News | April 4, 2024

Bloomsday to Become Molly Bloomsday in Honour of Joyce’s Famous Female Character

Yes Festival

Imelda Staunton

This June, a cast of some of the UK’s finest actors will feature in a new, all-female, film interpretation of James Joyce's Ulysses

Dame Harriet Walter, Fiona Shaw, Cush Jumbo, Imelda Staunton and Siobhán McSweeney are each performing in The Molly Films as part of The YES Festival (June 13 - 16), an international celebration of women's creativity, inspired by Joyce's character Molly Bloom from his novel Ulysses.

Each year on June 16, the day on which Ulysses is set, Bloomsday celebrations take place in Dublin and across the world, with readings and performances hailing Joyce and the book’s central character Leopold Bloom. This year, north of the border in Derry, Londonderry and north Donegal, June 16 will become Molly Bloomsday for the first time, as artists and audiences gather in celebration of the character inspired by James Joyce’s wife Nora Barnacle and to provide a rare all-female exploration of Joyce’s work.

In The Molly Films, each actress will take one of the eight mammoth ‘sentences’ which form the closing episode of Ulysses, Episode 18 (Penelope) known as Molly's Soliloquy.

The Yes Festival marks the culmination of the ULYSSES European Odyssey 2022-2024, an international project which since 2022 has seen artists, writers, historians and performers gathering in 18 European cities. Each city has hosted and created an ‘episode’ exploring contemporary issues, from migration to the environment and disability to global data, with Joyce’s novel as the starting point. 

Episode 16 of the journey will take place in Lisbon (June 8-16 ) where the focus will be on Europe’s ageing population, inspired by the generation gap between Bloom and Stephen in Ulysses. The penultimate episode of the journey (no. 17) will take place in Dublin (June 8-11 ).
The YES Festival will feature women artists from cities involved in the ULYSSES European Odyssey, presenting theatre, dance, visual arts, installations, film, writing, photography, textiles, circus, music and song.

Shauna Kelpie, Artistic Curator for the YES Festival, said: “Countless words have been written about Ulysses, very often from a male perspective, so we’re truly excited that the YES Festival should be created by women and to see how they interpret Joyce’s masterpiece."