The lilting notes of The Enniskillen Dragoons wafted over London’s Knightsbridge to mark the launch of the Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival.
Actor Adrian Dunbar gave an impromptu verse of the popular Irish tune at a reception hosted by Ambassador Bobby McDonagh at the Embassy of Ireland in London to mark the inaugural festival, which takes place in Co. Fermanagh from August 23-27.
The event is the world’s first annual multi-arts festival celebrating Samuel Beckett – the man, the work and his influences.
The festival’s programme, directed by Sean Doran, will include a mix of theatre, music, art, comedy and conversation from world class Irish, British and international artists and writers.
The festival includes four projects that are part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
These include the British and Irish premiere of Robert Wilson directing and starring in Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape and composer Gavin Bryars with his ensemble performing The Sinking of the Titanic.
The Antony Gormley Godot Tree will also be unveiled for the first time in the Grand Yard at the National Trust’s Castle Coole, while filmmaker Atom Egoyan will present his installation Steenbeckett, a work from The Artangel Collection that is premiering in Ireland prior to going to the Tate.
Samuel Beckett, like Oscar Wilde before him, spent his formative years at Portora Royal School in Enniskillen. The island town is therefore the perfect centre for this new cultural festival embracing the entire Fermanagh Lakelands experience.
See www.happy-days-enniskillen.com for tickets and more details.
Enniskillen-born actor Adrian Dunbar is pictured centre with Viscount Brookeborough and Julian King, Head of the Northern Ireland Office. Viscount Brookeborough’s Colebrooke Estate is the venue for the Beckett Bike-It: Pedal for Purgatory Family Cycling Challenge which is taking part as part of the festival.