Happy Days Enniskillen has begun to lay new roots for a broader vision of Northern Ireland as a place of culture, great literature, new conversations and old stories presented in refreshing and enduring ways.
Through a performative approach to literary heritage – with festivals, education and place-making at its heart – we have sought to re-imagine ways of turning literature and heritage into celebration, bringing together people and encouraging a spirit of place through a shared cultural heritage.
Such thinking has been at the heart of our literary heritage and cultural programme since 2012.
Seán DoranFounder and Festival Director
Seán is one of the world’s most highly acclaimed artistic producers in international multi-arts festivals and events. His artistic leadership has spanned several countries and two continents in opera, literature, visual arts and the performing arts. He is currently Artistic Director & Chief Executive of Arts Over Borders (Ireland) and Co-Director of the ideas and programming consultancy DoranBrowne (London).
In the past decade, Seán co-curated with his long time artistic partner, Liam Browne, Liverpool’s Sgt. Pepper at 50 Festival (2017) delivering thirteen stand-out world premiere events to the 13 iconic album tracks (The Times accorded his Mark Morris Pepperland dance commission as the 2017 Show of the Year). In Ireland from 2012, he has founded the world’s exclusive multi-arts festivals celebrating Irish writers Nobel Laureate Samuel Beckett (Happy Days), Brian Friel (Lughnasa FrielFest) and Oscar Wilde (A Wilde Weekend by Lough Ernest) and Northern Ireland’s first international multi-arts festivals since 1962. A former Artistic Director & Chief Executive of the English National Opera (2003-2006), Seán was the first Irishman to head one of England’s national arts companies. It was his concept to take opera to Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage with a 100 piece orchestra & 9 singers for Wagner’s Valkyrie (introduced by John Peel on live television) and also to grass Trafalgar Square for its first opera.
Liam Browne was born in Derry, Northern Ireland. His first novel, The Emigrant’s Farewell, was published by Bloomsbury and a second novel is now with his agent. He is a former Literature Officer at the South Bank Centre in London, Literature Programmer of the Brighton Festival and Programme Director of the International Literature Festival Dublin. Amongst the writers Liam has programmed over the years are Richard Dawkins, Antonia Fraser, Will Self, Edna O’Brien, Gore Vidal, Germaine Greer, Ben Okri, John Banville, Clive James, Sandy Toksvig, Michael Morpurgo, Tom Stoppard, Simon Schama, Ian McEwan, Martin Amis, Victoria Wood, Wole Soyinka, Allan Ginsberg, Michael Palin, David Attenborough, Harold Pinter, Jeanette Winterson, Doris Lessing, Julian Barnes, Richard
Ford, Hanif Kureishi and Philip Pullman.
With Seán Doran under the arts consultancy, DoranBrowne, he conceived and co-curated, with Seán, Sgt. Pepper at 50 Heading for Home (Liverpool, 2017), the first year of the new Seamus Heaney HomePlace, 12 months 12 books (Bellaghy, Co. Derry, 2016/2017) and The Shape of Things to Come in Folkestone (2019).
Sally ReesVolunteer and Programme Manager
Sally is a creative and enthusiastic educator and arts practitioner, with over 25 years experience teaching and leading Drama and Performing Arts in England and Ireland.
Originally from Fermanagh, Sally returned to settle in Enniskillen with her family in 2006. She is Leader of Learner for Creative and Expressive Arts at Enniskillen Royal Grammar School, formerly Portora Royal School. In her capacity as Volunteer and Programme Manager for Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival and Wilde Weekend Sally has enjoyed forging meaningful relationships within the community and is passionate about building and sustaining community and participatory arts practice. Sally is an active Chair of Dylan Quinn Dance Theatre, Co-chair of Fermanagh Omagh District Council Arts and Culture Forum and sits on the board of Tinderbox Theatre Company, Belfast. Sally has facilitated, Leitrim Music Generation Ukes 4 Youth Orchestra and International Fund for Ireland, ‘Across the Lines’ programme bringing young people from Leitrim and Fermanagh together to create theatre exploring their cultural heritage and identity.
Bernie MooneyProject Manager and Education Co-Ordinator
As a Project Manager Bernie’s background is in Education having led and delivered a wide range of multi-disciplinary statutory, non-governmental and community-based initiatives across a range of organisations.
Bernie has exceptional regional and international experience in senior roles including leading a team of education advisers to the US to research and develop innovative good practice models for Northern Ireland. Bernie has also managed the European INTEREG Northern Periphery Artic Programme, working in partnership with Finland, Scotland and Ireland developing Literary Heritage Tourism models including new models for literary heritage tourism in Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh.
Norma has worked in the financial services sector for a number of years and managed at both a regional and national level in Ireland. She has a strong background in risk assurance, change management and project management within the banking sector. She has successfully implemented regulatory policies end to end, developed strategic plans and control structures for the retail network and business banking in AIB Bank.
Norma has demonstrated good governance skills throughout her career and has developed and delivered national programmes in SME Lending and credit quality. She is currently serving as Chair of the Stephens Green Club in Dublin. Norma is the first woman to hold this position since the Club’s formation in 1840.
Órla ran a highly successful marketing and PR Consultancy for over 20 years, specialising and working with global luxury brands. She has worked closely with Centrepoint, the UK’s leading youth homelessness charity, over the past 15 years producing a number of very high profile events, and in 2018 joined Centrepoint as Relationship Director and Trustee of American Friends of Centrepoint and Centrepoint Trading.
Órla has most recently been working on the set-up and launch of Centrepoint’s innovative, sustainable, and affordable housing initiative, the Independent Living Programme – very much tied-in with the ambitious Homewards Campaign of Centrepoint’s patron, Prince William. Órla is an Ambassador for The Sorority and a founding member of The Sorority Council, a pioneering private society - a sisterhood - of inspiring professional women and is a trustee of FairBreak Global. A global movement whose mission it is to progress gender equality using cricket as a primary vehicle.
Paul Sternberg, Co-Chair
Paul is the Co-Chair of Happy Days Enniskillen and works in social and civic innovation. His background is in broadcasting, community organising, and academia and he has held senior leadership roles at Channel 4, Business in the Community and the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA). Paul has also been involved in setting up social ventures such as Action for Happiness, The Media Trust, Key4Life and the international arts programme, Arts Over Borders. As Director of Postgraduate Studies at Ravensbourne University London he established the Institute for Creativity and Technology focusing on design, innovation and technology as drivers for leadership and wellbeing across the creative economy.
Peter has had a career in banking which has enabled him to support his favourite art form, opera. He has supported the leading British opera companies over a number of years. He was on the Board of English National Opera for eight years from 1999, on the board of National Opera Studio for about ten years and is a trustee of the UK friends on the Aix Festival, as well as having been on the board of Happy Days EIBF for 8 years.
Bill is an American lawyer and banker who came to London in 1975. He is currently a senior advisor at Trinity Group Limited, which raises money for private equity fund managers. In his early days as a lawyer, he worked with Robert Kennedy on his last campaign in California in 1968. Since coming to London, he has been involved in a variety of charitable work including: membership on the Northwest London panel of the Princes Trust, funding young entrepreneurs; on the Princeton Schools Committee, interviewing applicants from the UK; membership on the Board of Cooperation Ireland and membership on the International Council of United World Colleges since 2013.
Carlo is one of Ireland’s top writers and a member of the Aosdana, Ireland’s top arts organization which is limited to 250 living artists who have produced a distinguished body of work. It was established by the Arts Council to honour artists whose work has made an outstanding contribution to the arts in Ireland and membership is by peer nomination and selection. Born in Dublin in 1954, Carlo was brought up in London, and studied at the University of York and the National Film and Television School, Beaconsfield. He has written several novels and short stories as well as directing award-winning films. He is currently writer-in-residence in HMP Maghaberry, Co. Antrim, where he has been in post since 1997 and a Visiting Fellow at University College Dublin. He has also taught at Trinity and Queen’s University Belfast. Carlo is also an occasional broadcaster and director of network television documentaries. His film ‘Put To The Test’ won the 1999 Royal Television Society award. He is a sometime chair of the Irish Writers’ Centre and was on the Board of the Arts Council from 1999 - 2003. He now lives in Enniskillen (and has lived in Enniskillen since 1989) with his wife and five children.
Jim Coleman is an economist with 30 years’ experience. A globally recognised expert in urban economic development, he envisions economic futures for cities and regions based on specialised industry strengths, low carbon innovation and urban technology. He is currently Head of Economic Advisory at WSP – a leading multi-disciplinary professional services firm. Jim provides expert economic advice to public bodies internationally including national governments, urban development companies, municipal authorities and international development agencies, including the World Bank and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). He previously held director-level roles at Oxford Policy Management, Buro Happold Engineering, Aecom and Cushman & Wakefield. He started his career as a lecturer in the Economics Department of Durham University and retains a strong link to academia through his position as Professor of Professional Practice in the School of Architecture & Cities at the University of Westminster, where he teaches on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in strategic spatial planning, regional development and urban design.
Mary Heaney, Co-Chair
Mary has been involved in creating and building international businesses for the last 20 years. Specializing in the legal and luxury sectors, she currently runs a global media group which produces several market-leading events and publications. She is a Board member of peace charity Co-operation Ireland and has been involved in major fundraising for the charity for 25 years, having been awarded the Co-operation Ireland Peace prize in 2011. She was one of the founders of the Queens University Belfast City Leadership Group, funding and awarding scholarships to QUB students looking to get internships in the City of London and the US, connecting them with financial and legal firms. She is currently on the Advisory Board of the London Irish Lawyers Association. Mary was nominated as one of the top Irish business leaders in Britain by the Irish Post in its inaugural awards.
Nessa has worked as a lawyer for nearly 20 years in both Dublin and London specialising in media and entertainment. A graduate of Queens University Belfast, Nessa previously headed the film and television group at a top 20 global law firm in the city of London before she left to head the legal team at Umedia, a tax fund based in Brussels. Currently Nessa is commercial director of Align Pictures Inc, a production company based in Los Angeles, and involved at board level in The Take One Fund, a media fund based in Luxemburg which invests in all areas of media including film, television and theatre.