Arts Council of Northern Ireland

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What’s on in the Arts

Wednesday 28th October 2020 at 10am 0 Comments Dance , Drama , Literature , Northern Ireland Music , Visual Arts , Community 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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Sound of Belfast 2020: The Oh Yeah Music Centre has announced details of its 2020 Sound of Belfast programme that will bring the sound of Belfast straight into your home online from 6th-12th November.  The programme is designed to give audiences a flavour of how musically great and diverse Belfast is.  It has been recorded live in many of our empty venues across the city and representing a range of genres and sounds.  The programme is a mix of online music from local artists, Ryan McMullan, Duke Special, Jealous of the Birds, Scott Flannigan Trio, Ruth McGinley, Brand New friend and many more, a spotlight on great projects plus industry workshops and talks.  For programme details visit

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.  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.  Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich  will 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. 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.

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: Join some of Northern Ireland’s best known opera singers as they take you to their home county or city and perform a selection of art songs composed by Northern Irish or Irish composers. ‘Northern Songs’ is a set of eight short films showcasing this beautiful country’s stunning locations, landscapes and historic monuments with songs performed by Giselle Allen, Doreen Curran, Carolyn Dobbin and Ben McAteer with pianist, Ruth McGinley.  The films will be released each Thursday at 8pm and announced weekly on and on their social media channels.

First up is Northern Irish mezzo-soprano, Carolyn Dobbin, performing, The Blue Hills, by Hamilton Harty, at Dunluce Castle in her home county, Co, Antrim, accompanied by pianist, Ruth McGinley -

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:

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 

Moving On Music:  Moving on Music's online ‘All About…’ outreach series, may have come to an end but all 20 videos from the 7 professional musicians featured are available to the public online.  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.   Please see the below:

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:



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.



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:

Ulster After Dark, 27 Oct to 2 Nov.  As the air turns chilly and the dark nights creep in, the Lyric Theatre invites you to draw the curtains, light the fire, and prepare to be thoroughly spooked by three eerie tales of strange goings-on around Ulster.  Commissioned especially for the Listen At The Lyric series of audio plays, the Lyric present three brand new monologues inspired by the folk tales of Ulster – and some unexplained real life experiences.  Directed by Emma Jordan and performed by three of Northern Ireland’s greatest acting talents, Sean Kearns, Frankie McCafferty and Stella McCusker.
Don’t have nightmares…

Bad Ground by Gary Crossan, performed by Sean Kearns
After a tough year, Frank Devine has returned to his dilapidated family home in Co.Derry to renovate the building and start a new chapter.  As he chips away at the mountain of work needing done, will he uncover things that refuse to go back where they came from?

Outside Her by Karis Halsall, performed by Stella McCusker
"Sit you down there and huddle in... "
Join elderly Iris as she recounts a terrifying tale from her youth. When teenage Iris' mother is killed on the Devil's elbow, her father moves them out to a strange shaped and remote farmhouse - which local legend says was built on a fairy road. Iris chalks this up to being "freety nonsense" - until the phone calls begin. When she's first contacted by some unseen thing, Iris assumes it's her mother attempting to reach her, but the reality is much, much more sinister... Based on true stories, recounted by Karis' family from Co. Down.

The Familial Binds of Cheiromancy by Kat Woods, performed by Frankie McCafferty
The O’Rourke’s of Benaughlin Mountain, Fermanagh, have been reading palms for generations until now. Mark has a strange encounter and decides to retire early from the profession much to the disillusionment of his elderly Mammy who wants him to continue the family tradition. All is not what it seems when she comes to call.

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:
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. 

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



Belfast Photo Festival:  Belfast Photo Festival – Ireland’s unique photographic biennial – returns this autumn. Northern Ireland’s premier visual arts festival will host a series of online and offline events, as well as showcasing indoor and outdoor exhibitions in major public spaces.  From 4 – 30 November 2020 a thematically diverse line up of contemporary Irish photography celebrates the female gaze, reframing the world through the manifold perspectives, styles and subject matters captured by the women behind Ireland’s cameras.

This year’s festival serves to foster dialogue beyond the snapshot. The images and the artists behind them shed a truly contemporary light on the pivotal role that female photographers play in the portrayal of our world, encouraging creative appreciation and understanding that transcend the boundaries of the art community. Enduring motifs of the poignant installations featured include representation, self-portraiture, landscape and fashion, as well as truthful and contemplative depictions centring around equality and the body. As well as galleries, this year’s visual arts experience will illuminate major outdoor public spaces through lightboxes and unprecedented large-scale outdoor projection.  For more information on this year’s festival, visit and keep up to date on social media via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Belfast Exposed: As part of the Belfast Photo Festival, Belfast Exposed is delighted to launch ‘Street View’ on Thursday 5th November - a digital gallery space of curated exhibitions to increase the accessibility and visibility of photography on the streets of Belfast. Street View is an initiative, which provides a multimedia exhibition experience, in response to the restrictions put in place due to covid-19 that prevent people from visiting galleries and viewing exhibitions. 

Street View is a large digital window display that will showcase artwork by internationally renowned and local emerging photographers. Street View will launch with the work of Jill Quigley, followed by the work of Noel Bowler, Matthew Finn and Daragh McDonagh, among many others. Street View is a 55” high brightness professional screen that provides a platform to exhibit contemporary photography complimented with audio narratives to an external audience on the streets of Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter.

Jill Quigley’s work will be supported by audio of actor Monique Kelly who will describe Jill’s artwork and practice. Belfast Exposed believe photography is for everyone, it is accessible, meaningful and has the ability to tell stories, allowing us to create dialogue and reflect upon our history, inform our present and inspire a positive future. Street View is another opportunity to extend our vision beyond the confines of the gallery.  For details 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:

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 is 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: 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 new team have already created an in-house gallery space for members to exhibit their work and an online shop.   They also have some spaces left in their courses in November and December, all conducted under strict COVID-19 safety standards.  For full details 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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