The Sunflower Project

In each other’s shelter we survive

I bhfoscadh a chéile maireann muid


We began The Sunflower Project in January 2022. The aim was to work with people impacted by mother and baby institutions using the arts to explore their experiences, and to provide a safe and friendly space where difficult experiences can be explored through discussion and creative techniques. The sessions were facilitated by Shauna Kelpie, an experienced theatre practitioner, and Colette Ramsey, a researcher experienced in working with mental health and well-being and with a trauma informed approach.


The group first began working on written pieces that were presented in June 2022 at The Derry Playhouse to an invited audience. This was very well received with many audience members visibly moved by the presentation. These monologues have been filmed and will be available to watch as part of this exhibition.


In 2023 the group worked with artist Bronagh Corr to develop art pieces that resonate with their life experiences. The works express something that is beyond words. Sometimes there are no words to express the full extent of what the participants have been through.


The exhibition is the culmination of nearly two years of the group working together through art and drama to explore, connect with others, share their experinces and support thier healing.


“There was always a feeling of shame in having been associated with these institutions, through this project and support of everyone involved, I for one and I’m sure the others feel the same, now know that the shame has totally disappeared.” Participant


The exhibition took place 2nd  -  14th October 2023 in  St Columbs Hall, Derry. There was an amazing response from the public. We are planning further venues for this exhibition, watch this space. If you would like further information please contact Patricia Byrne on 


“What an exhibition! Thanks so much to the women who portrayed their experiences as birthmothers, adult adoptees born in Mother and Baby Institutions, and others. A sad reality of Northern Irish history, and so important to bring it into the open. A sad reflection of a very dark part of Irish history. Thanks to all at Sole Purpose Productions to support the women on their journey to express themselves in such a poignant artistic way. Very emotional and humbling to watch this fantastic exhibition. I would highly recommend everyone to see it.”

Sonja Tammen, Lead Caseworker, WAVE Trauma Centre



A Sole Purpose Productions Project








Photos by Lorcan Doherty


This project is supported by

The Ideas Fund which is delivered by the

 British Science Association and funded by Wellcome



Bringing professional theatre to communities

Sole Purpose is a company limited by guarantee, registration number NI37481 and is recognised by the Inland Revenue as a charity, reference number NIC100618