Latest Event Updates
FRIDAY 28 APRIL TO MONDAY 2 MAY
EXCITEMENT is mounting in the lovely north-coast village of Cushendun as we prepare to launch our fifth annual Big Arts Weekend with a programme that is, yet again, lively, varied – and very ambitious! The festival organisers are delighted to have secured the participation of distinguished performers, lecturers and guides who are expert in a wide range of areas: whether you are interested in drama, music, the visual arts, history, archaeology, gardening, poetry, language, cookery, or simply in forming a more knowledgeable acquaintance with the outdoor world and the local landscape, there is something here for you.
An hour-long walk on Saturday morning will provide an opportunity to explore the many literary associations of Cushendun’s ‘Five Big Houses’, and our continuing sense of the importance of literature is reflected in our programme. The festival will begin on Friday night with a performance of Songs and Poetry of the Easter Rising. On Saturday afternoon, a Creative Writing Workshop led by Medbh McGuckian, an Irish poet of international acclaim, will give an innovative twist to the popular Share a Poem session; earlier that day, Professor Frank Ferguson will speak about John Hewitt and his contribution to Ulster Scots. Theatre events range from a stand-up comedy event on Friday night, to Donal O’Kelly’s award-winning Catalpa, to the Lurig Drama Group’s rehearsed reading of John Patrick Stanley’s play, Doubt. Children will be able to take part in a ‘Play in a Day’ drama workshop.
Music for a Spring Evening is always a highlight of the festival: this year we are thrilled to welcome the Voices Together Community Choir to St Patrick’s Church on Sunday evening. Earlier that day, Cushendun musician Glenn Simpson will play in the Old Church, against a backdrop of sculpture by Raymond Watson and a photographic exhibition mounted by local young people. Glenmona House will be the venue for a lecture by artist and historian Hector McDonnell on megaliths in the Glens, and for a talk by Conor McCormick entitled ‘A Year of Colour in My Garden.’
Exciting outdoor events include a two-day course on foraging in the Glens, a guided walk through Ballypatrick Forest, and our popular Dawn Chorus walk in Cregagh Wood. There will be the usual range of outdoor family activities and, on the final afternoon of the festival, an opportunity to sample the delights of the Naturally North Coast and Glens Artisan Market.
The weekend is organised by Cushendun Building Preservation Trust (CBPT) in support of the Old Church Project. CBPT gratefully acknowledges the Department for Communities, and Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council for Community Festival Funding. It also wishes to thank the Heritage Lottery Fund, the National Trust, the Heart of the Glens Landscape Partnership Scheme, McBride’s bar and the Cushendun community for their contribution to the festival.
As part of European Heritage Open Days Weekend, Cushendun Building Preservation Trust (CBPT) is hosting its annual Vintage and Secondhand Book Sale in Cushendun Old Church on the 10th and 11th September. The Book Sale also offers an opportunity to visit the Old Church, a lovely 1840’s country church in the picturesque National Trust Village of Cushendun.
Now in its sixth year, the Cushendun Vintage and Secondhand Book Sale has become a popular stop for locals and Heritage Weekenders visiting North Antrim and the Causeway Coast. We will have on sale a great range of bargain hardbacks and paperbacks – everything from fiction, crime and biography to travel, cookery and children’s reading – as well as our traditionally rather good tea and coffee, scrumptious cakes and buns supplied by our neighbours in Glenmona House.
If you would like to donate any books for this event, you can do so at the shop in Cushendun, Cushendall Golf Club and the Ferry Terminal at Ballycastle.
In addition to the Book Sale CPBT is auctioning a stunning oil painting of Cushendun Bay by early 20C artist John Whyte, best known for his ‘Lowry – esque’ paintings of Belfast. The painting is a rare view of Cushendun at the time of the Rope Works and before even the Maud Cottages were built, though the familiar sweep of the bay remains unchanged to this day. The painting has been generously donated to CBPT to help raise funds for restoration of the building. It will be on view in the Old Church throughout the weekend and will be sold to the highest bid (reserve £200) received by 5pm on Sunday 11th September. For further information email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line WHYTE PAINTING. We are also delighted to announce that accomplished musician Glenn Simpson will be performing as part of the weekend amongst other performers (tbc).
We would like to thank everyone for your continued support which allows us raise awareness about CBPT and the upkeep of the Old Church until such times as we are in a position to complete the restoration.
Friday 29 April to Monday 2 May
BREAKING NEWS … Two of Northern Ireland’s top bands, The Ingram Brothers and Rory Conway with the Convicts, will perform live at the launch night of the 2016 Cushendun Big Arts Weekend, transforming Knocknacarry Hall into a party venue for the evening of Friday 29 April!
The finest way to welcome in the month of May has to be at the Big Arts Weekend in the beautiful seaside village of Cushendun. The weekend-long festival has a ‘bringing it all back home’ theme this year, not to mention a touch of stardust. Harpist and singer Amy McAllister, who grew up in the Glens of Antrim and now performs all over the world, will give a concert in St Patrick’s Church, supported by Cushendun Folk Choir, and there will be exciting contemporary theatre by Rasharkin-born actress/writer Mary-Frances Doherty, in a double bill with Cushendall-based Lurig Drama Group – as well as talks, walks, exhibitions and outdoor fun for children and families.
This will be the fourth Big Arts Weekend and once again there will be many free events in a programme that offers something for everyone and draws on Cushendun’s history as a place beloved of creative people. There will be talks by contemporary writers including Roisin McAuley, Anne-Marie Fyfe and Damian Gorman, all closely associated with the area, as well as a unique look at the life of the enigmatic Roger Casement – diplomat, poet and rebel, executed for his role in the events of 1916 – who was a regular visitor to Cushendun.
Established favourites like Share a Poem, as well as family fun, including the popular sandcastle competition and face-painting, will all be back, alongside some brand new events. Play in a Day, a fun children’s drama project culminating in a performance, is scheduled for Saturday, and Naturally North Coast and Glens artisan market will bring their hand-crafted goods and food to Cushendun for the first time on Bank Holiday Monday.
Cushendun’s Big Arts Weekend is organised by Cushendun Building Preservation Trust (CBPT) in support of the Old Church Project. The Old Church itself will be open all weekend, hosting a magical moths-and-butterflies art installation, and resounding on the Sunday afternoon to the sweet strings of Cushendun-based musician Glenn Simpson. There will be story-telling with Liz Weir, and more art on show at the open exhibition in Glenmona House, where you’ll also find delicious treats at the pop-up tea shop.
CBPT thanks the Cushendun community, as well as the Heritage Lottery Fund, Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, the National Trust, Heart of the Glens Landscape Partnership Scheme, McBride’s Bar and McCollam’s pub, Cushendall and Glenmona House Trust for all their support.
Tickets will also be on sale in the Corner House Tea Rooms, Cushendun on the weekends of 16-17 and 23-24 April, 10am to 3pm. Early booking is recommended.
Drama, music and the outdoor world are the big themes for the 2015 edition of Cushendun’s Big Arts Weekend. For the third year running, the Antrim coast village of Cushendun will host a programme of arts events to delight, inspire and entertain over the May Bank Holiday weekend. With highlights including the first performance of a new play, an evening of cool jazz and a jam-packed family fun day, the Big Arts Weekend promises enjoyment for all tastes and ages.
The weekend kicks off with a Friday night of laid-back jazz from BBC Radio Ulster’s jazz presenter Linley Hamilton and the Julian Bohn trio.
On Saturday evening, a powerful new autobiographical play will be premiered in Knocknacarry Hall. Entitled NewBliss, the play follows the story of saxophone and clarinet player Keith Donald, who, in the course of a career spanning six decades, has played with the likes of Van Morrison, Christy Moore and the Moving Hearts. The play charts the highs and lows of a life as a musician – from pit orchestra gigs to pay the bills to sold-out stadium tours across North America, Africa and Europe – much of which was spent under the shadow of alcoholism.
Sunday’s events are all about the great outdoors. Early risers are invited to a Dawn Chorus walk through Cregagh Wood, where a guide from the local Heritage Trust will introduce walkers to an open-air concert of birdsong. On Sunday afternoon, Glenmona House will host the Big Picnic, a family festival with face-painting, traditional games and music, with plenty of green spaces to run around in and explore. For artistic children of all ages, Makendoo will be on hand to help you create sensational hats and he
addresses. Down on the beach, the creativity continues with Cushendun’s splendid annual sand sculpture competition.
On Bank Holiday Monday, the Music for a May Evening event will feature Corcra in concert in St Patrick’s Church, Cushendun, with an eclectic mix of songs and music to round off the weekend’s programme.
These are just some highlights of the Big Arts Weekend, which also includes live poetry with Elaine Gaston, in association with the John Hewitt Society, an exhibition of local artists’ work, and three rare films. The full programme is available at http://www.cushendunbpt.org, where you can book tickets for the performances and register for the many free events.
So whether you are a theatre buff, a music fan, a lover of nature or a small person bursting with energy and imagination, Cushendun is the place to be this May Bank Holiday weekend. A warm welcome awaits!
I am delighted to take up the post of Project Development Officer for Cushendun Building Preservation Trust. My background is one of project management & community development with specific experience in community arts and heritage projects.
This is a very exciting time in the redevelopment of the Old Church, and there is much to do over the course of the coming months in order to submit a second round funding application to the Heritage Lottery Fund. This will involve a number of pieces of work including a business plan and a programme of activities to link people with heritage and the arts.
This is your village and your local community – the place where you live, go to school and work. I will be working alongside the CBPT and we need to engage with you closely over the coming weeks and months in order to drive this project forward.
This will include;
– Working with local residents, groups and schools to ensure that the Old Church is a space where they feel welcome and can utilise.
– Engaging young people to develop a youth sub-committee for the Old Church – harnessing their creativity & talents.
– Ensuring the Old Church is a hub which engages with visitors to Cushendun & develops the tourism potential of the village.
– Planning with local businesses to ensure that anything we develop is working with them and of a benefit to the village as a whole.
I hope to speak with as many of you as possible over the next few months. I will be here for the Big Arts Weekend, where amongst other things I will be running reminiscence workshops on people’s memories of the Old Church. This will be totally informal and any memories, good or bad, inside of the Church Building or not would be really appreciated.
I look forward to meeting with you!
At last we can go public with the wonderful news that the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) have earmarked over £260,000 for the Old Church Project. Initial development funding of £22,800 has been granted to enable CBPT to put together all the information HLF require before the full grant for restoration is released in 2016.
Heritage Lottery requires very detailed planning before it will fund a project to guarantee that the money it grants does not go to waste. There is lots to do and over the next 12 months we will be very busy commissioning an architect, drawing up a conservation plan, developing a sustainable business model, not to mention the essential bat survey. We will also be regularly consulting with our local community and key stakeholders to ensure we have everyone’s support. Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy.
It’s been a long road since we were voted regional winner in the BBC’s ‘Restoration Village’ back in 2006 (the project was awarded funding for an audience development report and energy use report as a consequence). Since then there has been much work behind the scenes to negotiate a lease from the Church of Ireland which was finally secured in late 2013.
Once the Old Church is restored it will provide a focal point for visitors to learn about the village and will be wonderful venue for exhibitions, workshops, performances, heritage displays as well as much needed community space. Plans for the building include careful modifications to provide a kitchenette and disabled toilet creating a comfortable and versatile venue for the community and visitors alike. CBPT has already established a reputation for organising events such as the Vintage Book Fair for European Heritage Open Days and the Cushendun Big Arts Weekend which showcase some of the potential uses for the building.
Betty Allen, former parishioner of the old church and founding member of Cushendun Building Preservation Trust said, “I am delighted! I was a long standing member of the congregation and am a founder member of the Building Preservation Trust. When the Church was deconsecrated there was a real risk off it becoming derelict, now it will be properly looked after and a great asset to the village.”
CBPT are collecting information and recollections about the Old Church and would love to hear from anyone who used to be a member of the congregation or has other associations with the building. For further information about the project and to contact CBPT visit www.cushendunbpt.org
We are also planning the Cushendun Big Arts Weekend 2015. If you have any suggestions, or would like to get involved do get in touch at email@example.com or come along to our planning Open Meeting in Glenmona on Monday 29th at 7:30 pm.
Finally we would like to thank everyone who has supported us over the years, we could not have got this far without you.
Happy Christmas and a wonderful 2015