Derry’s year as City of Culture status could do for the the city what the Olympics did for London, organisers have claimed.
It is hoped the year-long event will transform perceptions of a city blighted by some of the worst violence of Northern Ireland’s troubled past.
Shona McCarthy, chief executive of Culture Company 2013, said the plethora of art, music and drama planned for every month next year would also restore civic pride and rebuild confidence.
“Derry has suffered from being at the epicentre of the Troubles but also having second-city syndrome,” said Ms McCarthy.
“But it has punched above its weight in terms of cultural output during the Troubles and now it can make a very significant statement about its own self-confidence, its own self-belief and its own cultural richness in this City of Culture moment.”
Derry staved off competition from Norwich, Birmingham and Sheffield to take the inaugural City of Culture mantle.
Highlights of the programme include a pageant on the River Foyle to celebrate the return of Colmcille - a warrior monk said to have founded the city - by Frank Cottrel Boyce who wrote the much lauded Olympics opening ceremony.
Other key events include the all-Ireland Fleadh in August; a military tattoo in August; and the Turner Prize which will be at Ebrington Square from October to December.
Ms McCarthy said Derry had won the title because the whole community had been galvanised. She added: “It was a very forceful bid because it was bought into by everybody and it was delivered with such passion. After that it was the strength of the concepts.
“Also, in the same way as Glasgow and Liverpool when they won European Capital of Culture they could probably see that this city had most to gain.
“It was a city emerging from a troubled socio-economic past as well as literally a troubled past.”