Friends and staff of the Lyric Theatre in Belfast were deeply saddened to learn of Seamus Heaney's death today and are hosting a celebration of his life tomorrow (Sat 31 Aug) at the theatre at 7.45pm.
The free event which is open to everyone will feature readings of Heaney's work and personal tributes. A portrait of the world-renowned poet by Bangor artist Colin Davidson will be on special display at the event.
The Nobel Laureate made his last public appearance in Belfast at the Lyric on 23 April 2012 where he addressed a sold-out audience to mark the new building’s first anniversary.
The theatre's close association with Seamus Heaney is reflected throughout the new building which contains a bust of the poet by sculptor, Philip Flanagan and a Louis le Brocquy painting at the entrance steps.
Mark Carruthers, Lyric Chairman paid tribute to the distinguished poet: “Seamus Heaney was a long-time friend and supporter of the Lyric Theatre and we are all therefore deeply saddened at his passing. He was a man of enormous talents – easily the greatest Irish poet since Yeats. His loss will be deeply felt beyond the arts world.
“As Lyric Chairman we would like to offer our sincere condolences to his wife Marie and family. He will be greatly missed.”
An impromptu round of applause was led by actor and friend of Seamus’, Adrian Dunbar, at the Philip Flanagan bust today.
At the death of another renowned poet John Hewitt, who also had a long association with the Lyric, the theatre opened its doors to those who wished to mourn him. In the same spirit, the Lyric is hosting tomorrow night’s event on the Danske Bank Stage to celebrate the life of Seamus Heaney.