Art exhibition celebrating life and work of Billy Hussey features during anniversary events

Lurgan Town Hall. INLM2611-503gc
Lurgan Town Hall. INLM2611-503gc
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Lurgan Town Hall is celebrating its 30th anniversary of opening as a Community, Arts and Resource Centre and has a wide range of special events on offer to help the whole community get involved in the celebrations!

Things will kick off on Friday with a free senior’s concert with supper. Organised by Lurgan Rotary, this annual concert will showcase local talents in the main auditorium. Transport can be arranged by contacting Lurgan Town Hall with your name, address and telephone number.

An exclusive art exhibition by the late, great, local artist Billy Hussey will open to the public on Saturday, November 21. Billy was a favourite Lurgan art teacher and painter who painted from the heart and his work stands as a social history of Lurgan, its characters and traders. This exhibition will be open during normal opening hours – 10am to 9pm – and will run from Saturday 21st November until Thursday 10th December.

The exhibition is the brainchild of BBC Radio Foyle star and former Lurgan man Mark Patterson.

The exhibition will take three strands with friezes much treasured by the town’s Mechanic’s Institute making one strand, his marvellous Ulster Coastal work another and his recreations of Georgian Belfast the third.

Many of his large friezes have to this day adorned the walls of the Institute, painted in his highly personalised and colourful style. This work is his civic testament and contains references to the style of Billy’s former teacher, the great John Luke.

Describing how the exhibition came to be Mark Patterson, a former Lurgan College pupil and now a fixture on the Londonderry/Derry airwaves, said: “I knew Billy personally and on the day we buried him I was moved to go to the Town Hall, I had always wanted to bring his work there.

“I met with manager Kate Freeburn who wanted to organise an event to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the refurbishment of the Town Hall.” It was very definitely a meeting of minds and the council then asked Mark to curate the exhibition and he’s been bowled over by the response to his plans.

Saturday, 21st November, will also see a brand new country show featuring well-known Yodelling Cowboy Kenny Archer and Eugene O’Dornan and guests. Not only will you be guaranteed first class country music but also lots of fun and banter! Starting at 7.45pm tickets will be £10 and available from the Town Hall, from Kenny’s usual outlets or pay at the door. If you require further information please call 07708 019 715 or 07904 928 396.

An exciting photographic exhibition of Old Lurgan will be on show on Monday, 23rd November, at 7.30pm. Craigavon Museum Services will be exhibiting photos of old Lurgan with some of their well-known characters that many will recognise! So come along and take a trip down memory lane and also enjoy newly printed limited edition historic Lurgan postcards which will be available to the public. This will take place adjacent to the back entrance of the Town Hall.

An Open Mic Night with Lough Neagh Writers will take place on Tuesday, 24th November, at 7.30pm, surrounded by Billy Hussey’s paintings. There will be a variety of music, comedy and readings to inspire you along with refreshments.

Wednesday, 25th November, will have an exciting evening of Solo Step Dance from 6.30pm. Come on down to this free taster session and enjoy some expert tutoring from Irish Solo Step Dance tutor Annette Collins. You can then stay on and watch the beginners class from 7pm to 8pm to really get a feel for the dance!

Seniors can then enjoy a wonderful Afternoon Tea Party on Thursday, 26th November, from 2pm to 4pm.

Fiona’s Academy of Drama and Dance have organised line dancing and a mix of other dance styles for you to participate in or just enjoy watching as well as a ballet demonstration from pupils at Jeanne Cree School of Ballet. Refreshments will also be served and you can get involved in a ‘Name that Tune’ singalong! Book you place by contacting the Town Hall.

All popular regular bookings will also go ahead as normal but please contact the Town Hall on 028 3832 2422, 07733 128 270 or email lurganth@armaghbanbridgecraigavon.gov.uk for any of the special events.