A one million pound funding boost for the City of Culture by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland has allowed the people of Derry get a taste of what treats lie ahead in 2013.
The announcement of the funding boost, which will fund 19 projects throughout the city, was made on Wednesday of this week. Among those projects benefiting from the Arts Council’s cash injection are Derry’s first contemporary dance festival, the largest ever exhibition of the works of one of the city’s most acclaimed artists and a stage musical based on the music of The Undertones.
Speaking at the announcement on Wednesday Bob Collins, Chairman of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland said: “The Arts Council’s £1million investment will be used to support local arts organisations to deliver new projects worthy of international attention.
“The arts are helping to transform our image and show the world what we already know, that we have some of the best artists right here in Northern Ireland. City of Culture is an opportunity to celebrate that and showcase their work to global audiences.”
Ailbe Beirne, of Echo Echo Dance Company - who received funding to stage Derry’s first ever contemporary dance festival - said he was “delighted” to hear the funding announcement.
Echo Echo plan to run the festival over 10 days which include a number of performances from local and international groups along with workshops which will engage with the local community and schools.
“Derry has been a very fertile ground for dance for a long time - with the University of Ulster Dance Degree being based here. Echo Echo have been in existance for 15 years and have plans for expansion in the new year to new city centre premises.
“Next year promises to be a wonderful year - and we are delighted to have been given a funding package from the Culture Company - and especially from the Arts Council which will allow to go into the year with a real sense of ambition.”
Also funded will be ‘Unseen’ - the biggest every exhibition of photographic and video works by twice Turner nominated local artist Willie Doherty.
The exhibition, which will coincide with the hosting of the Turner Prize in Derry will include new works which will reflect the evolution of the city.
The big talking point of the announcement was musical ‘Teenage Kicks’ which will be penned by Belfast scribe Colin Bateman.
Containing the music of The Understones, the musical will be set in 1970s Derry.
Speaking on Wednesday, Colin Bateman said: “Even those twoo young to remember The Undertones first time around will be familiar with their music.
As a band they captured the mood of an generation and their amazing energy immediately comes back to life when hear the songs today.”