Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Happy Days are here in Enniskillen


The world's first annual festival to celebrate the work and influence of Nobel Prize writer Samuel Beckett is announced today. HAPPY DAYS will take place each year in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, where Beckett spent his formative years attending Portora Royal School.

The inaugural HAPPY DAYS, 23rd - 27th August 2012, is part of the London 2012 Festival (Cultural Olympiad) and coincides with the 400th anniversary of the founding of Enniskillen.

HAPPY DAYS is the first annual, international, multi-arts festival in Northern Ireland since the launch of the
Belfast Festival in 1962. As with the Edinburgh Festival in 1947, HAPPY DAYS will be a major cultural event
bringing diverse communities together, mixing local and international audiences and artists.

The Festival will present events of wide, popular appeal including:

  • the work of Beckett, with world and UK premieres of his major and lesser-known works;
  • the influences on Beckett, including music and comedy;
  • those Beckett has influenced, including Irish, UK and international writers, directors, actors, visual artists, musicians, comedians, circus artists and individuals prominent in their fields.
     There will also be a range of events reflecting Beckett's favourite sports.

The full HAPPY DAYS artistic line-up will be announced in April 2012. Some highlights of the 2012 Festival include:

  • directing and acting in Krapp's Last Tape, a UK & Irish premiere by a world acclaimed international Director;
  • singing Schubert's Winterreise, Beckett's most favoured piece of music. Ian is one of Europe's most in-demand tenors, especially in the genre of German Lieder.
  • will design a stage element (to form part of a Beckett production in Australia in 2013) which will be installed and publicly exhibited for the first time as part of HAPPY DAYS. Antony is renowned for his large-scale public sculptures such as the Angel of the North, Gateshead and Inside Australia,
  • 's kinetic artwork, Steenbeckett, an inspirational response to the role of film in our understanding of Beckett. Atom is an acclaimed film and stage director and winner of four major awards at the Cannes Film Festival. Steenbeckett is presented in association with Artangel.
  • World class writers Edna O'Brien, Alice Oswald, Melvyn Bragg and John Banville

HAPPY DAYS Founder & Artistic Director, Sean Doran said: "I am delighted to return to where my professional festival career began (Derry 1992) and where I had many rewarding artistic experiences as Artistic Director of the 1997 & 1998 Belfast Festivals". HAPPY DAYS is funded by Arts Council Northern Ireland, Fermanagh District Council and
 London 2012 Festival.

Arlene Foster, Northern Ireland's Tourism Minister, said: "HAPPY DAYS is a perfect complement to the wide range of events that already take place around the Fermanagh Lakelands. Culture is a key ingredient that sets Northern Ireland apart from competing destinations, and festivals such as this are crucial in attracting visitors. Innovative events help to raise the profile of a destination and I have no doubt this initiative has the capacity to grow to a level where it can attract overseas tourists. It will benefit the local economy by generating additional spend on accommodation, hospitality
and travel".

Chairman of Fermanagh District Council, Councillor Thomas O'Reilly said: "We are very excited about the inaugural HAPPY DAYS which includes a wide variety of arts and sporting events. Fermanagh is proud of its association with Samuel Beckett and it is fitting that this innovative Festival is taking place in Enniskillen, the County Town".

Ruth McKenzie, LOCOG Director of Culture (Cultural Olympiad), said: "HAPPY DAYS will be the only brand new and on-going festival premiering in 2012 and certainly the only festival in the world dedicated to one of the greatest world writers, Sam Beckett. With world class writing, comedy, music, and amazing scenery, Enniskillen is bidding to become one of the great world festivals".

MEDIA ENQUIRIES: PLEASE CONTACT IAN MCKAY, 07973 660767 / imckay100@gmail.com


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