The Venue to close doors for last time

Nile Rodgers with some of the lucky people who joined him on stage on sunday night. Picture Martin McKeown.
Nile Rodgers with some of the lucky people who joined him on stage on sunday night. Picture Martin McKeown.

It has literally been the venue for many memorable moments during the last 12 months of Derry’s reign as UK City of Culture 2013.

But The Venue is getting ready for one final hurrah before work begins on dismantling the mammoth structure within the next week.

More than 220 musicians will take to the stage at The Venue on Friday night for a rousing finale to the year with Shaun Davey’s Relief of Derry Symphony.

It’s the most ambitious concert to be staged there this year and will be a last chance for audiences to gather in what has become the main indoor hub of the 2013 celebrations.

From the moment The Venue marked the official launch of the City of Culture proceedings with the Sons & Daughters concert in January, it has provided the backdrop for some of the most memorable nights - from orchestras, to sports championships, to concerts, dance extravaganzas and theatrical highlights.

The sports community were well served at The Venue with the Ulster Boxing Championships, the Kickboxing Championships and the International Judo and Wrestling Championship.

Some of the most moving and innovative projects of the Culture year were also staged at The Venue. First to make a lasting impression was the dance masterpiece Political Mother by Hofesh Shechter.

The Conquest of Happiness was another highlight teaming local performers with those from Bosnia Herzegovina. More recently The Lenanshee saw The Venue transformed into a magical mythical stage for local schoolchildren of all abilities.

Derry folk of all ages donned their glad rags for the Grand Vintage Ball with the Puppini Sisters, and older generations enjoyed a Tea Dance to remember.

The Venue also hosted Primal Scream, Status Quo and Elvis Costello, a list of chart-topping stars during Radio One’s Big Weekend, and that’s not to mention disco legends Chic featuring Nile Rodgers’ two sell-out shows.

A spokesperson for the Department of Social Development said yesterday: “The Venue is due be dismantled at the beginning of January 2014. The Department’s deadline for the work to be complete is 31 March 2014 although we expect the structure to be removed a lot quicker than that.

“Assuming no further events are proposed, the Department will permit work to begin to remove the equipment after the final event on 20 December in preparation for the deconstruction in January.”