Belfast Telegraph

City of Culture bid ‘can bring about great healing’

By Brendan McDaid

Londonderry Pulp Fiction actress Bronagh Gallagher has said the Belfast Telegraph-backed City of Culture bid for 2013 could bring about “great healing” to the city.

Ms Gallagher was one of the leading actresses in The Commitments and played the central character in Agnes, as well as parts in Star Wars Episode One: The Phanton Menace, Divorcing Jack and Sherlock Holmes.

The 37-year-old former St Mary’s College pupil has had recent success on stage in London, and as a singer-songwriter, releasing her debut album Precious Soul in recent years.

Backing the city, which will find out if it has won the accolade in the summer following the submission of the final bid in May, Bronagh said: “As a native of Derry City I am extremely excited at the prospect of Derry receiving the accolade of City of Culture in 2013.

“Growing up here in the 1970s and 80s I was a regular participant in many of the local productions of musicals, dancing classes and public speaking competitions and the encouragement and enthusiasm and quality of work will stay with me for ever. This passion is still very much alive in our city.

“We have a great tradition of arts in Derry and people managed to produce the most fantastic productions on little or no budget, mostly with goodwill and the desire for community to come together in a positive way. Achieving the City of Culture designation would ensure that the talent and creativity across all art forms in Derry is exposed to an international audience.”

Ms Gallagher pointed out that Derry is one of the last remaining walled cities in Europe.

“Our history is palpable from the moment you arrive” she said.

“No matter where I travel, when I meet people who have come in contact with people from Derry they always comment on the kindness and warmth of our native folk.

“Their spirit and wit never fails to communicate and comfort despite the conflict, unemployment, troubles and hardship faced by all sides of the community. It is now time for these communities to come together to celebrate our survival, our future, accept our differences, respect each other and strengthen in love and humanity.”

She added: “The opportunity presented by City of Culture would offer all of the above and also, I believe, help bring about a great healing.”

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