Happy Days - Enniskillen International Beckett Festival

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Country and Region United KingdomNorthern Ireland
Type of Festival Comedy, Drama, Music
Location of Festival Enniskillen, Fermanagh County, Northern Ireland, UK
Festival Contact Information

Happy Days: Enniskillen International Beckett Festival
Portora Royal School
Derrygonnelly Road
Co. Fermanagh
BT74 7HA
United Kingdom
Phone: +44 028 66322658

Online contact form:

Festival Description

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 festival honoring the work and influence of Nobel Prize writer Samuel Beckett will take place each year in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, where Beckett spent his formative years attending Portora Royal School.

Festival Dates August 22 - 26, 2013
Festival Links


Festival Events:

Programming 2013:
  • International Theatre and Dance
    • Three Irish dance premieres include Wanha by Tero Saarinen Company (Finland) in a dance piece compared to Beckett’s Waiting for Godot which explores life, friendship and ageing; French company DOS A DEUX present the Irish Premiere of their Godot-inspired production 2nd Act; Fermanagh based dance company, Dylan Quinn Dance Theatre stage a new dance piece called FULCRUM created collaboratively between dancer/choreograher Dylan Quinn, dancer Jenny Ecke and composer/singer Andy Garbi. This piece takes its inspiration from the themes and political context of Samuel Beckett’s short play Catastrophe and its relationship to Czech playwright Václav Havel.
    • Continuing the immersive Beckett experience, the festival will present productions of Beckett plays from Portugal, France, Australia and Ireland. Blue Raincoat (Ireland) and Wits’ End (Australia) present different productions of Endgame. In another groundbreaking event Aboriginal Australia and Ireland meet as cultural nations in Two Nations Waiting For Godot, A First Reading.
    • Teatro Plastico (Portugal) make their Ireland and UK Premiere of a Triple Bill encompassing Rough For Theatre 2/What Where/What is the Word. Teatro Plastico has dedicated itself to the work of Samuel Beckett’s plays, recognising him as the most influential author of contemporary theatre of the last century. Another Portuguese company ESPAÇO DAS AGUNCHEIRAS present five shorts Rockaby, Footfalls, Ohio Impromptu, Words and Music, Come and Go, in one 75 minute experience.
    • One of the most exciting new Dublin-based theatre companies, Sugarglass Theatre presents four short works in partnership with Trinity College Dublin called ETHICA.
  • Words Without Acts
    • A series of readings of Beckett’s much neglected short prose will take place in unique and unusual in places in Enniskillen. This includes one of the earliest tales, Dante and the Lobster. “Tellers” of the tales include a series of well known actresses leading the way to the Beckett readings, including Winona Ryder Juliet Stevenson (Bend It Like Beckham), Diana Quick (Brideshead Revisited), Harriet Walter (Sense and Sensibility), Fiona Shaw (My Left Foot/Harry Potter/True Blood) and TV actor and author Neil Pearson. Full details and booking information on the Words Without Acts programme will be available at the end of July.
  • The WATT Programme
    • The 2013 literary programme, entitled Writers & Artists: The Talks (The WATT Programme). In a special ‘in conversation’ for Happy Days, comedian Frank Skinner allows us an insight into the writer and artists that inspire and influence him as he talks to TV and radio presenter Peter Curran. This vast and interesting programme also includes contributions from Eoin O’Brien, Beckett biographer Anthony Cronin alongside writer, Journalist and film maker Tariq Ali, novelist Margaret Drabble, authors John Gray, Philosopher A.C Grayling, Scottish poet Kathleen Jamie including Irish poets John Montague and Tom Paulin including a live video link up with renowned broadcaster Clive James, all who will share their memories, recollections, thoughts and ideas about Beckett’s life, work and influence.
  • Site Specific Dante themed events
    • Beckett’s favourite literary work, Dante’s Divine Comedy trilogy is the main inspiration for this year’s festival. With this in mind, audiences will be invited to descend into INFERNO: into the caves taking audiences 50 meters underground to the Marble Arch Caves for this site specific event to include a performance of Beckett’s Not I, by Lisa Dwan readings from Dante’s 33 Cantos and an operatic performance of Dido’s Lament by Ruby Philogene.
    • Audiences can also journey to PURGATORIO: to the islands. This will reprise last year’s popular early morning boat trips and Beckett readings on Lough Erne recalling the early Irish purgatory pilgrimage.
    • Finally, audiences can rise up to PARADISO: through the clouds in a poetic flight of the imagination. This is 2013 Edinburgh Fringe Festival event where participants will travel through the clouds in a plane, listening to the poetry of Dante, Beckett and Yeats en route and then experience 24 hours at the Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival.
  • Festival Commission – Public Art
    • In a special festival commissiom Fermanagh sculptor, Alan Milligan, will exhibit his magnificent 32 piece bronze Samuel Beckett Chess Set in 32 locations throughout Enniskillen in the lead up the festival and it will be available to play and observe in ‘The Diamond’ in Enniskillen town, during the festival itself in August. Milligan’s inspiration for this large-scale outdoor installation is based figuratively on the characters and props from Beckett’s work and life through manuscripts, memorabilia and letters.
  • Music
    • Music enthusiasts will love the Classical Beckett strand of the Festival Programme. The Vienna Piano Trio returns to HAPPY DAYS to open the proceedings with a performance of Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time at St. Michaels Church. The festival’s annual recital of Schubert’s Winterreise, will be performed this year by Florian Boesch (baritone) and Roger Vignoles (piano). Pierre Laurent Aimard & Tamara Stefanovich perform a second Messiaen piece called VISIONS DE L’AMEN – all performed at St. Macartin’s Cathedral, Enniskillen.
  • Comedy
    • HAPPY DAYS celebrates the great man’s legacy of wit, mischief and humour with a line-up of some of the most inventive and entertaining stand-ups from the international comedy circuit which includes Kevin Gildea, Ronnie Golden, Trevor Lock and Eleanor Tiernan for one night of comedy, called MISS FITT’S SINDAY COMEDY NIGHT.


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