Those lovely people at Lonely Planet listed Derry-Londonderry as one of their Top 10 Places to Visit in 2013… here are just some of the reasons why
Actor Stephen Rea came back to Derry-Londonderry for UK City of Culture 2013, and he brought a brand new production along with him through theatre company, Field Day.
The theatre group hosted just one of the many cultural extravaganzas throughout this year of firsts…
“We’re in a new moment now," said Rea, "and Field Day was happy to come back to Derry-Londonderry again to see what that moment means to us, as people who work in the theatre.”
It was a homecoming of sorts for The Crying Game actor. Rea went from a childhood in Belfast to roles out-acting Liam Neeson in Michael Collins, nominations for Academy Awards and performances of every theatre classic you care to mention.
His name, along with the poet Seamus Heaney and the playwright Brian Friel, is also among those who founded the theatre company Field Day.
When Rea and his colleagues arrived in Derry-Londonderry with their brand new production, all eyes were on the stage. As homecomings go, this one made all the right headlines.
A year of firsts
But Derry-Londonderry UK City of Culture 2013 hasn’t only been about homecomings. As much as anything, this has been a year of firsts.
Firsts like the cutting edge artistic endeavour that is the Turner Prize in October. Never has the competition been held outside England before. Former winning pieces include sharks in formaldehyde, messy beds and a wall-sized brainstorm by an artist who can’t paint or draw.
If you’re partial to having your perception altered, you won’t want to miss it.
The firsts have kept on coming. The Fleadh Cheoil kicked off in August, and is the competition that each traditional Irish musician has circled on their calendar. It’s also stepped out of the Republic of Ireland for the first time in over 50 years.
If you think only footballers can create magic with their feet, allow us to remind you about the time the Royal Ballet came to town. Tip-toeing their way across the Irish Sea, the troupe included Royal Ballet soloist, Melissa Hamilton, who was born and raised in County Down.
For those of you who spent childhoods dreaming of growing into a prima ballerina, the Ballet’s gala performance with the Ulster Orchestra was emotionally charged and the stuff of dreams.
The song Teenage Kicks was, aptly enough, the soundtrack to the lives of many teenagers around Ireland. Those kicks were experienced and turned to music by Derry-Londonderry band, The Undertones, on the city’s very streets.
Teenage Kicks: A Punk Musical will strut into the 2013 calendar in November, backed by the swagger of award-winning screenwriter Colin Bateman. Expect punk classics and controlled anarchy.
Mohawks and dog collars are optional.
That new moment Stephen Rea mentioned? It looks like we’ve found it in 2013.