Belfast Telegraph

David Arquette's movie about dance scene during Troubles in Northern Ireland

By Ali Gordon

Hollywood star David Arquette has told Sunday Life about his new project — capturing Northern Ireland’s dance scene in the 1990s.

The actor-turned-producer’s company is making a documentary titled Dance, Peace and Harmony which will tell the story of how dance music united young people during the Troubles.

Starting with the Harmony club nights in Portrush’s party paradise, Kelly’s, the film will also look at venues like the Arena in Armagh and Circus Circus in Banbridge.

Speaking from his Los Angeles home, David said: “When I first learned about the Harmony phenomena and the way that dance music helped bring people together at Kelly’s and across Northern Ireland, I was struck at the symbolism of how a great song could heal divisions in such a bleak period.

“It has echoes of Bob Marley and John Lennon in the Vietnam War and I wanted to help bring this inspirational story to the cinema screen.”

Arquette’s ex-wife Courteney Cox has already fallen in love with Northern Ireland after visiting with future husband and Snow Patrol guitarist Johnny McDaid.

And he will follow her across the Atlantic after his production company set up an office in Belfast to push ahead with his new project.

During the early ’90s, as the Troubles still raged, thousands of clubbers flocked to Kelly’s to enjoy ground-breaking dance music and world-class DJs.

But that’s not all the north coast nightclub should be credited for. Kelly’s was also the place where some of our famous local couples first met.

World champion boxer Carl Frampton met his wife Christine in Kelly’s in 2007 but it took the sporting hero from Tigers Bay a whole year to pluck up the courage to ask Christine out — by text message.

Back in 2002, Cool FM breakfast show host Pete Snodden caught the eye of stunning student Julia and the pair are now married with two children.

“The heart of the film will be hearing people’s stories about what Harmony and other clubs meant to them and how it impacted upon their lives,” said Dundee businessman Tony Cochrane who promoted the Harmony events.

Tony also praised the Northern Ireland club scene for flourishing during some of the worst days of the Troubles and helping to create lifelong friendships and, in many cases, marriages and families.

“We want people to come forward and tell us their stories,” added Tony.

“We have a lot of unseen old footage that we can make use of for the film as well as hundreds of photographs and we know that soldiers came and partied safely with people from both sides of the divide, so Harmony was more than just a dance event.

“If anyone has a story to tell they can get in touch with us on or at the Facebook group Dance, Peace and Harmony.”

On the Facebook page, researchers will also be posting photographs and videos from the Harmony events and are urging people to tag themselves in the posts.

Dance, Peace and Harmony — the documentary’s working title — will also feature The Arena in Armagh, Circus Circus in Banbridge and Mirage in Enniskillen as well as looking at the wider club culture across the province.

BAFTA nominee Chris Atkins will help David Arquette direct the 90-minute film and Desmond Bell, who made the iconic 1995 documentary Dancing on Narrow Ground, has also been brought on to the project as a consultant.

Good news for clubbers though, before filming even gets underway, Kelly’s will be hosting a Harmony reunion on Saturday, August 1.

Next month’s exciting event has been organised by Harmony hero DJ X-Ray and it is expected that people will travel from across the UK, Republic of Ireland, South America and South East Asia to renew old acquaintances.

Tickets can be purchased from for £20.


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