Mount Stewart Conversations Festival

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UPDATE 1st September


This unmissable two day festival 14 & 15 October, celebrates the arts on an international scale and reveals Mount Stewart’s history as a hothouse of creativity, individuality and political influence.

Building on the success of last year’s event, Mount Stewart Conversations is once again attracting a stellar line-up of acclaimed guests who will debate, read and talk on a wide range of subjects.  An exciting mix of activities and entertainment is planned to take place around the family home and world-famous gardens. Festival 2017 will welcome a host of influential and well known speakers including Ian Hislop, the UK’s best known and much loved satirist and Private Eye editor, commentator and Sunday Mail columnist, Rachel Johnson and journalist Rosie Boycott to name but a few!  Beyond Skin as a partner in this years festival will be bringing together international and local artists with guest speakers who will encourage audience participation through creative dialogue workshops and performances.

The specialist talks will explore a wealth of topics of global, political and social interest, including the 2018 anniversary of Women and Suffrage, Brexit and the Irish Economy, Political Women of Ireland, Journeys through time, Myths and Legends and much more.

BBC Northern Ireland will also host a series of talks throughout the weekend and visitors will have the opportunity to learn about journalism, the ancient world, comedy, world affairs and literature.  Guest speakers will include Ian Hislop, Jonathan Lynn (co-writer of Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister), Dan Cruickshank, Natalie Haynes, Edith Hall and Fiona Stafford. 

The event features a large #ArtsDialogue programme hosted by a diverse team of artists & peacebuilders arriving to our shores including: Mim Suleiman described as Mama Africa of the Modern Era, cutting edge Grime producer Raphael Frank, one of Wales finest visual artists Jess Balla & special guests from Escuelas de Paz (Colombia), Heartbeat (Israel/Palestine) Brehon Advisory (Middle East).  Beyond Skin is also proud to welcome Dr. Ahmad Sarmast, the founder & driector of Afghanistan National Institute of Music who will feature alongside Shalini Wickramasuriya of The Music Project in Sri Lanka, to discuss the use of Orchestras to overcome conflict.. A full list of activties is available at this link

Festival goers will be encouraged to engage in live debates and discussions, as well as share personal views and opinions.  Details of other well-known celebrity speakers and presenters will be released in the coming weeks.

In addition to the talks programme, the festival will also have a fringe programme which will include an eclectic mix of participative activities, art, dance, music and much more.

Further information on special guests, festival performances and tickets will be released in the coming weeks. Access to the conversation sessions and readings will be ticketed, whilst other activities will be free of charge.  Please also note that Normal Admission to Mount Stewart will apply during the festival weekend.

Mount Stewart Conversations 2017 is expected to attract audiences from near and far to this beautiful part of Northern Ireland to celebrate the arts, literature and music in a world-class setting.

Further details of the full programme will be released over the coming weeks.

Tickets details


Beyond Skin team have a soft spot for Mount Stewart and we have loved working with the National Trust team there. Watch the VIDEO of when Mount Stewart hosted part of our Global Youth Peace Summit back in March 2017

Beyond Skin would wish to thank IBIS Belfast Hotels, British Council, Arts Council Northern Ireland, Comic Relief, Ards & North Down Borough Council & The WOMAD Foundation for their support.