Derry is undoubtedly full of many forward thinkers, so it’s no surprise to learn that we have some big ideas for the future. The opening of the Millennium Forum, the North West’s largest purpose built theatre, has been the catalyst for development in the arts and conference/exhibiton facilities. It launches its vibrant programme of events appealing to a wide audience of both locals and visitors from near and far. Indeed added to this the Playhouse Theatre and Waterside Theatre the city really is a hub for the arts. The evolving Cathedral Quarter has been earmarked for development into an area devoted to the arts, with plans for even more major development in the not too distant future.
The city takes the arts very seriously and is rightfully proud of its local artists. The city is proud ot its galleries - VOID, McGilloway and Gordon all offering something unique for art lovers.
The Nerve Centre is a dynamic and innovative multimedia centre in the heart of the city and the Verbal Arts Centre is one of Ireland's only centres devoted to literature in all its forms.
For such a compact city, it has given the world its fair share of famous names and was once the stomping ground for a number of internationally renowned writers and performers. The much celebrated playwright Brian Friel, author of ‘Philadelphia, Here I Come!’ grew up in Derry, as did famous poet, Seamus Heaney.
It has also produced some very impressive homegrown musical talent, including Dana, Josef Locke, Phil Coulter, Neil Hannon (Divine Comedy) and The Undertones. The talent doesn’t stop there either, actors Amanda Burton (Silent Witness), Bronagh Gallagher (The Commitments) and Roma Downey (Touched By An Angel), George Farquhar and young singing stars such as Nadine Coyle (Girls Aloud), Keith Harkin (Celtic Thunder) and Damian McGinty (Star of Glee) also hail from the city.
Derry has been the home to many a saint and scholar over the years. According to legend, the great Irish Saint Colmcille/ Columba founded a monastery here in the sixth century. The city has the accolade of producing, not one, but two Nobel Prize winners. Seamus Heaney was the recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature and local politician, John Hume, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998 and an endless number of famous artists, writers, sportspeople, scientists and authors.