Funding key to future Beckett Festivals

Published: 30 Aug 2012 13:000 comments

WITH the cleaning up operation for the inaugural International Beckett Festival now well under way this week a question mark hangs over the possibility of there being another event next year.

Actor and singer David Soul (second right) joins Tourism Minister Arlene Foster and (from left) Thomas O'Reilly, Chairman Fermanagh District Council; Neil Morton, headmaster Portora Royal School and Sean Doran, Festival Director at the opening of the Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival.

Hailed as a huge success, the five day celebration of Noble Prize winning laureate, Samuel Beckett, literally attracted interest from across the globe.

Tourists from as far away as Australia descended on the Island town over the course of the Bank Holiday weekend and journalists from Paris and New York were among those weighing in with their views of the festival in its first ever year.

But as Festival Director Sean Doran breathed a huge sigh of relief in the knowledge that his gamble to hold the event here had paid off, he had concerns over whether there would be a "next year".

"We need to address the issue of 'one year funding' if there is to be a next one," he told The Impartial Reporter on Tuesday. "This Festival, on an international scale, needs funding for the longer term to secure it for this town and for planning purposes."

It's been no secret that funding for this year's event was only secured as late as March.

"That was a huge challenge," Mr Doran said, "It's essential, and it's down to the major stakeholders -- the Fermanagh District Council, the Arts Council and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, that we don't have that scenario again. Let's secure this for Enniskillen now.

"To be honest, I felt the one year funding was a punt. Let's really give it a go.

"There was a massive article in the New York Times about this festival -- that's putting Enniskillen's name out there in a way that can only be of benefit to the town.

"And hopefully, when people come to Ireland they will think of Enniskillen and be attracted to come to see it."

Mr Doran said he had been "astonished" by the positive response to the festival and had proved many of the sceptics wrong.

"I couldn't have dreamed it could be that successful in year one," he said, "That was more like a year three scenario. It proved all the points of what was possible and it proved any of the doubters wrong. Enniskillen rose to the occasion and everybody was talking about what a beautiful place it was.

"One thing that really took off was the 15 minute concerts -- there were 400 to 500 people turning up for the performances. Duke Special and Ian Bostridge were a huge success as well as the likes of Lady Antoinette and Edna O'Brien.

"We have a template or a blue print of the festival now that we know can work and we now know that Enniskillen can work as a festival town. This is but a beginning -- this festival can grow immensely."

Mr Doran was enjoying two days rest this week before work on the Festival started all over again.

Spending his birthday on Tuesday down in Donegal, he said the next few months would be crucial in securing the festival's future.

"If the opportunity is not grabbed now it will be too much of a challenge to do a next year," he explained, "We just have to wait to see if Fermanagh District Council will come to the table with the Tourist Board and the Arts Council and say 'Yes, we want to do this. Yes, let's work out how we can establish this properly for Enniskillen."

The Festival Director said he would be heading home to Australia for a few weeks in October before returning to Enniskillen again.

"I want to have as many meetings as I can before that and some time in October I will come back see where things are then. Hopefully we will know then if we can have a festival."

The Director of Leisure, Development and Arts and Fermanagh District Council, Robert Gibson, said the Beckett Festival "went very well".

"Audience numbers for the wide range of events were good to excellent with many overseas and out of county visitors attending," he said, "Feedback from local attendees has also been very positive. Press coverage has been international, national and local putting Enniskillen and Fermanagh on the map as a cultural destination.

"The Council would like to congratulate Sean Doran and his team on delivering the first International Beckett Festival which had a wide and varied multi-arts programme including arts, culture and sport.

"The Council would like to acknowledge the considerable financial support which came from sources other than the Council including the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Cultural Olympiad and many local businesses.

"The Council would also like to thank the volunteers who assisted and the local community who supported the event.

"Council officers will be shortly be meeting with Sean Doran and his team regarding a full appraisal of this year`s event and discussions about an event next year. The Council has not yet been formally requested to provide funding nor has a budget been discussed."

Jump to first paragraph.

Comments

comments powered by Disqus

Get more stories from our Roundup section

19 Apr 2014 21:00 • Brian Donaldson

First election nominations made at Townhall

The countdown to the first election for seats on the new Fermanagh and Omagh District Council on May 22 has begun with the first candidates nominating at Enniskillen Townhall this week.

Social: Comments0 comments

19 Apr 2014 17:10

Mallards gain another crucial point in safety battle

Ballinamallard took another step closer to safety as they claimed a share of the spoils at home to Ballymena today.

Social:

19 Apr 2014 15:00 • Meadhbh Monahan

Leading anti-fracker believes local protesters are on the right track

Founder of Frack Free Sussex and Britain and Ireland Frack Free, Vanessa Vine visited Enniskillen last Saturday to discuss the local anti-fracking campaign.

Social: Comments0 comments

19 Apr 2014 13:00 • Editorial Department

Road rage car chase for boxing champ who turned away from possible fight

A boxing champion shied away from a fight with a man over twice his age only to become embroiled in a road rage incident.

Social:

19 Apr 2014 11:00 • Editorial Department

Milk suppliers assured that Society is debt free

The forty-eight former Fivemiletown milk suppliers have been assured that Fivemiletown and Brookeborough Co-operative and Agricultural Dairy Society (the Society) is debt free and that they will “continue to be paid”.

Social: Comments0 comments

19 Apr 2014 09:00 • Rodney Edwards

Elliott votes against bill on powers for new Super Councils

ULSTER Unionist MLA Tom Elliott has joined his party colleagues in voting against the Local Government Bill, the legislation that sets out the powers of the new Super Councils. Mr. Elliott spoke of his concern around community planning ahead of the amalgamation which will see 26 Councils merge into 11, including the amalgamation of Fermanagh District Council and Omagh District Council

Social:

19 Apr 2014 08:30

Police name motorcyclist killed in Fivemiletown crash

Police can confirm that a male motorcyclist has died following a two vehicle road traffic collision on the Belfast Road in Fivemiletown last night, Friday 18 April.

Social:

18 Apr 2014 22:00 • Rodney Edwards

Orange audit: 93 per cent believe Catholics ‘suspicious’ of order

A MAJOR survey into the Orange Order in Fermanagh has found that 92.8 per cent of people who took part in the project believe Catholics are “suspicious” of the organisation.

Social: Comments0 comments

18 Apr 2014 19:00

'We have a big eight days ahead of us' - Anderson

By 5pm on Saturday April 26 all the decisions will be made in the Danske Bank Premiership and Championship One. The destination of the title will be decided and who is going down or which teams are facing a play off will be known.

Social:

18 Apr 2014 17:00 • Rodney Edwards

Enterprise Minister disagrees with keeping Aventas Group all locally owned

ENTERPRISE Minister Arlene Foster says she cannot support the view of local political representatives, including her DUP colleague Maurice Morrow, that the Aventas Group in Derrylin must remain exclusively locally owned.

Social: Comments0 comments

18 Apr 2014 15:00 • Editorial Department

Tweets of the Week - did you make it?

Charlie Lawson @charlie_lawson1 I’m reliably informed that my alter ego and constant companion is to return, so he is. Must contact The Home Secretary to confirm.

Social: Comments0 comments

18 Apr 2014 13:00 • Editorial Department

Foster vows to take school merger to the Assembly

“I am not powerless, I will fight this,” declares Stormont Minister Arlene Foster as she reflects on the fall-out over the proposal by the Western Education and Library Board to amalgamate Portora Royal School with Collegiate Grammar School.

Social: Comments0 comments

18 Apr 2014 11:00 • Lily Dane

Those were the days: Miss Derryclavin Selected

This image “Miss Derryclavin” Selected was featured in The Impartial Reporter on April 16, 1964.

Social: Comments0 comments

18 Apr 2014 08:30

Depression is an illness, mourners told at Kenny Andrews funeral

MOURNERS at the funeral of Brookeborough man Kenneth Andrews who died unexpectedly last week were told that the 47-year-old had been fighting a private battle with depression.

Social:

17 Apr 2014 19:00 • Rodney Edwards

#fermanaghspake This Week is...

‘I’m not half well’

Social: Comments0 comments

17 Apr 2014 18:06 • Rodney Edwards

Would-be Unionist politician admits Catholic Facebook question was 'badly worded'

A would-be politician seeking a seat in the new Fermanagh and Omagh Council for the Ulster Unionist Party has defended himself for a second time following comments he made on Facebook.

Social:

17 Apr 2014 17:01

Fermanagh's 'different breed' that sets the Orange Standard

Let me get the amateur sociology out of the way first: ‘Out-group homogeneity’. It describes a bias that any group of people are prone to have.

Social:

17 Apr 2014 16:30

Why are you 'punishing a good school'?

The proposed Development Proposal to close both Enniskillen Collegiate School and Portora Royal School and open a new school on a split site, will go before the members of the Western Education and Library Board on May 8 for approval.

Social:

17 Apr 2014 15:57

Meeting exposed WELB's 'weak process and weak argument' says Collegiate head

THE Collegiate Grammar School’s consultation meeting on its proposed amalgamation with Portora Royal exposed the Western Education Library Board’s (WELB) “weak process and weak argument”, according to principal, Elizabeth Armstrong.

Social:

17 Apr 2014 15:14

Collegiate parents walk out after rudeness of WELB official

PARENTS of Collegiate Grammar School have accused Western Education Library Board (WELB) officials of hiding their personal vested interest in a proposal that would see the school merge with Portora Royal next year.

Social: