HCA NEWS Irish HCA ambassadors appointed

The Danish Ambassador Mr. K.E. Tygesen appoints two Irish Hans Christian Andersen Ambassadors at a major presentation in Dublin of the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 bicentennial celebrations.

By on - H.C. Andersen 2005 - 02 December 2004

Today, the worldwide celebration of the bicentenary of the birth of Hans Christian Andersen in 2005 was presented at a major press conference at the Irish Writers' Centre. The Royal Danish Embassy in Dublin hosted the press conference in association with the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation.

At the press conference, the Danish Ambassador Mr. K. E. Tygesen appointed two Irish public figures as Hans Christian Andersen Ambassadors. The Ambassadors are: actress Victoria Smurfit and politician and Nobel Prize Winner John Hume. They are all to contribute to the wider appreciation and awareness of Hans Christian Andersen in Ireland, and the rest of the world. Furthermore, the Hans Christian Andersen Ambassadors will represent the humanitarian foundation, the HCA-abc Foundation, which has been established in the name of Hans Christian Andersen to address illiteracy world-wide.

Secretary General Lars Seeberg, of the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation, states:
"In 2005, Hans Christian Andersen's native country, Denmark, will celebrate its national poet - Andersen - with a wide variety of events within the arts and culture, education and tourism. Yet we regard Andersen as more than a son of Denmark. Therefore, we have invited the world to contribute with new artistic renditions of the life and work of Hans Christian Andersen, and our invitation has been well received, also in Ireland. It is my hope that many in Ireland will rediscover the Andersen they thought they knew so well."

The Irish Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Projects

The Flying Suitcase:

The Danish Tourist Board introduces Denmark to a new generation through the works of Hans Christian Andersen.

This unique initiative, supported by the Irish Department for Education and Science is being launched in Ireland right now. The Flying Suitcase is the name of a new and exciting learning tool for teachers and is distributed, free of charge, to schools throughout the country. It is offered free of charge and is aimed at all primary school pupils aged 11 to 12. All the school has to do is to contact the Danish Tourist Board before 8 January on: www.visitdenmark.com/flyingsuitcase.

The suitcase, yes it is a real suitcase, includes DVDs, posters, leaflets, worksheets and colourful books with stories by Hans Christian Andersen. The aim is to make learning and reading fun for young children and at the same time introducing them to Andersen and Denmark as they will be finding out more about the country.

There is a great a competition too where the prize for the dedicated learners will be a trip to Denmark for the entire class!

For further information please contact:

Astrid Ruffhead
Press Officer
Danish Tourist Board
Tel UK: 020 72013976

or Anne Marie Barsoe
project leader for The Flying Suitcase

Irish Writers' Centre:
The Irish Writers' Centre was founded in 1991 in Dublin.  The aim of the centre is to foster writing and an audience for literature in Ireland, and this it does by a year-round programme of readings, workshops, lectures and seminars as well as a range of support and information services.
The Irish Writers' Centre is delighted to be involved in the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 global celebrations and especially delighted to be working in close association with the Royal Danish Embassy on this project.
The centre will be hosting a series of readings from April to December 2005 that will aim to increase the awareness of Hans Christian Andersen to an Irish audience both to adult and children.  
Alongside the readings the Irish Writers' Centre is also running a series of courses based on the stories of Hans Christian Andersen from the concept of a living interpretation of one story by 6 - 8 year olds to more advanced contemporary interpretations of a story for 8 - 11 and 11 - 16 year olds as well as a course for adults.
The Centre is also looking at other exciting ideas in conjunction with the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 celebration such as interweaving these into the centres highly successful outdoor readings in Temple Bar that took place over last summer and also ways of incorporating the celebration into the Writers' in the Community scheme.  Details of these will all be posted onto the web site www.writerscentre.ie.
As well as the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 the centre is also involved in other activities that include a new series of regular readings by leading contemporary poets, novelists and playwrights.  Poets Paul Muldoon, Ciaran Carson, novelists John Banville, Dermont Bolger, Glenn Patterson and playwright Frank McGuinness have all read at the centre in 2004, while Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill  and Cathal Ó Sear-caigh inaugurated a new series of bilingual readings showcasing the best of contemporary literature in Irish.
The centres international outreach programme is also being consolidated through new partnerships with Irish, British, European, American and Australian institutions.
The centre also runs a series of creative writing courses, featuring a range of genres and Master Classes for aspiring authors of all levels and ambition.
The centre also operates a Friends scheme. By becoming a Friend of the Irish Writers' Centre you will be helping to keep this aim alive so that future generations of Irish writers, readers and listeners can benefit from the huge resources that the Irish Writers' Centre has to offer.
The Irish Writers' Centre is grant-aided by the Arts Councils of Ireland.

Hans Christian Andersen in Schools:

In association with the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation, the Danish Centre for Children's Literature has produced inspiring educational resources on Hans Christian Andersen for schoolteachers educating children in the age group of 6-16 years. The resource material is available in numerous languages, of which the English version is already published on the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 official website hca2005.com. All resources are available free of charge.

Travelling Exhibition - National Library Ireland:

Odense City Museums with the support of The Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation have produced a number of travelling exhibitions in 12 different languages to spread the knowledge of the Danish writer of fairytales and his background. Also, the exhibition makes a fine setting for any event on behalf of the bicentenary.

The exhibition tells the story of Andersen's life in pictures and facsimile documents from the poet's world and time - including letters, portraits and personal belongings.
The travelling exhibition consists of 20 display boards.
The exhibition is presented in cooperation with the National Library Ireland and will, apart from the banners consist of Hans Christian Andersen's work as well as related work from the library's own collection.

The exhibition will run from mid June to mid July 2005.

The Dublin Theatre Festival:                                                

Among many other things, The Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation has initiated and co-produces a series of international theatre - and dance productions. Typically, a theatre piece will premiere where the artists live and work, followed up by an international tour.
The Dublin Theatre Festival  - Europe's oldest specialist theatre festival - will participate in the showing of one or more of the Andersen productions, offering entirely new and often very personal interpretations of the life and works of Andersen - by some of the world's most renowned theatre people.

The Dublin Theatre Festival is about to embark on its 47th year. Founded in 1957, it has grown to be Ireland's premier cultural event, and continues to lead the way in the presentation of outstanding Irish and international performance. The Irish genius for drama is recognised worldwide, and for the past half-century, the Dublin Theatre Festival has been at the heart of this success. The Festival is unique in its ability to stage major international theatre of scale, and has hosted productions by the world's most highly regarded artists, while also premiering work by the giants of Irish theatre.

For further information please contact:

The Dublin Theatre Festival                                                                
44 East Essex Street,                                                   
Temple Bar,                                                             
Dublin 2                                                                
Tel: +353 1 677 8439
Fax: +353 1 679 7709
Web: http://www.dublintheatrefestival.com

Music Network and Ensemble Nordlys:
Music Network, Ireland's national music development organisation, will partake in the worldwide Hans Christian Andersen bicentenary with a nationwide Irish tour during November 2005 featuring the Scandinavian chamber ensemble, Ensemble Nordlys. Music Network, in consultation with the Ensemble Nordlys, has carefully selected a delightful programme to highlight the Andersen bicentenary consisting of works by the Danish author's friends and contemporaries. In addition, Music Network has further commissioned a new work from acclaimed Irish composer Dr. John McLachlan, specifically to celebrate the ensemble's Irish tour. The new work is to be based on the Andersen fairytale, "The Metal Pig", and will receive its world premiere during the tour. Further details will be announced in August 2005.

About Ensemble Nordlys
Ensemble Nordlys has been picked to take part in the official worldwide celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Hans Christian Andersen in 2005. Since the critically acclaimed début in 1997, Ensemble Nordlys (Ensemble Northern Lights) has given numerous concerts both in Denmark and internationally, as well as featuring regularly on national Danish Radio. Ensemble Nordlys has toured many countries, including Vietnam, Iceland, Poland, and Germany, including concerts at the Reykjavik Museum of Art, the Krakow Philharmonic Hall, the Chopin Palace in Warsaw, and the Otto Braun Saal in Berlin. Last year, Ensemble Nordlys was selected to represent Denmark at the international EU Music Festival at the Warsaw Philharmonic Hall. In 2001, the quartet released its first CD "Nordlys", which was nominated for a Grammy as Best Chamber Music Recording.

About Music Network
A registered charity, Music Network was established by the Arts Council in 1986 to bring affordable high-quality live music to communities nationwide. Specialising in three music genres it employs emerging and established Irish and international musicians. In partnership with a network of 120 local promoters, Music Network's tours visit a wide range of venues all over Ireland, both North and South. Other Music Network activities include a comprehensive online music information service, participative 'Music in Healthcare' and education programmes, and professional development opportunities for Irish musicians.
For further information, please contact Music Network at (01) 671 9429 or www.musicnetwork.ie.

The Danish Tourist Board:

Denmark welcomes more visitors in the year of Hans Christian Andersen's bicentenary.

'To travel is to live' are words expressed by the greatest storyteller of them all, and the tourist board will actively promote travel to the country that Andersen so much loved. Copenhagen will be very much the focus as this is where he spent much of his adult life. So will Odense, Andersen's birthplace, where visitors can find out more at the museum dedicated to his life and works. Andersen travelled extensively throughout Denmark and visitors in 2005 will be able to take part and enjoy celebrations all over the country.

The festivities start on Hans Christian Andersen's birthday, 2nd of April, with a fantastic opening ceremony in Copenhagen that will be broadcast all over the world. A wide variety of Hans Christian Andersen themed events will then follow throughout the rest of the year.

2005 will definitely be the perfect year for Irish visitors to discover Denmark.

Céad Mile Fáilte!

For further information please contact:

Astrid Ruffhead
Press Officer
Danish Tourist Board
Tel UK: 020 72013976

or Anne Marie Barsoe
project leader for The Flying Suitcase

The Irish Hans Christian Andersen Ambassadors:

Mr. John Hume

John Hume is married to Pat and they have three daughters and two sons.
He was a leader of the non-violent Civil Rights Movement in 1968 to 1969 having established a record of community leadership through his founding role in Derry Credit Union, Derry Housing Association and his organisation of the "University for Derry" campaign. He was elected an Independent to the Stormont Parliament in February 1969 for the Foyle Constituency. 
His manifesto committed him to forming a political party on the European social democratic model. He did this with five other Stormont MPs and one Senator in August 1970. From its formation until 1979 he was the SDLP's Deputy Leader and was Leader from 1979 to 2001.
John's elective career has included membership of the Northern Ireland Assembly in 1973 to 1974, the Constitutional Convention in 1975, election to the European Parliament in 1979 to 2004.  First elected to Westminster 1983.
A key advocate of partnership, he played a major role in negotiating the Sunningdale Agreement. In the resulting Power-Sharing Executive of 1974, he served as Minister of Commerce.
In the period 1977 to 1979, John served as a Special Adviser to EC Commissioner Richard Burke.
As MEP John sat on the Front Bench of the Socialist Group which is the largest Group in the European Parliament. John has served on the Committee for Regional Planning and Regional Policy from 1979 to 2004. He wrote the report on Regional Problems of Ireland (1987).

John Hume was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace (with David Trimble) in 1998 for their efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Northern Ireland.

John Hume on becoming a Hans Christian Andersen Ambassador:

"This to me is the enduring legacy of Hans Christian Andersen. The seeking out of knowledge - education - is absolutely central both to the development of individuals and communities and to the fulfilment of life's wonderful possibilities. I passionately believe that education is vital to improving people's lives, especially those suffering through poverty or oppression. The only real wealth in the world is people, and if they are uneducated then their development is hindered,"

Ms. Victoria Smurfit

Victoria Smurfit was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1974.
Victoria has enjoyed recent acclaim in her roles in the TV drama Ballykissangel and films The Run of the Country - The Last Great Wilderness, The Beach, Cold Feet, About a Boy and Bulletproof Monk.
Victoria Married Douglas Baxter in July 2000 and gave birth to a baby girl this autumn.