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Playwright Brian Friel to be celebrated with annual festival

The work of Brian Friel will be honoured in County Donegal and Belfast. Photo: Bobby Hanvey

An annual festival celebrating playwright Brian Friel is being launched this summer in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The Lughnasa International Friel Festival line-up includes a new production of Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa at the Lyric Theatre Belfast, directed by Annabelle Comyn, as well as live music, dance, talks and discussions drawing inspiration from his work.

Directed by Sean Doran, who founded the Enniskillen International Beckett Festival, the event will span the Irish border. With the festival taking place from August 20 to 31, the first series of events will be held in County Donegal, and the second in Belfast.

Responding to the line-up, Friel said: “If you want a festival that is tame and conventional and mildly entertaining don’t ask Sean Doran to organise it. Witness his Beckett festival in Enniskillen – it is wild and imaginative and creative and riveting. I have total confidence he’ll do the same with the Friel Festival.”

As part of the programme, Queen’s University Belfast will run a summer school in County Donegal to allow students to study Friel’s work in his home county.

The festival is expected to become an annual event in both County Donegal and Belfast.