In The Beginning
The Millennium Forum opened in August 2001 following many years of campaigning that began as far back as the 1960s! The opening of the Millennium Forum marked a new beginning in the city’s cultural life. The £14m project brought to fruition the city’s ambition to have a world class purpose- built 1020-seat theatre, conference centre and community facility for everyone.
The Forum is the 13th theatre to be built in the City since the first purpose built theatre in the Shipquay in 1774 and follows a long line of historical and unique facilities. The location of the Forum at the East Wall also draws on its historical antecedents of the Theatre Royal in 1884, which was also built on the city walls. The East Wall theatre is located in what was Derry’s artistic and cultural “quartier” during the 19th century.
The grand, elegant houses on the East Wall had once been the homes of the Perios family of musicians (a violinist, cellist and pianist) from France and the Huguenot church organist, Henry Logier and his musical offspring, as well as several “dancing academics”. Throughout the history of theatre in the city we have seen many world class performers ranging from Oscar Wilde in 1884, Tyrone Power in 1901 to the premiere of Brian Friel’s Translations in the Guildhall in September 1980.
The Millennium Forum gratefully acknowledges material from Dr. Nuala McAllister Hart, ‘From Farquhar to Field Day: Three Centuries of Music and Theatre in Derry/Londonderry’ (History Press Ireland, 2012).