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What’s on in the Arts

Wednesday 11th November 2020 at 11am 0 Comments Community Arts , 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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Ulster Youth Orchestra: Lockdown won’t stop the music for Ulster Youth Orchestra who has released an ambitious lockdown recording.   Due to the challenges of the pandemic, their annual ten-day course moved online and very soon, one residential course and two public concerts were replaced with over 50 online musical activities and 14 recordings! By the beginning of the project on 16th August 70 young musicians, aged between 14 & 23, had signed up for the first virtual course in 27 years of UYO history.

A highly experienced team of 12 professional tutors and 8 young professional assistant tutors delivered a mixture of interactive rehearsals, classes and talks on a wide range of topics.  The highlight of the course was the appearance of Daniele Rustioni, well known as the Ulster Orchestra’s Chief Conductor, who directed and encouraged the 70 young musicians in an ambitious recording of Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet’s Fantasy Overture, recorded separately at home on phones and tablets and carefully stitched together by producer Tom Wall from TWPost. View here

Ulster Orchestra and Ryan McMullan: Commissioned by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland to write a song marking the commitment and contribution of the NHS and its staff during the Covid19 pandemic, rising international star Ryan McMullan, joined forces with the Ulster Orchestra who provided a special arrangement, performed by its string section, to record a beautiful new piece titled, If This Is The End.

Ryan, who has toured internationally with Ed Sheeran and Snow Patrol, took inspiration for the song from the incredible work of the NHS, paying a poignant tribute to those who have lost someone during 2020 and have been unable to mourn their loved ones in the usual way. Combined with the Orchestra’s soaring string arrangements by Paul Campbell, it brings to mind a spirit leaving this realm and entering the next.  The video of the song recording is available to watch on  and you can hear Ryan talking about the song here  Ryan will be officially releasing If This Is The End on 4 December 2020.

Portico of Ards: Exciting news for artists and audiences as the Portico of Ards announces four live music gigs before Christmas. These ‘behind closed doors’ concerts will be broadcast live on YouTube for audiences to enjoy from the safety of their homes.

The concerts start on Sun 15 Nov with an organ recital by Matthew Owens, the Director of Music at Belfast Cathedral. His programme ranges from the 17th century (Bruhns, Pachelbel, Walter) to the 20th (Dupre, Owens, Skempton) and includes a Q&A.  If rock and roll is your thing then do not miss the fabulous Dea Matrona on Sat 28 Nov at 8pm. These three young energetic women will astonish you with their talent for playing both rock and roll classics and self-penned pieces.  NI Opera’s Associate Artists bring their Christmassy numbers on Sat 5 Dec at 7.30pm and on Sun 20 Dec local hero and international music sensation Ryan McMullan delivers a Christmas ‘Napolean Session’ with a special guest.

The purchase of Portico’s streaming equipment is courtesy of the Arts Council’s Organisations Emergency Programme. Improved stage lighting system has been made possible by the Department for Communities Access and Inclusion Programme. The classical music programme is subsidised by Lottery Project Funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, and Portico is supported by the Arts Service of Ards and North Down Borough Council.  For further information or to buy tickets visit

Belfast Trad: presents a very special weekend of online events from 27th-28th November with leading, award-winning harpist, Úna Monaghan, and flautist and tin whistle player, Emer Mayock.  There will be an evening in conversation with both musicians, a series of workshops and also a series of recitals.  For more details visit

Oh Yeah Music Centre presents Sound of Belfast 2020: Sound of Belfast took place from 6th -12th November featuring 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.  Don’t worry if you missed it, you can watch all performances back at 

NI Music prize: Streaming live on 12th November as a YouTube Premiere, the NI Music Prize will 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.  For more info on shortlists, voting and process go to

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.   To hear all songs, visit their YouTube channel at

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:



Outburst Queer Arts Festival: the 14th Outburst Queer Arts Festival will take place from 13-21 November presenting eight days of queer art in Belfast: outdoors, indoors, on your screen and on your doorstep.  Visit for programme and booking information.

Atlantic Sessions Music Festival:  Atlantic Sessions Music Festival showcases Northern Ireland’s finest artists online this year. Musicians have been filmed in stunning locations across Portstewart and Portrush, and they have three programmes for you with exclusive performances, conversations, plus messages and videos from festival family and friends. Book the dates in your diary - Fri 13th, Sat 14th & Sun 15th November for nighly performances at 7pm at The online festival features Joel Harkin, Anthony Toner, Conor Mason, ROE, The Darkling Air, Malojian, Tour Alaska, Sasha Samara, Peter O’Kane, New Pagans, Ports, and is presented by Joe Lindsay. Note that this event is funded by Causeway Coast & Glens Council in association with Snow Water.  Watch the trailer here



c21 Theatre Company: one of Northern Ireland’s leading theatre companies, is collaborating with care & nursing homes across the country on a unique project.   ‘Through The Glass’ The  Reminiscence Project creatively interacts with residents stimulating conversations and encouraging them to share stories from their past. A selection of these stories will be  developed into theatrical films and shared with residents, councils and online.  The Project, funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland through its National Lottery Fund, the Public Health Agency and regional councils and sponsored by Doyle Shipping Group, features five short theatrical films based around the themes of home, community, school days, work and going out.  It provides employment to 11 professionals over 22 weeks as well as creating innovative social interaction with the participating nursing and care homes (operating within COVID-19 guidelines). The films will feature actors, music, visuals and poetry and will be broadcast  between November and December on c21 Theatre’s YouTube Channel and social media platforms.

c21 Theatre Company worked with the education departments within local museums to supply reminiscence loan boxes to the nursing and care homes who used them in workshops facilitated by the activity coordinators located in the homes. The loan boxes contained historical items ranging from powdered milk from WWII to 1970s shoes. The stories gathered provided the project’s writers Gary Wilson, Tom Rowntree-Finlay and poet Shelley Tracey with content for brand new work for the films. The films which are directed by Stephen Kelly and produced by Donna Hunter, feature local actors Colm McCready, Christina Nelson, Debra Hill, and Eoghan Lamb.  To watch, subscribe to their YouTube channel at

Jack and The Beanstalk at the drive-in cinema: Christmas is cancelled! Oh no it isn’t! Cre8 Theatre partnered with Let’s Go Hydro in presenting a family friendly pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk, at the drive-in cinema, Belfast featuring the Giant, Jack, Jill, Dame Ms. Pinch, Daisy Cow and more.  This is a colourful, high energy contemporary performance featuring typical pantomime elements; dancing, singing and banter with the audience. As well as the pantomime streamed directly to the big screen, Cre8 have devised a programme of pre and mid show entertainment to truly engage audiences in the safety of their cars.

Enter into festive spirit from the comfort of your own sleigh at this socially distanced Panto. The original rags to riches story with modern Christmassy twist and a sprinkling of Cre8 Theatre magic!  Dates include: 12th, 13th, 19th, 20th December and includes, panto performance from Cre8 Theatre, REAL actors interacting live at the venue, popcorn, soft drinks, festive cheer!  Book at

John Hewitt Society:  On 4th November, The John Hewitt Society, in association with Poetry Ireland, presented a very special evening of poetry online to mark John Hewitt’s birthday.  The evening featuring critically-acclaimed, award-winning poets and winners of the prestigious T.S Elliot Prize, Roger Robinson and Sinéad Morrissey with the online event hosted by poet, Paul Maddern.  The event can be watched back at

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:

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 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.



Belfast Photo Festival:  Belfast Photo Festival – Ireland’s unique photographic biennial – returns this autumn. With its programme entitled XX-XY, 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

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.  The new exhibition is called, Pinned, and it is an exhibition of the Association of Contemporary Jewellers and Silversmiths in Northern Ireland.  Pinned presents the work of 23 local jewellers and silversmiths who have each responded to the exhibition’s theme to produce one-of-a-kind pieces beyond the scope of their usual commission or production work. 

Participating makers include Anne Earls Boylan, Stuart Cairns, Robyn Galway and Celine Traynor and the exhibition features over 50 variations on the idea of a brooch, with versions in both precious and non-precious materials. Traditionally set stones contrast with re-purposed vintage tins and toys, precision geometry meets abstract forms. Gold, silver and gemstones sit alongside found objects in unexpected interpretations that demonstrate technical accomplishment, innovation and creativity.  The exhibition opened on 4th November and continues until 2nd January 2021.  Craft NI is located at 115-119 Royal Avenue, Belfast.  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

R-Spacein Lisburn present a rescheduled exhibition, Obvious, which runs from 14 November - 11 December 2020 at R-Space Gallery (32 Castle Street, Lisburn).  There will be a virtual preview on Saturday 14 November 2020 2-4pm. 

Six artists based in Northern Ireland (Aimée Nelson, Aoife O’Connor, Gary Shaw, Jill Phillips, Mr. Papers and Pauline Clancy) have been selected from an open call as part of R-Space’s 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.  This year R-Space has selected artists who have responded to the theme ‘Obvious’, and the works include interactive screen printing, mixed media installations, digital imaging, and folk art.  Visit for full details.

Black Box: present an online exhibition by Nathalie Caleyron Donnelly until 30th November.  Nathalie Caleyron Donnelly is originally from France but has lived in North Belfast for most of her life.  She discovered printmaking through a workshop in Seacourt Print Workshop (Bangor) 5 years ago.  It was a ‘love at first sight’ experience and she has been involved in printmaking and in Seacourt since.  Her prints are mostly multiplate lino, often with an element of monoprinting, giving a uniqueness to each single hand pulled print within the same edition.  Check out the work via the Black Box website-

An Culturlann: as part of their 30th anniversary celebration programme of events for 2021, An Cultúrlann presents an exhibition of a selection of the artwork bought by An Chultúrlann or donated to them over the years.  Paintings, drawings and prints are on display in Dánlann Dillon, the gallery on the first floor that was added to the building in 2011. Although COVID-19 restrictions mean the public can’t access the gallery for now, you can still have a look at the amazing artwork in this beautiful video put together by Gráinne Holland and Frainc Mac Cionnaith

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



Eden Place Arts Centre: Due to the ongoing pandemic, Eden Place Arts Centre, in Derry-Londonderry, remains closed so to keep everyone connected they are launching a series of online workshops. The workshops will be held over a period of 4 weeks. Each workshop will be 2 hours long and will take place via 'Zoom'.  This series will focus on a variety of painting techniques. There will also be a Christmas crafts course.  The workshops will start on week commencing Monday 23rd November and will run for 4 consecutive weeks.  Registration opens via their website: on Friday 13th November via upcoming classes page.  The cost will be £10 and will include all 4 workshops.

Streetwise: Fancy learning how to juggle and other circus skills?! In response to Covid 19 Streetwise Community Circus has developed a team of tutors who are now working via Zoom to reach out to those who can no longer participate in workshops. Following the latest round of restrictions we are now offering free zoom coaching to anyone who feels isolated or would just like to use the opportunity to learn something new under the guidance of some of Northern Ireland's most experienced circus street entertainers. To take advantage of this opportunity all you have to do is email Streetwise on Suitable for participants who range in age from 8 to 80 plus.

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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