Hear the Guidelines for a Long and Happy Life

By Scott Jamison

A South Belfast actress will perform a lead role in a unique play taking place next week that will see the audience play a major part in the production.

Guidelines for a Long and Happy Life will take place at the Old Victor Stationary Warehouse on the Castlereagh Road from Friday (October 14) as part of the Belfast Festival at Queen’s.

Set in a post-apocalyptic world where only a few survivors remain scouring the landscape for food and water, the play will be performed promenade style, with the audience moving through the vast ex-industrial space as things go on.

Playing the role of ‘Woman’ is Ormeau Road singer/actress Katie Richardson. Although better known as frontwoman of up-and-coming band Katie and the Carnival, she told the South Belfast News she couldn’t wait to get stuck into a different type of performing.

“I actually started out as an actress and worked with a few theatre companies here. I moved to New York for a while to do an acting course there. My music sort of developed from that, as I started writing music for theatre and performing with bands, so the two worlds have always been sort of linked.

“I would always try and put on a bit of a performance when I’m playing gigs as well but this is definitely a challenge. It’s out of my comfort zone a bit but not in a bad way.

“There is certainly a theatrical element to music but performance is performance. I’ve always loved the theatre and I’m delighted to be back acting on a stage. I’m really looking forward to getting out there and starting now.”

Although the former Rosetta and Methody pupil teased that she couldn’t give away too much about the play without spoiling it for potential theatregoers, she said her character would play a big role in the production, which sees survivors tentatively make contact with other humans.

“I really can’t say too much without giving things away for people but a lot of things happen to her and she has a rough time of it,” she said coyly.

“But I want people to come and find out for themselves what happens. I hope people respond positively to it. During rehearsals I have been looking in the empty warehouse and as I’ve seen it all come together I can just imagine the great time people are going to have.

“We’ve all been working hard and trying to create the best experience we can, so hopefully people come along and have the best time they can.”

Katie said the unique set-up of the play was one of the reasons she was attracted to it in the first place.

“It’s not always optimistic, which I like. It’s very technical but really incredible what we’re doing in terms of performing it on location on the Castlereagh Road. The guys behind the scenes are doing amazing work with the set and effects, so it will a stunning experience to come and see.

“Along with that, the script was brilliant, the characters strong and it was different from just working in a theatre on a stage. When you’re acting on location you get a real feel for it and I hope that comes across.”

Guidelines for a Long And Happy Life will run from Friday 14 to Friday 28 October (excluding Sundays) at 8pm.

The performance length is 60 minutes and attendees are encouraged to wear warm clothing and comfortable footwear.

 

Tickets are priced at £12/£10 concession and are available online at www.belfastfestival.com or by calling 90 971 197. For further information, including a map of the venue location visit www.guidelinestheshow.com

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