The Millennium Forum, the Richmond Centre and Arts and Business Northern Ireland present The City Dream Factory

Bygone days from the factory floor…

The Millennium Forum has teamed up with Arts & Business NI and the Richmond Centre to bring local shoppers a brand new event that’s fun for all the family.

Kate Guelke, Education Officer at the Millennium Forum, measures up the Gormley Statue for a new shirt!

From Thursday the 28th to Saturday the 30th of March, the empty unit on floor 2 of the Richmond Centre will be transformed into an artists’ studio, a craft drop-in centre and a live museum reminiscent of “The Factory Girls” in Frank McGuinness’ famous play.  A tribute to the enormous shirt-making factories of Derry-Londonderry’s past, ‘The City Dream Factory’ gives shoppers the unique chance to experience living history.

  1. DAY ONE – Thursday, 28th March between 12pm and 5pm

Artist Rita Duffy will host a five hour ‘Artists’ Studio’ and – with help from shoppers, as well as her studio associates – will create a large-scale arts project.  As with her ‘Laundry Day’ exhibition, this artwork will relate specifically to shirt-making.

  1. DAY TWO – Friday, 29th March between 12pm and 5pm

Bluebell Arts Centre’s Maeve Gallagher will host a five hour ‘Craft Drop-in Centre’ where shoppers can come in, sit down and learn how to sew and make their own lavender bags in a matter of minutes.  Whilst shoppers work on these, more experienced sewers will make several lively garments for the Antony Gormley statue situated outside the Millennium Forum.

  1. DAY THREE – Saturday, 30th March between 12pm and 5pm

Four ex-factory girls of the 60s and 70s will discuss their experiences whilst making shirts on old sewing machines for five hours. Every twenty minutes these ‘Top Women’ tell an audience of passers-by their stories as part of ‘The City Dream Factory’.

Through-out the three days, 70s-style ‘Factory Girls’ in curlers will serve vintage refreshments sourced from Brid McCartney’s Donegal restaurant The Corncrake.

Kate Guelke, Education and Outreach Officer at the Millennium Forum, said “We’re delighted to be working in conjunction with the Richmond Centre and Art and Business NI to produce this quietly imaginative, interesting little project.  We hope that shoppers will engage with the rich history of Derry-Londonderry’s factory floors; through Rita Duffy’s artwork, through Maeve Gallagher’s craft circle, even through the Corncrake’s traditional sweet treats! Above all though we hope that shoppers will enjoy the simply amazing stories our ex-Factory girls have to tell about the local shirt-making industry.”

As part of Creativity Month NI‘The City Dream Factory’ is a free project open and accessible to all participants.  A great way to stumble into the past,‘The City Dream Factory’ is a surprising gem of whirring sewing machines and great stories.

Dates:              Thursday 28th March

Friday 29th March,

Saturday 30th March

Time:               12pm – 5pm

Venue:             Floor 2, The Richmond Centre