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16 June 2016

As part of The Somme programme of events, Theatre at The Mill in association with the Amoory Theatre Company and with the generous support of the Ulster-Scots Agency, present Tom.  Written and directed by Philip Johnston, Tom premieres at the Theatre at The Mill on Friday 1 July at 7.45pm with a further performance at The Old Courthouse Antrim on Saturday 2 July at 7.30pm.

Thomas McKinney was born in 1893 to a prosperous farming family in Carnmoney, County Antrim.  He attended the Royal Belfast Academical Institution (RBAI or 'Inst'), before being sent to the Ballyhaise Agricultural College in Cavan in 1910 to prepare him for his future inheritance - the comfortable house and farm of Sentry Hill.

The McKinney's could not have foreseen the flood of carnage and destruction that would sweep across the European continent in 1914. It was a tide of effects that would be felt across the island of Ireland and the rest of the world. Sentry Hill would not escape untouched as young Tom McKinney, the heir to the farm, joined the Irish Fusilier's in 1914.  Tom survived the Battle of the Somme, but later died of his injuries on July 19th, 1916.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor John Scott commented “It is a great privilege to have Sentry Hill as a visitor attraction within our Council and a very fitting tribute to the late Thomas McKinney for us to be here today to launch his story as part of our commemorative programme of events for the centenary of the Battle of The Somme.”

 The play Tom is his story, based on his letters and journals. Tickets are available from £10 and can be booked online at www.theatreatthemill.com or www.antrimandnewtownabbey.gov.uk/boxoffice  or Theatre at The Mill Box Office: 028 9034 0202 or The Old Courthouse 028 9446 3113