Olympic script writer to bring Colmcille to life

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The writer behind the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony is turning his attentions to the life of Derry’s patron Saint.

Award-winning script writer Frank Cotrell Boyce - whose screen writer credits include Welcome to Sarajevo and 24 Hour Party People - will write the script for Return of Colmcille, a spectacular take on the life of St Columba set to be one of the centre pieces of Derry’s year as cultural capital.

The writer says he “is really excited to be part of 2013 City of Culture” celebrations.

“My contribution will be to tell the story of a giant of culture, St Colmcille, who illuminated the Book of Kells, and the Book of Kells illuminates the world.”

He says the story will in turn illuminate Derry.

“Astounding stories began to grow up around the brilliant, contradictory figure of Colmcille long before he died. Return of Colmcille imagines one of the great turning points in his life when – distraught because of the deaths of thousands of men in the Battle of the Books – he flees into exile

“It’s a story full of the most amazing things, apparitions, battles, ghosts, a heartbreaking farewell and a glorious homecoming,” he says.

The Return of Colmcille, to be held on June 9 - St Columba’s Day - next year, will use drama, colour, music and performance to create a unique celebration of the city’s founding father.

Around 2000 people are expected to take part in the show that will take place at sites on both sides of the river Foyle.

Cottrell Boyce is no stranger to such large-scale extravaganza.

He is credited as the writer of Danny Boyle’s 2012 Olympic Opening ceremony, which wowed audiences around the world.

A former writer for both Coronation Street and Brookside, Cottrell Boyce also wrote 2011’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again, a sequel to the classic children’s tale-