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Wife of Sherlock star to direct at Beckett Festival

Published: 15 Jul 2015 19:000

The fourth annual Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival will feature a Greek tragedy Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch.

Festival director Sean Doran.

The 12 day festival, running from July 23 to August 3, will see tourists, theatre-goers, music and literature lovers, journalists and a range of artists descend on Enniskillen to celebrate and explore the life and works of Samuel Beckett, who attended Portora Royal School.

For the first time, events will also be staged in Irvinestown and Kesh.

Hunter will take on composer Benjamin Britten’s Phaedra inside the ruins of Necarne Castle. Speaking ahead of the festival, she told the BBC Radio Times: “At the heart of it is the story of a woman who has taken in poison and is dying over 15 minutes. The music mimics the effect of the poison that is coursing through her veins.” She added that she hopes to provide an “intimate experience in an epic space”.

The festival will also include a performance of Beckett’s radio play All That Fall staged completely in the dark. “It will be spooky, but I imagine that’s the effect that Beckett wanted,” former Royal Court artistic director Max Stafford-Clark told the Radio Times.

Festival Director Sean Doran has announced that the Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival has secured a “major new partner”, the T.S. Eliot estate, which will provide funding. Other funders include the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Tourism NI and Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.

The event at the Necarne Equestrian Centre is going to blow people away,” Mr. Doran tells The Impartial Reporter. “Directed by Sophie Hunter, it will be a 15 minute cantata staged as an opera, including Mezzo-Soprano Ruby Philogene (Mr. Doran’s wife) and the Ulster Orchestra. It’s one of the most hotly anticipated shows of Festival.

He is “thrilled” with the involvement of the T. S. Eliot Estate, commenting: “Their belief in the festival has given us a wonderful lift and we greatly value and appreciate their support.”

The Festival is “especially thrilled” to welcome France’s leading dance company, the Maguy Marin Dance Company to officially open this year’s Festival. “This is an auspicious nod to our future sister Paris Beckett Festival opening in March 2016 and will link Enniskillen and Paris, the long time home of Samuel Beckett,” Mr. Doran reveals.

“In our fourth year we’ve upped the ante with radical performances in surprising locations and no less than six world premieres taking place over the course of the festival. With international and local talent coming together over two weekends all eyes will be on Enniskillen; a town that is fast becoming synonymous with Beckett the world over as the name of Mozart is with Salzburg and Shakespeare with Stratford.”

So, she’ll be in NI when the registration deadline happens?

Why the hell should her ShamHubby even factor in her projects? Oh yeah, because otherwise no one would give a hoot. Not downplaying her 15 minute avante-garde gig (or the efforts of AS or RP) but considering it’s a festival that lasts for days it’s getting an undue amount of attention. All of the seasoned professionals putting on their own shows must be royally miffed about that.

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Should have Photoshopped a Jaguar F-Type in it’s place but I was too lazy…

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