THE preview programme for Limerick’s stint as national City of Culture in 2014 was launched in the city this week, at a glitzy launch event that saw an ‘edgy, urban and contemporary’ programme unveiled.
The launch took place in St John’s Church, formerly home to Daghdha Dance Company and now home to dance support organisation Dance Limerick - fittingly so, given that the launch featured colourful performances from Fidget Feet and a host of local musicians, the former whose trapeze antics drew gasps from the crowd.
The launch drew a massive crowd of politicians and policy makers as well as a huge coterie of those involved in the arts infrastructure in Limerick, all eager to get a look at the programme some 15 months after arts minister Jimmy Deenihan announced the cultural designation.
The programme, which features 200 different performances and exhibitions, spanning across all aspects of culture and the arts, will kick off with a large scale New Year’s Eve carnival and run over 12 months across 13 different themes.
Of the 329 locally based groups that applied for funding, 109 were successful, a fact that the programmers hope will leave a lasting legacy in the region.
Viewing the programme, funding of €6m for which was procured from Government, the eye is inevitably drawn to a four night run of Riverdance in the UL Arena, which senior executive producer Julian Erskine said was “the full European touring production”, and would be performed to 2,500 people a night in the University in January.
But the programme also boasts a heady mix of the international, national and local overall
City of Culture chairman Pat Cox said the programme aims to “unlock and reveal Limerick’s cultural potential, to turn the city into a year-long national stage, hosting acts, arts and events from the intensely local and community based to international acts which will perform for the first time ever in Ireland”.
“The edgy, urban and contemporary will blend with the traditional to reveal the rich cultural diversity and heritage of the Treaty City. This year will be a chance to shine a light on Limerick and to lift the lid on the best that we have to offer as Ireland’s premier cultural venue in 2014,” he said.
Joining Mr Cox at the launch were ministers Jimmy Deenihan and Michael Noonan, minister of state Jan O’Sullivan and Limerick manager Conn Murray.
To see the programme that was announced, visit the website. For more analysis see the weekend editions of the Limerick Leader broadsheet.