The much-loved Derry Girls are set to become jaw-droppingly Scary Girls as a mural of the cast comes to life for the city’s Halloween celebrations.
Street art organisation UV Arts, who created the tribute to the Channel 4 show on the wall of a local pub, are teaming up with Edinburgh-based arts collective Projector Club to devise an exciting projection mapped installation – where pieces of video and animated content are overlaid onto the wall – for three nights during Derry Halloween.
The installation outside Badgers Bar on Orchard Street will be in place from Monday 28th October to Wednesday 30th October as part of Awakening the Walls, a spectacular free trail of illuminated animations, performances and more along the 400-year-old Derry Walls.
The projection art will reflect this year’s Derry Halloween theme, The Other World Awakens, and is expected to draw on an eclectic range of influences, from the Irish legend of the Morrigan to the Mexican Day of the Dead.
Further details are a closely guarded secret, but the tens of thousands of local and international revellers who descend on the city for the weeklong Halloween festival can expect to see Erin, Michelle, Clare, Orla and ‘the wee English fella’ as never before.
Donal O’Doherty of UV Arts said: “We’re taking the Derry Girls mural and dressing it up in true Halloween style. It will feature all things Halloween, and a few surprises, but we don’t want to give too much away. It’s mesmerising what can be done with video mapping.”
UV Arts and Projector Club will set up a platform, laptop, specialist animation software and a state-of-the-art 20,000 lumens projector (a normal board room projector has around 2,000 to 3,000 lumens) to create their artwork. Cutting-edge video content and animation will then be overlaid on the characters, and the background of the mural.
Projector Club’s Brian McFeely, whose father is from Derry, and collaborator Ross Blair will travel to Derry this weekend.
“It should look quite magical. We might even change things over the course of the three days and have a bit of a play with it,” said Ross. “You never know what might sneak into the back of the van when we head over on Sunday…”
“Quite often we’re projection mapping surfaces and blank canvases. What we’re projecting on here is extraordinary,” he added.
“The work that UV Arts have done is amazing. To be able to add to that in some way is great; we’d like it to be the start of an ongoing relationship with Derry and its vibrant street art scene.”
Derry Halloween, which runs from October 26th to November 1st, will see supernatural beings and the souls of the dead flood into the city for a week of revelry – and demonstrate why the event has been voted best Halloween destination in the world.
This year, Derry Girls (or perhaps Derry Ghouls) are expected to be one of the most popular costumes.
“Derry Halloween started off along the River Foyle, then expanded into the Guildhall Square, and now the whole city is getting utilised, which is great,” said Donal.
“Everyone takes part, from eight-year-olds to eighty-year-olds. Everybody makes a big effort, families are out in force and it’s a real community feeling.”
Unveiled earlier this year, the Derry Girls artwork has become one of the top tourist attractions in the city, with fans from around the world – and even the stars of the hit comedy show – flocking to take photographs and selfies.
“We knew the Derry Girls mural was going to be popular, but we didn’t predict it to be as insane as it is. I think doing it allowed a lot of people to experience who we are and what we do, and added on to our city’s tradition of murals,” said Donal.
“It’s only a bit of paint, but it’s amazing what something like that can do. We are really grateful to the people of Derry for their support.”
The Derry Halloween programme is organised and funded by Derry City and Strabane District Council with support from the Tourism N. Ireland International Fund.
The festival was voted Best International Experience at the NI Tourism Awards and will run from Saturday October 26th until Friday November 1st.
Highlights include the Awakening the Walls trail around the city centre, a Carnival Parade, the Legenderry Halloween food event and of course the fireworks finale.
For more information on Awakening the Walls and Derry Halloween, visit derryhalloween.com or follow @DerryHalloween on social media #DerryHalloween.
(Mural in the Snow photo by Oakleaf Photography)