THE Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival is calling on supporters to help mark its first decade of Samuel Beckett-inspired events by sharing their memories of participating in the festival.
The acclaimed 'bio-model'-based literary festival celebrated its 10th anniversary last year and has now moved to a biennial model which will see it return to Enniskillen in 2024.
A new Happy Days Festival Tales project has been launched to capture the stories and experiences of festival volunteers, staff, artists, audience, local businesses and the local community who took part in or engaged with Happy Days and its sister events, such as the Wilde Weekend, during the last decade.
Memories will be collected online via the new Happy Days Festival Tales website and through "a very special series of free storytelling workshops with local author, storyteller and festival enthusiast, Séamas Mac Annaidh".
Happy Days festival manager and head of drama at Enniskillen Royal Grammar School, Sally Rees explains:
“With some of the greatest global names in theatre, music and performance coming to Enniskillen over the past 10 years, we believe we have a treasure trove of memories, conversations and experiences that need to be captured and brought to life.
"Happy Days Festival Tales isn’t just about commemorating the great writers of Samuel Beckett and Oscar Wilde who were schooled in Enniskillen, it is about celebrating the hundreds of volunteers and local businesses that have made the Festivals happen, their stories, insights and encounters.
"If we don’t do this now, this rich civic experience could be lost forever and that’s why Festival Tales is so important.”
The first of the open storytelling workshops will take place upstairs in Charlie’s Bar on Church Street, Enniskillen, on Tuesday June 27 from 6pm to 8pm.
Séamas Mac Annaidh, author of Irish History – An Illustrated A to Z, says: “Enniskillen’s unique annual Happy Days arts festival has made a huge impact locally, nationally and internationally in its first 10 years.
"Now, it’s time to look back, to remember and celebrate its ambitious programming, innovative productions and imaginative choice of venues.
“This is a festival that will continue to grow and develop, and I think it’s important to acknowledge the work of the volunteers, the support of the local businesses and especially the audiences who came out night after night.
"This is your chance to tell us what the festival means to you.”
Una Burns from Charlie’s Bar adds: “We are so pleased to be hosting these Festival Tales workshops with Séamas Mac Annaidh. Charlie’s Bar is at the heart of the community.
"To be the place where people come, share and tell their stories, have fun and go away feeling they have contributed to making Enniskillen a great place to live, work and socialise, goes to the heart of what we are about at Charlie’s.
"Most importantly, we want the Beckett and Wilde Festivals to flourish and will do whatever we can to help.”
To register an interest in attending the Festival Tales workshop, email Sally Rees by Monday June 26 at email@example.com. See happydaysstories.com for further information on the Festival Tales project.