Get ready to step through the wardrobe into the magical world of the seventh annual C.S. Lewis Festival from November 22 – 26. Taking its theme from the much-loved The Chronicles of Narnia, this year’s C.S. Lewis Festival will transport you through the wardrobe into the incredible imaginative world of C.S. Lewis and his characters. There’s plenty of family-friendly events throughout the festival which will encourage everyone to open up and explore their own imagination…
The five-day festival will take place across venues in east Belfast and beyond. To help you plan your festival experience, why not consider these five special family highlights:
Christmas at C.S Lewis Square (22-24 Nov)
A fantastic two-day programme of activities to kick off the festive celebrations at C.S. 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 have entertainment for all the family.
The Literary Fairy has all the best stories in her very special library – The Most Magical Library of the Best Stories Ever(22, 23 & 24 Nov.), and because Christmas is coming, she has an extra-special story to tell you. The evil Snow Queen doesn’t like Christmas and she has been up to mischief, planning on ruining Christmas for everybody! Can you help the Literary Fairy, her friend The Faun, and the Very Interesting Creatures sort out this terrible mess and foil the Snow Queen’s rotten plans? Bring your imagination and your favourite, loveliest words, and join our characters on their quest to save Christmas. You may even get to meet Santa if your mission is successful! Grown-ups can come too if they promise to behave.
Jack’s Journey (22 Nov Lanyon Train Station) is a whimsical re-imagining of the childhood journeys of C.S. 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.
Through the Wardrobe and into the Woods – Stories of Magic and Wonder ( 22 Nov- Ballyhackamore Library, 23 Nov – 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.
Interactive Musical Adventure at C.S. Lewis Reading Corner (23 Nov – Connswater Shopping Centre) “In your mind, you can find, a whole world of pure imagination . . . let’s go somewhere today!” To the beach! Perhaps, if the sun shines. Maybe a woodland walk or a trip to the movies. Who knows where we’ll go! Through music, story and song we’ll travel to a place of our own making. This mini adventure is perfect for curious souls, big and small.
Through the Wardrobe Family Fun Day (24 Nov, EastSide Visitor Centre) a free Narnia-themed treasure hunt and super-fun craft activity, write your own story with children’s author Myra Zepf and explore C.S. Lewis Square. Drop in any time!
Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor John Finucane said: “Thanks to his Narnia books, C.S. 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 C.S. 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 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.”
Roisín McDonough, Chief Executive Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented: “The Arts Council is proud to support the C.S. Lewis Festival. A significant portion of our support comes from funds raised through the National Lottery, which this year celebrates its 25th birthday. I would take this occasion to acknowledge the invaluable role that the National Lottery plays in enabling arts organisations throughout Northern Ireland to deliver high-quality, inspiring and enriching arts and cultural experiences for everyone to enjoy. With the help of this investment, EastSide Arts is achieving great, ambitious things, as it continues to drive forward the creative and cultural renaissance of east Belfast.”
Rachel Kennedy, C.S. Lewis Festival Director, added: “We are delighted to bring the seventh annual C.S. Lewis Festival to venues across east Belfast and beyond. Our Curator Jan Carson has put together a wonderful range of exciting and imaginative events around the theme ‘Through the Wardrobe.’ Each year we seek to showcase Lewis’s wide-reaching legacy, and the fantastic work of Belfast artists and writers that have followed in his footsteps 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, funders Belfast City Council, Tourism NI and Arts & Business NI and our many sponsors, partners and supporters. Their ongoing commitment helps us to deliver this wonderful festival which continues to champion and celebrate the respected and much-loved citizen of Belfast – C.S. Lewis.”
Keep an eye on C.S Lewis Festival social media channels for the most up to date information. For further information visit eastsidearts.net follow on Facebook /CSLewisFestival, Twitter @CSLewisFest #CSLewisFest.
Pictured at C.S Lewis Square, east Belfast (l-r) Rachel Kennedy C.S Lewis Festival director, C.S Lewis aka actor Stephen Beggs and Finn Harriott (6)