Mount Stewart reveals final line-up for Festival of Conversations

Published : 06 Sep 2016

Several weeks on from the announcement of the inaugural Mount Stewart Conversations on Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 September 2016, a stellar line-up of famous faces has been confirmed and the final running order is sure to spark plenty of excited conversation.

Guests to the first ever Mount Stewart Conversations festival, organised by the National Trust, will be to treated to world-class debate, award-winning performers and international artists, all appearing in various locations around the estate and gardens during the weekend.

From intimate VIP house tours, to charged political discussions and mind-expanding workshops, this event will once again position Mount Stewart as a location famed for promoting cultural diversity on a global scale.

During the two-day festival a series of talks will feature some of the greatest minds of the modern age. Jonathan Powell (former Chief of Staff to Tony Blair) will take to the stage with Irish journalist Fintan O’Toole to ask ‘Can the Kingdom Stay United after Brexit?’

Pulitzer prize winner Anne Applebaum will go head to head with Alex Titov (Queen’s University Belfast) to debate whether Russia is malevolent…or merely misunderstood.

Journalist, broadcaster and author David Aaronovitch will cover his hugely entertaining best seller - ‘Voodoo Histories – How the Conspiracy Theory has Shaped Modern History’

Francis Campbell, former British Ambassador to the Holy See will debate ‘Being a Diplomat: Fact and Fiction?’

Legendary BBC documentary maker, Michael Cockerell, will give insights on ‘Diplomats, Diplomacy and Television’ alongside crime-fiction writer and historian, Ruth Dudley Edwards.

Chairing key debates throughout the festival are BBC personalities William Crawley, Mark Carruthers and Mark Devenport who will be on hand to keep the conversation flowing.

Arts and music will fill the lawns at Mount Stewart with award-winning song writer Iain Archer headlining on Saturday night and Ursula Burns, the world’s most dangerous harpist, bringing her unique show to the stage on Sunday evening.  

More intimate acts will include a Ugandan dance workshop; music by Anglo-Colombian duo Bitch ’n’ Monk; a Charango and Ukulele workshop and performances by Orchestra des Réfugiés et Amis.

 A belly of laughs is guaranteed from acrobatic street performers Lords of Strut 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.

Adding to the great festival set-up, a host of local suppliers will provide a tempting variety of drinks and street-food to enhance the visitor experience and ensure a memorable weekend.

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.’

Tickets are on sale now for this inspiring, mind-expanding, one of a kind weekend at Mount Stewart.

Festival day passes are £30, or a festival weekend pass is available for £50. Concession discounts are also available.

For more information.