Image: Bronagh Gallagher, above, to celebrate Heaney’s work
A Turner Prize winner, a former Children’s Laureate and a star of the National Theatre in London all feature in the new Seamus Heaney HomePlace events programme, which has just been unveiled.
In addition to the Heaney exhibition, HomePlace in Bellaghy also features a 190 capacity in-the-round performance space called The Helicon, with events being themed around a different Heaney collection each month. The April to June programme features a varied line-up of music, talks, literature, drama, visual art, workshops and community events themed around Heaney’s collections The Haw Lantern, Seeing Things and The Spirit Level.
One of the world’s most celebrated land artists, Turner Prize winner Richard Long will be in conversation with Declan McGonagle at HomePlace on Saturday 22 April, talking about his work ‘Mud Hand Circles’, which inspired the Heaney poem ‘The Mud Vision’.
Fans of the best-selling books War Horse and Private Peaceful won’t want to miss author and former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo on Sunday 30 April. Currently gracing the stage of the National Theatre in London in Salomé, actress Olwen Fouéré will give her take on Heaney’s collection The Spirit Level on Saturday 24 June.
Elsewhere, other highlights of the programme include soul diva Bronagh Gallagher celebrating “the beauty, the brilliance and the potency” of Heaney’s work with an intimate gig on Friday 21 April and one of Ireland’s most distinctive voices, poet Paul Durcan, marking Poetry Ireland Day at HomePlace on Saturday 6 May.
There are a number of musical collaborations to look forward to, with three of Northern Ireland’s best-loved singer-songwriters – Brendan Murphy, Anthony Toner and Matt McGinn – coming together for Songwriters in the Round on Friday 16 June and pianist Julius Drake making a welcome return to HomePlace with violinist Priya Mitchell, clarinettist Tim Orpen and cellist Brian O’Kane to perform transcendent works by composers Arvo Pärt and Olivier Messiaen in celebration of Heaney’s Seeing Things on Sunday 7 May.
Adding a Russian flavour to the programme is the award-winning artist Varvara Sharvrova who brings her audio-visual installation themed around The Haw Lantern to HomePlace on Saturday 22 April.
Fellow Russian artists, soprano Maacha Deubner and pianist Alissa Firsova, will acknowledge the influence of their country’s culture on Heaney’s poetry by performing works by Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky in The Haw Lantern Concert on Sunday 9 April.
Bellaghy and the surrounding area was a huge source of inspiration to Seamus Heaney and there’s a chance to see the landscape he made famous up close with the Seamus Heaney LifeCycle Tour on Saturday 27 May. Local theatre company Off the Cuff have teamed up with Big Telly to explore the history of the HomePlace site through its incarnations as a manor house, a restaurant and a police station in Clearances, which will be performed for one night only on Monday 24 April.
In addition to the huge range of events, there is plenty of opportunity to learn new creative skills at HomePlace, including journaling with Jacqui Milliken, notebook-making with Lucy Turner and writing your own poetry with Maria McManus and to explore new stories and meet new friends with the monthly HomePlace Book Club.
Seamus Heaney HomePlace is located just two miles off the main Belfast to Derry road (A6), 45 minutes’ drive from both cities.