AS reported in this morning’s print edition of the Sentinel, Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland has made an announcement that his officials are to look at the potential viability of the Ebrington Venue beyond 2013.
Last week the Sentinel reported how his counterpart in the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) Carál Ní Chuilín said the continued need for The Venue beyond 2013 was being considered by her Department as part of legacy planning beyond Londonderry’s year in the cultural spotlight.
Now Mr McCausland has said he will host an event in The Venue on Friday (October 11) to try to attract the private sector to get involved in the facility.
Announcing his plans this morning (September 25) Minister McCausland said: “The Venue has been a roaring success and has been welcomed by residents of Londonderry as well as further afield. Without the Venue, the UK City of Culture would not have been as fantastic as it has been.
“I am also aware that there is a growing appetite in the northwest to keep the Venue open if viable after this year.
“So I have asked my officials to investigate whether there is capacity or potential within the private sector to keep the Venue beyond 2013.”
Ilex’s Interim Chief Executive, Mel Higgins said: “Ilex continues to oversee the operation of the Venue, the largest multi-purpose indoor facility for UK City of Culture 2013.
Through the management of Smallworld Music Ltd, the Venue has helped deliver key events in this year’s cultural programme, a number of which have been beamed around the world.
“This, in turn, has showcased Derry ~ Londonderry internationally as a must-see destination”.
The Venue, which is funded by DSD, has been at the centre of the UK City of Culture 2013 celebrations.
The Venue has hosted several major events in 2013 including the Ulster boxing championship finals, the Sons and Daughters concert, One Big Weekend, Buena Vista Social Club, Elvis Costello, Chic, CultureTech, Status Quo and Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann.
If private investors are not attracted it will likely be dismantled in January 2014.
During 2013 the Venue is being rented by DSD using NI Executive funding.