Arts Over Borders, a series of three international bio- festivals on the work of Beckett, Friel and Wilde will take place this summer between July 25 and August 18. The first festival to take place is Happy Days Beckett festival (July 25 to 28) followed by A Wilde Weekend (August 2 to 5) and ending with Lughnasa FrielFest (August 9 to 18).

The festival, created by curators Sean Doran and Liam Browne, will extend across four counties from Fermanagh to Donegal, Tyrone to Derry~Londonderry with events taking place on beaches, at Derry’s Guildhall, village halls, cafes, arts centres, schools and even a secret garden across the border region.

This year’s Happy Days Beckett Festival programming includes the world premiere of three new productions of three Samuel Beckett short plays and will be led by two of the world’s giants in the international performing arts: the three plays, Come & Go, Quad and Catastrophe are choreographed by world-renowned New York choreographer Mark Morris while in another major headline appearance for the festival, Romeo Castellucci’s company will come straight from opening the Aix En Provence Opera Festival in early July 2019 to present Schubert’s Schwanengesang (Swansong) at the Ardhowen theatre, Enniskillen.

Franz Schubert was Beckett’s favourite composer and also features prominently this year with Winterreise sung by world leading baritone Roderick Williams OBE. To mark the 30th anniversary of Beckett’s death, the festival celebrates a selection of his late short plays with Pas Moi & Not I and Ohio Impromptu running in addition to the Morris works and also looks at the late work of other artists such as Schumann, Scriabin and Chopin in Saskia Giorgini’s piano recital while the late work of Aidan Higgins and Molly Keane is discussed respectively by their widow and daughter.

Commenting, co-curator of the festival, Sean Doran said: “It is fitting in this turning point year of Brexit that we begin our Arts Over Borders festivals with Irish historian Diarmaid Ferriter discussing his book The Border (July 25) in the hallowed surrounds of the old Portora Royal School, Enniskillen, which was founded by King James in 1618 and became alma mater to Samuel Beckett and Oscar Wilde. The border itself looms large in our three festivals with the specially commissioned experiential performed reading of Nobel Laureate Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot around Sir Antony Gormley’s Tree for Waiting for Godot, first on an upland bog on the border between Fermanagh and Cavan in the Marble Arch Caves UNESCO Global Geopark from July 27 to 28 and Malin Head on August 17 to18. This is a wonderful bookending to the overall 2019 Arts Over Borders festival from the Fermanagh-Cavan border up to where the border disappears into the Atlantic Ocean between County Donegal and County Derry. The title for this event is All Mankind Is Us: Walking for Waiting for Godot where the audience is invited to walk 3 km to the performance. Vladimir’s quote in Godot ‘At this place, at this moment, all mankind is us’ sums up best the importance for an international arts festival to take place on both sides of the Irish and UK border in these times”

The Arts Over Border festival follows a bespoke format which takes its inspiration from the genius of a single artist and is curated with a strong sense of place, both rural and urban, throughout border communities and landscapes.