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Culture News April 2021

Culture News 



City of Derry Jazz & Big Band Festival 2021

30th April-2nd May

 Derry City and Strabane District Council have revealed plans for the 20th City of Derry Jazz Festival, which will take place from April 30th to May 2nd this year.

It is a special landmark for the festival, which began in 2002 and would normally see upwards of 60,000 people in attendance enjoying music and events across more than 70 different venues.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year will see a blended programme, featuring a mix of virtual concerts with some on-street entertainment.

One special segment of the programme will see an array of local artists who have all played in previous Jazz Festivals showcasing their music online from the Guildhall, with three gigs per day over three stages during the three days of the festival.

Other exciting features include virtual performances from students at Ulster University's Magee campus and from North West Regional College, and there will also be bursaries up for grabs for five up and coming young jazz artists.

Looking back on Jazz Festivals gone by will feature heavily in the programme, with a video covering the journey over years gone by, while there will also be a documentary style film reflecting on the past 19 editions of the festival and featuring interviews with acts who know and love the festival.

There will also be an outdoor jazz visual arts trail in the city centre for members of the public to enjoy safely and within COVID-19 restrictions.

 Check out our website for the latest details


Void Gallery announce move to new location

Void’s new home will be located at the foot of the Derry Walls, at Waterloo Place, and will provide an exciting new tourist attraction for the area with two main gallery spaces and a walk-in education space. The building is street facing with a wide glass front, which will enable the gallery to present its programme, even in lockdown.


Director of Void Gallery, Mary Cremin, said: “We are very excited about this new chapter for Void Gallery in bringing the visual arts to the city centre, platforming both national and international artists while positioning our dynamic Education and Access programme to the fore of what we do. We will continue to develop new audiences and position the arts as central to vibrancy of the city especially during these challenging times.”

Void’s education programme will have a dedicated drop-in area at the front of the building where members of the public can call in and get involved. The new building will also be fully wheelchair accessible.


Void looks forward to celebrating the move to its new space on 17 April, coinciding with the launch of exhibition Before the Cypress Broke, and  will announce further details soon pending COVID-19 government restrictions.

Please visit website for further details


Void Gallery is supported using public funding from Arts Council Northern Ireland, Derry City and Strabane District Council, Enkalon Foundation, Ragdoll Foundation, COVID 19 Charities Fund, Art Fund, and Garfield Weston Foundation. Void is also a member of the PlusTate network.





 Life Bloodrush

by My Left Ear

Left Ear commissioned Derry-based spoken-word artist Abby Oliveira to write a new work of performance poetry to reflect the lockdown experience we are all going through.  In the piece Abby looks past the lockdown routines to her world opening up again with fresh vigour.











Praise for recipients of DCSDC Individual Artist Practitioner Awards 2020-21


17 individual artists and cultural practitioners received support in 20/21 from DCSDC Individual Artists and Cultural Practitioners fund.

The fund is designed to support local artists and practitioners to develop skills and opportunities in the creation of new work.

DCSDC wish to acknowledge the resilience and creativity shown by recipients. Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Brian Tierney:


“As for everyone, 2020-21 was an exceptional year and presented all sorts of challenges to the successful delivery of projects. We have been both delighted and totally impressed with how our individual artists and practitioners have managed to adapt to successfully deliver great and meaningful work, it bodes well for the creative sector and we would like to take this opportunity to thank and commend all the artists involved”.

A read more link

The awards supported a diverse range of projects and while looking forward to full return of “real world” collaboration, creation and sharing of work, most all recipients have reported positives from the experiences of adapting processes to deliver work in 2020-21.


Performance artist, Rachel Melaugh adapted 1:1 Hula Hoop Skills training to zoom:


“because of this, I was able to work with Gail O Brien (Hoop Skills), one of the leading hula hoop artists and trainers in the world. 1:! Training was invaluable and I cannot express enough how inspiring and supportive this process has been to allow me to come out of a year with an entirely new skill set”

Among the positives reported was the move to online or hybrid delivery and the ability of outdoor and digital platforms to reach wider and/or new and international audiences for individual artists.


Ayesha Mailey’s project Making Movement and Music was targeted at children from the rural areas of Donnemanagh. Covid restrictions made face to face working impossible. In response to this, Ayesha and her chosen collaborators moved to individually record movement and music workshop sessions for pupils of St. Michaels P.S, Donnamanagh creating a movement and music resource that the school can now access in their own time.


Speaking of this Ayesha said:


“Because sessions were recorded, all pupils had access rather than one class group. Increasing access by approx. 75%. The process strengthened my digital skills and awareness and I was able to build on relationships with fellow artists including local musician Ronan McKee and Echo Echo Ensemble artists Tonya Sheina, Kelly Quigley and Zoe Ramsey, strengthening foundations for future collaboration”.


One of the most ambitious and challenging projects to embrace the live digital platform was delivered by artist Melanie Bradley who rose to the challenges of Covid restrictions to deliver, The Seven Deadly Sins - a fusion of spoken word, poetry, storytelling, burlesque and theatre.


Written, produced and acted by Mel, The Seven Deadly Sins was intended to be a 60-minute one-woman interactive theatrical extravaganza, with added actors. Mel transformed the work into a 60 minute online, live streamed performance with pre-recorded elements, creating a platform for live theatre to happen and for people to engage with that live theatre in an online capacity.

 Speaking of the process and collaboration involved, Mel said:

“The technology had to be completely investigated and heavily researched. I was extremely lucky to have Technician extraordinaire - John-Antony Gallagher, he really did everything from the camera switching to the streaming, sound, lighting, the whole lot..

The only other actor, Denzil Browne, pre-recorded all of his elements -  filming, editing, props and set design for his pieces were done entirely by himself. The musician, Siobhán Sheils (Great White Lies) recorded the soundtrack and consultation was carried out over zoom and email correspondence. Set designer, Phil Ruddock was consulted and together plans were drawn up and completed keeping health and safety for all at the forefront of the production.

Fiona Allen looked after marketing and ticket sales evidence engagement at an international level. In response to requests we have recorded the performance and will be able to release it when the editing is complete.

A new-to-me added pressure to live delivery online is keeping a stable internet connection to allow live streaming and live performance to happen! I am very proud of the work and the creative team – to have connected with an audience and been able to deliver under such intense restrictions, live theatre – was just wonderful!”


Fellow recipients of the award in 20-21 include: Paola Bernadelli, Ronan Carr, Mairead Carten, Clarendon Street Studios, Creative Village Arts,  Bronagh Corr Mc Nicholl ,Caroline Devenny, Ciaran Ni Dhochartaigh, Sue Divin ,Anne Gallagher, Left Ear, Gregory Mc Cartney, , Sue Morris, , Connor O Boyle


Derry City and Strabane District Council look forward to announcing the recipients of the 2021-22 Individual Artist and Cultural Practitioner Awards later this month (April).



Invite to Arts & Culture Sector Re-opening Readiness discussion

Arts & Culture Sector Re-opening Readiness discussion

On behalf of the DCSDC Arts & Culture Strategy Co-delivery Group, we would like to invite you to a meeting to explore arts and culture sector readiness and what is needed ahead of any potential easing of restrictions.

Thursday 15th April at 11am – Zoom link to follow registration

 We’re particularly keen to hear from people with indoor seated facilities and those who deliver in venue programming.

   The agenda for the meeting is as follows:

-          A discussion on plans for reopening

-          What programming is in place (if any)

-          What can be done and when

-          What can be put in place to help build audience confidence.

 John Ball Department for Communities ( Culture) will be in attendance and is keen to hear thoughts from arts and culture sector Derry and Strabane.

The meeting is very much informal and an opportunity to share thoughts and/or listen.

Please register interest in attending by e-mail to [email protected]

[email protected]




Ni Science festival explores linen in Northern Ireland

NI Science Festival has commissioned a series of three films documenting the past, present and future of the linen industry in Northern Ireland.

Through interviews with key people working in the industry currently, they explore the richness of its heritage as well as what sort of innovative future it might hold






Local projects receive grants from Shared History Fund

Nerve Centre, Reach Across and The Siege Museum are among thirty nine projects to have received grants totalling £1million to mark the Centenary of Northern Ireland in a thoughtful, inclusive and engaging way.

The Shared History Fund is distributed by The Heritage Fund on behalf of the Northern Ireland Office to mark the Centenary of Northern Ireland, which takes place this year.

Projects funded cover a wide range of subjects and key moments in Northern Ireland’s history.

For more details on recipients and projects, please follow the link:






Arts Council NI welcomes BBC announcement


ACNI has welcomed the announcement by the BBC that it is to devolve more programming to nations and regions outside London.

The BBC plans to enhance its creative presence across the UK and ensure that BBC programmes and services more fully reflect the needs and diversity of audiences, wherever they live.

ACNI Chair, Liam Hannaway:

“This is good news for the arts and creative sectors in Northern Ireland and the Arts Council is committed to strengthening its collaborations with BBC NI and the wider arts sector”.

Read more in the Link:






 Appointment of Youth Patron and youth programmes “underpins Millenium Forum’s role as a teaching theatre”

The Millennium Forum welcomes Jamie Leah O’Donnell as Youth Patron as part of a new initiative focused on its youth musical and youth festival projects.

David McLaughlin, Millennium Forum Chief Executive, said: “It is fitting to announce Jamie Lee O’Donnell, an internationally successful young actress, as our Youth Patron as she has worked with us over the years on a number of productions, most recently in 2018 on our acclaimed production of Lisa McGee’s ‘Girls and Dolls’.

“At the Forum there has always been a key focus on providing accessible training and events for our young people and we have run many hugely successful initiatives in this regard. The challenge, in this time of pandemic, has been how to reach this group in society which is growing increasingly marginalised at this time.

“Running the Interact Youth Arts Festival online has allowed us the scope to widen access to this hugely popular festival both in terms of reach – we are attracting young people from a much wider catchment area - and in terms of longevity – we are able to run the event over four weeks instead of over four days. The success of the event to date also serves to underpin our ethos as a ‘teaching theatre’ and we look forward to many such events in the future.”



Colmcille 1500 website

1500 years ago, one of Ireland’s most famous sons was born in Gartan, Co. Donegal. With strong roots in the North West of Ireland, Colmcille (or St. Columba) went on to blaze a trail of cultural and social change around the world. He became one of Ireland’s three patron saints, the patron saint of Derry and his influence extends to this day.

Donegal County Council and Derry City & Strabane District Council have come together, with support from the North West Development Fund, to commemorate Colmcille’s remarkable life and legacy with a series of events and activities throughout the coming year.

Keep up to date with the interactive calendar to find out about the latest events happening in celebration of the saint during this special year. You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram by clicking the icons at the top of the page or sign up to the newsletter.




Peace plus programme (2021-2027) public consultation – share your view


PEACE PLUS are seeking your view on the draft content of the European Union funded PEACE PLUS Programme (2021-2027), worth approximately €1bn. It has been designed following a comprehensive cross border stakeholder engagement process.

PEACE PLUS is a new funding programme designed to support peace and prosperity across Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland, building upon the work of the previous PEACE and INTERREG Programmes. The design reflects the importance of peace-building activity, but also the importance of actions that will contribute positively to the economy, building prosperity and adjusting to the new environment and challenges we face.

The consultation will end at 5pm on Wednesday 12 May 2021.

For full details please follow the link