Arts Council of Northern Ireland

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What’s on in the Arts

Wednesday 7th October 2020 at 12pm 0 Comments Community Arts , Drama , Dance , Literature , Northern Ireland Music , Visual Arts

What's on in the Arts Image: What's on in the Arts

As more and more artists and arts organisations from Northern Ireland go digital to connect with audiences at home, the Arts Council has rounded up just some of these fantastic cultural things to do online.  As the arts sector slowly and safely re-opens we have also highlighted some exhibitions and events to enjoy in galleries and outdoors, supported by exchequer and National Lottery funding.

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Arts Care: has just released details of their upcoming autumn activity programme entitled Connect 2020.  Connect 2020 is an innovative and progressive programme of arts workshops, exhibitions, festivals and performances across health, social and community care services and creatively supporting healthcare staff, service users, residents, families, key workers and the community during the Covid-19 pandemic.  All of these wonderful arts activities are delivered online or in a face to face facilitated workshop that follows all Government health and safety guidelines.  Arts Care 4U Premium + is their online arts delivery channel that everyone can access and Arts Care will be launching an updated version of this channel soon at



Belfast International Arts Festival: The 58th Belfast International Arts Festival (BIAF) has been digitally launched with an imaginative and inspirational programme for the times we live in, as Northern Ireland’s leading contemporary multi-artform festival largely goes virtual for 2020.  From 12th October to 1st November, inspirational events featuring dance, music, theatre, film, visual arts and discussion will be largely hosted online, with a small number experienced in-person. The impressive programme responds creatively to the current pandemic and explores matters of contemporary interest such as gender equality, multi-culturalism, representation, the climate crisis, and democracy.  Visit to view the full programme and access tickets. 

Belfast Music Society: is marking Beethoven’s 250th anniversary of his birth at the Northern Lights Mini-Festival, 18-26 October, as part of this year’s Belfast International Arts Festival.  There are events worldwide to mark the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth.

For BMS's own anniversary they have extended the annual Mini-Fest to five concerts, two of which are devoted to works for piano by the great composer.  Two superb pianists join them for the occasion: Janina Fialkowska, who won many new fans in Belfast when she performed for BMS in 2016, and John O'Conor, renowned for his performances and recordings of Beethoven and a significant influence over many generations of young pianists throughout Ireland (and worldwide). Janina Fialkowska will perform with the Piatti Quartet, whose first violinist is Belfast-born Michael Trainor.  These will be online concerts which are recorded from the Harty Room at Queen’s University Belfast. If you want to watch the concerts in their first broadcast as part of the Belfast International Arts Festival 2020, book at (free, but donations welcome!). After that, the recordings will be available on the BMS website for one month.

Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich:  kick off the 30 year celebration of Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiach with an inaugural heritage event, a special art exhibition, Cultúrlann Collection, which will launch in Dánlann Dillon at the beginning of October. They also present their fourth virtual concert celebrating the indigenous Celtic festivals, the Samhain concert will showcase the best of traditional music courtesy of Music in the Glen along with storytelling and mumming with Cleamairí Feirste as per the ancient Samhain tradition. The concert will be broadcast on Cultúrlann Facebook and YouTube channels on Friday 30th October at 8:30pm.



The Belfast Ensemble: The Belfast Ensemble reinvent Beethoven with their new work, Septet (for four) at Belfast International Arts Festival.  Fresh after the success of their genre-busting Abomination – A DUP Opera, The Belfast Ensemble premiere a new work – SEPTET (FOR FOUR).  Created to mark the 250th birthday of Beethoven, the piece of video performance art takes as its source material his ground-breaking Septet – a work whose fame almost eclipsed the composers in his early years!  Performed by seven soloists, the music forms a backdrop to a quartet of actors, each living their own stories in space and time, each without words.  With their trademark cutting-edge visuals and high European design aesthetic, this Belfast original shines new light on the genius of Beethoven’s early music.  Visit

Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich: has announced a series of singing classes for young children between the ages of 6 and 10 years of age. The course will take place on zoom and give children the opportunity to immerse themselves in singing under the tutelage of Diane Ní Chanainn. Forged out of the centuries-old traditions of her native Donegal, Diane Cannon is a singer who brings the songs and the music played by the hearth fire of a long gone céilí house to the modern tastes of a 21st century audience. As a youngster Diane frequently won competitions and she competes successfully to this day, most recently winning first place in the prestigious Comórtas Cuimhneacháin Sheáin Óig Uí Thuama at Oireachtas na Gaeilge.

The course will cost £15 and last four weeks.  You can register or receive further information by contacting Brónagh on

I Teach Trad: Award-winning teacher, Donegal fiddler and academic, Dr Liz Doherty, has launched I Teach Trad, a revolutionary new professional development system to support traditional music teachers.  Dr Doherty will offer a range of online courses and face-to-face training workshops and mentoring for individuals.  Liz has developed her own framework for teachers to learn how to develop a clear structure and system for planning, organising and delivering their teaching.  Liz says the programme can be accessed not just by Irish traditional music teachers but by folk music teachers the world over. The course is available to buy on-line; it can be followed at your own pace and in your own time. Training for groups of teachers can also be booked on the website, as can one-to-one mentoring.  For more details visit

Duncairn: has launched a brand new fortnightly arts magazine show called Take 2.  Take 2 explores the uniqueness of our Belfast through music, poetry, imagery, artistry and insightful interviews.  The Duncairn team has self-learned everything from video shooting, editing, audio recording and mixing over the course of lockdown and are ready to exhibit the fruits of their labour!  The fortnightly programme airs on alternate Saturday evenings at 8pm on YouTube and Facebook, starting Saturday 10th October featuring Joshua Burnside Trio, Laura Quirke (Lemoncello), Colin Hassard Poetry and street artist, Tim McCarthy.  Subscribe to Duncairn’s YouTube channel at

Northern Ireland Opera: has adapted their popular opera series for babies, Little Lullabies, online until 31st October.  Little Lullabies is suitable for babies aged 0-18months and is an interactive event for babies and their parents or guardians which Northern Ireland Opera has been bringing to festivals and events for a number of years. In this online version, with presenter and opera singer Laura McFall, you’ll be able to enjoy ‘Little Lullabies’ from your own home.  For details visit

Northern Ireland Opera Associate Artists: The Associate Artists are alumni of Northern Ireland Opera and/or the Northern Ireland Opera Studio.  They have been brought together by Northern Ireland Opera to bring live music safely to communities during this pandemic.  They will be performing around Northern Ireland over the next couple of months and details of these events will be updated on the Northern Ireland Opera website.  Please note, that while many of these events are free, you will usually need to book to comply with public health conditions.

Friday 9th October, 2-3pm, Down Arts Centre for Mindwise, Price: Free
Saturday 10th October, 2-4pm, Carers Trust Community Concert, Newry, Price: Free
Wednesday 14th October, 6pm and 8pm, St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, Singing Struggle And Agreement (Part of Belfast International Arts Festival), Price: £7.50
Wednesday 28th October, 2-4pm, Connswater Shopping Centre, 'Take Up Space', Price: Free
Friday 13th November, 6-10pm, Outburst Arts

Visit for further booking details.  If you have a community event anywhere in Northern Ireland and you’d like the Associate Artists to perform, please email us at

Ulster Touring Opera (UTO): Ulster Touring Opera is a new cross-border company, based in Belfast, which will tour opera to towns and cities throughout Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. The first fully staged production will take place in 2021.  Supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland Creative Industries Seed Fund, the company will be using Augmented Reality (AR) technology to bring opera to audiences at home.  UTO is currently making an AR film of the final scene of Mozart’s opera, Don Giovanni, with baritone, Ross Ramgobin, as Giovanni and bass,Alan Ewing as the Commendatore; working with UTO artistic director Dafydd Hall Williams, to create virtual holograms (volograms) which transform the viewer into a character in the scene, moving around the performers and witnessing Don Giovanni’s final moments.  For updates on upcoming events visit

City of Derry International Choir Festival: The City of Derry International Choir Festival has announced the full programme of exciting and world-class events for its virtual festival, due to take place this October, 21-25.  Available to view on Facebook, YouTube and the festival’s own website, audiences will be treated to workshops and exclusive concerts by guest artists Tenebrae and Ardú, a global virtual choir performance of Danny Boy and a local schools rendition of Amazing Grace. Choirs from around the world will feature in video performances of popular, jazz, gospel and sacred music and viewers will enjoy a mini-series of never-before-seen festival footage from previous years.  The festival will also present a world premiere of brand new music by creative production company Dumbworld, composed especially for its 2020 edition.

The festival has also announced a five-part podcast series, featuring special guests, available to listen to on all standard podcast apps. These include interviews with renowned choral directors as well as episodes from Ireland’s national organisation for choirs, Sing Ireland, and the Contemporary Music Centre, Dublin.  The festival’s Sing Joyfully Symposium returns with a panel discussion exploring how singers and the choral world are coping with the current circumstances of Covid-19.  Further programme information and details of how to participate in the 2020 festival is available at

Moving On Music:  For the final set of ‘All About’ videos, Moving On Music has the wonderful Gráinne Meyer talking to us all about the harp. In this week’s ‘All About’ video, Gráinne talks about the history of the harp and how it arrived in its modern form. Gráinne breaks down all the different forms of the harp and how the instrument developed from having a limited tonality to being able to play any note. Next week’s video will look at the role of the harp in the orchestra today and its relevance in the A Level syllabus.



Lyric Theatre:  Lyric Theatre Belfast is inviting audiences to take a seat at home, tune in and enjoy an exclusive ‘first listen’ of brand-new work from emerging, established and new Northern Ireland writers. ‘Listen at the Lyric’ is part of the theatre’s continued commitment to keeping the spirit of the Lyric alive whilst its doors remain closed due to the impact of the pandemic.  Whilst the autumn/ winter programme celebration of new writing is unable to take to the stage this year; the Lyric has opened its door to welcome cast and creative teams to record a series of audio versions of three dynamic new works.  ‘Listen at the Lyric’ is proud to announce:

The Gap Year by Belfast based writer Clare McMahon: Three women decide enough is enough, life is short - sure didn’t Maire’s husband just drop dead in the bread aisle of Lidl? They’re going to follow in their children’s footsteps and take a Gap Year. Thailand? Europe? Down Under? No, they’re going to visit every county in Ireland, sure aren’t there a few they’ve never even heard of?

Burnt Out by Belfast writer Gary Mitchell: This dark psychological thriller follows a couple as their perfect life unravels into a disorientating nightmare of suspicion, paranoia, and intimidation when they unwittingly move to a new home opposite a bonfire site.

2050 Under the Albert Clock; A selection of short plays from Northern Ireland’s most dynamic female playwrights:  2050 Under the Albert Clock is a series of monologues that will be released in two parts.  Originally commissioned for the Origins 1st Irish Festival in New York in January 2020, these monologues are set in a Belfast of the future and showcase some of Northern Ireland's most dynamic female writers - Sarah Gordon, Emily Dedakis, Gina Donnelly and Alice Malseed. Additional writers to be announced.

‘Listen at the Lyric’ is available to listen at  on the following dates:
The Gap Year, 29th Sept – 12th Oct
Burnt Out, 13th -26th  Oct
2050 under the Albert Clock, part one,  27th Oct - 9th Nov 
2050 under the Albert Clock, part two, 10th Nov – 23rd Nov

Tickets are on sale at a standard price of £6 with optional donation tickets available at £12 and £20 to support the Lyric in continuing to produce great theatre during the pandemic. #SaveTheArts #SaveOurTheatres #LyricOnline

Big Telly: present Macbeth online as part of this year’s Belfast International Arts Festival.  With a portfolio of critically acclaimed and award winning digital shows under their belt (The Guardian, NY Times, The Telegraph, BBC Front Row), Big Telly presents this imaginative reboot of Shakespeare’s timeless, blood-soaked tale of murder, lust and power in a world where reality and illusion are hard to tell apart; a hinterland of hype where fate is twisted, control is remote, and comfort is in entirely another zone.

Opening at Belfast International Arts Festival with a virtual transfer to Creation Theatre Company, Oxford this horror at home is live, interactive and intent on making you complicit.  £20 per device
Limited capacity across ALL shows. Advanced booking is advised.  To book tickets for Macbeth at the Belfast International Arts Festival, 14 – 17 Oct, please visit

Cahoots NI: The University of Wonder & Imagination is now enrolling students of all ages and magical abilities…and there’s a place with your name on it!  Part of this year’s Belfast International Arts Festival, you can interact with the liveliest of lecturers, choose your subjects of study, enter themed rooms and encounter all kinds of problems and puzzles, unlocking your and your family's magical powers as you go.  Tickets cost £20 per screen and booking is now open at

Spanner In The Works Theatre Company: continues to offer extracts from their plays online.  These extracts are followed with helplines and signposting to help with the issues that are addressed within the plays.  Visit

Dialogos: present a documented journey of their piece, Dialogos, created during lockdown by Mayte Segura, dance and Victor Henriquez, music.  The work features footage from their premiere of the original version which was performed at Accidental Theatre in Belfast.  Developed with the support of Arts Council Northern Ireland, under the Artists Emergency Programme, Dialogos explores issues of identity, belonging, and reflects on the artists experience creating and living in Northern Ireland while being originally from Latino America.  This documentary was made in close collaboration with videographer Matthew Faris.  For details and to view visit



The Strand Arts Centre: presents two films as part of this year’s Belfast International Arts Festival, they include:
SARAFINA! Thursday 15th October, 8.00pm
Screening plus discussion as part of Belfast International Arts Festival.
As a response to the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, the Strand has established a regular platform to champion films from different cultures in a relaxed and informative way.
Based on the stage musical, Sarafina! (1992) [15] is an inspirational film about the youth uprising against apartheid in Soweto, South Africa in 1976.

I AM GRETA, starts Friday 16th October
Special screening on Sunday 18th October, 3pm followed by a recorded Q&A with Greta Thunberg.
In August of 2018, Greta Thunberg, a 15-year-old schoolgirl starts a school strike for the climate outside the Swedish Parliament. Her question for adults is this: if you don’t care about her future on this planet, why should she care about her future in school? Within months, her strike evolves into a global movement, as schoolchildren from across the world join the #FridaysForFuture strikes and march to demand politicians start taking serious steps to tackle climate change. Greta, a shy schoolgirl with Asperger’s, is suddenly thrust onto the world stage as the voice of the next generation…

Catalyst Arts: present, Propagate, a public programme of workshops and events initiated by Catalyst Arts which will take place until 12 October 2020. Artists will work together with selected participants to explore ideas around collaboration, writing and performance. This programme aims to encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration and exchange; how do we learn from one another and where do practices overlap? Through this series of events, in the gallery and at various locations, a space for dissemination and the sharing of knowledge will be created. Artists and practitioners, Kevin Breathnach, Niamh Seana Meehan, Nollaig Molloy, Suzanne Walsh and The Tangerine will lead a series of workshops for selected participants which will aim to cultivate and foster new ways of working within an art practice. For a full schedule of workshops and events, see

ArtIsAnn: ArtisAnn Gallery is delighted to welcome one of Northern Ireland’s most accomplished painters and print makers, Jackie Crooks, for a solo exhibition in October.  The new work for this exhibition comes from moments that have caught the artist’s eye in the spring and summer of 2020. The show features a combination of paintings, silkscreen prints and drawing. All the images are a fusion of lived experience, memory and imagination.

All artworks are available to buy, and can be delivered free of charge.  You can also buy art from this exhibition through the Own Art Scheme, supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, which gives you an interest-free loan over 10 months (and you still get to take the art home immediately the exhibition ends).  The exhibition runs at the ArtisAnn Gallery, 70 Bloomfield Avenue, Belfast until Saturday 31st October 2020 Visit

R-Space: in Lisburn is now reopen to the public.  Details of their current and upcoming exhibition are below:

Re: New Wallace #3, Robert Peters, 12 September - 16 October 2020 11am to 5pm Tuesday to Saturday
Augmented reality and mixed media by Robert Peters casting an eye on the fraught relationship between Britain and Ireland in the 19th century; absentee landlords, rent strikes, decadent aristocrats, the Famine and Home Rule.  Re: New Wallace #3 is the much anticipated third in their series of Re:New Wallace Collection exhibitions, in collaboration with The Wallace Collection, London. 

MMM#8 – Obvious, Aimée Nelson, Aoife O'Connor, Gary Shaw, Jill Phillips, Mr. Papers, Pauline Clancy, 7 November - 11 December 2020  11am to 5pm Tuesday to Saturday
Six artists based in Northern Ireland have been selected from an open call as part of our Materials, Messages and Meaning series. Now in its eighth year, these exhibitions explore artists’ different approaches to materials, methods of production and messages within their work.  The works include interactive screenprinting, mixed media installations, digital imaging, and folk art.

Millennium Court Arts Centre: in Portadown, is showing their current exhibition" NO TIME" by Martin Boyle online and in the centre.  Visit

VOID: Due to new Covid-19 restrictions VOID gallery in Derry-Londonderry has had to temporarily close.  However the team at VOID will continue to bring you online activities, from content relating to their current exhibition as well as family activities which you can do at home.  Upcoming activities include:

Filter Flowers, available from Tuesday 13th October at 2pm.  Artist, Sinead Crumlish, returns with a fun workshop to make your own flowers using coffee filters! Find it on their website I Facebook & Instagram IGTV @derryvoid I Vimeo

DIY Painted Pumpkins, available from Thursday 29th October at 7pm.   To celebrate Halloween this year, join Karen Cassidy to paint some pumpkins for Halloween! No sharp tools are needed so you can get the whole family involved!  Find it on their website I Facebook & Instagram IGTV @derryvoid I Vimeo

Collect your RGB Prism packs.  Void still has art packs for their ‘Make your own RGB Prism’ available so get in touch and we can send them to you. Limited packs available. Email with your postal address and phone number today.  For full details visit

Craft NI: is now reopen to public presenting regular exhibitions of the work of craft makers from around Northern Ireland and also a gallery retail space where you can buy from local craft makers.  Visit

The MAC: has re-opened its café and galleries to the public.  From now until 11th October, The MAC presents the popular, Ulster University BA and MFA Fine Art Graduate Show, across all three MAC galleries.  The MAC is open from 10am-4pm Wed-Sun and you must book to attend the exhibition at

Belfast Exposed: present two exhibitions which will be highlighting the work of a selection of recent graduates from the MFA Photography and BA in Photography and Video at Ulster University.  The exhibitions are:

Anthropology MFA Exhibition
3rd September – 24th October

Human Condition BA Exhibition
3rd September – 24th October

University of Atypical: is now open to the public presenting the re-opening of Brian Kielt’s exhibition, Confessionals.  Brian Kielt is a painter based in mid-Ulster who makes work about memory, trauma and anxiety. In 2012 Kielt co-founded the LOFT collective and continues to collaborate with members on numerous projects. This is Kielt’s fifth solo exhibition. His work has featured in several group shows and has work in private collections in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland and the USA.  Visit


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