Arts Council of Northern Ireland

The Funding and Development Agency
for The Arts in Northern Ireland

028 9262 3555


Browse Archive

Happy Days are here again

Friday 24th May 2013 at 11am

Video: The inaugural Happy Days International Beckett Festival took place in Enniskillen as part of the London 2012 Festival

The HAPPY DAYS Enniskillen International Beckett Festival is the world’s first annual, multi-arts celebration of the great Irish Nobel Prize winning writer, Samuel Beckett. After a hugely successful first outing in 2013 the festival returns in August with another spectacular international line-up.

Dublin-born writer Samuel Beckett boarded at Portora School Royal School in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh (also attended by Oscar Wilde) from 1919, before entering Trinity College, Dublin in 1923. Beckett is widely regarded as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century and, in recognition of his literary achievements as novelist, playwright and poet, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969.

The HAPPY DAYS Ennisikillen International Beckett Festival started in 2012, with the support of the London 2012 Festival, to celebrate the writer’s life and legacy. The first festival is estimated to have generated £2.5m for Enniskillen, with 70 per cent of visitors coming from outside of Northern Ireland.

Among the highlights of the five-day 2012 Festival were a spellbinding staging of ‘Krapp’s Last Tape’ by the world’s foremost vanguard theater artist, Robert Wilson, and a reading of his three last prose pieces, ‘Stirrings Still’ (1986-89), by Northern Ireland actor Adrian Dunbar and Australian actor Anna Nygh.

The 2013 festival promises to build on the phenomenal success of 2012. On top of readings by actors such as Juliet Stevenson, Diana Quick and Neil Pearson, and productions of Beckett’s plays by local and international theatre companies including Australia’s Wits’ End Theatre company, this year there will be a major exhibition exploring the hidden politics of Beckett’s work through manuscripts, memorabilia and letters; a multi-screen installation by Neil Jordan and featuring Julianne Moore; and an invitation for audiences to descend into Inferno, journey through Purgatorio and rise up to Paradiso in a series of art, music and extraordinary site-specific events, inspired by Beckett’s favourite literary work, Dante’s Divine Comedy trilogy.

HAPPY DAYS Enniskillen International Beckett Festival 2013 runs from 22nd-26th August in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh. Programme available here