‘We want to make Tattoo an annual event:’ James Kee

The Walled City Tattoo returns to Londonderry this summer and promises another four nights of unforgettable, truly multi-cultural entertainment.

The outdoor spectacle, which was one of the highlights of the 2013 UK City of Culture, will comprise a 500 strong cast of local, national and international performers.

The organisers of the Walled City Tattoo want to make it an annual event.

The organisers of the Walled City Tattoo want to make it an annual event.

The production will entertain and delight up to 15,000 people in Northern Ireland’s largest, bespoke ampitheatre when it returns to the city’s Ebrington Square from August 27 to August 30.

The 200 Walled City Tattoo dancers have been recruited from the Highland, Irish and contemporary dance worlds from all across Northern Ireland and will be joined by North West supergroup Sontas who will provide the musical back drop to the show.

Two of the city’s oldest bands, Britannia Concert Band and Hamilton Flute Band will share the stage with the Paris Fire Brigade Band who will show off their unique take on Tattoo entertainment, combining their precise marching skills with some more modern dance moves.

The ever-popular age old tradition of the Massed Pipes and Drums will comprise a spectacle of over 100 pipers and drummers from all over Northern Ireland, Scotland, England, Germany. They will be joined this year by our special guests from Malta, The Marsa Scouts Pipes and Drums.

Highland dancing at the Walled City Tattoo in 2013.

Highland dancing at the Walled City Tattoo in 2013.

Swiss comedy act Star Bugs will add that special comic element to the production with their unique mix of dance, acrobatics and slapstick. And topping off this fantastic roll call of acts is the world renowned Imps Motorcycle Display Team who will be in town for four nights only to wow the crowds with their daring performance.

Event producer James Kee from Sollus Cultural Promotions commented: “We were blown away by the response from audiences, performers and partners last year and can’t wait to present another four nights of dazzling entertainment at the end of August. The hope is that the Walled City Tattoo will become an annual event in the Northern Ireland calendar and the reaction to our announcements today go some way in ensuring that dream will hopefully become a reality.”

As with the inaugural 2013 production, the show will combine the pomp, ceremony and grandeur of traditional tattoo events with a special Maiden City twist with this year’s show telling the story of the city’s transport heritage from the local railways to the ship building yards.

Director Jonathan Burgess added: “The city’s connection with the development of transport will be explored back to life in a spectacular extravaganza. Once again, we will see Derry~Londonderry lit up as a cultural hub where the people within our society celebrate side by side.

The Walled City Tattoo 2013.

The Walled City Tattoo 2013.

“Music throughout the show will reflect on our traditional roots as well as an exciting future. Massed bands will include pipes and drums, brass and flute and, with the support of Sontas, cultural fusion will create the essence of the whole event.

“All the participants have an enthusiastic approach to local culture. Whether it is Ulster-Scots or Irish, music, song or dance, our cast is intergenerational and enthusiastic. The ethos of our team is to present our heritage in a fresh, new and modern way.”

A Family Festival Fun Day will run as part of this year’s Walled City Tattoo. Taking place on Friday (August 29). The free event will be open to the public and will give the audience the chance to meet performers, try on costumes, play instruments and watch some very special performances.

The Walled City Tattoo is funded by the Department of Trade, Enterprise and Investment through the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure, Derry City Council, Ilex and the Ulster Scots Agency and is supported by Derry Visitor and Convention Bureau.

Minister for Culture and Arts, Carál Ni Chuilín said: “I am delighted the Walled City Tattoo has returned to Derry. The event in 2013 was a huge success with people travelling from far afield to see the spectacular performance. In fact over half of people attending came from outside the city and over 10 per cent from outside the north.

“This amounts to a huge economic boost for the city with hotel accommodation booked up and restaurants full. There was also of course the huge pride it brought to people and the positive contribution to social cohesion and inclusion. I am pleased my Department has been able to offer financial assistance to bring this important cultural event back to the north west again this year.”

Eddie Rowan, Events Manager for Northern Ireland Tourist Board added: “Northern Ireland Tourist Board is pleased to sponsor the Walled City Tattoo in 2014.  This event will provide visitors and locals alike with the opportunity to enjoy an event showcasing a mix of performances, with international appeal.

“This event has the potential to become an established event in Derry~Londonderry’s annual calendar of events.  We wish the organisers every success for the year ahead.”

The Walled City Tattoo, Ebrington Square, Londonderry, Wednesday, August 27 to August 30 at 8.45pm. Tickets from £18.50 For more information visit www.walledcitytattoo.com. To book visit www.millenniumforum.co.uk or call 028 7126 4455