The show comes from Derry/Londonderry where a panel of guests discuss the inaugural UK City of Culture programme of events. With music from Derry's Codetta Choir and Best Boy Grip.
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Hello, and welcome to our first show of 2013, and we begin the year
with an Arts Show Special. We're coming to you from The Playhouse
Theatre in Derry-Londonderry where the waiting is finally over as the
city is now officially the Inaugural UK City of Culture. It's
an historic moment for Derry and all eyes are upon it, but can it
and will it live up to the expectation? I'll be discussing all
this and more with our panel of special guests. Here's what's
coming up. We preview the Inaugural City of Culture Programme of Events,
month by month. Derry's internationally renowned chamber
choir, Codetta, fresh from their appearance at the Official Launch
Concert, Sons & Daughters, give The Arts Show an exclusive performance.
And Derry artist, Best Boy Grip, has just released his latest EP,
The Clerk, drawing comparisons with Neil Hannon and The Beatles. He's
in performance for The Arts Show. So, tonight is all about Derry-
Londonderry 2013 and many are intrigued as to what's planned for
the year ahead. We'll take a look in just a moment, followed by
discussion and analysis with our panel of guests who are: Irish
Author and Playwright, Jennifer Johnston. Her first novel was
published in 1972 and she received the Lifetime Achievement Award at
the Irish Book Awards 2012. Born in Dublin, she's been a resident of
Derry since 1974. Derry-born Professor Declan McGonagle was the
first curator of Derry's internationally-renowned Orchard
Gallery. He remains one of only two curators ever to be nominated for
The Turner Prize and has also served as a judge for the
prestigious award. He is the current Director of the National
College of Art & Design in Dublin. And, no stranger to The Arts Show,
Eithne Shortall, Arts Critic for The Sunday Times, Ireland. Welcome
all. So, without further ado, let's look at what you can expect in the
first half of the year. It's impossible to fit every event in so
here are our highlights from The year of culture got off to a
vibrant start with an impressive fireworks display on New Year's Eve.
This was followed by Sons & Daughters, the official launch
concert featuring Phil Coulter, The Undertones, Neil Hannon and Gary
Lightbody in The Venue at Ebrington, a new arena on the site of a former
army barracks. And you can see coverage of that this Saturday
night at 10:30pm on BBC 1. February sees Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical,
Starlight Express, come to The Millennium Forum. Dingle's
legendary Other Voices Festival expands to Derry, featuring
renowned musicians in tiny venues, including Derry-born Neil Hannon
and Two Door Cinema Club. Controversial comedian, Jimmy Carr,
brings his Gagging Order show to the Millennium Forum on the 10th.
Ireland's most famous living playwright, Brian Friel, is
celebrated throughout the year beginning on 11th Feb when Freedom
Of The City, his play about the events of Bloody Sunday, is staged
in the Millennium Forum. Actor Adrian Dunbar directs another Friel
play, Performances, featuring the internationally-renowned Brodksy
Quartet. March begins with a retrospective of celebrated local
artist, Basil Blackshaw. Blackshaw at 80 runs in the Gordon Gallery
all month. Israeli-born choreographer, Hofesh Shecter, one
of the most exciting contemporary dance artists around, brings his
acclaimed Political Mother project to Ebrington, specially reworked
for Derry 2013 Celebrated Irish novelist and author of The
Commitments, Roddy Doyle, drops into Derry along with The Gruffalo
author, Julia Donaldson, for the Humdinger Children's Literary
Festival. Derry is, of course, famous for producing shirts and a
former factory will be transformed into a pop-up museum for a major
art project led by artist, Rita Duffy. The Brian Friel season
continues with Translations at the Millennium Forum, again directed by
March sees two concerts at Ebrington. The London Symphony
Orchestra play their first ever concert in Derry performing the
music of John Williams on the 18th, the first of two visits to the city.
And Primal Scream with David Holmes are there on 19th. The Royal Ballet
returns to Northern Ireland for the first time in 12 years to present
highlights from their wide repertory in the Millennium Forum
on the 30th and 31st. It will feature Northern Irish soloist,
Melissa Hamilton, in her first performance in front of a home
crowd, with Derry-born Paul Murphy conducting. Should be very special
indeed. Celebrated Irish playwright, Frank McGuinness, came to
prominence with his play, The Factory Girls, which will be staged
at the City Factory from 24 to 27th April. May sees the world premiere
of a unique theatre event, The Conquest of Happiness by acclaimed
director, Haris Pasovic, the man behind the Sarajevo Red Line
project. Think big, as this will be a large-scale, open-air event with
music, dance and drama. One of the most eagerly-anticipated events has
been the return of the theatre side of Field Day Theatre Company.
Formed in Derry in 1980 by Brian Friel and actor Stephen Rea, it not
only produced original theatre but also published political analysis,
becoming an artistic response to The Troubles. After a 20 year break
they premiered two new one-act plays in December, one directed by
Rea. This month sees the premiere of their first new full-length play
by new writer, Claire Dwyer Hogg. Thirsty Dust is at The Playhouse,
once again directed by Rea. The Field Day Story is also told in a
new exhibition here in the Verbal Arts Centre which runs from May to
August. 9th June is the feast day of Derry's Founding Father and
Patron Saint, St Columba or Colm Cille. To celebrate, two
spectaculars are planned. The Return of Colm Cille is an epic-
scale event which imagines the battle that led to his exile in
Scotland and his triumphant return. Created by author, Frank Cottrell-
Boyce, writer of the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony, the interactive
event will be performed on both sides of the Foyle. Later that
evening, a specially commissioned new oratorio, The Columba Canticles,
will be performed in Derry's oldest and most historic building, St
Columb's Cathedral. Other highlights in June include Agatha
Christie's The Mousetrap, the world's longest running play which
is going on tour for the first time. And Elvis Costello and Status Quo
both play Ebrington. And, finally, the entire city becomes a stage for
Music City! On 21st June. Hundreds of music performances will take
place in venues such as churches, offices, streets and even the sky
where hot air balloons will pump out a score from above. Also, in a
mass-gathering, all the choirs of Derry will come together to perform
Danny Boy, in celebration of the Core that is Danny Reed to June.
Declan, does it work for you? -- January to June. They are is a huge
variety of activity going on. wide ranging. There is a focus I am
interested on, a strong element in the first six months on the site-
specific works coming in. Haris Pasovic will be doing a project.
Rita Duffy will be working in the shirt factory and looking at the
issue of women's work in relation to the garment industry. I think
even the Israeli Dance Company, as a visual medium, that will be
customised to the context in Derry. I'm glad to see the dimension and
diversity. It is one of the aspects and features of the city, the
visual culture the city is known for. Jennifer's, does the
literature stand out for you? of the things that pleased me most
was to see that Roddy Doyle was coming to talk to children. That is
wonderful. He's just eliminating. And they adore him. -- illuminating.
He will awaken a lot of imaginations, and that will go on
after the year is over. Those children imaginations will still be
working. I think the programme looks pretty eclectic. I think they
have achieved a lot in catering for people of different age groups and
tastes. They do have a focus on artists that are from here and the
work that has been created helped by the site-specific work, but also
good international staff from the Republic and from Britain. His the
city ready for this? I imagine that is what everybody is wondering. It
ought to be. It has had its suffering. It has had its time to
recover from the suffering. Perhaps some culture now would be very good.
There are have been bumps along the road, Declan. They inevitably will
be for a project of this size -- they inevitably will be. It was
about inventing the organisational structure, and how to deliver the
programme, which is hugely complex, and there is a bureaucratic issue
around it as well. But this is the time to get over the bumps. There
is a difference between the preparation period and the
investment and speculative programming decisions, and then the
actual delivery. I think we have to step up the game for the delivery.
The still has to be. The tour have to be stepped up through the year.
-- it will have to be stepped up through the year. There will have
to be a continued organisational investment. You have come up from
Dublin today. Is there much chatter? It has been covered in the
media in the south and people are aware it is going on, but the most
important thing for getting people up to it is the key events that
people will make a journey for and then come back for something else.
I think a lot of those are happening in the second half, like
the Turner Prize. It just remains to be seeded people will come up. -
- remains to be seen if people. People actually believe that Derry
is 10 minutes' drive from Belfast, so you are in the whole thing,
instead of an hour-and-a-half. has been an aspect for decades in
terms of Arts Development, in terms of how you develop a profile while
living with unrest. We should have the experience to deal with that.
Essentially, that is our subject. That is a subject that citizens
here know all about. The City of Culture has to be about visitors,
attracting visitors. We want a new story to be understood about the
city, but it also has to be about the citizens and the context itself.
And will have visitors come for years to come? Hopefully not just
this one. For the moment, thank you. Derry musician, Eoin O'Callaghan,
better known as Best Boy Grip, sings, plays piano, clarinet and
guitar and his complex songwriting arrangements have drawn comparisons
with Neil Hannon and The Beatles. He's just released his second EP,
The Clerk, and tonight, exclusively for The Arts Show performs the
# You're in love with him, he's got money.
# I ain't got none, but I'm funny. # I won't make you cry in vain.
# You're in love with him, he's good looking.
# He stands naked as he's cooking white-powdered medicine for his
pain. # And I guess I'll take the blame
for it. # Never should have left you alone.
# He fought 45 men in the war. # And I can't remember the last
time I swore. # But I'd fight for you if you'd
# You're in love with him, I ain't bitter.
# He broke angel when he hit her. # He's bad company, that's for sure.
# And I guess I'll take the blame for it.
# Never should have left you alone. # He'll come home and he'll kick
down your door. # He'll abuse you, he calls you his
whore. # And I'd mess him up if you'd let
# You're in love with him, fact stays with me.
# Eats my heart out, stole my empathy.
# Earth met fire in the monster and # I guess I'll take the blame for
# Never should have left you alone. # You're in love with him. Oh-oh.
# You're in love with him. Oh-oh- oh-oh-oh.
Wonderful stuff. And Eoin will be performing again under yet a
different guise at the end of the show. Now, there's plenty more
happening in the second half of the Inaugural Year of Culture. So let's
take a look at our highlights from July to December. July begins with
a new music cantata, At Sixes and Sevens, by Mark-Anthony Turnage and
Paul Muldoon, performed simultaneously in the Guildhalls of
Derry and London by Barry Douglas' Camerata Ireland and the London
Symphony Orchestra, both linked by technology.
August hosts arguably the year's key anchor event, the Fleadh
Cheoilnah Eireann - the world's biggest celebration of Irish
Culture. An historic occasion, it is being held north of the border
for the first time since it began in 1951. For seven days Derry
becomes a mecca for the cream of traditional talent, attracting
300,000 visitors. Shakespeare's bloodiest play, Titus
Andronicus, about the latter days of the Empire, is re-imagined in
contemporary Northern Ireland in a Playhouse Theatre Production.
The National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain take up residency in
Derry for ten days of performance and music-making with local
musicians in July, which includes performing 100 mini-concerts in
their homes on one day. The Walled City Tattoo will be a
vibrant display of music, theatre and dance from a 600 strong cast
which include Switzerland's acclaimed Top Secret Drum Corp
performing their impressive precision routines.
Moving into September and 72 Hour Urban Action is the world's first
real-time architecture competition. Teams have just three days to
transform ten public spaces to meet the needs of local communities.
The Brian Friel season continues with a production of his first
significant play, The Enemy Within, about St Columb's exile, at the
Playhouse Theatre. On Home Ground is a three day
poetry festival at Laurel Villa in Magherafelt featuring well known
poets from Ireland and worldwide. Seamus Heaney is Festival Patron
and gives the opening address. October holds one of the year's
biggest highlights, the Turner Prize 2013. Held at Ebrington, it
will be the first time the prestigious award has happened
outside England. The exhibition runs until January and the winner
is announced on December 2nd. The Royal Shakepeare Company visit
Derry to present Shakespeare's tragic poem, The Rape of Lucrece,
featuring acclaimed-singer, Camille O'Sullivan at The Playhouse Theatre.
London's Olivier Award-winning dance troupe, Boy Blue, premiere a
new martial-arts inspired production, Manga, at the
Millennium Forum. October is poetry month and will
feature performances from UK Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy.
October also features the Irish premier of NI Opera's The
Importance of Being Earnest. Based on Oscar Wilde's comedy, the
eccentric opera was a huge sensation when first performed in
London last year. Unseen, is the largest-ever
exhibition of works by acclaimed Derry-born artist, Willie Doherty,
featuring significant photographs and video installations from his
long career alongside new work. The month of November will launch
our first dedicated Dance and Movement festival, created by our
only professional dance company, Echo Echo, based in Derry. November
also sees the premiere of a new punk musical, Teenage Kicks,
written by novelist and screenwriter, Colin Bateman. Set in
Derry in the late '70s, it's about teenage lust and love, set to a
punk soundtrack. The Playhouse Theatre features
Three Monologues, by Jennifer Johnston. Written in response to
The Troubles and rarely performed, it's an opportunity for audiences
to see some of her lesser-known dramatic work.
One of the most visually spectacular events of the year will
be the acclaimed Festival of Light, Lumiere, which will feature
breathtaking light installations, including wrapping Derry's two
Cathedrals in projections from the Book of Kells.
And finally, the Year of Culture's Closing Concert sees the Ulster
Orchestra perform The Relief of Derry Symphony, by Northern Irish
composer, Shaun Davey, at Ebrington. First commissioned in 1989 to
commemorate the Siege of Derry, it's guaranteed to be one of the
outstanding performances of Derry- Londonderry 2013.
That is the highlights of a busy period. This seems to be a lot more
happening in the second part of the year. I think At Sixes and Sevens
has great people involved. And then something with a longer play out
time. There was a lot of talk about Sam Shepard writing a new play for
this year in Derry. It seems to be talked about less and less a row.
But that would be great. The theatre audience in Dublin would
know his work and would love to see it. And another event is the Turner
Prize. People travelled to London for that. The Turner Prize coming
to Derry. It is great that it is going to be in the city. It is the
greatest contemporary art prize in the world. It draws a number of
things for that city. It connects and acknowledges the work that has
gone on in the past in the arts in general in Derry. It will be really
interesting and challenging. It is always a challenging event. And it
set up some local organisations in terms of confidence building for
them. Because they will create programmes in relation to the
Turner Prize exhibition itself. you think people will travel from
England to see it. I think there is enough curiosity about the UK City
of Culture happening and then it also the Turner Prize. We know from
other places within England were the Turner Prize has been shown,
tens of thousands of people travelled to those cities,
Gateshead and Liverpool. Combined with curiosity about this place,
this context, and the Turner Prize, I believe people will travel.
we have the Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann. I think thousands will
come from all over Ireland and possibly America as well. Any of
those big musical events they have had have always had a great
following. I think this one will be better than any of them. What will
the legacy because my their is a mature Elk legacy. And we are lucky
to have this play at the moment, the Everton set which has huge
potential to be a world-class set of cultural experiences for the
future. Then we have the confidence building legacy and the way in
which individuals, organisations and communities will become used to
have stepped up quality of programming. And also for the
organisations to equip themselves to a large their ambitions for the
future. What were the legacy before you? It is what it inspires. The
Turner Prize will not come again. People will get excited about that
being in their city. Not just aspiring artists but organisers,
people who need to support artists. The Brian Friel season it is very
exciting. But I do not think there is a prominent theatre company
working in Derry at the moment, a contemporary one, so you would hope
that that would come in. And what about that journey from Dublin to
Derry, will that be shorter? There's not a direct train which is
a big problem. You have to go to Belfast and then back to Derry.
There are upgrading the line. if you have the inspiration to come
to this city then you will do it. would like to think it will fire
people's imaginations and they will understand what they have inside
themselves. And confidence will give them the energy to start up a
theatre company. That is what they really need in this city, a small
theatre company. And I know that this is expensive but it still can
be done. Well, we could talk all night but unfortunately we have to
leave it there. Thank you very much to our guests, Jennifer Johnston,
Professor Declan McGonagle and Eithne. We'll be reporting on
events throughout the Year of Culture, as well as the best of the
arts in Northern Ireland. We're back on 24th Feb. You can keep up
to date with BBC Radio Ulster's Arts Extra, weeknights at 6:30pm.
You can join our guest Tweeter-In- Residence, Dermot McLoughlin,
Project Director of The Culture Company, the team behind this
year's events, who'll be curating our Twitter account tomorrow.
We leave you tonight with some performers from the Official Launch
Concert. Derry's internationally acclaimed chamber choir, Codetta,
were formed in 2001 by Artistic Director, Donal Doherty. Their
members include tonight's performer, Eoin O'Callaghan, and various ex-
pats who return home monthly for rehearsals. They perform a wide
repertoire and tonight give The Arts Show an exclusive recital from
The show comes from Derry/Londonderry, where a panel of guests discuss the inaugural UK City of Culture programme of events. Music comes from Derry's Codetta Choir and local singer/songwriter Best Boy Grip.