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Observe The Sons Of Ulster Marching Towards The Somme

This show has now closed, please visit our London Shows page for a full list of current productions.

About the Show Less...

Frank McGuinness's 1986 play follows eight Northern Irish soldiers who fight in World War One. Read More >

In Observe The Sons Of Ulster Marching Towards The Somme, eight men volunteer to serve in the 36th Ulster Division at the beginning of the First World War. Following their experiences, the play reaches a climax at the start of the battle of the Somme on 1 July 1916 – also the anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, one of the most infamous battles in British and Irish history. With heavy casualties from the Ulster Division, the Somme, like the Boyne, holds a significant place in the history of the Irish Protestant movement.

Observe The Sons Of Ulster Marching Towards The Somme premiered at Hampstead theatre in 1986 and established the reputation of playwright Frank McGuinness, who won the Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright. Since then, McGuinness’s numerous plays and adaptations have been seen in the West End and on Broadway and he has become one of Ireland’s best known playwrights. He has twice returned to the Hampstead with Carthaginians and Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me.

Observe The Sons Of Ulster Marching Towards The Somme is directed by John Dove, a former long-serving Associate Director of Hampstead theatre who returns to the venue to be a part of this, the theatre’s 50th anniversary season. McGuinness’s play is one of several past hit productions which are revived to celebrate the theatre’s five decades as a new writing theatre.

For more about Observe The Sons Of Ulster Marching Towards The Somme at the Hampstead theatre, read the First Night Feature.



Important Dates & Timing

Previews From: 18/06/2009

Opening Night: 23/06/2009

Closing Night: 18/07/2009

Running time: 2h10

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Cast & Creative


Billy Carter, Richard Dormer, Chris Garner, James Hayes, Mark Holgate, John Hollingworth, Michael Legge, Eugene O'Hare, Owen Sharpe


Director - John Dove

Producer - Hampstead theatre

Designer - Michael Taylor

Lighting Designer - Mick Hughes

Sound - Simon Baker

Author - Frank McGuinness

Music By - Claire van Kampen

ABOUT Hampstead Theatre

Eton Avenue, Swiss Cottage, London NW3 3EU