Oh les beaux jours!

As the Irish Times notes, the inaugural five-day Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival is under way.  Launched yesterday by the Northern Ireland Tourism Minister, the DUP’s Arlene Foster, as part of the NI2012 “Our time, our place” programme.  

Funded by the NI Tourist BoardArts Council of NI National Lottery funds, the London 2012 Olympic Festival, and Fermanagh District Council, it’s promising to be “the world’s first annual festival to celebrate the work and influence of Nobel Prize-winning writer Samuel Beckett”.  They’re certainly aiming high…

HAPPY DAYS is the first annual, international, multi-arts festival to be held in Northern Ireland since the launch of the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s in 1962. As with the Edinburgh Festival in 1947, HAPPY DAYS will be a major cultural event bringing diverse communities together, mixing local and international audiences and artists. The Festival is collaborating with the London 2012 Festival, the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad, and coincides with the 400th anniversary of the founding of Enniskillen.

The Festival will present events of wide, popular appeal including:

  • the work of Beckett, with world and UK premieres of his major and lesser-known works
  • the influences on Beckett, including music and comedy
  • those Beckett has influenced, including Irish, UK and international writers, directors, actors, visual artists, musicians, comedians, circus artists and individuals prominent in their fields
  • Plus a range of events reflecting Beckett’s favourite sports

And, as the Irish Times noted

Beckett was a keen sportsman and the festival will acknowledge this with a series of lighthearted athletic endeavours.

There will be a rowing race on Lough Erne, as well as a cycling event and a rugby match.

Eleven artists will play 11 critics in a cricket match.

Let’s hope no-one gets hurt…