The Bounce Arts Festival, Northern Ireland’s leading celebration of artistic diversity and inclusion, comes to Fermanagh this weekend with an event that shines a spotlight on a selection of the county’s talented artists and creatives.

The festival’s Enniskillen-based event, which will take place at the Ardhowen Theatre at 11am on Saturday, October 7, will see artist and arts activist Noelle McAlinden and a panel of guests including Victoria Geelan, Kate O’Shea, Robert Elliott, Sheila Llewellyn and Caimin O’Shea, discuss the topic of ‘Building a Culture of Creativity, Self-Expression, Compassion and Community’ as they reflect on their practice as artists, educators and activists.

Noelle McAlinden. Photo: John McVitty.

Noelle McAlinden. Photo: John McVitty.

Commenting that she is “delighted” to be hosting this panel discussion with “such talented artists and performers”, Noelle added: “Together we reflect upon the challenges and the opportunities facing artists living and working here.

“We explore the importance of building a culture of creativity, compassion, self expression and collaboration, empowering artists and communities to thrive.”

The festival also includes an inclusive, magical mystery Pop Art Workshop at the Strule Arts Centre in Omagh on Friday, October 6 at 2pm.

Both local events are supported by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.

Extraordinary talent

Run by the University of Atypical, with events taking place at various locations across Northern Ireland from Friday, October 6 to Sunday, October 8, the Bounce Arts Festival showcases the extraordinary talent and creativity of d/Deaf, disabled and neurodiverse artists in the UK, Ireland and beyond with a focus on accessibility for all audiences.

Many of the performances and workshops are free, or pay what you can, and encompass all aspects of the arts including theatre, dance, comedy, puppetry, visual arts and talks.

Damien Coyle, Chief Executive of University of Atypical, said: “The Bounce Festival has now evolved into one of the largest celebrations of artistic diversity and inclusivity in these islands.

“We are proud to be bringing it to new venues across Northern Ireland so that more people can enjoy the performances and ideas that these incredible artists have to offer.”

The University of Atypical, a disabled-led arts charity, is celebrating its 30th year, and started the Bounce Arts Festival in 2012 as part of the Cultural Olympiad.

This year it is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Department for Communities, Belfast City Council, The Ireland Funds, The National Lottery Communities Fund and The Santander Foundation.

Patricia Lavery, Head of Community Arts & Education, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: “We are committed to supporting the work of d/Deaf, disabled, and neurodivergent artists.

“The Bounce Arts Festival offers an important platform to shine a light on work from these amazing artists.

“Congratulations to University of Atypical for curating a terrific programme for Bounce this year, which features some of the most talented artists from Northern Ireland and beyond.

“I would encourage everyone to go along and enjoy this exciting and inspirational festival, which is simply unmissable.”

For further information on all shows and to book tickets, go to