The first edition of Derry~Londonderry's UK City of Culture 2013 programme has been announced.
The city will play host to a world-class programme that 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, 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.'
Mayor of Derry~Londonderry, Cllr Kevin Campbell added: '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.'
The programme was launched at the newly reclaimed Ebrington site, formerly an army base and now the epicentre of the City of Culture celebrations. Cultural luminaries including Derry-born composer Phil Coulter were there, as were a host of national and international press eager to finally take the programme after months of speculation.
The programme launch came in the week that esteemed travel publication Lonely Planet rated Derry~Londonderry as the fourth must-see tourist destination for 2013. Welcoming the programme, Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure Carál Ní Chuilín said: '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, 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.'
The year will open with Sons & Daughters, a spectacular free concert on Sunday, January 20, staged in a new purpose-built pavilion in the heart of the city on the banks of the River Foyle. The concert will celebrate Derry~Londonderry’s rich musical heritage and is co-produced by BBC Television for broadcast.