Northern Ireland

Building on cultural foundations

So, Londonderry will be the UK City of Culture in 2013, but what "culture" exists today in the city?

The Playhouse

With 189 seats, the The Playhouse theatre was established in the city by Pauline Ross in 1992 with a grant of just £300.

As well as a theatre, the building on Artillery Street houses an education department, a dance studio and a gallery.

A home for professional and community theatre, it sees itself as a "self-help, grass roots, bottom-up community development project which is people centred with charitable status".

City of Derry Jazz Festival

In May, Derry hosted the ninth, highly successful, City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival.

Thousands of people flock to Derry each May for the five-day event which in 2010 had former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman as its headline act.

According the Derry Visitor and Convention Bureau, room occupancy reached over 90% across the hospitality sector during the festival.

Tower Museum

Located within the famous city walls, the Tower Museum houses permanent exhibitions such as the Story of Derry and An Armada Shipwreck - La Trinidad Valencera.

One of the largest ships in the Armada fleet, La Trinidad Valencera foundered off the coast of County Donegal in 1588.

The Story of Derry exhibition tells the story of the city from monastic times, through Plantation and Siege of Derry, right up to the present day.

The museum also hosts a number of temporary exhibitions throughout the year.

The Nerve Centre

The Nerve Centre was established in 1990 as a focal point for youth culture in Derry.

One of the north west's premier music venues, 40,000 people attend music concerts at the centre, a further 15,000 attend film events, 10,000 are engaged in an educational programme which includes a cultural diversity scheme.

"By bringing popular music, film, video, animation and interactive multimedia together under one roof, the Nerve Centre promotes creative collaboration and fusion between artists and provides a cultural outlet for many young people," said its website.


The Void art gallery lives in what was the Old City Shirt Factory.

It was born out of a desire of Derry artists for a space to exhibit, and to provide services for the art community.

It opened in 2005 with a very clear mission statement: "To promote and make accessible contemporary art, through exhibition programmes and related educational activities. To provide new opportunities for artists."

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