Derry Halloween

Creative Technology (CT) Irelands Live and Creative Services teams worked with client Derry City and Strabane District Council (DCSDC) for the 2021 Halloween weekend; Derry Halloween, an annual event in Northern Ireland, where this year they celebrated the festivals 35th birthday.

Derry Halloween for many years has been considered the biggest Halloween party in Europe and has grown to become an internationally acclaimed event. Derry celebrates Halloween, the old Celtic tradition of Samhain, through an array of spectacular and unmissable events, fusing ancient myths and the culture of old Ireland, offering visitors a unique and authentic experience that draws from the City and District’s rich artistic, historical, and cultural heritage.

Customer Requirements

DCSDC wanted to create a High-Resolution, 360’ Digital Installation of a portal visual. The design had to aid the story of how Derry City awakens on Halloween. The digital installation was to come alive multiple times each night over the festival weekend with a magical blend of lights, music and mythical content. It also needed to be Covid compliant and accommodate a continuous large footfall.

CT Solution

CT designed a circular 7-metre-tall LED pillar structure that could be viewed from all sides of the square and which stood on a 10 x 10 metre stage, at a height of 1 metre. This allowed the audience to practice social distancing, however, not miss out on any of the on-screen content.

Our creative team shot the actors in front of a green screen, keeping in mind that their actions would need to fit within the confines of the tall, but narrow, LED pillars. Using animation and graphical design, the creative team then added the visual effects layer and formed the final animations for the show, with the sound design also coming from our audio team.

With the knowledge that many members of the public wouldn’t be able to attend the event due to Covid restrictions, CT also streamed the event live, adding an extra AR aspect to show for the audience tuning in online, which provided the installation with a whole new virtual dimension.

The final show, which had a duration of just under five minutes, where seven different scenes depicted the story of Derry’s “Awakening” on Samhain, was broadcasted in the square multiple times throughout the night, lighting up the city centre.


“The Awakening” in Derry was a great success for our client, with around 100,000 people attending the 3-day festival. CT Ireland was honoured to get to work on such a prestigious and wonderful event.

John Balfe, Director of Live Operations at CT Ireland, commented, “CT Ireland has a very wide range of expertise, and it was a pleasure to watch our Creative, Technical, and Project Management capabilities in action on this project. From Motion Graphics to Custom LED Screen Design, to Augmented Reality, all the elements of this project were designed and implemented smoothly and professionally”.

A representative of DCSDC commented, ‘CT Ireland were successful in a bid to Derry City and Strabane District Council to create a digital installation in the centre of Ebrington Square that would act as a portal through which the spirits of the other world could enter the city to join its infamous Halloween celebrations. The creative interpretation of the brief provided in the tender was exceptional, resulting in a huge 360 LED installation that brought the spirit of the festival to life in a spectacular and dramatic fashion.’

‘The team at CT Ireland were very professional in their approach to the realisation of this project, everything from the creative content to the physical creation of the installation on the ground was delivered with professionalism and meticulous planning. Their dedication and commitment to the vision of the festival was clear from the outset and the result was a phenomenal installation that became one of the highlight pieces of the 2021 festival.’

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