The National Trust  launches its exciting programme of activities for the Mount Stewart Conversations Festival which takes place on the 14th and 15th October with a stellar line up of speakers, international music performances and a full programme of arts and animation throughout the house and world famous gardens. The event, now in its second year, is also the launch pad for the National Trust’s UK wide national programming focusing on women and suffrage in the centenary year 2018.


The weekend Festival, supported by Ards and North Down Borough Council kicks off on Saturday 14th October with a number of high profile talks, performances and entertainment. Everyone is encouraged to get down to Mount Stewart and enjoy this spectacular and engaging two day event.


Speakers include Mail on Sunday columnist Rachel Johnson, distinguished lecturer Professor Senia Paseta, as well as Ian Hislop one of the UK’s best known and best loved satirists and editor of Private Eye.


Ahmad Sarmast, the founder of the Afghanistan Women’s Orchestra will feature alongside Shalini Wickramasuriya of The Music Project in Sri Lanka, to discuss the use of music and arts to overcome conflict. The festival will also include a tongue and cheek look at ‘Boys Jobs, Girls jobs’ with TV’s ‘Googlebox’ favourites Giles and Mary Wood.


The Festival will be much more though than high profile debates and conversations with many free events taking place. The National Trust are hosting an exciting programme of arts and animation  for children of all ages including The Garden of Thought Experiments where visitors will be encouraged to Explore the Magical Gardens of Mount Stewart and meet an array of characters who will challenge and amaze in the world of philosophy and introduce the young and old to new ways of expanding minds.


Take part in a Street Art or Circus Workshop or enjoy a lecture on  The History of the Mixed Drink, Use Mind Control like Donald Trump, or the Suffragettes of Soccer with much more to be announced.

If you fancy something completely different a Ukulele workshop is on hand where visitors can learn to play Swahili songs, or experience an interactive art wall and a music and arts workshop by Youth4Peace delivered in partnership with Beyond Skin, an intercultural arts organisation.


In addition to this stellar line up of speakers and international music events the National Trust is also joined by BBC Northern Ireland for a series of conversations exploring the theme of Journeys, Journalism and Books. Some of those taking part include historian and television presenter Dan Cruickshank, children’s author Geraldine McCaughrean and Aliste

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