"It is amazing to know that the Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival is a pioneer of the arts, being the world’s first annual multi-arts celebration of all things Beckett and Beckettian. It is even more staggering to know that this occurs in Enniskillen. We believe in all parts of Northern Ireland having access to the arts. We may appreciate the exploration of the vacuum in Beckett’s work, but we certainly have no desire to see a vacuum opening up in Fermanagh, an area rich in heritage and culture, although less well served festival-wise than areas such as Belfast or Derry/Londonderry.
"We would dare not imagine a Sligo without Yeats, a Bellaghy without Heaney, or a Dublin void of Joyce. And yet, we face the prospect of an Enniskillen without Yeats, not to mention the loss of the equally important and enjoyable Brian Friel Festival and A Wilde Weekend. We cannot have the figurative statues of our literary greats be torn down by short-sighted funding policies and lack of government support.
"The Arts Council of Northern Ireland recently published its recommendations in response to the draft Programme for Government released by Stormont. The response recognises that “the Arts sector is at the forefront of improving general wellbeing. Research indicates that a higher frequency of engagement with arts and culture is generally associated with a higher level of subjective wellbeing. A Scottish report identifies a positive link with wellbeing, even when other factors including age, income, economic status, area deprivation, education, qualifications, disability or long-standing illness and smoking are accounted for.” (http://www.artscouncil-ni.org/news/arts-council-publishes-response-to-draft-pfg)
"We believe that support and access to the arts is vital to a healthy, vibrant and successful society. We believe in the importance of the arts, of celebrating our country’s artistic achievements, and in building platforms to showcase new artwork and new responses to the existing body of work Ireland has produced. Over its previous four festivals, Happy Days has helped shine the international spotlight onto Northern Ireland. We cannot let that light go out, and we cannot let Enniskillen’s stage fall silent."
“Silence, yes, but what silence! For it is all very fine to keep silence, but one has also to consider the kind of silence one keeps.” – from ‘The Unnamable’
You can read Happy Day's full statement regarding its funding situation here.
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