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Strabane and Sion pull out all the stops for Culture Night celebrations

05 September 2018

Residents in Strabane, Sion Mills and the wider area, are in for a real cultural treat on Friday 21 September when Culture Night 18 celebrations brings heritage, dance, music and culture to a number of local venues.

Culture Night is when arts and cultural organisations across Ireland open their doors in celebration inviting the wider public to experience some of their local culture. This year’s event is being co-ordinated by Derry City and Strabane District Council with extensive programme of events in Derry and Strabane organised on Friday 21 to celebrate the local visual arts, music, theatre, dance, heritage and cultural offering.

History lovers who want to find out more about Strabane are encouraged to take part in an Historic Walking tour of the town with local historian Michael Kennedy. The tour will depart from the Alley Theatre at 7pm and advance booking is advisable.

One of the key venues for this year’s celebrations will be the Sion Stables in Sion Mills which will host a Culture Night in the Village event from 5-8pm with live traditional music and dance performances, craft and fly-tying workshops for both kids and adults and a village BBQ.

The Sion Stables will also exhibit Sion by local artist Conan McIvor from 7 to 9.30pm. Curated by Mirjami Schuppert, “Sion” is a site specific audio video installation that looks at the unique history and purpose of Sion Mills and is a must for all locals and visitors alike. The installation reflects on the unique ideology of the village and its linked to the up and coming exhibition Lavish and Judicious that explores the history of the utopian model village. The exhibition, has been on display since 25 August with a special showing on Culture Night 21 September before it closes the following day on the 22.

Another local artist who will be profiled during Culture Night is Barry McGowan, who is renowned for his portiture and caricature art works. You can catch him and his latest works at Café Scoop, Castle Street, Strabane, from 6-9pm. Not only can you see his art pieces but you get a chance to speak to him about his work and find out where he gets his inspiration from.

The Killeter Heritage Centre near Castlederg will host an evening of Scots-Irish music and dance with the Border Arts group from 8.30 to 11pm, while the Sollus Centre, Victoria Road in Bready, will host an open evening of entertainment, from 5 to 7.30pm, that will include Highland dancing demonstrations followed by refreshments of tea and shortbread.

There are also events for young people with live musical performances from local musicians taking part in the Pulse Music Trail located at various cafes and venues in Strabane’s Castle Street area from 5-8pm, while Encore PAA dancers will take to the streets of Strabane to perform their fantastic Chim Chim Cher-ee animated dance routines between 6 and 7pm.

Strabane’s Alley Theatre will also play a key role in profiling the local cultural offering when it hosts the Strabane Photographic Society’s exhibition of talent. This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the work of local camera club members. The exhibition is open throughout the day from 10am to 9pm.

The Alley will also host a series of intergenerational magic workshops by Single Shoe Productions for children aged between 10 and 18 and adults from 3.30 to 6.30pm while later in the evening the theatre company will perform their unique and intimate comedy – A Disappearing Act – from 8 to 9.15pm.

Jean Smyth, Arts Officer with Derry City and Strabane District Council says Culture Night 18 is a unique opportunity for people in the Strabane, Sion, Castlederg areas to get out and sample some of fantastic local cultural offerings taking place at local venues.

“We are delighted to be part of the Culture Night celebrations and to have such a fantastic mix of cultural experiences for the public to enjoy. Culture Night is all about getting people who would not normally go to an arts exhibition or a dance performance and encouraging them to be part of the celebrations.

“All of the events are free and easily accessible, you just have to show up and enjoy. Culture Night 18 is about showcasing our local venues and our local talent and inviting the public to be part of it and we are hugely excited about our celebrations on Friday 21 September and hope it will be a great success,” she said.

The full programme for Culture Night 2018 is available to view at www.derrystrabane.com/culturenight.

The public can follow the action and share their own experiences on social media using the hashtag #CultureNightDS.

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