Harry Potter, Succession and Killing Eve stars join international celebration of female creativity in Derry this summer

New YES Festival is inspired by James Joyce’s epic masterpiece Ulysses

Mural in Derry saying Maiden City
Derry will host the new all-female, multi-arts YES Festival this June

Stars of the stage and screen, Fiona Shaw, Harriet Walter, Miriam Margolyes and Cush Jumbo are amongst eight well-known names confirmed as part of the YES Festival - a new, all-female, multi-arts festival which is coming to Derry and Donegal for this summer.

The international celebration of women’s creativity takes place from 13-16 June and is inspired by one of the most famous female characters in Irish literature, Molly Brown from James Joyce Ulysses.

A first of its kind, the YES Festival will showcase the creative work of female artists from both home and abroad with a record 32 female artists confirmed from 16 cities in 16 countries.

The four-day festival features a range of free family-friendly events from theatre, dance and visual arts, to film, talks, circus, rap, song, writing and photography and much more.

Actress Miriam Margolyes
Actress Miriam Margolyes

Succession star Harriet Walter, Harry Potter actress Miriam Margolyes, Killing Eve’s Fiona Shaw and star of new thriller Criminal Record, Cush Jumbo, will be joined by four other renowned actresses, to be announced shortly in the Molly Film, which will premiere at the festival.

Each actress will perform one of the eight long sentences that form Molly Bloom’s stream of consciousness monologue in the final chapter of the book.

The exclusive screening of The Molly Film will take place on Sunday June 16, a significant date on the calendar for Joyce fans the world over. Dubbed ‘Bloomsday’ after the book’s central character Leopold Bloom, the YES Festival will rename it Molly Bloomsday, for one year only, in celebration of his wife.

Seán Doran, co-director of Arts Over Borders and one of the curators and producers of the YES Festival said: “James Joyce’s final episode, Penelope (better known as Molly’s Soliloquy) in his epic novel Ulysses is considered one of the finest, most innovative pieces of prose writing in world literature.

“The episode is a wonderful capturing of Molly’s thoughts and reflections and to have eight of the finest female actresses from stage and screen committing to reading Molly’s words as part of The Molly Film promises to be a potentially gripping and powerful monologue.”

Dancer Lalia el Bazi
Dancer Lalia el Bazi from Netherlands is one of 32 female artists taking part in the YES Festival

Other festival highlights include Sirencircus, inspired by John Cage’s Musicircus, which brings together the public, musicians and nonmusicians to create a powerfully joyous sonic experience.

Dance In! is a participatory event inspired by the women that worked in Derry’s shirt factories and a dance performance responding to the famous Derry Girls mural and award-winning comedy series.

The YES Festival is the culmination of the two-year Ulysses European Odyssey, a two-year Europe-wide cultural programme which celebrates Joyce’s Ulysses and explores contemporary issues, from migration to the environment and disability to global data.

To sign up for updates about the YES Festival visit https://ulysseseurope.eu/episode/derry-donegal/yes-festival

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