Date set for opening of new Derry Girls Experience

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It’s been captivating audiences around the world since the award-winning comedy series Derry Girls first hit our screens, and now it’s coming home, as the Tower Museum prepares to showcase a treasure trove of original items from the show, courtesy of creator Lisa McGee and Hat Trick Productions.

The city that inspired Lisa’s wickedly nostalgic tribute to growing up in N. Ireland, will host the collection, which features an array of the iconic costumes and set pieces that set the scene for 90’s Derry.

A date has now been set for the unveiling of the fantastic new showcase of all things Derry Girls, and the exhibition will officially open its doors on Monday July 3rd with a special 90’s inspired opening event at 6pm.

The collection will remain on display over the coming months, and is expected to be a huge draw for visitors from around the world who have been won over by the show’s heart warming and hilarious take on teenage life during the conflict. The series has been cleaning up on the awards circuit, most recently gaining two BAFTA awards for the show’s creator, and also star Siobhán McSweeney. Since airing on Netflix it has reached global audiences, shining a spotlight on the city’s warmth and humour in stark contrast to the dark days of the Troubles.

Announcing the opening date for the exhibition today, Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Councillor Patricia Logue, said the collection would be a fantastic legacy for the City. “I am so excited to see the Derry Girls collection coming home to Derry where it will be warmly welcomed by everyone. I really want to thank Tourism NI for their support and both Lisa McGee and Hat Trick Productions for working with Council to establish this legacy for the series, bringing it back to its original roots. And also to acknowledge the support of NI Screen/Northern Ireland Screen in recognising the amazing potential of locations like Derry as the backdrop for exciting new film and TV productions and their support with this experience.

“To have iconic memorabilia like Erin’s diary, Aunt Sarah’s famous pyjamas and Ma Mary’s Woolworths sweater, not to mention the infamous Spice Girls costumes in our Museum Collection, will really be a major resource for Derry and help bring the story back to where Lisa McGee found her inspiration in the family, friends and the streets of this city where she grew up.

“There is already an upsurge in visitors who have been drawn here to find out more about the origins of the show, the history that shaped it, and this collection will add further to the Derry Girls experience for visitors. I look forward to the exhibition launch, and also plans to develop that experience throughout the city involving a range of partners dedicated to telling the story of Derry.”

While the launch event is for invited guests, a number of special tickets are available for the public, more information will be issued closer to the event.

Head of Culture with Derry City and Strabane District Council, Aeidin McCarter, said there was already great interest in the exhibition. “We are just delighted to announce the opening of this exhibition which is a fitting tribute to Lisa McGee’s creation and really takes it all back to its origins. It’s an opportunity to tell the story right here in the city and for visitors to see it in the context of the place that Lisa wanted to celebrate.

“Hat Trick Productions have been fantastic in recognising the importance of that legacy and we are considering now the longer-term significance of the collection and how it can be used to showcase the city. We are looking forward to working with Visit Derry, Tourism NI and all our tourism and hospitality partners to develop that wider experience and really give visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in the Derry Girls story while they are here. It has huge tourism potential and we will work in partnership to explore new ideas around the Derry Girls theme that will benefit a range of businesses here in the city.”

Plans for a pilot Derry Girls Exhibition were given the go ahead in January, with £71,000 secured through the Tourism NI Market Led Product Development Programme 2022/23, and additional funds from Council’s Museum Services Programme bringing the budget to £80,000. After formalising a loan agreement with Hat Trick Productions, the exhibition will feature a whole host of times from the original set with a variety of set dressings, furniture and original props from the TV show. It will also use AR technology to provide some interactive elements to the exhibition making it a really user friendly experience.

The Derry Girls Experience will go on public display on July 4th, running until July 2024.

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