Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Aperture festival at Corrymeela (31 July-2 August) - music, debate, talk, film, food & fire

The Corrymeela Community is celebrating its 50th birthday this year and is throwing its Ballycastle centre’s doors open for a mid-summer festival – Aperture.

From Friday 31 July through to Sunday 2 August, the family-friendly festival of alternatives will combine poets, musicians, politicians, circus acts, theologians, debates, games, food and fire in order to explore how far we’ve come on the Northern Ireland’s peace and reconciliation journey and to celebrate common ground and difference.

Friday 31 July

The first panel of the weekend will respond to the question Are we all done with the Good Friday Agreement? Alan McBride, Steven Agnew and Alan Meban.

Later at 7pm another panel with Dr Helen Beckett, Peter Doran, Matthew Baxendale and Kevin Hanratty will ask Who needs a Human Rights Act Anyway?

Amongst that there will be talks from Presbyterian minister Rev Mark Gray and a Zen Buddhist Daigan Gather, three films and music from Rory Nellis, Master & Dog, R51, No Oil Paintings and Jun Tzu.

Saturday 1 August

Writers Glenn Patterson and Sarah Perry speak during the early afternoon, and playwright Paul McVeigh takes to the stage at 7pm. Paul’s first novel The Good Son gives a glimpse of life in the turbulent Ardoyne during the early 1980s, as seen through the eyes of a young boy. The Forgiveness Project’s Marian Partington will tell her own story of brutality, traumatic loss and the restoration of the human spirit in the aftermath of her sister disappearing from a Gloucester bus stop and dying at the hands of serial killers Fred and Rosemary West.

An early morning discussion panel with Kevin Traynor, Nick Garbutt and Stephen McCaffery will look at Bad News – Are the media reflecting society or picking at our scars? At noon, Corrmeela community leader Pádraig Ó Tuama will be joined by Adam Turkington and Tracey Marshall-Elliot to discuss Why the Arts Matters?

Other afternoon panels will look at Finding Community in the Strangest Places and Stories from the Edge – Are some people not cut out for community?

Dave Magee will share his Perspectives on Loyalism in 2015. He’s currently a programme officer with the International Committee of the Red Cross, and has worked with socially disadvantaged and excluded groups including ex-prisoner groups and migrant workers and has a particular interest in non-violence, peacemaking, community relations and personal development.

If that’s not enough, there’s Dr Seuss-themed yoga, a creative writing workshop and instruction on and bodhran. And throughout the day there’ll be music from Ballymoney Rock School, Upstairs in the Attic, Sing for Life choir, Steve Macartney (Farriers), Voices Together, Goldie Fawn (aka Katie Richardson), Katharine Philippa, Luke Conannon and the Sands Family.

Sunday 2 August

While there’s time for a lie in on Sunday morning, the pace doesn’t slow down.

Speakers include writer and management consultant Tony McCauley, transformative story activist Mary Alice Arthur, and founding member of the Cloughjordan eco-village Davie Philip.

Writer solicitor, law lecturer and NI’s first Police Ombudsman Baroness Nuala O’Loan will address conference delegates at 3pm.

Afternoon panels will explore Faith and Aid in Action, look Beyond Cross Community, and a discussion about Playing at the Edges – Insights from the LGBT Community about contemporary Northern Ireland.

In-between there’s time for workshops on puppet-making, song-writing, dance, sketching, Mark Cousins’ A Story of Children and Film, and music from Jimmy Davis, William Dundon, Salt Flats, Hannah McPhillimy, Kiruu, Edelle McMahon and the Bad Hearts, Mo and the Tiger, and Duke Special.

Tickets for Aperture Festival are keenly priced at £25 per person, and £50 for a family. Under-5s go free and single day tickets are also available. The ticket price does not include camping or accommodation but there’s plenty available in the local area. There will be a shuttle bus running between Ballycastle town centre, the campsite at Watertop Farm and Corrymeela’s six acre site on Drumaroan Road.

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