I have been very interested to hear of Derry’s bid to become the first ever UK City of Culture in 2013.
I remember when I, along with Stephen Rea, Ray McAnally and others in the Field Day Theatre Company performed the world premiere of Brian Friel’s play ‘Translations’, a work which has since found international acclaim.
It was in September 1980 that Brian Friel chose Derry’s Guildhall to introduce his award-winning play. Back then, Derry was a shadow of what it is now – it was a city physically, emotionally and culturally divided. In the words of songwriter Phil Coulter, it was a town that had been ‘brought to its knees’. There were few arts venues in the city, yet the spirit of the people and the place made Derry the obvious choice for Friel to launch his masterpiece.
Field Day brought together a group of people whose energy, creativity and focus on the possible was mirrored by the resilience of a community that longed for change. Thankfully that change is now coming about and the city has united to shape a more positive future. For that reason, City of Culture is vitally important.
Derry is a city that needs to find its place on the world stage and the UK City of Culture 2013 will be the catalyst to help make that happen. I have been watching the project with interest and pledge my full support.
The UK City of Culture 2013 will be announced this evening.