More than 400 people have signed up to perform in a spectacular pageant to celebrate the city’s patron saint.
However, there’s room for plenty more to get involved in the June performance of The Return of Colmcille, says outdoor arts company Walk The Plank which is enlisting local people to play their part.
It’s billed that over the course of June 7 and 8, the streets of Derry will come alive with hundreds of performers creating a celebration of the city’s patron saint. Written by Frank Cottrell Boyce, writer of the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony, The Return of Colmcille is expected to showcase some of the unexpected stories of the city.
Rehearsals have started for The People’s Procession, a colourful celebration of many of the chapters and characters in the city’s history which will take place from 9pm on June 8.
“There are still lots of opportunities for people to take part in the Return of Colmcille,” says Walk The Plank’s participation coordinator Wendy Blemings.
“The response locally has been fantastic with so many people coming forward; we’ve reached close to 400 participants. However, we hope to engage double that. We’ve so many parts and roles in the procession, there’s something for everyone, from wearing a specially made costume to helping moving our amazing floats to learning a dance routine. You don’t need previous acting or dancing experience.
“We are asking people to give up just a couple of hours a week for rehearsals between now and the events on June 7 and 8. It’s a great opportunity for people to be a part of what will be a spectacular event and something they will remember being a part of for the rest of their lives. As well as individuals coming along we are keen to see groups of people too.”
The People’s Procession will include a celebrations of a litany of chapters and characters from Derry’s history many rehearsals have already started. There are Lindy Hop lessons underway for the GIs and the ultimate high flying bird Amelia Earhart. An assembled choir of Josef Lockes are tuning up beautifully. The Colmcille cat walkers are getting a handle on the graceful glide of the 18th century debutantes as well as breaking loose to Beyoncé. Spanish Armada sailors are swashbuckling to the sound of sea shanties. Monks are learning how to morph into skeletons and the Brandywell greyhound walkers are placing their bets for the race of the year.
In addition to The People’s Procession organisers Walk The Plank are looking for people who would like to dabble in drama. Welcome to Colmcille will see the stories of the city being told at various locations throughout the afternoon of the June 8.
“If you have never done any acting before but thought you would like to give it a try our directors will find a role for you. Everyone taking part will be working with talented choreographers and directors. There is no upper age limit. Under 16s should be accompanied by a guardian or sign up with an existing group.”
Further details about the event are available from the website www.thereturnofcolmcille.com, or the Facebook page. To get involved contact firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 02871 360 886.