Events News Press
XVIII Derry ~ Donegal
Public Event 13 - 16 June, 2024

YES Festival

Celebrating female creativity • The Future: A Female Vision

An international multi-disciplinary celebration of womens creativity inspired by James Joyces most famous female character, Molly Bloom, from his epic novel Ulysses.

Fiona Shaw, Dame Harriet Walter, Eve Hewson, Siobhan McSweeney and Adjoa Andoh are among 8 award-winning stage and screen actors taking part in The Molly Films to be world premiered at the YES Festival.

The YES Festival will be Ireland’s inaugural all women artists festival, a cross border and cross community programme of events taking place in Derry~Londonderry and north-east Donegal, June 13-16, 2024 and inspired by the final Episode 18 (Penelope) of Ulysses, more familiarly known as Molly’s Soliloquy. 

YES Festival is the culmination of ULYSSES European Odyssey 2022-2024, an unprecedented Creative Europe project across 18 European cities and is the concept of its Lead Artistic Partner, ARTS OVER BORDERS Ireland (which is co-funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs Ireland). Its programme has seen literary museums, activist community organisations, artists from the visual arts, film and theatre along with festivals of photography, light and literature take Joyce’s novel as the starting point to explore contemporary issues, from migration to the environment, disability to mental well-being and democracy to The Future: A Female Vision; the theme set for its grand finale in Ireland.

Click here for the full YES programme available at www.YesDerry.com

Over 30 female artists from the 16 nations involved in the project will travel to Ireland for the YES Festival to present work in venues and public spaces across Derry~Donegal. The programme will include theatre, dance, visual arts, installations, film, writing, photography, textiles, circus, music, rap and song.

There will be a World Premiere screening of The Molly Films, a specially commissioned set of short films in which a different actor will each read one of the eight unpunctuated long sentences that form Molly Bloom’s extraordinary stream of consciousness soliloquy. The final episode of Ulysses, Molly’s soliloquy, is set in the dead of night in her bedroom; it begins and ends with the word ‘yes’ and has provided inspiration for many artists over the years (including, for example, Kate Bush’s song The Sensual World).  Yes is also the word used colloquially by people in Derry to greet each other on the street.  The World Premiere screening of the Molly Films will take place in Letterkenny and Derry on June 14, 15 & 16. 

The final day of the YES Festival, and also the final day of 2 year journey of events that began in Athens September 24 2022 (the 100th anniversary year of the publication of Ulysses), will be renamed Molly Bloomsday and marks the largest ever celebration of the character of Molly Bloom, bringing to an end the extraordinary creative engagement with Joyce’s novel that has taken place through the epic project of ULYSSES European Odyssey 2022-2024.

The YES Festival is the concept of Seán Doran & Liam Browne (DoranBrowne), Artistic Directors of Arts Over Borders.

Click here for the full YES programme available at www.YesDerry.com



A revealing and revelatory engagement with the inner city streets of Derry and the landscapes of north Donegal across one day of events (on the hour from 8am on June 16 to 3am on June 17.)

Concept DoranBrowne

Ireland’s traditional Bloomsday gets turned on its head, heads North and goes female.

Derry~Donegal’s inaugural Molly Bloomsday will transpose Joyce’s Ulysses schema of scenes/locations and happenings from Dublin to Derry~Donegal.  Several of the exact locations and characters in Ulysses were not solely Dublin inspired and this vindicates the reimagining of Derry’s streets and buildings as Ulyssean spaces for the YES Festival.  Joyce himself wrote a novella titled Giacomo Joyce in 1914 whilst also commencing work on Ulysses.  He transferred many instances and locations outlined in GJ, such as a graveyard, a classroom, a Paduan brothel, to Dublin for Ulysses. Living people from his life in Europe were also transposed into the Dublin story: Martha Fleishman in Zurich into Gerty McDowell and Italo Svevo from Trieste into Leopold Bloom.  The transposition from south to north is not an altogether alien step. 

Our approach for Molly Bloomsday is to match parallel locations and spaces with the scenes set out by Joyce in his novel.  The day will open at 8am with the three musical sisters of The Henry Girls playing and singing in the Donegal iron age sun-fort, An Grianán of Aileach, looking out over the watery expanses of Lough Swilly and Lough Foyle (with the City of Derry behind it), a scene echoing the three male students breakfasting at the Martello Tower in Sandymount Dublin in the opening episode of Ulysses. Episode 6 (Hades), set in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, will be mirrored with a guided tour of the notable women buried in Derry City Cemetery (and will include a performed reading of Marina Carr’s Molly Bloom’s letter to Joyce from Hades).  The Episode 8 (VIII Lestrygonians) lunch hour will be acknowledged through the wonderful street food vans and stalls of Derry in Guildhall Square.  A highlight of the day will be the 3 hour SIRENSCIRCUS (starting at 4pm in Ebrington Square) involving over 100 musicians and participants, during which you can hear all the sounds and music of Episode (XI Sirens). 

Click here for the Molly Bloomsday programme

Full YES programme is available at YesDerry.com


Denmark Finland France – Germany – Greece – Hungary – Ireland – Italy – Lithuania – Netherlands – Portugal Romania – Spain – Switzerland – Turkey – United Kingdom

YES Artistic Curator: Shauna Kelpie & YES Creative Producer: Jonathan Burgess

Inspired by Molly Bloom, the female protagonist of James Joyce’s Ulysses, the inaugural YES Festival will celebrate the diverse creative wealth of Europe’s female artists who will travel from the sixteen nations involved in the ULYSSES European Odyssey project, coming together from June 13-16 2024 for a vibrant, engaging schedule of events, workshops and residencies throughout the city centre of Derry and the north-east Donegal region.

Over 20 Derry ~ Donegal venues (DERRY: YES Hub at St. Columb’s Hall, Millennium Forum, The Playhouse, New Gate Arts Centre, Ebrington Square, Guildhall, Derry Walls; DONEGAL Regional Cultural Centre Letterkenny, Balor Theatre Ballybofey, The North Pole Bar Inishowen, An Grainán of Aileach, Lisfannon Strand) will host The Sixteen Nations programme of Fado from Portugal, Middle Eastern theatre from Copenhagen (The Other Arab Woman), a photo-journalist from Trieste, dancers from Lugo, Istanbul and Leeuwarden, queer arts activists from Cluj Romania, a film maker from Berlin, a circus performer from Oulu Finland and textile artists from Vilnius and Dublin.

The European section of the YES programme seeks to encourage audiences and communities to connect with Derry~Donegal’s ULYSSES European Odyssey designated theme, The Future: A Female Vision, thereby increasing local access to European creativity and artistic expression as well as showcasing the contribution female artists make in highlighting social change.

ULYSSES European Odyssey city partners of Athens, Berlin, Budapest, Cluj, Copenhagen, Derry~Londonderry, Dublin, Eleusis, Istanbul, Leeuwarden, Lisbon, Lugo, Marseille, Oulu, Trieste and Vilnius have partnered with the curators at ARTS OVER BORDERS to identify female artists who embody the festival’s theme, The Future: A Female Vision.

Click here for The Sixteen Nations programme

Full YES programme is available at YesDerry.com


NOW Artistic Curator – Martina Devlin

All events to take place in the Festival Hub, St. Columb’s Hall.

There will be five NOW panel discussions from June 13-16 in which women discuss their relationship with power in contemporary society, the role of media today, and a possible way forward in a world beset by crises and threats. 

Speakers include: groundbreaking political leaders (Women & Leadership), Baroness Shami Chakrabarti, Caoilfhionn Gallagher and Susan McKay (Women & Power), Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, with journalist Louise Cullen (Women & Climate Change), Bernadette McAliskey, Dr Ailbne Smyth, Flor MacCarthy and Aoife Moore (Women & Resistance) and award winning reporters Orla Guerin, Marion McKeone, Jude Webber joined by Miriam O’Callaghan (Women & Media).

Click here for No Ordinary Women programme

Full YES programme is available at YesDerry.com


A ULYSSES European Odyssey Trail Through Derry~Londonderry

Concept DoranBrowne, YES Curators & UEO City Partners

RoUTE 18 is a unique walking trail that threads through 18 different venue locations from Derrythe Brandywell Showground in the west of the city to Ebrington Square in the east.  Each of Derry~Londonderry’s 18 organisations will be paired with one of the ULYSSES European Odyssey cities to host each European city’s exhibition of materials, offering a unique insight into the two year project that has been coursing its way from Athens in September 2022 through 17 other cities by the time of its arrival in Derry~Londonderry.

Click here for the full RoUTE 18 programme

Full YES programme is available at YesDerry.com


A 3 hour free event for promenade audience to promenade, come and go.
Ebrington Square
Molly Bloomsday, Sunday June 16, 4pm – 7pm
100-200 musicians and participants.

Concept DoranBrowne

Project Curator – Margaret Kelly

SIRENSCIRCUS will be a joyous euphonic reimagined rendition of Episode XI (Sirens) of Ulysses through the framework of John Cage’s MUSICIRCUS.  It will involve up to 200 participants who will bring together all the sounds mentioned in the Sirens Episode XI of Ulysses (e.g. horse whinnies and clip-clops,  steel horseshoes of horse and trap, harp, horn, tympanum, pipe, fife, cello, double bass, trombone, dulcimer, piano, corks popping from bottles, batons tap tap, bells, china rattling on trays, coins ringing, giggling, trilling laughter, a choir of burps, hiccups, yawns, mumbles, sighs, pantings, songs (The Lass of Aughrim, The Croppy Boy) and actors readings sections of the episode through microphones, all amidst the natural outdoor sonorous melee of Derry.  This episode was the closest Joyce ever came to writing a symphonic piece of music.  He once commented the episode was composed as an 8-piece fugue.

Click here for the SIRENSCIRCUS programme

Full YES programme is available at YesDerry.com


Concept and original idea  – DoranBrowne

Actors: Fiona Shaw – Dame Harriet Walter – Eve Hewson – Siobhan McSweeney – Adjoa Andoh

Cinematographer-Director – Sophie Muzychenko

World-leading actors will contribute to the Molly Bloom soliloquy films in which each actor will read one sentence from Ulysses Episode XVIII (Penelope). Some of the filmed readings (c.20mins each) may be released on digital platforms leading up to the beginning of the YES Festival in June.

World Premiere Screening

Part I (Sentences 1-4): June 15 2024, Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny

Part II (Sentences 5-8): June 16 2024, YES Festival Hub St. Columb’s Hall, Derry~Londonderry.

Free public screenings will be simultaneously held on the video screen headboard of the Molly Bed in Ebrington Square.

To close the YES Festival and Ireland’s first Molly Bloomsday, all 8 Molly Films will be released as one film (c.2.5hrs) digitally from c.2 am (the time Joyce set for the soliloquy) to 4.48am (dawn in Derry) on Monday June 17th worldwide.

Click here for The Molly Films programme

Full YES programme is available at YesDerry.com


Molly Bed Designer – Tracey Lindsay

An 8 day public art centrepiece in Ebrington Square (June 9-16, 2024)

The MOLLY BED will be a Gulliver-sized sculptural bed created by Northern Ireland theatre designer Tracey Lindsey.  It will include a headboard as video screen to show the world premiere of the Molly Films on June 15 & 16.  The bed will have a letterbox built into its side, under the sheets, for visitors to drop in their own messages and aspirations on the theme of The Future: A Female Vision.  These messages will be collated with a number shown live on the screen headboard and some included in Derry ~ Donegal’s final representation joining the UEO 18 cities of “Will You Answer? 309 Questions from Europe” which will be published at the end of 2024. 

Click here for The Molly Bed programme

Full YES programme is available at YesDerry.com


IMELDA MAY: In Conversation and Performance

A closing concert in the Millennium Forum on the evening of Sunday, June 16th, 8pm, to celebrate the inaugural Molly Bloomsday in Derry~Donegal.

Born and raised in The Liberties area of Dublin, Imelda has become one of Ireland’s most celebrated female artists in history. Her 2008 self-written & produced album ‘Love Tattoo’ is the best-selling album of all time by a homegrown female artist in Ireland and her most recent album “11 Past the Hour” marks her fourth Number 1 album in Ireland and fourth Top 10 in the UK. Imelda’s recent albums are a departure from her early rockabilly revival style with a sound that sits firmly outside of any sharply defined genre box, widely spanning blues, rock, soul, gospel and jazz.

Imelda was discovered by Jools Holland, who asked her to support him on tour, she has gone onto perform alongside legendary artists including Lou Reed, Bono, Tom Jones, Noel Gallagher, Elvis Costello, Van Morrison and most recently joining Hollywood actor Jeff Goldblum on his debut album The Capitol Studios Sessions, and Ronnie Wood on his Chuck Berry tribute album ‘Mad Lad’ & tour. She’s performed all over the world in front of royalty & politicians like Obama, to the 52nd Grammy Awards with Jeff Beck to singing the Irish national anthem in Las Vegas ahead of the Floyd Mayweather/Conor McGregor fight in 2017 with a reported TV audience of 1 billion people across 200 countries.

Imelda has co-hosted BBC’s Later with Jools Holland, and presented her own series “The Imelda May Show” for RTE Ireland in 2018. 2021 saw her shoot her first major film role opposite James Purefoy in Fisherman Friends 2 due for theatrical release in 2022, and present the SKY Arts literary travelogue series “The Voices of Ireland” airing this December.

As well as selling millions of records worldwide, Imelda is also a Women’s Rights Activist and Poet, who has just released her first poetry book ‘A Lick & A Promise’ on Faber Music, instantly debuting at No.8 in the Irish Times Bestsellers Chart (Hardback Non Fiction).

Click here to book tickets from Imelda May at Millenium Forum, Derry~Londonderry

Full YES programme is available at YesDerry.com