A bone-shaking Hallowe’en night to remember!

Show Time Stage School participants portraying "City Sinners."
Show Time Stage School participants portraying "City Sinners."

A 25ft high giant skeleton, 22ft long ghost ship and Bone-Shakers Ballet will be among the eye-popping attractions at the world famous Banks of the Foyle Hallowe’en Carnival Parade in Derry on Friday.

This year’s ‘City of Bones’ celebrations organised by Derry City Council will feature a spooktacular pageant with a Local Haunted Histories theme boasting a stellar cast of around 500 street performers, dancers, singers and musicians.

Billy McGreanery, Joe Campbell, Karen Cassidy, Greater Shantallow Community Arts Carnival artists.

Billy McGreanery, Joe Campbell, Karen Cassidy, Greater Shantallow Community Arts Carnival artists.

Large props will form the main centrepieces of the parade based on the story of the Ghost of Captain Browning, who was killed as his ship the Mountjoy broke the boom across the River Foyle to end the Siege of Derry in 1689.

His wife Jane Browning will be depicted as the Lady in White in the carnival parade which will also include a large prop of the tower of St Columb’s Cathedral where she was located as her husband was making his way to the besieged city.

Watch out for ghostly dancers, the skeleton crew, and ghastly ghosts representing the ‘half dead’ from the Siege, as they shuffle their way zombie-like along the parade route to a suitably eerie musical accompaniment.

Walter, the skeleton depicted in the city’s Coat of Arms, will also make a larger than life appearance in the ‘Bone-Shakers’ Return’ section of the carnival parade along with a host of other ghoulish characters and some blood-curdling screams.

Marty McGranaghan who will play Captain Browning and Kieran Nixon as Captain Browning's accomplice, getting in some rehearsal time ahead of this Friday's Banks of the Foyle Hallowe'en Carnival.

Marty McGranaghan who will play Captain Browning and Kieran Nixon as Captain Browning's accomplice, getting in some rehearsal time ahead of this Friday's Banks of the Foyle Hallowe'en Carnival.

Ollie Green, Artistic Director of Greater Shantallow Community Arts (GSCA), said the group was delighted to have 384 residents involved in this year’s interactive spectacle.

Their large centrepiece, ‘Walter’s Demise’, will see a 25ft high skeleton on a gallows over flaming fires accompanied by the Bone-Shakers Ballet featuring dancers from the Rainbow School of Ballet based at GSCA’s Studio 2, choreographed by Vanessa Chapman.

GCSA have been involved in all of the city’s recent annual carnival parades but, according to Mr Green, this year’s event is extra special.

“Hallowe’en is one of the biggest celebrations in our city’s festival calendar and this year we are really upping the game,” he said.

A team of artistic directors have been employed to oversee the event which promises to create an ambience of spine-chilling excitement and horror befitting the most popular family-friendly Hallowe’en celebrations on the western hemisphere!

This year’s specially scripted and choreographed carnival parade builds on the City of Culture legacy with groups from across the city pooling their artistic and creative talents to recreate scenes reminiscent of the Return of Colmcille pageant in the summer of 2013.

“Greater Shantallow Community Arts are delighted once again to see so many residents of the Outer North area of our city play a central role in this wonderful creative civic celebration highlighting the artistic talents and skills that are flowing within our local communities. We are so grateful to the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Derry City Council and the North West Carnival Initiative for allowing us to be part of this magnificent carnival showcase.

“This year promises to be the biggest and most memorable and inclusive Hallowe’en Carnival parade our city has ever seen and we are also thankful to Louise Hughes, the Outer North Community Engagement Officer who has played a central role in bringing new groups of local residents into the heart of creative activity within our city.

“The groups are working alongside an outstanding team of local artists, dramatist, dance facilitators and Carnival costume makers who have been working away behind the scenes preparing hundreds of our local performers of all ages, ensuring that the tens of thousands who come out to line our city streets will really experience a Bone-Shaking Hallowe’en night to remember!”

Some of the finest carnival, circus and street performers in the land including North West Carnival Initiative, Greater Shantallow Community Arts, Inishowen Carnival Group, LUXe, Buí Bolg, In Your Space, Boris & Ricardo, Kadakaboom, Galaxy GTA, Ibuki Taiko, Kalikabat, NW Success, Fireworks DTA, Cathedral Samba Band, Bluebell Arts and more will be participating in the illuminated street carnival guaranteed to blow the cobwebs away.

What’s more, individuals, groups, families and visitors are being invited to join in the open section of the carnival parade. To register to compete in the Shape Shifters Awards for the best and wackiest Hallowe’en costumes, simply email wendy.mcdermott@derrycity.go.uk and present yourself at the Derry City Council car park at 6.30pm on the evening of the parade.

The Banks of the Foyle Hallowe’en Carnival Parade will depart from Derry City Council offices, Strand Road, at 7pm on Friday, October 31 and make its way along Queen’s Quay, with the Fireworks Display at 8pm.

For a full programme of all the events go to www.derrycity.gov.uk/halloween
The Banks of the Foyle Hallowe’en Carnival is organised by Derry City Council with support from the NITB Events Fund, Derry City Council’s Legacy programme, and Ilex.