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What’s on in the Arts

Wednesday 21st October 2020 at 1pm 0 Comments 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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NI Music prize: The NI Music Prize has confirmed that this year’s awards will go ahead with an online broadcast on November 12th. The event, which will take place at the Oh Yeah Music Centre, will be a virtual show due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organised by Oh Yeah, produced by MEP (Mike Edgar Production) and streaming live as a YouTube Premiere, the awards plan to bring as much live experience as possible to audiences at home. There will be brand new performances from shortlisted acts including Arborist, Careerist, Joshua Burnside, Kitt Philippa, Phil Kieran and Sasha Samara.

Rigsy (DJ & Broadcaster) and Gemma Bradley (Presenter, BBC ATL Introducing) will present the show. There will be guest contributors, with live announcements and presentations as well as some previously unseen footage including the Snow Patrol performance from last year’s incredible event at the Ulster Hall.

The event is scheduled to take place during the Sound of Belfast 2020 virtual festival, which runs 6th – 12th November. The full programme for this will be announced on the 27th October.

For more info on shortlists, voting and process go to

Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich:  Halloween is the Celtic festival which celebrates and welcomes the beginning of the celtic year. Just as we do in the womb, the New Year begins in darkness. This darkness was most welcome, the winter and the long nights ahead.  It is a joy that we can celebrate this festival in the traditional way, through storytelling, mumming and music!

Samhain will come as our fourth virtual concert celebrating the indigenous Celtic festivals, the Samhain concert will showcase the best of traditional music courtesy of Music in the Glen. Music In The Glen are an exciting trio performing the very best of Irish traditional music. Featuring the combined talents of Brendan Mulholland (flute) and founding Réalta members Conor Lamb (uilleann pipes, whistles) and Deirdre Galway (guitar). These musicians deliver the infectious rhythm and soul which are the hallmarks of Irish music. There will also be storytelling and mumming with Cleamairí Feirste as per the ancient Samhain tradition along with renowned author Myra Zepf demonstrating the history and mystery of Samhain. The concert will be broadcast on Cultúrlann Facebook and YouTube channels on Friday the 30th October at 8:30pm.

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.

The Belfast Ensemble: The Belfast Ensemble reinvent Beethoven with their new work, Septet (for four) at Belfast International Arts Festival on Wednesday 28th October.  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.  You can watch the latest shows 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:  Last week saw the end of Moving on Music's online ‘All About…’ outreach series, which featured 20 videos from 7 professional musicians. Each jazz or classical musician talked about their principal instrument and touched on specific techniques used and the instrument's popular pieces.  You can watch everything back on their YouTube channel from the links below.  These videos would be of interest to anyone who would enjoy learning all about any of the instruments mentioned below or any young people who are studying GCSE / A Level music.   For more information on what Moving on Music have been doing during the pandemic see:

Gráinne Meyer (Classical and Traditional Harp)
An Introduction to the Harp:
The Evolution of the Harp:
The Harp & the Orchestra:

Scott Flanigan (Jazz Piano)
Blues and Beginner Improv:
Jazz & Blues Chords:
Autumn Leaves:

Joesph Leighton (Jazz Guitar)
Jazz guitars and influential players:
Modal jazz chords:
How to approach learning a jazz standard:

Aisling Agnew (Classical Flute)
Baroque & Classical Composers:
Late Romantic & 20th Century Composers:
Contemporary UK & Irish Composers:

Darragh Morgan (Classical Violin)
Contemporary Music for the Violin:
Baroque Music for the Violin:

Aoife Doyle (Jazz Singing)
Singing Styles:
Influential Jazz Singers:
Harmonies & Improv:

Steve Davis (Jazz Drums)
Basic Swing:
Drum Chants:
Basic Swing Pt2:

Moving on Music:  presents, All The Noels, a video walk-through experience at the Black Box, Belfast with performances from Blue Whale, Landless, Scott Flanigan Trio, Steve Davis, Laytha and Martha Guiney with Shane McCartan.  Airing on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, Friday 23rd October at 7pm, ‘All The Noels’ is a 30-odd-minute single shot, walk-through type experience, with different music happening in the various spaces of the venue.

The video which was recorded in one day by a team of Audio-Visual professionals captures the feeling of being in the famous Belfast venue to catch some music. It’s also a demonstration of the amazing musicians we have locally, who sadly aren’t able to perform to audiences at the moment

All The Noels will be available to watch on Friday 23rd October at 7pm and is free to watch, but there will be an option to donate if you like. Full info on Moving on Music and all of their activity can be found at



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.



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



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:

Awakening the Windows art competition: Void Gallery, North West Carnival Initiative and Derry City and Strabane District Council are delighted to announce Awakening the Windows. While we might not be able to get out on the streets, we can animate the city using our front windows to create unique and imaginative displays that celebrate Halloween in Derry, creating an art parade for people to enjoy.

Bishop’s Gate Hotel has generously sponsored a prize for the winning window – an overnight stay in their hotel for two guests with dinner included! Nestled within the City Walls, Bishop’s Gate Hotel blends stunning Edwardian architecture, stylish appointments and luxurious facilities which have been sensitively restored to pay homage to the rich heritage of the building.  In order to be entered in the competition, all you need to do is upload an image of your window to the  The winner will be announced on the 11th of November.

139th RUA (Royal Ulster Academy) Exhibition: opened at the Ulster Museum as part of this year’s Belfast International Arts Festival on 16th October but has had to temporarily close due to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.  The exhibition can still be viewed online, 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.  To view the exhibition online visit

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

Craft NI: remains open to the 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: In line with the restrictions announced by the NI Executive, the MAC closed on Friday 16 October at 4pm for an initial period of four weeks. They’re planning to reopen our galleries and cafe on Saturday 14 November 2020 10am - 4pm, with new exhibitions across all three galleries - Peter Liversidge, In a Rainbow of Coalitions and Frederic Huska.  The MAC will also open on Sunday 15 November, 10am - 4pm and following that they plan to return to Wednesday - Sunday, 10am - 4pm.  Visit for updates. 
In the meantime The MAC will are premiering a series of short films tomorrow as a collective artistic response to our lives in lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic on their Facebook page.  Visit

ArtIsAnn:  ArtisAnn Gallery remains open and 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

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

Belfast Exposed: is now closed to the public due to Covid-19 restrictions.  The next exhibition, 'Becoming Christine' by Amanda Dunsmore, is postponed until Thursday 19th November, and will include a live streamed Artist Talk on Friday 20th November.  Becoming Christine is 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.  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.  Visit



Wheelworks: is back with a jam-packed programme of online activities to keep you entertained over the mid-term break.  Let NI's most creative minds guide you through step by step videos on how to perfect your mobile photography, improve your drawing & illustration, enter the world of abstract art, create music & beats, bring to life an animation or become a film-maker! 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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