4 Corners Festival 2024 Reveals Programme Highlights At Launch Event

The annual 4 Corners Festival is set to return in February 2024 with a packed lineup of events which include everything from talks, discussions and exhibitions to music and literature.

Now in its 12th year, the festival was conceived as a way to inspire people from across the city to transform it for the peace and wellbeing of all.

The festival features a range of music, discussion, sport and faith-inspired events and will run from February 1 to 11 in venues in all four corners of the city. 

Speaking at the launch at The Hub Belfast, committee member George Sproule said:

“We’re great at telling stories, but sometimes we need to challenge the stories that we do tell. The other thing is that sometimes we’re not very good at listening to other people’s stories.

“A well written and well told story changes the way you think about things and changes the way you look at the world.

“Our theme this year is OUR STORIES…Towards A Culture Of Hope. We want each other to listen to each other’s stories and the events throughout the festival are designed to do just that.”

With storytelling at the heart of the forthcoming festival renowned storyteller Liz Weir was on hand at the launch to discuss the importance of storytelling in today’s world.

She said: ”I really believe that stories are transformational. Because it’s very difficult to hate somebody, once you know their story. Isn’t that true? 

“Even if you disagree with another person, just pay them the respect of listening to what they have to say. I feel that very strongly. 

“In the work I do and have done for 50 years now, I’ve seen a lot of that. The impact that a good story can have because the listening is the most important thing”

Attendees of the launch were also given a unique preview of the Blue Lights story when journalist Tyree Patton interviewed screenwriter Declan Lawn. At the festival in February Declan and Tyree will be joined by Declan’s writing partner Adam Patterson.

Declan said: “I was really gratified to see the tagline of the festival, towards a culture of hope. For those of you who have seen the show we made, Blue Lights, there is a lot of darkness in it, it’s sort of a valley of darkness in many ways, but it is profoundly hopeful and profoundly optimistic. That’s the message of the show.”

The 4 Corners Festival believes in embracing our shared humanity, fostering connections, and creating a space where meaningful conversations can flourish. Each year the festival returns with a renewed purpose of transforming hearts, bridging divides, and leaving a lasting mark of positivity on Belfast.

The Cancer Focus Sing For Life Choir was on hand at the launch to entertain with a range of big hits and gospel numbers. 

Revealing the highlights of the festival was volunteer Shannon Campbell who said: “We have some pre-festival events in the run up to the 4th of February, but the 4 Corners Festival officially starts on Sunday the 4th. 

“That evening, we’re going to have author Claire Hayns in Fitzroy Presbyterian Church, who is one of the chaplains at Christ Church, Oxford. Her book Unveiled is about the lesser known women in Scripture. Claire’s going to be talking to us a bit about her book and she will be joined by her son who illustrated the book.

“On Monday, university students from across the city will gather at Queen’s University, where Claire will host a lunchtime discussion with students about the book. 

“On Tuesday 6th of February, we’re going to have Elma Walsh joining us at Ekenhead Memorial Halls. Elma is the mother of Donal Walsh who was diagnosed with cancer in his teens. Donal was moved by his situation, and also by the pretty harrowing suicide statistics in Ireland that year, to make a difference and to spread the message of hope among young people throughout the UK and Ireland. Elma and his whole family set up the Donal Walsh Foundation to continue that message of hope today among young people. Elma will speak to us about that and the Live Life message. 

“On Wednesday, we will have our Blue Lights story event which will be taking place in All Saints College on the Glen Road and it will take the form of a Q&Q. 

“On Thursday 8th, Celebrating Young Voices Hopes For The Future at 7.30pm at 2 Royal Avenue. So we’re going to hear about the stories of young people who are leading the way in various spheres of influence.

“The festival will officially draw to a close on Sunday 11th of February with an event entitled Towards A Culture Of Hope at St Comgall’s on the Divis Street, where Reverend Doug Gay will be talking about what a hopeful imagination looks like, and how we can discover that on the streets of our city.”

The 4 Corners Festival is supported by The Executive Office’s Central Good Relations Fund, The Department of Foreign Affairs Reconciliation Fund and Belfast City Council Good Relations Fund.

All festival events are free of charge, with most open to the public, although advance booking of tickets is mandatory. Select events will be streamed online on the official 4 Corners Festival YouTube and Facebook accounts.

Tickets for the event will be available to book on the website.

For more information about the festival and to keep up to date with programme updates go to 4cornersfestival.com

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