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What’s on in the Arts

Wednesday 14th October 2020 at 11am 0 Comments Community Arts , Dance , Drama , 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, all supported by exchequer and National Lottery funding.

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Belfast International Arts Festival: The 58th Belfast International Arts Festival (BIAF) is available online with an imaginative and inspirational programme which continues from until to 1st November.  The 2020 festival features a range of inspirational programme of dance, music, theatre, film, visual arts and talks which will be largely hosted online and largely free.  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

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 fortnightly programme airs on alternate Saturday evenings at 8pm on YouTube and Facebook.  The first show aired on Saturday 10th October and featured Joshua Burnside Trio, Laura Quirke (Lemoncello), Colin Hassard Poetry and street artist, Tim McCarthy.  You can watch the latest show back and 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.  Remaining dates include:

Wednesday 28th October, 2-4pm, Connswater Shopping Centre, 'Take Up Space', Price: Free and Friday 13th November, 6-10pm, as part of 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 

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.  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 Gráinne’s final video all about the harp, she will be looking at the role of the harp in the orchestra, focusing on pieces specific to the A-Level syllabus. Gráinne looks at the harp parts used in pieces from 20th Century composers Bartok, Ravel and Debussy and looks at all the special effects such as harmonic, glissandi and even some kitchen cutlery that are used!

National Harp Day:  Harp Ireland, Cruit Éireann, invites harpers and people interested in the harp to join in celebrating Ireland’s 1,000-year-old tradition on National Harp Day this Saturday 17th October.  2020 is the fourth year that Cruit Éireann, Harp Ireland has co-ordinated this event at home and farther afield in honour of Ireland’s national instrument.  It will feature harps sounding loudly from dawn to dusk in iconic locations throughout Ireland and the rest of the world, from as far away as Sydney, across the USA, New Zealand and Japan. Closer to home, harpers in France, Italy, Switzerland and the UK join in to celebrate the vibrant harping tradition.

This year due to Covid 19 restrictions, the celebration features the best of Irish harping online and have a  Harpers’ Call; where they invite harpers all over the world to contribute to Lá na Cruite by sending them a short recording, which will be running throughout the day alongside pre-recorded concerts, sessions, workshops, talks and insights from harp makers. Each of these events will be happening virtually and for a full list of events visit



Book Week NI: Book Week NI, an initiative by Libraries NI and BBC NI, takes place on 19-25 October.  This year’s theme is Stories and Storytelling; focusing on stories that matter to each one of us and encouraging everyone to participate and share stories from books that matter to them.

The aim is to inspire people of all ages to discover or rediscover the joy of reading by pledging to take 15 minutes to read during and preferably throughout the week.  To encourage this there will be a different theme each day with suggestions of books, eBooks and eMagazines to read. Also, themed displays will take place in libraries across Northern Ireland and the BBC’s programming will link to Book Week NI across its air waves.  For details visit

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:

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:

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

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

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



Arts For All: present, Elsewhere – An exhibition of paintings by Fiona Rainey.  This exhibition opens on 15th October at Arts for All, Cityside Retail Park, Belfast BT15 1WA and admission is free. 

Fiona Rainey is a Belfast artist who gained a degree in fine art in 1990 at Ulster University.  Since then she has exhibited her work at home and abroad whilst also basing herself at King Street and Fourth Floor Art Studios, Belfast.  Primarily an abstract painter, Fiona is inspired by the ever-changing and uncontrolled aspects of Donegal landscapes.  During the lockdown, she focused on the idea of occupying that other place…. Elsewhere.

Belfast Print Workshop: following closure as a result of the pandemic, Belfast Print Workshop has re-opened with a new team, new curator and new gallery space.  For the first time in its 40+ year history the printmakers and artists using the studio have the opportunity to work directly with an experienced curator. Moran Been-noon is a Dublin based artist and curator and will work with BPW this year to help the BPW studio members develop their artistic practice and fully realise their potential as artists. The printmaking studio has also appointed nationally recognised and highly skilled printmaker, Dónall Billings as Technician. The studio has reopened and is again welcoming artists back to the Cathedral Quarter daily. The new team of three includes administrator Breige Brownlee bringing over 20 years of administration experience and arts and community group knowledge and skills. The new team have already created an in-house gallery space for members to exhibit their work in solo and group shows.  Keep up to date at

139th RUA (Royal Ulster Academy) Exhibition: opens at the Ulster Museum as part of this year’s Belfast International Arts Festival on 16th October, continuing until 3rd January 2021 and is not to be missed!  The exhibition contains approximately 250 examples of painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, video etc. This year there were almost 1,300 entries of which 190 were ultimately selected for inclusion. Some of the works reflect the times we are living in and allude to isolation, social distancing and surviving in Covid times.  Other works share deep messages with hope, humour, passion and integrity.  The exhibition can also be experienced online using cutting edge technology that brings art to the people wherever they are.  Please note that booking is currently essential to gain access to the Ulster Museum.  To book visit  

Golden Thread Gallery: presents, Perhaps Our Awakening Is Our Deeper Dream, a solo exhibition by Dublin based multi-disciplinary artist, Thomas Brezing, curated by Sharon Murphy.  This exhibition is an exploration of human mortality made in the wake of the death of the artist’s mother.  It consists of works on paper – incorporating drawing, painting, print, poetic texts and collage – as well as four large artist books and an installation which quietly address fundamental existential questions: the transience, impermanence and fragile nature of our lives (and selves). The range of media and of modes of presentation reflects the artist’s interest in investigating different kinds of image-making and different ways of representing self, other, and the ties that bind us and which are loosed by death.  The exhibition continues until Wednesday 23rd October and visitors must book in advance by emailing

The Strand Arts Centre: as part of this year’s Belfast International Arts Festival Strand Arts centre presents:  I AM GRETA, starts Friday 16th October with a special screening on Sunday 18th October at 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…

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 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 present MMM#8 – Obvious, Aimée Nelson, Aoife O'Connor, Gary Shaw, Jill Phillips, Mr. Papers, Pauline Clancy, 7 November - 11 December 2020.   Six artists based in Northern Ireland have been selected from an open call as part of their 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. Visit

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 7a.   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 our website I Facebook & Instagram IGTV @derryvoid I Vimeo

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: From 28th October until 24th January 2021, The MAC presents, The Black Monolith of the Flâneur, by Frederic Huska.  The exhibition is a filmic work and photographic series which portrays a melancholic and indecisive figure, unconsciously symptomatic of the neo-liberal era. Limiting themselves to a reduced perimeter in Dublin’s north inner city, the flâneur gets lost in the solitude of the real, in the contradictions and the movement of impossibility that uncontrollably assert themselves on an inner emotional experience.  In this work, the artist uses photography, traditionally considered as a pause in time, in a paradoxical way, to open up speculative and undetermined possibilities in response to a future that is indistinct and uncertain, yet a future with innovative potential still to be discovered.  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, exhibition link:
Human Condition (BA Exhibition) – 3rd September – 24th October, exhibition link:

Belfast Exposed is also delighted to present, Becoming Christine, an exhibition based on the lived experience Christine Beynon. This exhibition is part of Belfast Exposed’s three-year strategic plan to exhibit work about transgender topics.  The exhibition opens on Thursday 5th November, coinciding with Late Night Art, and continues until 19th December. It is a body of work involving re-presented "selfies", sound installation and video portraiture. The "selfies" follow Christine Beynon's journey and transition over a 12-year period.  These self-portraits range in tone from the painful, to the playful, from the mundane to the contemplative to the joyful. The immersive sound installation & narrated artwork was a result of a collaborative partnership between the artist and Christine Beynon.

The exhibition will include a live streamed artist talk, featuring both Christine Beynon and Amanda Dunsmore, on Friday 6th November, leading up to the Transgender Awareness Week which takes place between 13th and 19th November. During that week Belfast Exposed will also have a range of speakers and community engagement events.   Visit

University of Atypical: continue to present Brian Kielt’s exhibition, Confessionals until 23rd October.  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



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



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