British Council Invest £1/4m in City of Culture

New projects by Field Day theatre company and artist Willie Doherty to benefit in Derry~Londonderry

British Council Northern Ireland has announced partnership funding worth £1/4m – its largest ever single investment in the arts in Northern Ireland – to support Derry~Londonderry City of Culture 2013 projects.


The investment will allow the development of new work in the creative sector, locally and internationally, which is hoped will leave a lasting legacy for the city and its citizens. The funding will also support the festival in reaching a wider international audience.


Northern Ireland Director of the British Council, David Alderdice, said: 'A key priority is to promote Derry~Londonderry internationally by bringing new opportunities to emerging and professional talent from the region to the rest of the UK and beyond.


'We will contribute to the success of 2013 by adding an attractive international dimension that enhances content, as well as providing opportunities for the export of creative components through our global network.'


The British Council is excited to be involved with the return of the Field Day Theatre Company, which began as an artistic collaboration between playwright Brian Friel and actor Stephen Rea in 1980, and is a much anticipated moment in both the Irish and international performing arts scene.


Field Day has produced Farewell, by Northern Irish playwright Clare Dwyer Hogg, which will run in Derry~Londonderry's Playhouse Theatre from December 3-8, 2012. Hoig said: 'I do not consider myself in the league of any of the writers who have made Field Day great. This makes it all the more of a privilege to have been given such an opportunity.'


Farewell, directed by Stephen Rea, is the haunting tale of a man on the run who is hiding in a remote Donegal cottage, stalling the violent death he knows is his inevitability. But neither the brutal consequences of his actions, nor the pull back to what he loves, will give him peace.


Half a Glass of Water, another new play by Northern Irish writer David Ireland, will double bill at the Playhouse. Both are examples of new opportunities created for young playwrights by the British Council within the programme.


The Guildhall will be the setting of another Field Day world premiere when Sam Shepard, playwright, actor and director who began work with Rea in April 2012, will return to Derry-Londonderry on December 10, 2012 for follow up workshops.


Trees, Walls and Cities is a contemporary music project that takes as its starting point the powerful historic link between Derry~Londonderry and the City of London, and the symbolic significance of their city walls.


Also, in partnership with the City of London Festival, the British Council has been working towards the development of a newly commissioned song cycle for the Brodsky Quartet and soprano, Loré Lixenberg.


This will link Derry~Londonderry to the City of London, Utrecht, Berlin, Dubrovnik, Nicosia and Jerusalem. Composer Nigel Osborne and Derry pianist Cathal Breslin feature in the newly commissioned pieces.


Teaching Divided Histories is a three-year arts and education project using film and moving image as the catalyst to explore reasons and effects of conflict in societies children grow up in. The project involves linking schools from Northern Ireland and Ireland with countries in current and post-conflict societies, looking at how the delivery of education and learning can be developed to promote shared societies.


In another project, acclaimed Northern Ireland Turner Prize-nominated artist Willie Doherty is developing plans for a new feature film created in the city, as well as a series of new and unseen photographs.

Since Doherty began exhibiting in the early 1980s, his work has consistently addressed the problems of representation, territoriality and surveillance, and the politics and rhetoric of identity, especially in his native Northern Ireland.


His exhibition, entitled Unseen, to be shown in Derry in October 2013, brings 30 works together: ten new works, ten iconic old works borrowed from galleries and institutions around the world, including the British Council’s Collection, and ten previously unseen pieces from his personal archive.


Martin Davidson, Chief Executive of the British Council, said: 'I am very excited about the forthcoming programme. Derry~Londonderry UK City of Culture is a hugely ambitious plan and one where I am very happy to see the British Council as a key partner developing a significant international element.'