Cultures of the world converge at Mount Stewart Conversations

Published : 24 Aug 2016

Excitement builds as more details emerge on how Mount Stewart Conversations will unite global acts in a weekend of inspiring debate, arts and culture

Mount Stewart will open its doors to world renowned academics, thought leaders and performers for Mount Stewart Conversations on the 17 and 18 September – a weekend festival that will bring global diversity to the shores of Strangford Lough.

Day passes to this unique National Trust event are selling fast as word spreads about how Mount Stewart Conversations will unite the arts, culture and youth in one unforgettable weekend.

Ecletic menu

Acting as a gateway to the world, the eclectic menu of talks, performances, music and dance will see Mount Stewart once again make its mark on the international cultural scene, stirring the emotions and stimulating the curiosity of all who visit during the two days. Encouraging conversation through the use of music and dance, Mount Stewart Conversations has worked with local charity Beyond Skin to add a range of unique creative acts to the programme ensuring inter cultural arts are at the fore.

‘Beyond Skin is an organisation focused on recognising the power of the arts and youth in the community for the development of peace. We know that this pioneering new festival will encourage interactions and conversations, leaving a legacy that will benefit the wider community,’ explains Chief Executive Darren Ferguson.

‘We are delighted to bring some of our acts to the Conversations weekend, adding to the global essence of the festival and ensuring cultural expression through arts and youth.’

Encouraging global diversity

Visitors to the festival can join a Ugandan dance workshop led by Donna Namukasa, a Ugandan musician living in Belfast who facilitates the entire workshop in her own native language encouraging the audience to use body language to communicate.

Intriguing Anglo-Colombian duo Bitch ’n’ Monk consisting of Mauricio Velasierra and Heidi Heidelberg will stimulate all the senses with their unique blend of electric guitar, beatboxing soprano and traditional Andean flutes, all electrified with effects pedals for a sound unlike any other.

Learn to play the Ukulele to the story and sound of its big brother – the Charango at a Charango and Ukulele workshop facilitated by Chilean musician Victor Henriquez.

Adding a sense of mystery to the weekend the illusive Orchestra des Réfugiés et Amis will be performing diverse music compositions throughout the weekend. Developed by Beyond Skin and supported by the Arts Council, Orchestre des Réfugiés et Amis creates a space for artists in Refugee or Asylum status to meet, collaborate, socialise and get creative with professional musicians.

In addition to these international acts, musical minds can enjoy being serenaded by Bangor born singer-song writer Iain Archer, Irish artist Molly Sterling and maverick harpist Ursula Burns.

A belly of laughs is guaranteed from acrobatic act Lords of Strutt and the Camper Van of Dreams will be encouraging visitors to step inside and share their dreams. With new acts being added daily, this is shaping up to be an unmissable event.

Of course no festival is complete without enticing food and drink offerings and Mount Stewart Conversations will deliver on that front as well, with a host of local suppliers providing a tempting variety of drinks and snacks to enhance the visitor experience.

Summarising the ethos behind the event, Jon Kerr, National Trust General Manager at Mount Stewart said: ‘Mount Stewart is no ordinary country estate. For hundreds of years, this has been Ireland’s secret retreat for Royals, leaders of state, influencers and aristocracy.’

‘For generations this has been a powerhouse of great thinking, art, music, talks and deliberation, and this energy lives on today. In the spirit of the estate, Mount Stewart Conversations will bring an eclectic range of people, artists and performers together for a unique weekend of lively debate, stories, music and arts.’

Mount Stewart Conversations runs on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 September from 11am – 9pm.
Day passes cost £30 per day or £50 for a weekend pass. Concession tickets are also available.

Visit to book tickets and for up-to-date event information.

If you are interested in volunteering at Mount Stewart Conversations visit here