Published on : Thursday, August 21, 2014
Preparations for next week’s Walled City Tattoo are in full swing, with regular rehearsals in and around Derry~Londonderry and the open air ampitheatre build having started in the city’s Ebrington Square. Over 300 international performers are enroute to Northern Ireland to perform in the show alongside a local cast.
The 550 strong cast of musicians, dancers, actors and acrobats will entertain and delight audiences when the show returns to the city for 4 nights from next Wednesday 27th August. It has been revealed that the 2014 production, which is themed around the transort history of the North West, will feature a giant ship.
The spectacular opening scene of this year’s Walled City Tattoo will tell the story of the old ship building yards on the River Foyle. A 30 strong drums corps from marching bands, rock bands and samba bands across the country will create an exciting and unique sound for the show’s ambitious beginning. Swapping their traditional instruments for oil barrels, corrugated iron sheets, steel tubing, hammers and grinders the drummers are led by international Musical Director Yaron Engler who has composed the unusual musical piece for the start of the show.
The Walled City Dance troupe returns with over 200 dancers from the Highland, Irish and Contemporary dance worlds playing a significant part in this year’s production. Revealing more Choreographer Georgina Kee-McCarter said: “The Highland dancers are performing what we have called a Water Dance which is inspired by the River Foyle. Then the Irish dancers’ Immigration Dance will tell the story of those who headed to a better life in America and returned home with a wealth of experience. Our modern piece sees a dance based on train travel which will recreate some of the holiday journeys people would have taken from Londonderry to the likes Ballycastle, Portrush and Bundoran.”
The travel theme continues through into the music with various local and international music acts playing traditional marches and airs alongside contemporary favourites. The Lone Piper and Auld Lang Syne will be performed by featured acts alongside songs by Coldplay, Biffy Clyro and Daft Punk as well as local acts Snow Patrol and the Undertones.
The Massed Pipes and Drums will be joined by special guests from across Ireland, England, Scotland, Germany and Malta. Two of the city’s oldest bands Britannia Concert Band and Hamilton Flute Band will perform together for the first time.
Other special guests are travelling from around the globe to be part of this very special production. From Switzerland Starbugs will bring their unique slapstick comedy acrobatics to this years show; from London come the world-renowned motorcycle display team The Imps; and all the way from Malta the 30 musicians of the Marsa Scouts Pipes and Drums are bringing 20 family members to make a holiday out of their time in Northern Ireland.
Traveling from France, the Paris Fire Brigade Band are putting together a one-off performance for the Walled City Tattoo as they do for each show they feature in. Their performances are a heavily guarded secret and use contemporary music, taking inspiration from the area they are performing in. The audience is promised an extra special treat from these international tattoo favourites.
Mayor of Derry~Londonderry, Councillor Brenda Stevenson said: “I’m delighted to see the return of the Walled City Tattoo after what was undoubtedly one of the major highlights in last year’s City of Culture programme. And from what I have heard from the organisers, this year’s spectacle promises even more in terms of dramatic visual effects, all set once again against the stunning backdrop of Ebrington Square.
“The show was a fantastic success for the city in 2013 and its return is very much in keeping with Derry City Council’s commitment to promoting cultural diversity and providing exciting new platforms for musical talent. The Tattoo is a perfect example of how differing cultures can complement each other in a celebratory performance to be shared and enjoyed by all.”
Event producer James Kee from Sollus Cultural Promotions added: “It was a privilege to produce the show last year and now that we are back and looking to make the Walled City Tattoo an annual event we can see the direct legacy that has come out of all the work put into the UK City of Culture last year. This year we are bringing different acts and a different theme, but all with the same aim in sight: to wow and enthral our audiences over this last weekend in August. The amphitheatre is bigger than last year with more elevated seating. We have the capacity for an audience in excess of 4,000 per night and are pleased to say every seat has a superb view.”
A Family Festival Fun Day will run as part of this year’s Walled City Tattoo. Taking place on Friday 29th August, the free event will be open to the public and will give the audience the chance to meet performers, try on costumes, play instruments and watch some very special performances.
The Walled City Tattoo is funded by the Department of Trade, Enterprise and Investment through the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure, Derry City Council, Ilex and the Ulster Scots Agency and is supported by Derry Visitor and Convention Bureau.