Derry will play host to a world-class programme which includes the Turner Prize presented outside England for the first time; a new commission by the London Symphony Orchestra; award-winning choreographer Hofesh Shechter; the return of Field Day; a new play by American playwright Sam Shepard; local Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney; and the first visit to Northern Ireland of the Royal Ballet for over 20 years as part of “game-changing” year as UK City of Culture.
Announcing the programme today, Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of Culture Company 2013, said: “We hope that Derry~Londonderry’s City of Culture year brings a sense of joy, a sense of ambition, a sense of pride in our community, a sense of being part of a global community, and in the end a sense of achievement – that we all did this together and it meant something. A huge success for a small city.”
Mayor of Derry Cllr Kevin Campbell added: “The City of Culture year will transform our city and region. The range of contemporary music, dance, theatre, arts and performance events will link our diverse communities in programmes of celebration. The exciting programme of events scheduled for 2013 will encourage, develop and showcase our amazing cultural talent to the world and lay the foundations for economic prosperity for years to come.”
Welcoming the programme, the Culture Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said: “2013 promises to be a momentous year for Derry and for this part of Ireland. With such an exciting programme of events to suit everyone’s tastes, the endorsement this week from the Lonely Planet and the sheer dedication to make this happen, Derry City of Culture is not to be missed. Derry is ready to embrace this opportunity and to showcase Ireland’s rich culture and heritage on the local and international stage.”
The year will open with Sons & Daughters, a spectacular free concert on January 20, staged in a new purpose-built pavilion in the heart of the city on the banks of the River Foyle. The concert will celebrate Derry’s rich musical heritage co-produced by BBC Television for broadcast.
The concert, the line up to which is not yet confirmed, will be followed by a host of other world class events appealing to all sections of the local and international community.
Theatre highlights include the return of the Field Day theatre company - not only with newly commissioned works but also a season of plays by Brian Friel presented by local venues including the Millennium Forum and the Playhouse including Performances, The Enemy Within, Freedom of the City, and the seminal Translations directed by Adrian Dunbar, premiered by Field-Day at the Guildhall in Derry in 1980.
Also hotly anticipated is the The Return of Colmcille , which will take place in June. A city-wide spectacle taking place over a whole weekend devised by Frank Cottrell Boyce, writer of the London 2012 Opening Ceremony, with Walk the Plank.
Music fans will be practising their pogo-ing for Teenage Kicks: A Punk Musical, penned by award winning novelist and screenwriter Colin Bateman and based on the songs of The Undertones.
Music will play a huge part of 2013. The Music Promise will see more than 7,000 of the youngest children will take part in the programme, schools all over the city will participate, and thousands of free tickets will be given to schools to ensure that young people are at the heart of the music offering of the city.
The Music City festival in June promises to transform the whole city into a stage for local and international professional and amateur musicians in partnership with Exit Festival of Serbia bringing music from cities on the edge throughout the world to Derry – Beirut, Tblisi, Tel Aviv, Harare, Havana, Sao Paolo.
Also in June, Phil Coulter will return to Derry for the biggest and most ambitious concert he has ever performed in his hometown. He will be joined by the Ulster Orchestra and guests for this unique concert.
Traditional music fans will enjoy Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann which is unsurpassed as the biggest festival of Irish culture anywhere in the world. It includes traditional music, pageants, marching bands, competitions, ceili bands, concerts and singing as well as drama and exhibitions.
The London Symphony Orchestra will bring to Derry the world premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s At Sixes and Sevens, a new cantata featuring texts by the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon in July.
Earlier in the year, the LSO will present a programme of film music by John Williams, including his scores for Star Wars and Schindler’s List, at the former Ebrington Barracks on March 18.
In February Dingle’s legendary Other Voices Festival, edited by musician Philip King, will expand to London with the Barbican and to Derry featuring world famous musicians in tiny venues broadcast to the world.
Dance will be represented with the arrival of renowned choreographer Hofesh Schechter in March. He will re-imagine his acclaimed work Political Mother with a live band of 20 young local musicians performing alongside his own company of international musicians and dancers.
The Royal Ballet will visit Northern Ireland for the first time in 20 years when they visit Derry in March for a special Gala performance by members of the Company with the Ulster Orchestra.
Derry’s Echo Echo Dance Company will showcase local talent in November with Northern Ireland’s first dedicated dance and movement festival, created by the North’s only professional dance company, Echo Echo, cementing the city’s role as a centre of excellence for dance culture.
In the world of Art, the highlight will no doubt be the Turner Prize will leave England for the first time and will be staged in a bespoke renovated building on Ebrington Square, the site of a former military barracks.
Unseen will be the largest ever exhibition of works by acclaimed Derry born artist Willie Doherty. The exhibition will feature works from throughout Doherty’s career as well as a new series of photographs taken in Derry in 2013.
The Shirt Factory Project will examine Derry’s history as the shirt-making capital of the world until the industry went East from the 1980s onwards. Ex-shirt factory workers will return to the former factory building in a project led by artist Rita Duffy, creating a pop-up gallery and producing new shirts in this mini art factory.
Marking the 400th anniversary of the City Walls in 2013, one of the most important features of Derry landscape, there will be a year long programme of activities to fully explore the contested history that the Walls represent and to celebrates them as a present-day national heritage asset, with the potential to unite rather than separate people.