Time of Your Life – Paramilitarism in Working-Class Communities

07 January 2020

A teenager in a tracksuit on stage | CRC NI


An open and genuine conversation about the place of Paramilitarism in working-class communities and in the life experience of young people – this was the goal of an original theatre production by Partisan Productions.

Time of Your Life received funding through the Community Relations Council’s CR/CD Small Grants Scheme, as well as through Belfast City Council.

Developed through conversations with individuals and groups across east Belfast and beyond, and in partnership with The Ballymac Friendship Trust, the production explored the social, cultural and environmental landscape in which Paramilitarism is embedded. 

Playing originally to three centres in July 2019, it led to a prestigious Department of Justice launch event.

The response was incredible,” Fintan Brady of Partisan Productions said. “Which led to conversations with The Department of Justice and Police Service of Northern Ireland who funded a two-week tour of the show across NI, launching with the DoJ conference Shaping A Better Future Together.”

The fast-moving play stitches together observations and stories in a unique way. Two actors face each other across the stage | CRC NI

The play itself is essentially a series of short monologues, exchanges, observations and stories structured by a loose set of family and peer relationships,” Fintan explained. “It specifically addresses the experience of young men. We intended that it should be fast-moving and engaging, aimed at audiences who may not have much experience of live theatre.”

During an interactive section of the play, the audience get to ask questions.

Our aim is to present and name the complex elements that produce this reality, with a view to addressing them in ways that could, perhaps, produce happier outcomes,” Fintan explained.

Those conversations with the audience identified particular issues:  

  • The apparent hopelessness and lack of choice for the main character Two male actors sitting next to each other | CRC NI
  • Mental health concerns
  • Barriers to education and employment
  • The invisibility of women
  • The need for a discussion of positive initiatives that are working within and between communities. 

Views and opinions shared by the audience are fed directly into the shaping of further work on this subject. Although Partisan Productions emphasise that Time of Your Life is an “unfolding work-in-progress.”

Time of your Life is our small contribution to a genuine conversation about the place of paramilitaries in working-class communities and in the life and experience of Northern Ireland's young people. The show does not propose answers. The hard work of finding those answers will involve all of us.”

Karen McFarlane, Partisan Productions

Further Information

Time Of Your Life, an original theatre production by Partisan Productions, received funding through the Community Relations Council’s CR/CD Scheme.

Partisan Productions is also core-funded by CRC. Learn more about our Core Funding Scheme.


Find out more about Partisan Productions


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