Londonderry UK City of Culture Hosts World Class Programme

Back in July 2010 Derry/Londonderry was chosen as the UK’s first City of Culture. Today the reality has set in and the programme has been officially released to the press. The city will now play host to a world-class programme which includes the Turner Prize presented outside England for the first time; a new commission by the London Symphony Orchestra; award-winning choreographer Hofesh Shechter; the return of Field Day; a new play by American playwright Sam Shepard; local Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney; and the first visit to Northern Ireland of the Royal Ballet for over 20 years.

Ed Vaizey, UK Culture Minister Derry/Londonderry’s plans promise that 2013 will be a fantastic celebration of culture for the city. I have no doubt that it’s comprehensive programme including dance, theatre, visual arts and music will appeal to local, national and international audiences – there really is something for everyone.

Artist David Shrigley said; “I made this work for Derry as it takes up its title of UK city of culture in 2013.
In the past Derry has often found itself in the news for being the focus of unpleasant events. The news that my work heralds is something that Derry deserves and is something to be celebrated. It is my hope that the statement I have made might turn out to come true and that Derry’s cultural profile might become much larger than a small city such as Derry would normally hope to acquire”.

Announcing the programme today, Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of Culture Company 2013, said: “We hope that Derry~Londonderry’s City of Culture year brings a sense of joy, a sense of ambition, a sense of pride in our community, a sense of being part of a global community, and in the end a sense of achievement – that we all did this together and it meant something. A huge success for a small city.”

Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate said; “I am delighted that Turner Prize 2013 will be shown for the first time outside of England in Derry/Londonderry as part of the UK City of Culture programme. The Turner Prize is one of the key moments in the year when a wide range of visitors can engage directly in the discussion about contemporary art. Audiences outside London are keen to see and respond to the most exciting and challenging art being made today and many cities, including Derry~Londonderry, have played an important part in presenting contemporary art over the lifetime of this award. And we applaud Derry~Londonderry’s exciting plan to enable every schoolchild studying art in Northern Ireland to have the opportunity to see the Turner Prize in 2013”.
Among the highlights of the programme across the year are: Turner Prize (October 2013-January 2014) Turner Prize, founded by Tate in 1984, will come to Derry~Londonderry, the first time it has ever been held outside England. The exhibition will be staged in a bespoke renovated building on Ebrington Square, the site of a former military barracks.
Willie Doherty Unseen (October) Unseen will be the largest ever exhibition of works by acclaimed Derry born artist Willie Doherty. The exhibition will feature works from throughout Doherty’s career as well as a new series of photographs taken in Derry in 2013. It will also showcase a number of Doherty’s most important video installations that make use of some of Derry’s best-known and more hidden places for his narratives, as well as a new film. The exhibition is co-curated by Robin Klassnik of Matt’s Gallery, London, and the Nerve Centre, Derry.
The Shirt Factory Project Derry was the shirt-making capital of the world until the industry went East from the 1980s onwards. Ex-shirt factory workers will return to the former factory building in a project led by artist Rita Duffy, creating a pop-up gallery and producing new shirts in this mini art factory.

ARCHITECTURE Ebrington Square Derry~Londonderry’s award-winning Peace Bridge and Ebrington Square project is transforming the site of the former Ebrington Army Barracks, creating an important new city centre link over the River Foyle. The former Parade Ground is already established as a major new outdoor space for concerts and festivals. In 2013 the former barracks building will be transformed to create a large-scale cultural space for the city.
Walls 400! (January – December) Marking the 400th anniversary of the City Walls in 2013, one of the most important features of Derry~Londonderry’s landscape, there will be a year long programme of activities to fully explore the contested history that the Walls represent and to celebrate them as a present-day national heritage asset, with the potential to unite rather than separate people.
72 Hour Urban Action (September) A competition in which ten teams of architects and volunteers have 72 hours to transform ten city spaces.
Lumiere (November) The historic walls city of Derry~Londonderry provides a spectacular canvas for this critically acclaimed festival of light, first staged in Durham, produced by Artichoke with principal event partner NIE.
Artists Gardens Three artists, Locky Morris, Katie Holten and Ackroyd & Harvey, will create new art gardens for the city, working with leading local contemporary art gallery The Void.

DIGITAL/FILM Portrait of a City in Association with BT Portrait of a City in Association with BT will create an unparalleled digital resource of photographs, film and oral history documenting the historical, cultural and personal stories of Derry~Londonderry. Working with community groups, schools, libraries, archives and with a drop-in office open to all, these stories will be collected over the course of 2013, and made available online at <> Alongside this, BT will host a comprehensive series of digital training programmes giving people of all ages the necessary skills to participate and contribute to the project.
Foyle Film Festival 2013 (November) Foyle Film Festival is one of only a handful of international film festivals with Oscar affiliation and BAFTA recognition. During 2013, the Festival, organised by the Nerve Centre, will spread out into the open air for the first time with screenings in unusual locations, directors’ talks, and a community based cinema initiative engaging local communities in making and screening films about their areas.

The city of Derry is one of the oldest inhabited places anywhere in Ireland. It may only have a population of 100,000 but has always punched above its weight historically, culturally and politically. It was founded by St Columba, the man who converted the Scots and Northern English to Christianity; it was the battleground for the war that saw William of Orange wrest the throne from James II; was the port through which millions of Irish emigrants headed to the new world, including the ancestors of many US presidents. It was the birthplace of the Civil Rights movement in Ireland in the 1960s and today it is a beacon of peacemaking and reconciliation across the world.

Derry~Londonderry is a centre for culture and creativity, where there is always a warm welcome from people who take a great pride in where they come from and are keen to be part of telling the city’s new story and being part of a new and better future. 2013 and the UK City of Culture presents a once in a lifetime opportunity to celebrate all that is good about this city – it’s an opportunity for all of us to celebrate the city’s cultural diversity and provide a lasting legacy for future generations.

The UK City of Culture initiative was announced by the UK Government in 2009, building on Liverpool’s success as European Capital of Culture in 2008, inviting cities to compete for the first UK City of Culture title in 2013.  Derry~Londonderry is the winner of the title for 2013. The other shortlisted cities were Birmingham, Norwich and Sheffield.

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