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Burke Follows Black Watch with Hoors Premiere

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Scottish playwright Gregory Burke’s follow-up to his international hit Black Watch - which, among its myriad accolades won three of this year’s Laurence Olivier Awards, including Best New Play, for its belated London transfer last year at the Barbican – will receive its world premiere next week at Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh, where Black Watch started its life care of the then fledgling National Theatre of Scotland in August 2006 during the Edinburgh Fringe festival.

Burke’s new piece, titled Hoors (Scottish vernacular for “whores”), runs from 5 to 23 May 2009 (previews from 1 May) at the Traverse, before transferring to the Tron Theatre in Glasgow (26 May to 6 June) and then moving south of the border to the Theatre Royal Bath (10 to 20 June).

The story is set in Burke’s small home town of Fife in Scotland, where Andy and Vicky were going to get married tomorrow. Trouble is, Andy’s stag weekend in Amsterdam was so epic, so legendary, he didn’t make it to his own wedding. Now it’s time for the postmortem as Vicky, her sister Nikki and his mates Tony and Stevie piece together what happened then and where they go now.

Unlike Black Watch, a large-scale ensemble drama based on interviews with former soldiers of the legendary Scottish regiment who served in Iraq, Hoors is purely fictional black comedy for just four actors. Burke was commissioned to write both plays at the same time – and his first draft for Hoors was completed in 2005 – but the global success of Black Watch, which has had huge success in New York and on successive national and international tours, as well as in Edinburgh and London, delayed Hoors completion.

Gregory Burke first burst onto the theatre scene in 2001 with Gagarin Way, another hard-hitting black comedy about working-class men trying to make a political statement with a human heist that goes wrong. That playwriting debut earned him the Critics’ Circle Award for Most Promising Playwright and, after its world premiere at the Traverse Theatre, transferred to the National Theatre and the West End. His second play, The Straits, was seen at London’s Hampstead Theatre in 2003. Hoors is directed by Jimmy Fay and designed by Conor Murphy, with lighting by Paul Keogan.

- by Terri Paddock


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