Young people and youth leaders in Derry will tonight take part in an innovative cultural arts project which deals with the human stories behind the transition of NI’s police force from RUC to PSNI.
The final live performance of Verbal Arts Centre’s Crows on the Wire (COTW) and discussion event of 2015, will take place at the Long Tower Youth Centre in the Brandywell, on Wednesday from 6pm-8pm.
The event will include short performances by professional actors from the original COTW script by writer, Jonathan Burgess; drama activities; and facilitated discussion with the young people in response to the themes of the Impacts of Change, Intergenerational Attitudes and Empathy.
COTW, which was commissioned by the Verbal Arts Centre in 2013, explores the changeover of NI’s police force from the perspective of rank and file officers. It toured NI as a theatrical performance, accompanied by discussions with panel members composed of former and serving police and security forces, former Republican prisoners, academics and journalists.
A COTW educational app was also developed to stimulate young people to consider how the past influences the present, and to explore themes such as cultural identity, sectarianism, conflict, change, commemoration, equality and the role of the younger generation.
‘Crows on the Wire - Cultural Diplomacy through the Arts’, is aimed at bringing single and mixed identity groups together in Northern Ireland and the border regions, to foster dialogue, empathy and aid understanding.
The project, led by Verbal’s Community Engagement Facilitator, Dr Mhairi Sutherland, is supported by the Reconciliation Fund, Department of Foreign Affairs, Dublin. It has been hosted in a number of venues both in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, with recent engagement events held in secondary schools in Counties Fermanagh, Donegal and Cavan.
Speaking ahead of tonight’s event in the Brandywell, Dr Sutherland said: “It is very fitting that the final Crows on the Wire live performance and discussion event of 2015 will be taking place with young people from the city.
“The Long Tower Youth Centre co-ordinator John Lynch has invited Crows on the Wire to facilitate the activity with young people and youth leaders, who will be invited from across the city. We are really delighted to be working with John and his team, and looking forward to visiting the Brandywell for what should be a really stimulating event in the COTW calendar.”