Due to current circumstances and the continuing uncertainty caused by the spread of Covid-19, The John Hewitt Society has reluctantly decided to cancel this year’s International Summer School at the Market Place Theatre & Arts Centre, Armagh, Northern Ireland.
Tony Kennedy, Chair of The John Hewitt Society, said:
‘Our primary thoughts are with those who are living with and working through the current public health and economic crisis. In these circumstances, the decision to cancel the Summer School has been taken with regret as we are conscious of the position that the Summer School has in the cultural life of Northern Ireland and of Armagh in particular. An important aspect of the Summer School is the mixing of people and ideas over a week so it was clear that the Summer School could not take place.
This is not a decision we have taken lightly. However the safety of not only our contributors, our audiences, our bursary recipients, Market Place Theatre staff, JHS staff, committee and volunteers, but also of the people of Armagh who support and service the running of JHISS, is of paramount importance and we believe that planning to bring so many people together in Armagh at the end of July is not appropriate this year.’
The Board has considered other alternatives including postponement until later in the year. However, we felt that, since we would not be in a position to offer any certainty to possible contributors, bursary applicants, or supporters, it was better to draw a line under this year’s School.
In line with advice from government and the Arts Council of N. Ireland, an updated programme of events will be launched, including plans for next year’s John Hewitt International Summer School, which will take place from 26 – 31 July 2021. In the coming weeks we will investigate whether we can hold one-off events later in the year, depending on government advice. We will keep our website www.johnhewittsociety.org and social media platforms updated on plans.
To our many loyal supporters both here and from well beyond our borders, we thank you for your continued support and do hope that we can count on it to help us through this difficult time as we all look to an uncertain future in the months ahead.
In the meantime, we wish all our friends, supporters, sponsors and funders good health: stay safe, stay well, and we look forward meeting you again when this is over.
Perhaps during our daily external exercise, we can pause and reflect on John Hewitt’s lines in the poem “Lyric”:
Let but a thrush begin
or colour catch my eye,
maybe a spring-woke whin
under a reeling sky,
and all at once I lose
having so much to choose
out of the teeming air.