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First details of 2013 Enniskillen Beckett Festival announced

10 May

The organisers are pleased to announce first details of the second HAPPY DAYS Enniskillen International Beckett Festival, which will take place from 22 - 26 August in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh.

The HAPPY DAYS Enniskillen International Beckett Festival is the world's largest annual multi-arts celebration of Irish Nobel Prize writer, Samuel Beckett, who attended Portora Royal School in the island town. The inaugural festival took place in August 2012 to critical acclaim and full houses, attracting audiences from far and wide with an estimated economic benefit of £2.5m.

The festival will present the first major exhibition of material pertaining to Beckett's work since 2007 (Centre Pompidou, Paris). "Was I sleeping, while the others suffered" Samuel Beckett: Witness to the Twentieth Century, will be curated by Conor Carville and Mark Nixon (Beckett International Foundation, University of Reading) and will explore the hidden politics of Beckett's work and life through manuscripts, memorabilia and letters.

The festival organisers are delighted to be working with the Irish Museum of Modern Art to present Neil Jordan's multi-screen installation Not I, featuring Julianne Moore. Further installations will include Romeo Castelluci's Paradiso, and Tomoko Mukaiyama & Jean Kalman's Falling, and Robert Wilson's Winona Ryder video portrait.

The Beckett International Theatre Series will present productions of Beckett plays from Portugal, France, Australia and Ireland. Two Portuguese companies, Teatro Plastico and Espaco das Aguncheiras will each present a Beckett Cycle of short plays: Rough for Theatre 2, What is the word and What Where; and Rockaby, Come & Go, Words & Music, Ohio Impromptu and Footfalls.

Wits' EndTheatre (Australia) and Blue Raincoat Theatre (Ireland) will present two opposing performances of Endgame. In a groundbreaking event, Aboriginal Australia and Ireland will meet as cultural nations in Two Nations Waiting for Godot, A First Reading, the initial part of a festival commission for 2014.

Words without Acts will feature a series of readings in unusual places of Beckett's much-neglected short prose works, including one of the earliest tales, Dante and the Lobster. "Words Without Acts" will stage some thirty unrehearsed readings in unusual places in and around Enniskillen. "Tellers" of the tales will include Juliet Stevenson, Diana Quick and Neil Pearson.

This year's literary programme, entitled Writers & Artists The Talks (WATT), will include contributions from Beckett biographer Anthony Cronin alongside Tariq Ali, Margaret Drabble, John Gray, A.C Grayling, Kathleen Jamie, John Montague, and Tom Paulin, who will share their memories, recollections, thoughts and ideas about Beckett's life, work and influence.

Further exhibitions will include Parallel Lines, paintings by William Scott and texts by Beckett, two schoolboy sons of Enniskillen, and a series of Jocelyn Herbert's theatre designs for Beckett's productions. There will be another chance to see Antony Gormley's Tree for Waiting for Godot and Joseph Kosuth's installation, Texts for Nothing (Enniskillen).

The Vienna Piano Trio returns to HAPPY DAYS to open the proceedings with a performance of Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time. The festival's annual recital of Schubert's Winterreise, will be performed this year by Florian Boesch (baritone) and Roger Vignoles (piano).

Dante's Divine Comedy trilogy, Beckett's favourite literary work, will be one of the inspirations for this year's festival. Audiences will be invited to descend into Inferno, journey through Purgatorio and rise up to Paradiso in a series of art, music and extraordinary site-specific literary events staged in unusual and surprising places including underground caves, outlying islands, grand castles, subterranean walkways and hilltop schoolhouses.

The FAB Programme (Fooling Around Beckett) will be in a new strand this year that will acknowledge the inspiration Beckett drew for his stagecraft and tragicomedy from the world of mime, cirque, clown, music hall, slapstick and buffoonery. Acts of French mime and clown, and English comedy and music-hall will culminate in the inaugural The Happy Days Beckett-Dante Carnivale, a Sunday tragicomic street parade of Beckett and Dante characters and themes, with the participation of local residents and festival contributors.

Sean Doran, Festival Founder & Artistic Director said:
"Following last year's inaugural success, I am delighted to be announcing the second HAPPY DAYS festival. This year's festival will be every bit as ambitious as the last, permeating the fabric of Enniskillen and its environs in a celebration of Beckett that goes far beyond the usual treatment of his work. Dante's Divine Comedy which so inspired Beckett, has been our inspiration also, and has given shape to what I believe will be an enticing programme and an extraordinary five days in "Beckett Town"."

The full HAPPY DAYS programme will be announced in June 2013. Tickets will be available from  

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