Friday, July 24, 2015

Féile an Phobail 2015 (30 July to 9 August) - theatre, talk, photography & currachs

West Belfast’s Féile an Phobail seems to be thriving in this age of austerity. The printed programme is physically larger than previous years, and there are hundreds of events – many free to attend – between Thursday 30 July and Sunday 9 August.

The money-spinning big top in Falls Park has grown again (capacity now up to 5,000) and acts such as The Human League, UB40, Hugo Duncan, The Wolfe Tones and (controversially) Frankie Boyle should subsidise much of the rest of the festival. Here are some picks from the programme.


Brenda Murphy’s one-woman show Two Sore Legs plays for two nights in Culturlann starring Maria Connolly. Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 August at 8pm. Tickets £10/£8.

The Holy, Holy Bus which has only recently departed the Lyric Theatre stops off at Roddy Mc Corley Social Club on Monday 3 – Friday 7 August at 7.30pm. Tickets £10.

Theatre critic Jane Coyle is increasingly turning her hand to writing plays, and a rehearsed reading of her new work The Lantern Man is being performed in Culturlann on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 August at 1pm. It’s Christmas 1915 and Johnny McGrath returns from action on the Western Front to Dublin, a city he barely recognises. Having inherited hundreds of glass lantern slides, he puts them on show to tell the public the real story of the war. Tickets £8 including a light lunch. (Free performance in the Lyric on Saturday 8 at 6pm.)

Pintsized Productions are offering audiences a surprise show that they’ll know nothing about before it begins. The mystery even extends to the location with punters asked to gather at the doorsteps of Conway Mill at 7.30pm on Monday 10 or Thursday 11 August. Tickets £10.


Malachi O’Doherty’s Back to Landscape exhibition of Donegal photographs opens in Ballaí Bána Gallery in Culturlann on Thursday 30 July at 7pm. Malachi’s giving a talk on What Is Photography For? the following day on Saturday 1 August at 2pm.


Vets – Hardtalk sees veteran republicans Bobby Storey and Danny Morrison in conversation about growing up in west of the city and the early days of the Troubles. Danny will also read from his book West Belfast. Andersontown Social Club on Thursday 30 July at 6.30pm. Free.

On the 12th I Proudly Wear – republican Sean (Spike) Murray will debate parading with Orangeman Mervyn Gibson. Why parade? Who parades? Why is it so hard to find tolerance and respect? St Mary’s University College on Friday 31 July at 7pm. [Not the first time they’ve shared a platform on this issue.]

Mairia Cahill will deliver the Gerry Conlon Summer Memorial Lecture in St Mary’s University College on Saturday 1 August at 5pm. Chaired by SDLP MLA Alex Attwood.

A collection of An Phoblacht articles were released under the title of Uncomfortable Conversations during the recent election campaign. Facilitated by Corrymeela’s Susan McEwen, Uncomfortable Conversations – Steps to Healing and Reconciliation will bring together deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, North Belfast minister and deputy chief Equality Commissioner Lesley Carroll, CRC chair Peter Osborne, and researcher Sophie Long. St Mary’s University College on Monday 3 August at 5pm.

Marriage Equality – Getting from Here to Yes: Amnesty International brings together a panel who are campaigning for marriage equality in the north. St Mary’s University College on Monday 3 August at 7pm.

Yiannis Bournous from the political secretariat of SYRIZA will deliver a talk on A Fight for Democracy, Peace and Social Justice that addresses the wider Greek political situation and the challenges faced by the left wing party. St Mary’s University College on Tuesday 4 August at 5pm.

Conflict or Peace: What difference does it make for women? Monica McWilliams delivers the PJ Mc Grory Memorial Lecture, highlighting women’s experience in conflict and post-conflict on this island and further afield. St Mary’s University College on Tuesday 4 August at 7pm.

Five speakers will explain what the 1916 Proclamation means to them in St Mary’s University College on Wednesday 5 August at 2pm. Actor Tony Devlin will read the Proclamation followed by the thoughts of Phil Scraton, Jacqui Upton, Pádraig Ó Tuama, Marie Quierry and Des Donnelly.

Later that afternoon in The Proclamation for Prods: What the 1916 Centenary Might Say to Non-Republicans, teacher, songwriter and Presbyterian elder Dave Thompson looks at how someone from a protestant unionist background can share in the 1916 centenary. Duncairn Cultural Arts Centre on Wednesday 5 August at 4pm.

Youth Talks Back returns to Whiterock Leisure Centre. William Crawley will chair a discussion about the issues raised from the floor with PSNI community police officer Paul McGovern, journalist Lyra McKee, Sinn Féin councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile and an as yet unnamed PUL representative. Wednesday 5 August at 2pm.

West Belfast Talks Back is the annual political debate in St Louise’s Comprehensive College. This year, Noel Thompson will chair the panel which will include left-wing Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn along with Sinn Féin South Dublin councillor Eoin Ó Broin, PUP councillor Julie-Anne Corr Johnston and DUP MP Gavin Robinson. Wednesday 5 August at 7pm.

Will the Questions of the Past Ever be Answered? Brian Rowan chairs a discussion with deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness (who’s calling for uncomfortable conversations) and the PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton (who’d like people to step outside their comfort zones). St Mary’s University College on Thursday 6 August at 7.30pm.

Britain’s Involvement in Torture in Prisons Part and Present brings together two of the ‘hooded men’ Joe Clarke and Jim Auld with Gerry Brannigan and ex-Guantanamo Bay prisoner Moazzam Begg. Conway Mill on Saturday 8 August at 7pm. Cancelled by organisers Cogús to maximise attendance at Anti-Racism World Cup

And finally ...

If all that talk is too much you could head along to the Belfast Waterworks to watch traditional Irish boating and currach racing! Basic training from 11am-2pm and racing from 2pm-3pm on Saturday 1 August.

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