The Actualities, Stephen Sexton



Ireland, Northern Ireland




Created in 2021 - Produced in 2022 - Various Archive 1898-1969


04min 28sec





black and white


Funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland under the Archiving Scheme 2


British Film Institute, Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, Department for Communities, Ian Livingstone, ITV, Stephen Sexton, UTV Archive

Rights Holder

Northern Ireland Screen

It is illegal to download, copy, print or otherwise utilise in any other form this material, without written consent from the copyright holder.


Northern Ireland Screen invited four artists to respond to the films within the Digital Film Archive. The Looking Glass Anthology is a collection of beautiful works by a range of musicians and poets that capture what the archives mean to them on a personal level.

Poet Stephen Sexton was drawn to explore what those being filmed in the past may have imagined the future to be and how we, the viewer looking back, see their lives. These are actual people with actual lives, hence the poem’s name The Actualities.

Soundtracked by an evocative bespoke composition by Ian Livingstone, Stephen reads his poem alongside the archives he selected. The images inspired the words and the words found their match in the images. The result is a beautiful journey back in time that gives new life to the people we see in the archives.


A Northern Ireland Screen production funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland under the Archiving Scheme 2.

Written and Performed by Stephen Sexton.

Music by Ian Livingstone.

Produced by Bronagh McAtasney.

Edited by Paul McClintock. 



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