From chess to cuisine and couture...

Paul Casey. (2308JC2)
Paul Casey. (2308JC2)

Derry is one of many cities throughout Europe celebrating Culture Night on Friday, September 23. But what is Culture Night? What will you see? Where will you go?

Billed as “a night of entertainment, discovery and adventure”, Culture Night will see cultural venues across European cities and towns open their doors for an extended programme of events offering an amazing array of late night cultural activities.

Peter Corry. (2308JC3)

Peter Corry. (2308JC3)

Derry’s diverse programme is brought to you by individual venues and projects, co-ordinated by Derry City Council and invites you to explore “our cultural city in a new light and take part in an exciting and evocative programme of events”.

The Culture Night Initiative was launched in 2006 in Dublin by Temple Bar Cultural Trust (TBCT) as a means to provide new and imaginative ways for people from all walks of life to take part in the cultural life of the city. Its success has seen it spread throughout regionally, nationally and internationally throughout Ireland and into Cities across Europe.

So just what will you see on the streets of Derry City on Culture Night?

This is the second year of Culture Night in the City, following on from last year’s success over 40 cultural venues, restaurants, galleries, theatres, community arts and individual artists are hosting activities. Over 50 events taking place across the City appear to have all bases covered from chess to cuisine and couture.

Internationally acclaimed Flamenco guitarist Fernando Guicciardi, who will perform in Cafe Del Mondo. (2308JC1)

Internationally acclaimed Flamenco guitarist Fernando Guicciardi, who will perform in Cafe Del Mondo. (2308JC1)

Oonagh McGillion, Director of Development at Derry City Council, said: “Culture Night is an excellent example of partnership working between local cultural businesses and projects. Organisations have been fantastic in extending their programming to ensure their doors are open in the evening, creating a trail of activities which people can move around to take in a real diversity of entertainments. There are ongoing initiatives aimed at nurturing the evening economy of the city and Culture Night shows how it can be done.”

Fashion lovers are well catered for when The Grand Parade on the City’s Walls become a catwalk for Culture & Couture exhibiting fashion and style from times gone by and future trends. Following this Vintage Hollywood comes to Derry at Bedlam Market where local models will show off the fashions, jewellery and much more from the era known for its glamour.

If it’s something a bit more local you’re into the Apprentice Boys’ Memorial Hall will be showcasing the building with exhibitions of Ulster Scots Music and Dance. Culturlann Uí Chanáin will be hosting an evening of traditional song, dance and food with information on Irish language events and services in your area.

Naturally enough in the city of song, music features heavily throughout the evening. Greater Shantallow Community Art’s cultural celebration in Guildhall Square features performances from diverse and creative communities in the heart of the City. Direct from Panama Fernando Guicciardi, internationally acclaimed Flamenco guitarist will be playing live in Café del Mondo. Peter Corry will give a special one off performance on the Peace Bridge joined by Michelle Forbes, Colette Lennon and Michael Stacey. Paul Casey and a host of local bands and musicians appear in a variety of indoor and outdoor venues. In celebration of the City’s great musical heritage, the renowned Mac Cafferty School Singers will sing a choral arrangement at the Millenium Forum.

There’s plenty of opportunity for all ages to do more than just listen to the music. Link Music CIC and Musical Theatre 4 Youth will be working on workshops and special performances for Culture Night.

Dance takes its place and features everything from Irish, Ulster Scots, Flamenco, Bollywood, Classic Indian and Salsa. If you’ve worked up an appetite Brown’s restaurant and Cafe del Mundo are among the eateries offering entertainment, speciality menus, cooking demonstrations and tasting sessions.

In something different, the Guildhall is the stage for “Check Mate - the Art of Chess” where Alan Turnbull, City of Derry Chess Club and friends offer the opportunity to learn from the Masters.

Galleries too have gone all out, extending opening times and free admission to their latest exhibitions. The Context Gallery, City of Culture Office, The Tower Museum, Gordon Gallery and The Void are among those participating.

The Gordon Gallery showing a retrospective of Derry born painter, sculptor, printmaker and installation artist Richard Livingstone and Polly Morgan’s exhibition can be seen at The Void.

The City’s rich history is explored in a number of events from exhibitions, tours and trails taking in historical sites and venues. The Museum of Free Derry, First Presbyterian Church, St Columb’s Cathedral and St Augustine’s Church are among those hosting events exploring emigration and local history through talks, tours, discussions and music.

West End heavyweight will be in the City performing in the Off Broadway smash hit musical “The Last 5 Years” at The Playhouse. The drama continues with performances by Destined, Lilliput, Stage Beyond, Belmont House and Something Special in various venues across the City.

Ms McGillion said: “This is just a snapshot of events, I would encourage people to conserve energy ahead of Culture Night to make the most of what’s on offer! I would suggest picking up a programme and working out a trail of events to suit your interests and making a night of it. By coming out to events people are supporting local business and organisations and changing how we socialise in the evenings, bringing more options and variety to a night out in town with the option to bring all the family. I would like to congratulate and commend all the contributors for their efforts and for working together to make Culture Night the impressive event it is.”

Culture Night takes place on Friday, September 23, and most events are free. Full listings and information on events is available at or by contacting Derry City Council Development Department on: 71. 365151.