Frank Cottrell Boyce is 'excited' by Londonderry City of Culture role

Frank Cottrell Boyce Interview Frank Cottrell Boyce, children's author and writer, is interviewed by students about his involvement in the Return of Colmcille, City of Culture, Derry

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Frank Cottrell Boyce is a man of many talents: children's author, scriptwriter and one of the creative brains behind the celebrated London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony.

His latest project is working on Londonderry's City of Culture 2013 programme around the theme of The Return of Colmcille - the patron saint of the city - which he promises will be one of the most spectacular and memorable events of the year.

School Reporters Kane and Peter from St Columb's College and Daniel from Lisneal College got the chance to interview Frank about his involvement in the project and his thoughts on Derry's spell in the spotlight.

Q: How do you feel about working on the project?

A: Just really excited. The opportunity to do something in this city, Derry, which is a city I really like that involves lots and lots of people and because I did the Olympics opening ceremony and the most exciting thing about it was the volunteers, doing something on that scale again is most exciting.


  • Pupils from St Columb's College and Lisneal College interviewed Frank Cottrell Boyce about his involvement in the 2013 City of Culture celebrations in Londonderry
  • The title of British City of Culture is given as a prize to a city in the United Kingdom for one year
  • Cottrell Boyce is writing a spectacular show themed around Colmcille and his history
  • Traditionally seen as the 'founder' of the original Derry, Saint Colmcille, a holy man from Tír Chonaill, will be returning for this fantastic event

Q: Had you heard of Colmcille before?

A: He's the guy who saved Europe from extinction. He's a superhero, his fingers glowed when he wrote. He started the battle of the books, he created some of the most beautiful books and most beautiful objects ever created. He's always been a bit of a hero to be honest

Q: Has it been hard for you to find inspiration to write the return of Colmcille?

A: Not at all it's got such a fantastic story he's a kind of superman who is very flawed, he's like a Spiderman character who does have these superpowers but who is not really on top of things. It's just such a rich story and then the city itself is full of such great stories.

Q: What kind of research had you been doing?

A: I read about Colmcille and re-read all his lives but the story takes in the whole sweep of 1,500 years, so I've been coming to the city a lot and working with lots of people in the city to hear all the stories of what has been happening here while he's been away.

Q: How do you go about organising something of such scale?

A: I get other people to organise it and I just wander around with a big smile on my face saying: "You're all doing very well!"

River Foyle, Derry City of Culture Derry will display beautiful shows, fantastic firework displays and amazing events across the River Foyle

Q: What does this have in store for the people of Londonderry who go to watch this?

A: If you go to watch it you will be blown away because it's just going to be amazing but really we don't want people just to go and watch it, I want people to be part of it. If you are part of it, it will be the most fantastic adventure and you will get new friendships and new confidence and you will learn new skills and it will be fantastic to be part of something like this.

Q: Will there be many people involved?

A: I think we are aiming for about 800 or something like that, an enormous number of people involved and of course everybody who is involved has got someone else looking after them. They have got someone cooking their tea for them or covering for them at work or whatever it is so those 800 people are part of a network of hundreds and hundreds of people.

Q: Would you be hopeful that young people in this city would get involved?

A: Very, very much so this is the youngest city in the UK I think, so hopefully the show will reflect the youth and vibrancy of the city.

Q: Where in the city will it be held?

A: It's going to be all over the city, we are going to cast a spell over the whole city, we are going to completely transform the city for the weekend but the climax is going to be on the lock, on the water.

Q: What do you think of Derry?

A: I love the city I love its cheek and its front and its swagger. It's a great place.

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