Derry~Londonderry launches first UK City of Culture Programme

Derry~Londonderry launches first UK City of Culture Programme to include The Royal Ballet

The programme for Derry~Londonderry 2013, the UK’s first City of Culture, was announced today.

dancer rests her head on her hands

Melissa Hamilton

Derry~Londonderry in Northern Ireland will 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.

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.”

The Royal Ballet (March)

The first visit of The Royal Ballet to Northern Ireland in over 20 years and a home-coming for ballet dancer Melissa Hamilton, who comes from County Down, in a special Gala performance by members of the Company with the Ulster Orchestra.

Grand Vintage Ball (May)
An opportunity for the whole community to step out and dress up for a vintage 50s style ball.


With the support of Principal Partner, BT

Media partners: The Derry Journal and the Londonderry Sentinel

Partners: Diageo, NIE, JTI, Tesco, Derry Credit Union Limited, Seagate, Translink, Crown Paints, Etihad Airway, Foyleside

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About Derry~Londonderry
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.

About the UK City of Culture
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.

Councillor Kevin Campbell, Mayor of Derry

The City of Culture year will transform our city and region. The range of contemporary music, dance, theatre, arts and performance events will link our diverse communities in programmes of celebration. The exciting programme of events scheduled for 2013 will encourage, develop and showcase our amazing cultural talent to the world and lay the foundations for economic prosperity for years to come.

Carál Ní Chuilín, Northern Ireland Culture Minister
2013 promises to be a momentous year for Derry and for this part of Ireland. With such an exciting programme of events to suit everyone’s tastes, the endorsement this week from the Lonely Planet and the sheer dedication to make this happen, Derry City of Culture is not to be missed. Derry is ready to embrace this opportunity and to showcase Ireland’s rich culture and heritage on the local and international stage.

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.

Tony Hall, Chief Executive, Royal Opera House
I am thrilled that The Royal Ballet has been invited to be part of this exciting programme of international cultural events for Derry~Londonderry 2013.   It has been too long since the Company appeared here but we are particularly delighted that Melissa Hamilton, who hails from Belfast will be amongst the great Company of dancers will be bringing.   At this time when all kinds of dance forms are being enjoyed and practised by everybody it’s a great to be part of this vibrant scene, and to witness first hand how dance can make such a difference to people’s lives.

Melissa Hamilton, Dancer, The Royal Ballet
I’m so proud to be dancing with The Royal Ballet in Londonderry. It will be wonderful to be back in Northern Ireland, where I grew up, and it’s a huge honour to be part of the Londonderry City of Culture 2013.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London
I am delighted that Derry will take on the mantle of inaugural UK City of Culture in 2013 and have no doubt that your illustrious city, with its rich history and culture, will be a beacon of excellence for the rest of the UK to follow. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my warmest good wishes to all the people who are working hard on Derry’s exciting programme of events.

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