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DANCE STAR VINCENT SIMONE STRICTLY BACKING PLAYHOUSE FOR SUCCESS

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Former Strictly Come Dancing star Vincent Simone waltzed into Derry today to give his backing to the Playhouse as they wait to see if they have won a coveted National Lottery Award.

The Playhouse is one of seven hopefuls which faced a public vote in the battle to be named best Heritage project.

National Lottery funding of more than £1.1m helped restored and transformed the former Grade II listed school buildings into one of Ireland’s leading community arts venues.

Vincent, who is married with two children to local girl Susan Duddy, took to the dancefloor with youngsters attending the Playhouse’s Children and Teen Arts Festival.

He said: “The Playhouse is a brilliant venue and it was great to have the opportunity to get a look at their wonderful facilities.

“I was really impressed by the Playhouse’s efforts to bring the joys of the arts, music and dancing to such a wide, and this case, young audience.

“National Lottery players can be proud to have supported not only the restoration of the Playhouse but also some first-class programmes and classes.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that the Playhouse’s great work will see it scooping a top accolade in this year’s National Lottery Awards.”

Niall McCaughan, chief executive of the Playhouse added: “It was a pleasure to welcome Vincent Simone to the Playhouse today in his now adopted home city of Derry.

“When our buildings had fallen into a major state of disrepair, National Lottery funding helped transform this historically important venue into a versatile arts centre. We now provide vital and modern facilities for both the entire local community and Derry and the wider cultural and artistic community throughout Northern Ireland and beyond.

“Our Children’s and Teen Arts Festival is just one example of the hunderds of innovative and intersting programmes which take place within our building throughout the year.”

The National Lottery Awards are the annual search for the public’s favourite National Lottery funded projects.

The winners of seven categories will each get a £3,000 cash prize, an iconic National Lottery Awards trophy and attend a star-studded Awards ceremony in London, broadcast on BBC One in September.

The results of the public vote will be announced in August.

Ends


Notes to the editor

For further information please contact The National Lottery Awards:

Ruairi O’Kane on 07788 612804 or Ruairi.o’kane@lotterygoodcauses.org.uk

·          The Playhouse’s restoration received £1.1m of National Lottery Funding through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

·          The Playhouse has received further National Lottery support since 1997 of £2.2m through the Arts Council Northern Ireland.

·          Pic caption: Former Strictly Come Dancing star Vincent Simone lends his support to the Playhouse’s bid to win a National Lottery Awards by a joining dance teacher Victoria Harrison and her students at the Derry Community Arts Venue. Pics by Lorcan Doherty

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