‘Derry Story’ premiere at Playhouse

A still from AnNua's 'Derry Story' with cast member Karen Torley. (2808JC3)
A still from AnNua's 'Derry Story' with cast member Karen Torley. (2808JC3)
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As part of the forthcoming Culture Tech Festival, AnNua Productions will present a unique ‘Derry Story’ for one night only at the Playhouse Theatre on Artillery Street this coming Saturday, September 1, at 8pm.

This innovative production combines images and sounds gathered from the city to form a 24 hour frame into which are placed several stories, monologues, duologues and caught moments. Numerous artists from throughout the North West are creating a performance that reflects our lives, history, our sense of loss and hope for the future.

Derry Story has been created by AnNua and AnNua Associated Artists, Banyan Puppet Theatre and includes the work of guest musicians including Lorna McLaughlin (The Henry Girls), Martin Coyle (Balkan Alien Sound) Gay McIntyre and Peter Delaney. Geraldine Foy from Donegal, Amanda Doherty, Karen Torley, Francis Harkin, Vin McCullagh, Paul Moore and Richie Hughes from Derry make up the cast with recorded snippets of other well-known locals included.

Director Paul Moore, of AnNua Productions, explained more about the meanings and aims behind ‘Derry Story’.

“We’ve been building the capacity of AnNua as we basically operate as a large association of artists,” he explains.

“We’ve now been working on this for around a year and were trying to create one day in Derry, but adding a very basic narrative. We decided to create a 24 hour experience gathering together various audio-visual materials and archive material around Derry. We collected all sorts really! The environment is so rich in terms of geography, and Derry can be quite beautiful both in an urban environment and in its countryside.

“There are so many stories and so much history in this city and the simple narrative deals with this history and loss and grief, with a central character returning to Derry having lost someone during the Troubles. We follow her as she talks about this grief.”

Mr Moore reveals that the team collected various sounds of the local environment.

“We’re trying to capture sounds of Derry and something that indicates what time these sounds are taking place too,” he says.

“We hear Guildhall Square at night-time and again at midday when you could hear the sounds of the big screen and the buskers and passers-by. We also recorded sounds of Waterloo Street and to most, these sounds will be recognisable. Some of this we play alongside images, while some sounds play alone.”

In terms of written material, they have also sought contributions from independent writers, the Derry Scriptwriters and the Playhouse writers.

Derry Story is phase one of the ongoing Derry 24 project, which will continue to develop and change throughout the coming year – with local people urged to come along and add their story too.

AnNua will then seek to continue the story through involving increasing numbers of community, social, educational and artistic groups into 2013.

“This is the first showing of ‘Derry Story’ and it is made up of so many different elements, we’re quite open to people coming along and seeing it and then having more input into it,” Mr Moore continued. “We’ll be using the open space in the Playhouse and places are limited, so best to book tickets if you want to come along.”

The performance will take place this Saturday, September 1, at 8pm in The Playhouse Theatre. Tickets cost £8, book with The Playhouse box office on: 71 268027. For more information contact: info@derryplayhouse.co.uk.