Festival founder and Artistic Director Sean Doran said,
I heard from Winona last night that she had just lost a dear friend and would not now be able to come to the festival taking place next week in Enniskillen. She was very apologetic and saddened at not being able to come as planned as she had been very much looking forward to taking part in the festival. She told me she hopes to come next year instead. It is of course a great shame that Winona will not be joining us this year and all our thoughts are with her at this very sad timeâ€.
Winona Ryder was to have made two public appearances at the festival as part of The Tellers and The Tales programme, to read two Becket short prose and a poem.
Robert Wilsonâ€™s video portrait of the actress posing as Winnie in Beckettâ€™s play Happy Days will still be on show at the Higher Bridges Gallery in The Clinton Centre as part of the Festivalâ€™s Visual Arts programme.
The 2013 Happy Days Festival has over 140 artists from Australia, Italy, France, Finland, Portugal, America, Japan and 120+ events over 5 days aboard boats, within churches, castles and a police station, and down through tunnels and caves.
Those who have already bought tickets to see Winona Ryder on stage at the festival are invited to contact the Box Office to receive a full refund on 028 6632 5000.