Arts Over Borders back for annual celebrations of Beckett and Friel

Derry Girls writer Lisa McGee will discuss her love for Brian Friel at FrielFest
Derry Girls writer Lisa McGee will discuss her love for Brian Friel at FrielFest

THIS August will see events taking place across counties Antrim, Donegal, Tyrone, Derry, Fermanagh and Cavan to celebrate the work of Nobel Laureate Samuel Beckett and playwright Brian Friel.

Presented by Arts Over Borders, the sixth Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival takes place in Fermanagh, Omagh and Cavan from August 2 to 5, while the thirdrd Lughnasa FrielFest: Brian Friel International Festival returns to Derry, Omagh and Donegal, as well as coming to the Causeway Coast for the first time, from August 9 to 19.

Each festival will present events inspired by their respective writer at a range of unconventional venues from underground caves and beaches to a PSNI station and the top of a mountain.

Highlights include three new Beckett productions; The Old Tune with Barry McGovern and Eamon Morrissey, What Where from Kabosh Theatre Company directed by Paula McFetridge and Not I & Pas Moi from Clara Simpson, plus two 'Brexit Border' projects: Three (or more) Billboards Outside Enniskillen & Sligo and Purgatorio: Walking for Waiting for Godot.

Festival curator Sean Doran of DoranBrowne explains the reasoning behind this novel approach:

"Our 'bio-festival' model takes its inspiration from the genius of an artist and is curated with a strong sense of place, both rural and urban, to create unique site-specific experiences which enable audiences to explore the artist’s work in new ways."

Liam Browne from Arts Over Borders adds: "Brian Friel was a great admirer of Homer’s work, reading either The Odyssey or The Iliad each year.

"We will be presenting dramatic readings of The Odyssey across beaches in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and The Iliad on the Walls of Derry, the city with the longest siege in British and Irish history."

FrielFest’s presentation of The Odyssey (August 9 to 19) will take place in a pitched tent on beaches from Ballycastle to Narin in Co Donegal, featuring actors including Maxine Peake, Natascha McElhone, Imogen Stubbs and Frances Barber reading from Emily Wilson’s new translation of Homer’s poem.

:: Tickets and full programme information available via Artsoverborders.com