Belfast Telegraph

Five highlights of the 2019 CS Lewis Festival in Belfast

L-R: Actor Stephen Beggs and Finn Harriott (6).
L-R: Actor Stephen Beggs and Finn Harriott (6).

The programme for the seventh annual CS Lewis festival has been announced, with over 40 events championing the Belfast-born author.

The theme of this year's festival is Through the Wardrobe, taking inspiration from Lewis' much-loved The Chronicles of Narnia and transporting those attending the event into the mystical world created by the author.

The five-day festival takes place at venues across the city.

Highlights include Christmas celebrations at CS Lewis square, a re-imagining of the author's journey from childhood to writer at Lanyon train station and a Narnia-themed treasure hunt at the EastSide Visitor Centre.

Lord Mayor of Belfast, John Finucane said: “Thanks to his Narnia books, CS Lewis is a name known across the world and as a proud son of Belfast, he has been helping to put the city on the map for decades.

"But of course Lewis is known for much more than just writing children’s books, and the CS Lewis Festival is a fantastic way for people to explore more about his writings and learn about this much-celebrated author who hailed from east Belfast, and whose literature was inspired and shaped by that landscape.

"I’m delighted that the Arts Council is supporting the festival and it’s really encouraging to see how it continues to grow, year on year, and has become a firm favourite in the city’s cultural calendar.”

The festival runs from November 22 - 26 and includes film screenings, talks and debates, events for children and families, visual art, literature, workshops and more.

Here are five festival highlights:

1. Christmas at CS Lewis Square

  • November 22 - 24

A two-day programme of activities kicks off the festive celebrations at CS Lewis Square, including festive market stalls, a special Father Christmas experience, dining under the stars, music, arts and crafts, family entertainment and much more.

On Friday, November 22 at 7pm the Christmas Lights Switch On will take place with entertainment for all the family. Keep an eye on CS Lewis Festival social media channels for the most up to date information.

2. Jack’s Journey

  • November 22, Lanyon Train Station

A whimsical re-imagining of the childhood journeys of CS Lewis as he stops along the way to his eventual career as the writer of the Narnian Chronicles.

The story is told through music memories and significant episodes from his school days, up to his entry into Oxford. Living almost entirely in his imagination as a small boy, the seeds of the Narnian world are already beginning to grow in his writing and drawings.

This unique tribute to his childhood journey will be performed by pupils from Campbell College Junior School, St Joseph’s and Strandtown Primary Schools with members of the Ulster Orchestra.

3. Through the Wardrobe and into the Woods - Stories of Magic and Wonder

  • November 22,  Ballyhackamore Library
  • November 23, Woodstock Library

Join Janice Witherspoon on a storytelling journey into the woods where you will meet the magical insects and animals that live there, and hear tales of brave birds and dancing trees. Suitable for all primary age children and their parents.

4. Interactive Musical Adventure at CS Lewis Reading Corner

  • November 23, Connswater Shopping Centre

Through music, story and song travel to a place of your own making. This mini adventure is perfect for curious souls, big and small.

5. Through the Wardrobe Family Fun Day

  • November 24, EastSide Visitor Centre

Join us for a free Narnia-themed treasure hunt and super-fun craft activity, write your own story with children’s author Myra Zepf and explore CS Lewis Square. Drop in any time.

For the full festival programme visit eastsidearts.net/cs-lewis-festival

L-R Festival Director Rachel Kennedy Sonya Whitefield from Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Lord Mayor of Belfast Cllr John Finucane
L-R Festival Director Rachel Kennedy Sonya Whitefield from Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Lord Mayor of Belfast Cllr John Finucane

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