Irish Playwright Forced Into Hiding

News   Irish Playwright Forced Into Hiding Northern Ireland playwright Gary Mitchell has been forced into hiding following threats, it is alleged, from loyalist paramilitaries.

Considered to be one of the strongest voices in contemporary theatre, Mitchell’s plays focus on Protestant, working class life in Northern Ireland, and the community’s connection to paramilitaries.

It is thought that Mitchell’s depiction of frictions and feuds within loyalist groups is resented by members of paramilitary gangs.

Many of Mitchell’s plays — Loyal Women, The Force of Change and Trust — premiered at London’s Royal Court, often to critical acclaim. The writer has virtually created his own genre – the Northern Ireland, Protestant, working-class thriller. Mitchell's play As the Beast Sleeps was also filmed, winning the Belfast Arts Award for Best Film.

Last month Mitchell’s home in Glengormley was attacked following intimidation received by Mitchell’s parents who had to leave their home in Rathcoole, North Belfast, where Mitchell was raised.

The loyalist Ulster Defence Association, which has a strong presence in the Rathcoole area, has reportedly denied it is involved with the attacks. Mitchell has spoken of “rogue” paramilitaries being behind the intimidation which, the playwright is reported to have said, has been prompted by a “domestic situation” as well as the way he depicted loyalists in his plays.