Activity at The Crescent and Belfast Book Festival is a collaborative endeavour. Each year, we work with a pool of Freelancers who bring their expertise, ideas and range of perspectives to inform and shape our programme. For 2023/24, we are delighted to be working with: Music Associate - Donal Scullion; and Creative Learning Associates - Clara Kerr (Dance), Chris Wright (Creative Reading & Writing); Phil Smyth (Music) and Charis Agbonlahor (Drama). 

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Donal Scullion is a performer, songwriter and arranger working with a wide variety of acts over 20+ years. A solo acoustic performer of original music, band leader and songwriter for 10-piece original soul machine NI Soul Troop, member of 8-piece original reggae outfit The Vibes, and guitarist and vocalist in The Unholy Gospel Band. As an arranger and session musician worked with many great local acts including Cormac Neeson, Malojian, Ciara O’Neil, Owen Lamont and many others. This eclectic background has led to performances at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The Ulster Hall, festivals, theatres, pubs and clubs all over UK and Ireland, support slots with a wide variety of artists including Lee “Scratch” Perry, The Specials, The Brand New Heavies, Craig Charles, Damien Dempsey, The Answer and And So I Watched You From Afar. Click here to read more about Donal. 

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Charis Agbonlahor has been working as a professional actress and drama practitioner for around 15 years with a BA Hons in Theatre Arts and diplomas in Performance Art and Musical Theatre.  For the past few years Charis has worked mainly in television and film with recent roles in Netflix's Winx saga, AMC’s Moonhaven, and Virgin's new show Faithless. Previously she has worked as a freelance theatre director, teacher and producer working mainly in London theatres. Charis has a real passion for teaching and empowering people through drama. She strongly believes that acting isn’t about being someone else. Instead it's about  using who you are to breathe life into different perspectives and walks of life. 

 

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Clara Kerr is a dance artist based in Belfast. She graduated from LIPA with a first-class honours degree in Dance. Since graduating, Clara has directed and choreographed multiple dance pieces, including Line of Life commissioned by Maiden Voyage Dance, An Féileacán Agus An Rí, performed as part of the Belfast Children’s Festival 2020, and Caillte performed as part of the Liverpool Irish Festival. Clara has also performed with major companies across the UK and Ireland including Incandescence theatre in Qatar and Palestine, with Northern Ireland Opera in La Traviata and as part of a sold-out West end and UK and Ireland tour of Fairytale of New York.

 

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Chris Wright has been listed for the Irish Book Awards Short Story of the Year, runner-up in The Mairtín Crawford Award, and his stories have featured in several anthologies and publications, such as Declarations on Freedom (Scotland Street Press), The Blackbird (Seamus Heaney Centre), and A Little Unsteadily into Light (New Island). His writing on the pandemic has been preserved in the Irish Reading Archive at the UCD Library. Chris has an MA in Creative Writing from the Seamus Heaney Centre at QUB. He teaches Creative Writing and is a judge for the Mairtín Crawford Award.

 

 

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The Belfast Book Festival 2023 Associates were: Natasha CuddingtonSasha de BuylNeil Hegarty and Mícheál McCann. 2024 Festival Associates will be announced later this year. 

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