South Tyrone Empowerment Programme
12 Beechvalley Way
Dungannon, Co Tyrone
Tel:028 8775 0211
An original new performance with a cast aged from 9 to 21 years celebrated the cultural diversity of Dungannon with free public shows on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th in the Market Square in front of Ranfurly House Arts & Visitor Centre enjoyed by a local audience of up to 700 people.
This was the first live performance in this new space and what better way to celebrate than with a performance by the youth of the area. Heroes on the Hill brought together dance, drumming, music, song and storytelling woven around the myths, legends, folklore and heroes that are renowned by the many communities living in Dungannon today as the children proclaimed “This is Dungannon, this is my home” in English, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Portuguese, Polish Russian and Tetum with pre event music composed by students from Sperrin View as part of the Drake Music Project
DU Dance NI, in collaboration with the South Tyrone Empowerment Programme (STEP) worked with young people in the local area for six weeks on this performance art project that has seen them sharing and learning about each other’s culture through stories of heroes.
Led by community dance artist Sheena Kelly and composer Damian Mills, both from Dungannon, the project explored stories from African, Eastern European, East Timorese, Irish and Portuguese cultures. The 60 strong cast from local primary and secondary schools created an exciting celebratory performance, led by drummers a procession of dancers came down from the Hill of The O’Neill to take over the Market Square in a striking display as each performer wore a different coloured T-shirt emblazoned with HERO. This was team Dungannon performing a variety of styles of music and dance from Brazilian (Makelele, capoeira, samba Reggae) to Hip Hop and contemporary.
Cllr Linda Dillon, Chairperson of the new Mid Ulster District Council attended and said “Amazing show, brought together young people from all different traditions, races and backgrounds. If we want to break down barriers and bring people together this definitely is a great way to do it and I found it quite moving. Hope to see this type of show again in Dungannon.”
The project has been principally funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Lottery Funds through the Intercultural Arts Grants Programme, together with Dungannon & South Tyrone Borough Council Arts Forum, Dungannon & South Tyrone Borough Council Good Relations Partnership Grant Aid and support from Dungannon Youth Resource Centre, DU Dance (NI) and STEP
Joan Dempster, Community Arts Officer at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said of the show: “This exciting performance reflects Dungannon as it is today; a modern, multi-cultural town made up of many different people from different places and backgrounds. The sun warmed my bones and the performance warmed my heart, your project was a shining example of what the Intercultural Arts Programme was established for!”