Derry street drinkers’ play wins major award

Dan McLaughlin with Felicity McCaul (Facilitator), Liam Hegarty (Props) and writer Hugh Aoidh Barbour. (2903JB70)

Dan McLaughlin with Felicity McCaul (Facilitator), Liam Hegarty (Props) and writer Hugh Aoidh Barbour. (2903JB70)

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A project which captured the hearts and minds of Derry audiences has beaten thousands of arts groups across the UK and Ireland and clinched a prestigious national award.

‘Every Bottle Has A Story To Tell’ featured a sell out play and collection of writings focusing on Derry street drinkers.

Produced largely by service users at the De Paul Ireland Foyle Haven on John Street, the work gave a raw account of life as an alcoholic living on the streets of Derry.

On Wednesday, members of the group found out that they had been given the overall Voluntary and Amateur Arts Peer award for excellence at The Epic awards ceremony held in Glasgow.

The ‘Every Bottle Has A Story to Tell’ project collected the overall Peer Award and also finished runner-up in the Ireland category.

Felicity McCall, who facilitated the project with members of the Foyle Haven Arts Collective said she and the group’s members were genuinely shocked by the honour.

She told the ‘Journal’: “We’d had the strongest possible indication (and were sworn to secrecy) that we had won an award, and to finish runner-up in Ireland alone would have been great recognition of the commitment, energy and conviction of everyone involved.

“To win the overall Peer Award was a total surprise and a wonderful boost to the Foyle Haven Arts Collective, to be chosen by fellow arts practitioners from across the UK and the island of Ireland-it shows the Foyle Haven group has given a voice to our street drinkers and homeless that reaches far beyond the confines of our city.”

Read a full interview with writer, director and former street drinker Aoidh Barbour, in Sunday’s ‘Journal’ .