTS_ Gibraltar photo
Photo by Lisa Bywater

Former Casualty script-writer, Sian Evans has joined up with media law expert, Alastair Brett in a brand new play based on a bloody moment in Gibraltarian history.The play, set to debut at the Hackney Arcola Theatre, explores the controversial shooting of three unarmed IRA men by the SAS in 1988.

Gibraltar, which opens on 27 March at the Dalston theatre, will explore the issues of sensationalist versus ethical journalism and the media’s tendency to omit uncomfortable facts when chasing a splash.

Brett says there’s an old saying in political propaganda: “Get saturation coverage for your story as soon after the controversial event as possible. Once it has gone out the damage is done. Even when the true
facts come out the original damage is what sticks.”

The production will feature a mixture of people who were caught up in the aftermath of the event. The dialogue, though mostly fictional, is informed by accounts both made in the court and later televised

Brett adds, “The play examines the controversy over ‘shoot-to-kill’ and the prevailing these that Maggie Thatcher sent the SAS out to teach the IRA a lesson.’ Were the public entitled to know that the SAS are taught ‘he who hesitates is dead’ and that there was a running certainty that someone would get killed if they were sent out to do a policeman’s job?”

The production asks each member of the audience to determine what’s more important: the truth or political expediency?

Brett explains: “Gibraltar tackles these issues through the eyes of a journalist who believes in ethical journalism and is horrified by the Fleet Street over-reaction to Death on the Rock.

“He becomes obsessed with his pursuit of the truth and if and how the IRA might have managed to procure the biggest propaganda coup of all time. But did the oxygen of publicity, unwittingly given to the IRA through a flawed documentary, bring a far greater good to Northern Ireland?

“The play will ask you which is more important, the truth or political expediency.”