Our Chair, Tony Brady, reports back from the Ballinmallard Festival:

Tony Brady as Rudyard Kipling

Tony Brady as Rudyard Kipling

Fermanagh Writers’ members* turned out in strength as contributors and supporters to last Wednesday night’s Rudyard Kipling themed presentation of prose, poetry and romance as part of the Ballinamallard Festival 2014. Under the direction of Teresa Kane, the performers took up places along the woodland pathway and tunnel running beside the river close to the village. An appreciative crowd watched as dusk settled over fern filled woods and lapping waters, while the beautiful natural setting acted as background for a variety of scenarios and street theatre combining music and recitations.

Tony Brady and May Morris

Tony Brady and May Morris

Earlier, children began the evening’s entertainment by skipping along the high street and performing creative dancing to contemporary music, near the sign marking the historical connection with the internationally known poet. At the waterside, Stevie Smith’s poem: Waving Not Drowning and a new poem using the style and form of Kipling’s  poem: If addressing and challenging the issues of fracking, were recited by Anthony Viney and John Kelly: the speakers standing in the river. Further on, in standard form, the original poem If was recited most movingly and a flute solo performed. The crowd then watched as two characters recited: Is there any news of my boy Jack? One of them, a lookalike Rudyard Kipling. He turned and led the crowd through the tunnel accompanied by 4 guitar playing young people.

Next, up on a brae, two women gave a romantic poetic playlet/vignette from between and behind trees. The audience then looked down a steep bank as WB Yeat’s poem: The Song of Wandering Aengus with the opening lines: “I went out to the hazel wood because a fire was in my head…” was performed at the river edge by actor and actress, ending in a kiss. Other performances: inspiring, educative, comic, historical and amusing were offered along the pathway and led to a finale by a kilted piper who led the party back through the village. The evening ended with two dramatic performances delivered from a raised terrace and then refreshment was provided to all in the cavern beneath by hosts Maurice and Teresa Kane.

*Anthony Viney, John D. Kelly, Jennie Brien, Simon Campbell, Natasha Martin, Gordon Williams, John Llewellwyn James, Trish Bennett, Mary McElroy, Wayne Hardman, Tony Brady, Marie Tracey, Antoinette Rock, Pauric Dolan, May Morris.

Tony Brady and Teresa Kane

Tony Brady and Teresa Kane