Curated by celebrated Northern Irish author Jan Carson, the festival theme, ‘Of this and Other Worlds’ taken from the C.S. Lewis essay collection of the same name, will feature more than 70 events, including walks, talks and debates, film screenings, faith and wellbeing events, events for children and families, visual art, literature, workshops, music and theatre, and innovative events showcasing the speculative fiction genres of Fantasy, Science Fiction and Magic Realism.
In keeping with the spirit of C.S. Lewis’s love of fantasy and mythology, The Day of Magical Thinking, (Saturday 3 November at Skanios Centre, Newtownards Road) will feature writing and visual arts workshops and discussions with events focused on imaginative approaches to creating a range of different art forms.
‘Of This World’ features a series of bespoke events creatively re-imagining the changing landscape of east Belfast. Hop aboard the Gaelic Bus tours, or watch a rehearsed reading of the satirical devilish comedy ‘Skrewtape Comes To Belfast’, at The Crescent Arts Centre, and take a tongue in cheek alterative look at Northern Ireland through the lens of literature and music presented by Alternative Ulster at Harland and Wolff Staff Club.
Explore ‘And Other Worlds’ via a series of carefully curated events looking at other worlds and others’ perspectives. Anthony Toner and Jan Carson, explore what the future might look like in Future Sounds at Strand Arts Centre. Join Andrew Cunning and guest readers at EastSide Visitor Centre and hear poems, novels and ideas that help us see, imagine and hope a little better.
Children and families will enjoy an ‘Out of this world’ musical adventure with leading children’s singer and songwriter Kyle Riley at Strand Presbyterian Church. Join local children’s writer Myra Zepf and craft genius Ali Fell in a crafty dragon workshop at EastSide Visitor Centre. Call into Connswater Shopping Centre and explore the brand new C.S. Lewis Reading Corner situated upstairs. Pop into Strand Arts Centre or EastSide Visitor Centre to make a lantern for the community lantern parade taking place on 8 December. Enjoy films that whisk you off to other worlds, from The Wizard of Oz to Metropolis at Strand Arts Centre, or enjoy a screening of the classic film Shadowlands, starring Anthony Hopkins as C.S. Lewis, introduced by the film score composer, George Fenton. Discover imaginative literature events ranging from the launch of ‘The Trees of Kilbroney Park,’ art book which focusses on 27 notable trees, or ‘Come Fly’ with the Women’s Aloud NI and meet the authors who will take you on a journey into the skies, stars and space.
There’s a whole range of ‘other’ special events. Join festival curator Jan Carson along with poet Damien Smyth, novelist Bernie McGill, musicians The Darkling Air and The Arco String Quarter for an evening of literature and music at Campbell College, and explore the Narnia themed Fine and Dandy market at City Church. Walks, talks and debates include discovering C.S. Lewis’s east Belfast and the Socratic Debate at Crescent Arts Centre. ‘Inklings of Heaven’ is an immersive series of three lectures by eminent theologians (Saturday 3 November at Kirkpatrick Memorial Church) featuring Dr. Michael Ward who will explore the magic and symbolism of the Chronicles of Narnia, alongside Professor Judith Wolff and Dr. Sharon Jebb Smith.
For visual art, join the Narnia keep sake box workshop at Robins’ Hobby Café or see In Other Worlds’ exhibition of new work by Brian Cunning at Maitri Studio. Take a journey into other worlds using your body and senses with yoga and the sound of healing also at Maitri Studio.
Curator for the C.S. Lewis Festival, Jan Carson said: “Throughout his career Lewis was always a great champion of the imagination. The festival theme, named after his essay collection, ‘Of this and other worlds’, explores fantasy, sci-fi and the recently emerging genre of magic realism, and provides us with the opportunity to explore and express our own imagination. We have programmed our biggest C.S. Lewis Festival to date with more than 70 events ranging from exhibitions, talks, and debates to family fun, literature and film. This is a fantastic platform to kickstart your own imagination, enjoy magical days and explore other worlds.”
Rachel Kennedy, Festival Director, commented: “We are delighted to bring the 6th annual C.S. Lewis Festival to venues across Belfast. Jan Carson has curated a wonderful range of exciting, innovative and imaginative events around the theme ‘Of This and Other Worlds.’ Each year we seek to showcase the wide and varied works of Lewis and we believe we have created something very special for this year’s audiences. We would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the support of National Lottery funding through our principal funder, Arts Council Northern Ireland, and support from Belfast City Council, Arts & Business NI, Hewitt and Gilpin, Translink, Connswater Shopping Centre and W5. Their ongoing commitment helps us to deliver this wonderful festival which continues to champion the Belfast connection to C.S. Lewis.”