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Tales spanning history at the Bridge of Stories Festival

11 Apr 2022

The Coleraine community will have the chance to rediscover the history of the local area through storytelling in a 3-day festival taking place over the Easter weekend. The Bridge of Stories Community Festival has been organised by Radius Housing and Big Telly Theatre Company and will tell local stories from both sides of the Old Bridge, that straddles the Bann and connects the town.

With so much history in the area around the bridge, the festival aims to bring people together to hear the stories, which are told by local people and reflect the rich heritage of the area. Events at the festival will include Story in a Boat, where the audience will be treated to tales from a local boat owner on the River Bann, a Wishing Bridge, where members of the community can write their own wishes on ribbons that will be tied in the foot bridge, and audio journeys that can be listened to as you walk across the bridge. The programme of activity on the Old Bridge will take place between 11am and 4pm on Saturday 16th, Monday 18th and Tuesday 19th April.

The festival is the latest community relations initiative supported by Radius Housing, who have a shared housing development at Laurel Hill in Coleraine. As part of this development, Radius has committed to working in partnership with the local Advisory Group stakeholders and residents to develop the scheme’s Good Relations Plan and deliver bridging projects, which bring the wider community together and foster strong local relations.

In the lead up the festival Big Telly have opened a pop-up shop in the Diamond Centre, which is open in the lead up to the festival and on festival days, where people have been visiting to hear and tell stories about bridges across the world and to make their wishes for the Wishing Bridge. The Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Museum Service has also set up a small exhibition on the history of Coleraine, where many have already visited, including local schools.  

Zoe Seaton, Artistic Director, Big Telly said “We are absolutely delighted to have this opportunity to celebrate Coleraine and in particular the area around the Bann. So excited to bring the very best of interactive performers to create a unique festival full of stories, craic and surprise!”.

Speaking ahead of the Festival, Bridie Doherty, Area Housing Manager at Radius Housing, said “The Old Bridge is a historic part of Coleraine, and if it could talk it would have many tales to tell. But there are plenty of others in the local community who can tell great local stories, and the Bridge of Stories Festival will be the perfect chance for many people to hear them.

“Storytelling is a great way of bringing people together and building understanding, and we are delighted to be able to support this festival which has local storytelling at the heart of it. We hope that the local community can engage over the Easter weekend, to learn more about their local area and its history.”

The Bridge of Stories Community Festival is supported by the Department for Communities and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive’s ‘Housing for All’ Shared Housing Programme. The Programme has its origins in the NI Executive Together: Building a United Community Strategy which reflects the Executive’s commitment to improving community relations and continuing the journey towards a more united and shared society.  A total of £2,080,307 has been invested in the Laurel Hill Gardens Shared Housing development and associated five-year Good Relations Plan.

Radius Housing has both completed and proposed shared housing developments in nine areas across Northern Ireland. The Good Relations plan for each includes ‘bridging’ events with the wider community which encourage a range of outcomes including health and well-being and education and training. 

To find out more about the Bridge of Stories Festival visit




Further Information:


Brendan Scott

MW Advocate


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