The action takes place in Belfast during the early 1970s, and the eighty years preceding them. Spokesong is set in a Victorian bicycle shop, owned by Frank Stock, philosopher and dreamer, who believes in the regeneration of his native city through the miracle of the bicycle. The city fathers, however, are not convinced. Spokesong is told with an unusual and highly entertaining mix of history, song, and cycling tricks
Four people are gathered together by an accident of fate in a Belfast working-class parlour house where, against the background of the Ulster Workers’ Council Strike, they work out their relationships to each other, to the world outside, to the past. Only Marian is aware of a fifth presence – the ghost of Lily Matthews, the previous occupant. Humane, funny and profoundly moving, this play demonstrates fully the achievement of this great and compassionate writer.
The Parker Project
Stewart Parker was born in Belfast in 1941 and came to prominence as a playwright in the 1970s and 80s when eight of his stage plays received premieres at leading Irish and UK theatre venues. His first stage play, Spokesong, won the 1976 Evening Standard Most Promising Playwright Award and the last play he wrote in 1987, Pentecost, won the Harvey’s Irish Theatre Award.
The Parker Project presents both plays in repertoire to give a key insight into this writer’s work, and to celebrate his fascination with the place of his birth.