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Homer's Odyssey on Donegal beaches

Adrian Dunbar directed new adaptation

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Homer's Odyssey on Donegal beaches

Adrian Dunbar

Actor/director Adrian Dunbar will direct a special site-specific adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey, that is being presented episodically on five Donegal beaches this weekend.

The performances are part of Arts Over Borders, a new cross-border arts initiative to run over the weekend of August 24th to 28th.

Arts Over Borders builds on the work developed over the last five years by Seán Doran and Liam Browne (DoranBrowne) on the Brian Friel Festival in Derry and Donegal and more recently their quality year-long programme for the Opening Year of the Seamus Heaney home place in Bellaghy.

The events aim to highlight the relationship between artists and the island of Ireland, crossing borders and histories. The initiative is supported by a set of Irish artist patrons, including Colm Toibin, Fiona Shaw, Eimear McBride, Kevin Barry, Ciaran Carson, John Banville, Lisa Dwan, Lisa McInerney, Nick Laird, Roy Foster and Adrian Dunbar.

In this first year, Arts Over Borders will celebrate the relationship between playwright Brian Friel and Homer; it is said that each year Friel would read one or other of the two Homer epics.

The Odyssey will be recited by actor Niall Cusack and takes place on the beaches of Tullan Strand Bundoran (August 24th) with Yeats’ Ben Benbulben to one side and the highest cliffs in Europe Slieve League on the other; Narin (August 25th), Carrickfin (August 26th), Marble Hill (August 27th) and Fahan, Inishowen (August 28th).

Frielfest 2017 will also have performed readings of two great plays by Friel in unique locations across the region: the festival’s signature play, Making History, directed by former Royal National Theatre Associate Mick Gordon in An Grianán Theatre Letterkenny, and a promenade Faith Healer in community halls in Glenties, Portnoo and Ardara ending up at the Highlands Hotel in Glenties, from August 25th to 27th.

Also from August 24th to 28th, Christopher Logue’s unfinished epic War Music, an account of Homer’s Iliad written over 30 years, will be directed by Conall Morrison in five indoor locations along the walls of Derry with a cast of three. The production follows the recent five-star review in the Guardian newspaper for Conall's Galway International Arts Festival hit, Woyzeck in Winter.

Prior to the reading of Making History in the Guildhall, Dr. Malachy O’Neill, provost of the Ulster University Magee campus, will give an introductory talk on the place of the play in Friel’s work and earlier that afternoon Malachi O’Doherty and Brian Feeney will debate the role of traditional and social media in how history is made.

For ticket information for all Donegal performances, contact An Grianán Theatre box office, (074) 91 20777.