Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 27 November 2014

Show goes on despite fresh bomb scare

It was a case of the ‘show must go on’ for a group of young opera performers forced to flee their venue for the second time in a week following a bomb scare in Londonderry.

It was a case of the ‘show must go on’ for a group of young opera performers forced to flee their venue for the second time in a week following a bomb scare in Londonderry.

The cross-community group of artists was due to take part in the matinee performance of Puccini’s opera Tosca yesterday.

However, people taking part in the production were forced to flee Saint Columb’s Cathedral after a suspicious object was found in a car park close to the courthouse at Bishop Street at around 11pm.

It was the second time production staff were forced to leave the area after dissident republican group Oglaigh na hEireann planted a 200lbs bomb close to the courthouse last Sunday.

The innovative opera, which takes place in three acts, moves venue for each section. Yesterday’s performance was due to start in Saint Columb’s Cathedral before moving to the Guildhall for act two, and then on to Saint Columb’s Hall for the final session. Undeterred, determined opera organisers hastily switched to the Guildhall for the opening act at the last minute yesterday after police sealed off a section of Bishop Street and evacuated a number of buildings in the area, including the cathedral.

Opera conductor Nic Chalmers admitted he was disappointed when he heard about the second security alert just hours before the performance was due to begin. He said: “My heart sank a bit but we were prepared and decided we were going to go ahead with it anyway. Our attitude is to struggle on and we will not be beaten.”

Mr Chalmers says the play has been well received despite a change of venue.

He said: “It went really well and the audience gave us a standing ovation. The schoolkids in the audience loved it. They were sympathetic to our plight.”

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