Art meets sports for ‘That Big Swim’ at Lisnagelvin

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An original and dazzling work of music, literature and art, entitled ‘That Big Swim’, is to take place at Lisnagelvin Leisure Centre in Derry’s Waterside on March 31 at 8pm as part of Comment-8, a project funded by Legacy Trust UK, managed by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and coordinated by the Verbal Arts Centre.

Comment-8 has commissioned three works of music, literature and art, inspired by sports commentary and its passion. ‘That Big Swim’ is one of these commissions, collaboratively developed by writers, composers and sporting groups.

‘That Big Swim’ tells the story of a swim race between three formidable characters – the Polynesian, Flight Lieutenant Droit and Conn McCree. Follow the three men as they battle the powerful sea, and each other, to be the first to reach Rotten Rock. James Lecky will perform ‘That Big Swim’, written by Garrett Carr, with music composed by Christopher Norby and performed live by musicians Sophia Preston on cello, Robert Peoples on violin and Ronan Kearney on guitar. The artists teamed up with City of Derry Swimming Club Masters and worked with its members during the development of the commission. The performance will take place in the fitting setting of the swimming pool hall at Lisnagelvin Leisure Centre. Admission is free but places are limited.

“This is the first time anything like this has been staged at the pool”, said Jeff Ashe, Derry City Council’s General Manager for Leisure. “We are really excited about the performance and look forward to welcoming a large crowd on the night.”

A comic book, illustrated by the Verbal Arts Centre’s artist-in-residence, David Campbell, and local artist, Trisha Deery, has also been designed to illustrate each commission. This comic creates the basis of an exciting competition for primary school children. Key Stage 2 pupils have been asked to design their own comic book version of their favourite of the three commissions. More details can be found by logging on to:

Comment-8 is one of six projects that together make up ‘Connections’, Northern Ireland’s regional project for Legacy Trust UK. The other two commissions forming part of Comment-8 this year are ‘The Naked Tornado’ and ‘How the Arrow Flies’, which are taking place in Antrim and in Co Down respectively.

Dugald Mackie, Chair of Legacy Trust UK, said: “We believe that these projects will inspire and encourage people throughout Northern Ireland to get involved and will leave a lasting legacy for the region.”

James Kerr, Executive Director of the Verbal Arts Centre, said: “The Verbal Arts Centre is delighted to work closely with Legacy Trust UK on Comment-8, creating a cultural legacy for the 2012 Olympics and also showcasing the immense artistic and sporting talent that exists here in Northern Ireland.”

The Verbal Arts Centre is delighted to announce that Comment-8 has been awarded the Inspire mark, which is a first for any Olympic Games or Paralympic Games - recognising projects and events genuinely inspired by the 2012 Games.

For more info and to book a place at ‘That Big Swim’, please call the Verbal Arts Centre on: 71. 266946.