An Nua Theatre present ‘Derry 24’ at Playhouse

A thought-provoking scene from An Nua's 'Derry 24' depicting a monk working by the light of a stained-glass window. (170713JC1)
A thought-provoking scene from An Nua's 'Derry 24' depicting a monk working by the light of a stained-glass window. (170713JC1)

The bold new play ‘Derry 24’ opens at Derry’s Playhouse tomorrow night, presented by An Nua Theatre, combining images and sounds of the city with stories, monologues, duologues and caught moments that reflect the lives, history and hopes of Derry.

Beginning tomorrow, Wednesday, July 17, and running until Friday, July 19, ‘Derry 24’ is the latest instalment of an ongoing story created by artists from all over the North West. An Nua say of ‘Derry 24’, “this is your story and we welcome input, discussion and opinion”, and, with that in mind, they express hopes that the story will continue to grow and expand throughout 2013 as more people get involved and share their own reflections.

For over a year AnNua and their associated artists have been gathering audio and visual material from the Derry environment, including digital recordings from around the city, archival material and commentary from prominent personalities and from the wider community.

Through Derry Story, which was performed in early September 2012 at the Playhouse, An Nua used this material to create a 24 hour frame – a day in the life of the city – into which they placed characters, stories and caught moments that reflect our past, present and future.

Paul Moore, Director of ‘Derry 24’, has been Derry-based for the past five years but honed his craft in Australia, where he grew up. Derry’s gradual transformation in recent decades has no doubt proved an inspiration throughout this latest production.

“I left Ireland as a child, like so many others due to all that went wrong. Returning five years ago I was amazed to see the soldiers, the barricades and checkpoints gone. I was equally amazed at what had managed to remain – culture, music, the visual arts, literature and the theatre. I decided to stay and to work toward creating a theatre that combined all these strengths with what I had learned theatre making in Australia, Asia and elsewhere. I had, of course, forgotten that culture itself is something of a battlefield,” Moore reflects.

Dr Mathew Jennings, Senior Lecturer in Performance Studies at Northumbria University, was particularly impressed with this project too. “In September 2012 I attended Derry Story – the first showing of the ‘Derry 24’ project... The play was in parts amusing and in others poignant, a powerful piece moving between the past and the present,” Jennings said.

Now, Derry Story has gradually developed into ‘Derry 24’ and now forms part of 2013’s City of Culture events. This week’s shows will incorporate traditional skills including live music, puppetry, acting, monologues and duologues, combined with digital technologies. Guest musicians will include Lorna McLaughlin of The Henry Girls, Martin Coyle of Derry’s Balkan Alien Sound and local jazz legend, Gay McIntyre.

An Nua Theatre welcome all opinion and input from audiences on ‘Derry 24’ as the story will continue to evolve and develop with its myriad additions. Final performances will then take place this October at the Waterside Theatre.

‘Derry 24’ runs at Derry’s Playhouse tomorrow night, Wednesday, July 17, Thursday, July 18, and Friday, July 19. Tickets, priced £10/ £6, from the Playhouse on: 71 268027 or: www.derryplayhouse.co.uk.