Happy Days are here

Published: 23 Aug 2012 14:000 comments

This weekend Beckett mania takes over Enniskillen as the town hosts the first ever Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival celebrating the work and influence of Nobel Prize-winning writer Samuel Beckett.

One of the most original and important writers of the 20th century, Beckett wrestled with the concepts of "being" and "nothingness". Much of his prolific body of work portrays a lifelong interest in the subject of time. Beckett's creative influence has had a wide reaching impact amongst writers, directors, actors, visual artists, musicians, comedians, circus artists and continues to inspire.



The Festival opens at Ardhowen Theatre with Edna O'Brien in conversation with BBC Journalist and Broadcaster, William Crawley. The celebrated Irish author discusses her passion for Beckett's writing, their friendship, their relationship to Ireland and much more.

Edna O'Brien's debut novel, 'The Country Girls', established her as one of the world's most significant women writers. Controversially banned in Ireland at the time of publication, it was a huge success in Britain and New York and gave a voice to young women of her generation.

Edna O'Brien Live and In Conversation With William Crawley is on Thursday 23 August at 7.30pm.


Robert Wilson's performance of Krapp's Last Tape at the Ardhowen Theatre will be the UK and Irish premier of this production. It is attracting an audience from as far as Dublin, Great Britain and even Canada. Robert Wilson is widely considered one of the most innovative and influential theatre directors of the past 40 years. He is known for pushing the boundaries of theatre. His works are noted for their austere style, very slow movement, and often extreme scale in space or in time. This extraordinary production of 'Krapp's Last Tape' has been a major hit in Paris, Rome and across the world.

Written in 1958, the play portrays an old man who, on his birthday, makes a recording about the past year of his life, as he has done every birthday since a young man. Now bitter, funny, ironic, as he listens to the brash, romantic, confident voice of his youth recorded 30 years earlier, he finds it hard to recognise himself.

Apart from Beckett fans, anyone interested in performance, stage direction, design or lighting should not miss this event. This is a unique opportunity to see theatre of the highest calibre. Performances of Krapp's Last Tape will take place on Friday 24th, Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th August at 8.30pm and Sunday 26th and Monday 27th August at 3pm.


2012 is very special year for Mick Flavin as he reaches a milestone in his Country Music career. In 1987 Mick's good friend Declan Nerney encouraged him to go to a small studio in Athlone and record a cassette tape, from them Mick has gone from strength to strength. In 2005, Mick was nominated for the Country Music Association Global Artist Award. This was the first time that an Irish Country Artist was nominated for this prestigious award and is an indication of the significance of his contribution to Country Music in Ireland and beyond

Mick will be appearing at the Ardhowen on Thursday 30th August at 8pm.


Growing up in a "ceili house" in County Down the Sands Family have been singing and playing music for their whole lives. A focal point for neighbours from nearby farms as well as musical wanderers from much further afield, a crowd often gathered around the fireside for long winter evenings of song, music, craic and merriment.

From small beginnings in local halls and pubs, their musical career took a sudden upturn when they won a Folk Group contest in Dublin's "Old Shieling Hotel" in Raheny. As a result, they were invited to play for three weeks in New York in early 1971. Their 35 year touring career includes regular tours throughout continental Europe, especially Germany, plus the UK, and Ireland.

We celebrate '40 Years Of The Sands Family In Concert' on Friday 31 August at 8pm.



Belfast born, harmonica virtuoso Billy Boy Miskimmin (formally with the bands Nine Below Zero and The Yardbirds) has established himself as an International blues star. He first astonished audiences with his combination of emotional power and jaw-dropping technique in the pubs, clubs playing with local legends like Blues Experience, who were led by ex-Chris Barber Band bassist Jackie Flavelle, and Van Morrison-buddy Jim Daly. He went on to become part of rock and blues aristocracy, playing with legends like BB King and The Doors and earning accolades not only from Alice Cooper but from Jimmy Page, Scotty Moore and others. Early booking is essential as seating is limited

Joining Billy Boy Miskimmin on vocals and harmonica, we have Lou Campbell on guitar, Aaron Loughran on Bass, Matt Martin on keyboard, Hal Gordon on drums and special guest Rab McCullough. This superb blues band will perform in the Gallery Bar on Saturday 1st September at 9pm.


Kicking off the new programme of events we have the young Derek Ryan. With his youthful good looks and sharp suits he will be whipping up a frenzy amongst the scores of fans who are dancing to his tunes across the country. The County Carlow singer songwriter has been pivotal in the new found attractiveness of country music amongst younger people who are flocking to the sound of the steel guitar and fiddle in their droves. Derek Ryan will be appearing at the Ardhowen Theatre on Thursday 6th September at 8pm. Special guest for the night will be Hugo Duncan who needs no introduction to Ardhowen audiences.


On Saturday 8th September we have the very talented duo of Nollaig Casey and Arty McGlynn playing in the Gallery Bar at 9pm. Nollaig and Arty have played separately and collectively with many top artists including Andy Irvine, Planxty, Makem and Clancy, Van Morrison, Mary Black, Elvis Costello, Liam O'Flynn and the list goes on.


Country fans will be pleased to hear that Nathan Carter will now be performing for an extra night on Wednesday 12th September. Please book soon to avoid disappointment.

Details of all the shows in the new season can be found in the Ardhowen Theatre Autumn 2012 Programme or on-line at www.ardhowentheatre.com and follow us on Facebook for all the latest news.

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