Derry plans Olympic-scale spectacle

Derry plans Olympic-scale spectacle

The City Of Culture has revealed plans for a two-day spectacle of pageantry and procession which will tell the story of Patron Saint Colmcille's connection with Derry~Londonderry's past and present.

St Colmcille was a missionary monk from Donegal who established a monastery in 540AD where St Columba's Long Tower Church in the heart of the city now stands.

After his role in a bloody battle the city's Patron Saint left for Scotland and from there he spread Christianity throughout Europe.

Now 1,500 years later Derry~Londonderry is marking the legacy of the iconic figure as well as the city and its people with an event that will involve a cast of hundreds.

The Return of Colmcille is the brainchild of Frank Cottrell Boyce, who was behind the opening ceremony to London 2012 Olympics.

He believes the Return of Colmcille will have the same impact for City of Culture.

"The whole city is going to be the stage, it's going to be in different venues across the city, but also pathways between those venues will be full of performers, some of which you won't know are performers. Everything will be part of the show," he explained.

"I love the figure of St Colmcille, because he was so flawed and so human, and at the sametime kind of, super human.

"But (he) also gives you a peg to hang on, all the different, amazing things that have happened in this city."

Events on this scale require a range of skills and commitment levels and organisers are calling for volunteers to sign up to be part of it.

Mayor Cllr Kevin Campbell said the Return of Colmcille was one of the main highlights of the City of Culture year and a fantastic opportunity for the local community to get involved.

"The Return of Colmcille promises to be one of the most spectacular and memorable events of the year and I am delighted that the call is going out for local people to be part of the celebrations," he said.

Culture Company Chief Executive Shona McCarthy said: "The plans that Walk the Plank and Frank Cottrell Boyce have in place to celebrate the return of the city's patron saint are amazing, and all those who take part will treasure the memory of their involvement for years to come."

In the coming weeks the team will be recruiting, rehearsing and creating this epic production at various locations across Derry.


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