Ailbe Beirne, a driving force behind Derry’s award-winning Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company, is celebrating another boon for the local arts scene after receiving an ‘Arts Individual of the Year Award’ at this year’s Allianz Arts & Business NI Awards.
The Award recognises and acknowledges the work of an individual within an arts organisation who has demonstrated business acumen and excellence in partnership development. As Company Manager of Echo Echo, Ailbe collected the award for his instrumental role in making a substantial capital project happen and in developing new partnerships within the private and public sector.
Speaking to the ‘Journal’ yesterday, the local man said: “I am really delighted to receive this award especially in 2013 which is such a big year for the arts in Derry, and a big thank you to all of my colleagues, friends and family who voted. It is great recognition for me personally and for the quality of Echo Echo’s work and programmes. Our building project has been a massive effort by a very dedicated team over the last few years, and we will finally move to our new premises on the City Walls in spring,” he added.
“Hopefully winning this award will help boost Echo Echo’s profile and get more people interested in what we do.”
Ailbe’s colleagues agree that his commitment show no bounds and winning this Award will be a huge boost to Ailbe and reinforce how highly his work is regarded by his colleagues. New premises also means that Echo Echo will become Northern Ireland’s only centre dedicated to dance and movement.
Arts & Business NI celebrated in style at Millennium Forum for the awards, with nine businesses, two individuals and one arts organisation recognised.
The Awards showcase examples of excellence from across the spectrum of Northern Ireland business and arts sectors. Danske Bank lifted the Business of the Year Award, a new category introduced this year. Children’s’ Theatre Company Cahoots NI scooped the coveted Arts Award which is accompanied by a cash prize of £2,000.
Mary Trainor-Nagele, Chief Executive, Arts & Business Northern Ireland, said: “These Awards showcase the power of creativity to transform business, to fire the imagination and to help drive business performance... I commend all the organisations that entered and congratulate all our winners on their fantastic achievements.”
The importance of continued private sector support for the arts was reinforced by Bob Collins, Chairman of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.
He said: “A growing number of local businesses are recognising the benefits that the creative arts can bring to their organisation, helping them to flourish and grow in new ways. The Allianz Arts & Business NI Awards gives recognition to some of those valuable relationships and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland is delighted to once again pledge its support to the Awards.”