Punk musical revealed for Derry 2013

Published Wednesday, 10 October 2012
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A punk musical celebrating the music of the Undertones has been revealed as one of 18 arts projects to be funded during Derry-Londonderry's City of Culture celebrations.

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    Teenage kicks musical
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    Interview: Colin Bateman

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The Arts Council for Northern Ireland announced on Wednesday it will be investing £1 million towards the City of Culture celebrations which will fund 18 unique projects.

The full programme has not been unveiled but highlights will include the largest ever exhibition of works by the city's own twice Turner prize nominated artist Willie Doherty, Northern Ireland's first international contemporary dance festival, and a punk musical, written and produced by the acclaimed author Colin Bateman, featuring the songs of seminal Derry-based band, The Undertones.

Acclaimed local author Colin Bateman has been tasked with bringing the music to a different stage.

The musical, Teenage Kicks, set in the city during 1970s, will be produced by the Millennium Forum in association with the Nerve Centre and features songs by the local punk legends.

The author, who is a fan of the band, says he was a teenage punk rocker in a "nice, Bangor way".

"Which meant I would have had spiky hair but mummy wouldn't let me," he said.

"It's much more than the City of Culture and Derry, they are a worldwide phenomenon, they wrote such fantastic songs and the lyrics are so fantastic and they tell a story but that does half the work for me."

He says the musical is a work in progress but he is excited about telling a story with the sound of the Undertones.

"I wanted it to be good and fun, I'm known for maybe writing books which has a lot of humour in them so it's going to be funny. But bearing in mind where it is set, it could be quite a dark background as well so it is getting the mix of that right."

But the writer says you don't need to be a punk rocker to relate to the musical.

The issues that teenagers have are universal although this is going to follow the music of the Undertones and punk rock, it's going to be much bigger than that, it's going to be about what it's like to be a teenager.

Colin Bateman

He added: "Going right back to Romeo and Juliet, West Side Story and Grease- these are all stories about young people falling in love, getting into trouble and universal things teenagers experience."

Bob Collins, Chairman of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said Wednesday's announcement is just a taste of what we can expect from next year's cultural festivities.

"The Arts Council's £1million investment will be used to support local arts organisations to deliver new projects worthy of international attention," he said.

"The arts are helping to transform our image and show the world what we already know, that we have some of the best artists right here in Northern Ireland. City of Culture 2013 is an opportunity to celebrate that and showcase their work to global audiences."

Martin Bradley, Chair of Culture Company 2013 commented: "This latest investment is great news for the city and for next year's much anticipated cultural programme. The three top class events that have been announced today give an indication of the Arts Council's commitment to our celebrations in 2013.

"To invest a sum of £1million in City of Culture shows the faith that the Arts Council has in Culture Company's ability to deliver the fantastic full programme of events that we are looking forward to announcing on October 25th."

Culture vultures will have to wait until the end of the month for full UK City of Culture 2012 programme. The events begin in January and will be happening throughout the year across the city.

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