Members of Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Business and Culture Committee gave unanimous approval to the proposals, which will further strengthen the Derry Girls legacy and attract fans of the hit series to the City.
The Committee was informed that funding of £71,000 (Inc. of VAT) had been secured through the TNI Market Led Product Development Programme 2022/23, to deliver the pilot exhibition, with additional funds from the Council’s Museum Services Programme bringing the budget to £80,000.
Council’s Head of Culture, Aeidin McCarter, detailed the proposals to members along with plans to explore further opportunities to create a longer term Derry Girls experience in the city. She said that the worldwide success of the award winning series, created by Derry screenwriter Lisa McGee, presented a fantastic opportunity to enhance the tourism offering here by creating an exciting new tourism product for visitors and fans of the show.
The exhibition, and the Derry Girls Trail being developed in partnership with Visit Derry, will work alongside other assets such as the Derry Girls mural, filming location tours and Derry Girls afternoon tea experience, to firmly establish the city as the home of Derry Girls and generate greater interest in the DCSDC area as a major visitor destination.
With 2.5m people tuning in to view the show on Channel 4 in addition to the global platform provided by Netflix, the Derry Girls phenomenon has already generated significant national and international interest in the city, the wider region and beyond.
At the first monthly meeting of the Business and Culture Committee of 2023, Members welcomed the plans and approved the additional Council budget to assist with delivery. The ‘Home of Derry Girls’ pilot visitor experience/exhibition in the Tower Museum will allow visitors to explore some of the sets, props and memorabilia from the TV show. This will be used to test public interest in the concept, before working towards a more ambitious permanent visitor experience in the city featuring a more extensive Derry Girls collection.
Welcoming today’s report, which will be brought before Full Council for final ratification at the end of the month, Chair of the Business and Culture Committee, Councillor John McGowan, said:
“I am delighted to see Tourism NI investing in this exciting venture for the City, which I am confident will become an important part of our tourism product.
“The Derry Girls phenomenon has really captured the imagination – not just here, but across the world – and has the potential to draw visitors from far and wide to experience for themselves the warmth, humour and uniqueness of this wonderful place.
“I think we have an opportunity now to build on that profile, and to show visitors what inspired Lisa McGee to share her experience of life growing up in Derry with the rest of the world.”
Members heard that Council has been working with Visit Derry on the project over the last 12 months, and work is ongoing with Hat Trick Productions on formalising a loan agreement around a selection of key items from the show to be included in the collection and securing access to copyright.
Visit Derry have also carried out extensive engagement with local businesses who are committed to being part of the ‘Home of Derry Girls’ trail.
Subject to the successful appointment of a designer and exhibition coordinator, a taster promotional display will open in the Tower Museum in March 2023, featuring iconic items from the show with additional AR interaction which will set the scene for the bigger exhibition due to open in the summer.
Head of Culture with Council, Aeidin McCarter, revealed more about the project: “We hope to create an exciting high quality, original, immersive visitor experience completely unique to this city,” she explained.
“The project will highlight the social impact of the Derry Girls phenomenon, the roots of its setting against the backdrop of 1990s culture, the Troubles and of course the Peace process, all captured with great humour and poignancy in the show.
“We will offer visitors the chance to see a variety of set dressings, furniture and original props from the TV show, in partnership with Hat Trick Productions.
“We will also use technology to provide some interactive elements to the exhibition and make it a really user friendly experience. I’m really looking forward now to working with Visit Derry on the next stages of this fantastic project.”
Ciaran Doherty, Head of Regions at Tourism NI, said: “Tourism NI is delighted to provide funding towards this exciting plan to install a Home of Derry Girls pilot exhibition in the Tower Museum and establish an accompanying Derry Girls trail in partnership with Visit Derry.
“Derry Girls has presented the city with a unique and powerful hook to attract visitors and we very much share the Council’s vision to explore even more ways for our visitors to experience and enjoy the city as the home of Derry Girls in the years ahead.
“We will be working closely with all partners including Tourism Ireland and Northern Ireland Screen on marketing, promotion and other opportunities.”Tags: