Past Festivals

2018 Festival

Now. Here. This.

Feb 1st


20 years ago not only did political representatives of loyalist paramilitary groups take part in peace negotiations, but their buying helped boost the “YES” vote supporting the 1998 peace agreement. Here and now however, the loyalist community is frequently portrayed rightly or wrongly as opposed to political “progress’ ‘. A panel discussion in the heart of “loyalist West Belfast” on the Shankill Road, with Prof Monica McWilliams, former Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission; Rev Ken Newell, a former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland who has been engaged in reconciliation work both publicly and behind the scenes for many years; William McQuiston, who served over 12 years in prison and was a prison spokesperson for the UDP and Martin Snoddon, who served 15 years in prison for UVF activity and now has been heavily involved in grassroots peacebuilding. The evening will be accompanied with sketches by the Shankill’s own “Heel and Ankle” Theatre Group.

Feb 2nd


Seminarians and young ministers from a range of denominations and Master’s students from Queen’s will be invited to a lunchtime discussion focused on the previous evening’s open, public event on the churches’ engagement with political loyalism. Participants will share lunch in small groups, discussing what they learned and the implications of that for their ministries and/or for public theology in Northern Ireland. The event also will enable them to meet with their counterparts from other denominations in an informal setting, laying the groundwork for future collaborative relationships.

This event is supported by the Senator George J Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen’s University Belfast.

Feb 2nd


With lain Archer, Joby Fox, Ursula Burns and Tony Wright Live music and conversations with music journalist Stuart Bailie.

Four important songwriters from Northern Ireland will play at this special 4 Corners event and will discuss how their songwriting has been affected by a changing political landscape.

The Good Friday Agreement in 1998 was a watershed moment for the songwriters of Ireland. They responded in a variety of creative ways. Some evoked a cautious hope. There was anguish at the Omagh Bombing and the fear of a setback. Another instinct was to try to copper- fasten the peace with positive messages and events. The economic boom was viewed with caution and even suspicion as the cities began to modernise and change. Those on the fringes of things felt excluded and said so in their music. Also, there was the whiplash effect of trauma and hurt, resurfacing in surprising ways. This collectively has been our soundtrack for the past 20 years.

Feb 3rd


Join us for a wonderful wander from St. Peter’s Divis to St. Anne’s Donegal Street! Spend time in two gems of Belfast City, both full of history and contemporary stories of Belfast life.

We meet at St Peter’s Cathedral, Divis, West Belfast at 3pm where the Administrator, Fr Martin Graham will tell us about the art and architecture of the Cathedral as well as its history and its renovations through the years. We will finish our time here with a short prayer service sung by the St Anne’s Cathedral Senior Girls.

Moving out from the Cathedral and into its grounds we will visit St Peter’s Immaculata Youth Centre and speak with Stephen Hughes about some of the issues he faces. He will tell us about the image Divis has and how various efforts are helping to change that perception. We will also hear from some young people who were involved in gangs and anti-social activity about how the centre has helped them turn around their lives. There will be light refreshments here.

We will then walk (approximately 20 minutes) to St Anne’s Cathedral in the heart of the City centre in what has become known as the Cathedral quarter. This time, Dean’s Vicar, Rev Mark Niblock will talk to us about the art and architecture of St Anne’s Cathedral and hear about its pivotal role in encouraging inter-church dialogue and activity in Belfast. This part of the programme will be completed by 5.30pm when the evening service begins for anyone who would like to remain for it.

Feb 3rd


Join us for an evening of choral music as we celebrate the role of community choirs in Belfast. Music has the power to move, inspire and unite us. Alongside this, local choirs offer friendship, support and a real sense of community. Compered by Jude Hill, this event will showcase the joy-giving work being done by community choirs across the corners of our city. Choirs include Feile Women, a group for women across Belfast and beyond; Harmony North, an inter- denominational choir of post-primary school students; ParSonik, a singing group set up to support those living with Parkinson’s Disease; Hill Croft School Choirs and Sing For Life, a choir set up in partnership by Cancer Focus and the Crescent Arts Centre for those affected by cancer. Following refreshments, the evening will close with Compline by Schola Cantorum from St Peter’s Cathedral.

Feb 4th


A live church service from Belfast South Methodist in the Agape Centre on the Lisburn Road, led by local minister Rev. David Campton with Breige O’Hare from, reflecting on a Jesus who stops, stands still, and is available to the moment… Now.Here.This… Now.Hear.This. On 94.5 FM, on DAB or online.

Feb 4th


A Theological Seminar on the role the Churches play in promoting peace and reconciliation today.

Twenty years after the signing of the Good Friday agreement, this event will explore the part the Churches can play in society to promote reconciliation, to heal division and to end sectarianism. The contributors for this event include Rev Dr Heather Morris, Secretary of Home Missions and former Methodist President, Rev Steve Stockman, Fr Brian Lennon SJ and Rev Karen Sethuraman. The event will be hosted by Dr Gladys Ganiel with musical performances by the fantastic Caroline Orr. There will be a Q&A afterwards.

Feb 5th-9th


What draws someone into prayer? A time of Crisis? Great sorrow? Great joy? A yearning to encounter something greater than themselves? What about a love for our great city, and a yearning in our hearts to see the hand of the Creator God touching each corner of our city in a new way? Come and join together and pray in the different corners of Belfast, North, South, East, and West! We will be engaging with God though liturgy, prayer stations, creativity, with silent and spoken out loud prayers. Over the 2 hour prayer session, please feel free to come and go as you please, don’t feel like you have to come for the whole time. We desire for God to move in our city in new ways, and we want to engage in what God is doing. So join us as we pray for our city, and the people within it, and seek the heart of God together!

Feb 5th


Those You Pass On The Street, a play by Laurence McKeown is a hard-hitting play that explores the legacy of the conflict in Ireland. When Elizabeth, an RUC widow, walks into a Sinn Fein office seeking assistance with anti-social behaviour in her area, she sparks up a friendship with community officer Frank. This developing friendship challenges their personal preconceptions and beliefs as well as their family and political loyalties.

Having toured to audiences throughout Ireland the play successfully contrasts political positioning with individual’s needs, challenging the view that any mechanism for dealing with the past is simply about ‘whose side gets what.

The play will be followed by a panel discussion with author Laurence McKeown and others.

Feb 6th


Our 4 Corners Feast, now in its 6th year, will once again be a partnership between the 4 Corners Festival and the Lord Mayor of Belfast. The aim of this special meal has been to honour and acknowledge people who, often out of the public eye, have made a significant impact on the life of our city and beyond. This year’s banquet, on Tuesday, 6th February in Belfast City Hall, will focus on those whose lives have been transformed through organ donation, either as donors or recipients.

We hope to provide our guests with a memorable evening of lovely food prepared by Root Soup (a social enterprise that involves people who have learning difficulties and people who are homeless working together to learn and grow, part of an overall ‘field to fork’ initiative) along with contributions by local musicians and opportunities to meet new friends and hear life- transforming stories.

Feb 6th


Play it by Ear drama company is back at the 4 Corners Festival, this time teaming up with a group of young adults from across the community. Together they will produce a night of drama, storytelling, poetry and more as they explore what faith looks like in Belfast today.

Feb 7th


Celebrating students today, here together, in this City. Sixty Year 11 pupils from all across Belfast and from various educational sectors will meet together in Ulster University’s Belfast campus on York Street. This partnership of Ulster University and 4 Corners Festival is now in its third year. The pupils will have an opportunity to take part in a range of workshops including animation, culinary arts and enterprise. The day will begin with a workshop on diversity acknowledging how difference can enrich all our lives. There will be a mini fair event with a range of stalls highlighting the many varied opportunities which third level education presents.

Feb 7th


A reading by Cole Moreton – The Boy Who Gave His Heart Away is the true story of two families who are drawn together when one son becomes the heart donor of the other son. Cole Moreton’s book was originally a Radio 4 Series that won gold as the Radio Academy’s Audio Moment of the Year in 2016. It is gripping and emotional!

Cole Moreton is an author and broadcaster. His first book, Hungry for Home about The Blasket Islands, was shortlisted for the prestigious John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. Cole is a father of four who lives by the coast and spends as much time as possible staring out to sea. Writing The Boy Who Gave His Heart Away has completely changed his mind about organ donation. He is also Guest Speaker at 4 Corners Banquet for Organ Donors and those living with transplants.

Feb 7th


Ricky Ross is front-man and songwriter for Deacon Blue who have sold over 7 million albums worldwide. He is also a solo artist, hosts his own Another Country radio show on the BBC and regularly hosts BBC Radio Scotland’s religious affairs programme Sunday Morning


This will be a unique opportunity to hear Ricky Ross sing his songs in the context of

conversation. Steve Stockman, who has been a fan of Ross’s work for over 30 years, will be asking Ross about the writing process, the bigger hits, the spiritual undercurrents and about the ones that might speak into our Northern Ireland context.

You will hear the hits… but also some songs you might never have heard live before.

Feb 8th


Alan McBride whose wife and father-in-law were killed in the Shankill bombing and Stephen Travers who was badly injured in the Miami Showband attack in which three of his colleagues were shot dead share what helps them live life now, here at this time. The event will be hosted by Kate Turner who works for the organisation Healing Through Remembering.

Feb 9th


Tony Macauley and Philip Orr have both written books about the 174 Trust, a Christian Peacemaking project on the Antrim Road in North Belfast. Macauley’s fourth memoir ” Little House On The Peace Line” was published in 2017 and tells the story of Tony, a young Protestant, moving onto and working in the Catholic New Lodge. In 2011 Philip Orr had written An Ordinary Kind Of Miracle that told a longer, wider and more objective story; a prophetic challenge to anyone attempting to follow Jesus in divided Belfast and indeed beyond. In this unique event, both writers will read from their different books, making for an inspirational evening.

Feb 10th


A walking tour taking in part of the Connswater Greenway, C.S. Lewis Square, Skainos and the Newtownards Road, starting at Sam Thompson Bridge linking the Titanic Quarter and the Larder in Mersey Street, looking at visionary redevelopment within the often overlooked post-industrial inner East Belfast, celebrating its past, with a compassionate eye on contemporary problems and hope for the future.

Feb 10th


Alain Emerson is one of the lead pastors of Emmanuel Church in Lurgan and Irish National Director of 24/7 Prayer. in 2017 he published his first book Luminous Dark about his struggles with the loss of his young wife when she was only 23 years of age.

The lessons of faith and life that Alain shares so honestly in that book might have much to teach us about how we live with the hopes and setbacks of our peace process. In this evening in the beautiful setting of St Patrick’s Church with some reflective Taize worship, Alain will speak about leaning into the pain, finding light in the dark and reassessing what we know about God.

Feb 11th


There is a new paradigm in ‘Forgiveness Remembers: A journey into the heart of God’ by Paul Farren and Robert Miller. At the event, the authors will offer us an opportunity to engage with one another in a new way. The Roman Catholic Bishop of Derry, Dr Donal McKeown, described the book as, “… subversive … radical and liberating…”

At the book launch author and peace-builder Tony Macaulay asked, “Why, in the midst of all the political talks, and the latest crises and deadlines here was there so little talk of forgiveness? Can we offer people a new way forward?

Can we answer Tony’s question? Join us at this 4 Corners event when Fr Farren and Archdeacon Miller will explore these and other questions with Rev Cheryl Meban, Presbyterian Chaplain to Ulster University with musical reflections by Beki Hemingway. The event will conclude with an act of acknowledgement and a commitment to reconciliation in which we admit our failings as peacemakers in the past and commit ourselves in a new way to reconciliation in the here and now.

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