Arts Council of Northern Ireland

The Funding and Development Agency
for The Arts in Northern Ireland

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Derry~Londonderry UK City of Culture 2013

Friday 24th May 2013 at 11am

- Video: Musician & singer-songwriter, Phil Coulter talks about the Derry-Londonderry 2013 City of Culture celebrations

With a high-profile programme of events that includes the return of Field Day theatre, Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann and the Turner Prize, the arts are transforming the image of Derry~Londonderry from ‘city of conflict’ to ‘city of culture’.

Derry~Londonderry made history in July 2010 when the city saw off its shortlist contenders, Birmingham, Norwich and Sheffield, to become the UK’s first City of Culture. The title is designed to promote regeneration and investment in a city’s infrastructure with the promise of a significant return in jobs and the local economy through increased tourism and inward investment.


Now, six months into its reign as UK City of Culture 2013, the city has already played host to many dozens of major events, including the the BBC Radio 1 Big Weekend flagship event; a new production of ‘Translations’ by Brian Friel, co-founder of Field Day Theatre Company and one of our greatest living dramatists (‘Translations’ was first performed at the Guildhall in Derry in 1980 by Field Day and featured no lesser actors than Stephen Rea and Liam Neeson); and the year’s most ambitious outdoor spectacle, ‘The Return of Colmcille’ by Frank Cottrell Boyce, writer of the London Olympics opening ceremony.


Major events still to come include the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, the biggest celebration of Irish Culture anywhere in the world, with the streets of Derry transformed into a spectacular performance space; legendary Derry-born singer-songwriter Phil Coulter in concert with the Ulster Orchestra; a major retrospective exhibition of Derry-born artist Willie Doherty; Hofesh Shechter’s daring contemporary dance performance, ‘Political Mother’; the city’s own Nobel Laureate, Seamus Heaney joining uilleann poper Liam O’Flynn for a performance of The Poet and the Piper; and one of the world’s most prestigious awards for contemporary art, the Turner Prize, held for the very first time outside of England at the former army barracks at Ebrington.


Thanks to its year in the cultural limelight, Derry is experiencing an artistic renaissance that is pulling in the visitors, buoying the city and paving the way for a new generation of creative talent.

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