Devlin family back knife crime play

Published Wednesday, 03 October 2012
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A new play at the Lyric Theatre which hopes to hit home with young people about the impact of knife crime has the support of the family of Thomas Devlin, the schoolboy murdered in 2005.

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The Long Road tells the story of a family dealing with the murder of a relative, and, after its three-week run in the Belfast theatre, will tour prisons.

A performance of the hard-hitting drama was watched by Jim Devlin and Penny Holloway, whose son Thomas was brutally attacked just miles from his home.

For the Devlin family, the play highlights how stabbing someone is not just a "random act of violence, it has really huge consequences for all of the people involved."

"I think it's important that people understand the impact of an act of gratuitous violence such as that which killed Thomas and that which this play is about," Ms Holloway told UTV.

"It was quite difficult at times to watch because certainly the portrayal of the impact of the murder of the son in the family was pretty accurate. It was quite difficult.

"They were able to articulate some of the feelings that people who would have been in their position and in our position would feel in the aftermath of the murder - how difficult it would be to come to terms with the senselessness of it all, the lack of being able to understand why somebody would go through and kill somebody with a knife," she added.

Thomas's parents campaigned to bring their son's killers to justice and his father, Jim said he also found the performance to be extremely poignant.

"Parts of it are very emotional because it does bring you back to the time that you were told your son was dead and all the aftermath of it and the impact it has on the family, and how you try and hold it together," he explained.

After his tragic death, the Devlin family set up the Thomas Devlin Fund to help young people achieve their dreams in creative arts and music and have given out over £40,000 and 43 awards.

The cast and crew are hopeful that The Long Road will provoke a strong reaction in those who watch it and encourage young people to step away from crime.

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