the boat factory

(All The Queen's Men)

Written By Dan Gordon



Audience comments

  • "Dan Gordon's brilliant two-man play....they constructed a picture of boat-building, male friendship, hardship, humour and heroism as carefully as the men they portrayed built the Titanic"

  • "Dan, Michael  - what an experience!!. As the son of a 'Yard Man ' it was an amazing 2 hours. A real tour de force and a privilege to have been there on Wednesday evening"

  • "Saw `The Boat Factory` at Titanic Belfast last night.  Just wonderful!  Two men and a bit of scaffolding - had me completely entranced for two hours.  What a fabulous bit of writing and performing. "

  • "I attended the last performance in the Titanic Suite during the Titanic festival and my only regret is that I didn't bring family and friends to enjoy the wonderful, fascinating and hilarious show."

  • "Watched 'The Boat Factory' in Brussels last night. It was absolutely incredible and a great taste of home for our expats out here. Please bring more productions this way."

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Programme Note


Whatever it is that strikes you about ‘Belfast’ when you hear the name, one thing is sure to be true no matter how potent the image. It won’t be accurate. It won’t even be close.

Brusque, brutish and violent; or shoddy, second-hand, worthy but dull; or monotonous, relentless, bleak, with the odd flicker of wit and the perpetual hearkening to escape? The Titanic? The shipyard? The Troubles?

No. We give you The Boat Factory –  moving, funny, touching, risky, rude and handsome.

Dan Gordon’s play has grown into an extraordinary evocation of a city in a century. The many voices of the script carry echoes of other places, other worlds, other epics, but return eventually to the home place and the amazing eloquence of ordinary people living lives of racy, bracing power and great delicacy of skill.

His own performance as Davy – a role he was literally born to play – is charged and challenged by Michael Condron’s Geordie in a memorable partnership, swapping virtuoso moments and fashioning unmanageable sequences combining high camp with deep feeling.

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has been an audience for several versions of Gordon’s vision and, each time, the insight and vigour and truth of the work has been met with applause and cheering.

This isn’t a play about things or places or buildings or ships. It’s about the one thing that makes even a vexed and bothered place precious and important for us all, hammered into every steel plate and tight in every embrace.

It’s about the last thing you’d expect when you hear the word ‘Belfast’. Love.

Damian Smyth

the team

  • Angela is the Producer for the Boat Factory.  Angela has worked in the arts in Northern Ireland for over twenty years and has extensive experience in theatre production, event management and fundraising. She was an integral part of the team that built the new Lyric Theatre in Belfast, which opened to great acclaim in May 2011.

    As Development Director, she led the Lyric through the planning and design development, and played a central role in the highly successful £18 million capital fundraising campaign. She has been involved with 'The Boat Factory' from its earliest stages of development.

  • Dan is a qualified and registered Teacher but doesn't do it as its too hard, so is chiefly an actor - director - writer - documentary maker - newspaper columnist (Sunday Life) - social commentator - presenter - after dinner speaker and occasionally stand up. He wants to live and work in Ireland, so has diversified in recent years because acting roles are limited.

    He is on the board of the Lyric Theatre Belfast and the NI Actors Equity Committee, is an Artist in Residence for the Prison Arts Foundation, a member of the Arts & Business Advisory Committee and a Patron of Bruiser Theatre Company (along with Duke Special and Sue Townsend). Dan is Vice Chair of 'Friends of the Academy' (Belfast Royal Academy - oldest school in Belfast), an advisor in Drama to CCEA (Exam Council) for GCSE - and involved with the Thomas Devlin Trust , Brooke Advisory Services and The David Ervine Trust.

  • Born in Belfast, Philip is a graduate of Queen's University and later trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. He has been based in England for the past 12 years.

    He returned to Northern Ireland in 2008 to set up Happenstance Theatre Company and then directed their first production: a World War 1 drama by Stephen MacDonald, based on the lives of poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. Not About Heroes played in 10 venues across the Province, with companion workshops in schools and a lecture by Sassoon's friend, Dennis Silk CBE, which was hosted by the Linen Hall Library, poignantly on 11th November.

    For the Lyric Theatre, Belfast, Philip is the Project Director for Pat & Plain, a series of plays written by Dan Gordon and commissioned by the Ulster-Scots Agency for Key Stage 2 children. Six primary schools in the greater Belfast area performed The Boat Factory last year, the success of which has led to a further twelve signing up to present 2 new plays in this current academic year.

  • Michael was born in Toronto and now lives in Belfast. Some previous Theatre credits include: John Bull's Other Island, Santa Claus...What The Reindeer Saw, To Be Sure, A Very Weird Manor, Much Ado About Nothing, Charlotte's Web, Xmas Eve Can Kill You (all at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast).

    Other theatre credits include: Mirandolina (Manchester Royal Exchange); Mojo-Mickybo (Lyric Hammersmith); Da (Art NI), Sign Of The Whale and Revenge (Tinderbox); Oh What A Lovely War, Threepenny Opera, Blue Remembered Hills, The Government Inspector (Bruiser Theatre); Almost Human (Replay); Borderland (7:84 Theatre Company) and Colleen Bawn (Big Telly).

    TV and Film credits include: Last Man Hanging, Fairytales (BBC); The Tudors (HBO)

    Michael took part in All the Queen’s Men (Happenstance Theatre Company) – the script development phase of The Boat Factory, in November 2009.

  • As a theatre composer Chris’ recent credits include complete soundtracks for the 2010 PAT & PLAIN PROJECT (commissioned by the Ulster-Scots Agency and co-funded by the Lyric Theatre), A CHRISTMAS CAROL AS TOLD BY JACOB MARLEY – DECEASED (Brother Wolf Productions), TWELFTH NIGHT (The Marlowe Society), BLACKBIRD and SEXUAL PERVERSITY IN CHICAGO (The Norwich Theatre Royal Actor’s Company), BOAT MEMORY (Generation Theatre), THE ODYSSEY and GRADGRIND (Icon Touring Theatre), THE STRANGE CASE OF DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE (Coterie Theatre, Kansas) and THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY (Ironduke Theatre Company).

    Youth theatre credits include scores and songs for OLIVER TWIST, A WALK IN THE PARK, THE JUNGLE BOOK and THE WITCHES (Broadlands Theatre Group) and sound design for LET DOWN YOUR HAIR (Full House Theatre Company).


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