Arts Council of Northern Ireland

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for The Arts in Northern Ireland

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What’s on in the Arts online!

Thursday 4th June 2020 at 1pm 0 Comments

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

As more and more artists and arts organisations from Northern Ireland go digital to connect with audiences staying at home, the Arts Council has rounded up just some of these fantastic things to do this week online, supported by National Lottery funding!

Seamus Heaney HomePlace: the finale of their lockdown series, Keeping Going, features a special reading by Hugh Heaney, the poet’s brother.  Hugh Heaney reads an introduction to the first and last stanzas of ‘Keeping Going’, the poem which was dedicated to him, his perseverance and stamina and which has been the title for the online series of readings and performances which the Bellaghy-based literary centre launched in April.  In a stellar line-up, the Ulster Orchestra will perform a work by Arts Council Major Individual Award recipient, Neil Martin, which created in 2016 based on Heaney’s epic poem Station Island, while acclaimed author Glenn Patterson, star of the first episode, will be back for the finale to read the poem The Given Note and also a section from Station Island.  All episodes of Keeping Going can be viewed at

BBC Ten Pieces: is offering free online Connecting The Dots workshops with BBC musicians.  It’s not too late to apply for a Connecting the Dots workshop.  These FREE, interactive sessions connect UK schools with BBC musicians and are available until the end of term.  These fun and simple workshops are easy to arrange and do not require specialist music support or expertise.  In the workshop, children get to meet a musician from one of the BBC’S orchestras and choirs, hearing them perform and can ask questions.  The opportunity is primarily aimed at children attending school – offering a special experience back in the classroom.  Find out more at

Live Music Now: has adapted their current Art’s Council Arts & Older People programme project by creating a series of short videos to take isolated audiences on a musical journey.  Although everyone can enjoy this online, the new work is primarily designed for those older people in care homes.  Local musicians, Conor Lamb and Deirdre Galway, have created evocative ‘musical journeys’ on film that combine stunning visuals and music performance, developing a completely new way of experiencing the music.

The videos will be sent directly to care homes for residents to enjoy and older people at home, who would normally attend day centres, as part of Live Music Now’s Arts and Older People programme, funded by Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s National Lottery funds, the Baring Foundation and the Public Health Agency.  Enjoy the music and visuals online at

Arts Care: will present the Artists’ Online Collaborative and Experimental Dance/Performance Work this Thursday 4th June 8pm.  The 30-minute arts event includes a ‘live’ illustrative interpretation of the expressions of the dance and music.  The work centres on the  ‘Voice’ of the Arts Care Artist and how they, through their established Arts & Health relationships with staff, service users and families, creatively attempt, through their individual art forms, to make sense of their lived experience of the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Arts Care aims to develop this work post-Covid with the intention of putting it on as a live performance.  Tune in at

Big Telly Theatre Company:  Big Telly Theatre Company, in partnership with the Riverside Theatre & Ulster University, present, The Machine Stops, By EM Forster (Author of A |Room with a View, Howards End) on Saturday 6 June 2020 and Sunday 7 June 2020 – 3pm & 7.30pm.  Following the success of The Tempest and Operation Elsewhere, (watched by 5000 people in 14 countries so far) this is Big Telly's third new show made entirely in isolation and performed via Zoom. 

‘The Machine Stops’ is a spookily relevant short story written by E. M. Forster in 1909. It imagines a future where people live underground in isolated cells, never seeing one another and communicating only by audio and visual devices. A 100 year old story about lockdown, isolation, what we stand to gain from technology and what we stand to lose from the absence of human contact.  Booking via  Tickets: £15 (Group rates available on request – email for more information) Limited capacity per show. Book early!

VOID Sun Catcher Workshop: Create your own natural garden decorations with the kids this summer! VOID art gallery, in Derry-Londonderry, if offering a free Nature Sun catcher workshop with artist, Sinead Crumlish, online at 11am on Saturday 6th June.  Visit @derryvoid Facebook & Instagram. 

What you'll need: sandwich bag, glue stick, stapler, stick, flowers and leaves, scissors.  They are encouraging those taking part to share their home-made creations online and tag @derryvoid #voidcommunities * Please note that this workshop is suitable for kids while being supervised by an adult.

Also tune in every Wednesday at 9pm on Void’s Facebook to hear recommendations from Void Director, Mary Cremin, fro podcasts and other cultural things to do online related to visual arts.   Visit

Wheelworks: guaranteed to put a smile on your face today is Wheelworks’ Happiness Is project.  Happiness means different things to different people, so take a moment to enjoy some ideas of happiness from the young people of Northern Ireland at

Don’t forget that the below artists and arts organisations are still rolling out terrific online arts content for people of all ages:


Golden Thread Gallery (GTG) is offering reading groups, free family art activity sheets, Q &As with curators and online exhibitions plus more.  For further visit

The Belfast Photo Festival has been running a series of week-long Instagram Residencies with inspiring photographers at

Void Gallery’s weekly exhibition tours and arts activities can be found at

Belfast Exposed Photographic Gallery has a range of daily activities can be found at

ArtisAnn art gallery has regular online exhibitions which you can enjoy at home and also purchase through the Arts Council’s Take it Away Scheme.  Visit to view.


Music from Northern Ireland on Spotify: featuring some of the best music from the region in a Spotify playlist featuring some Arts Council supported artists.  Have a listen at

The Ulster Orchestra’s new digital  platform #UOletsplayathome features one of their players or a performance every day on the orchestra’s Facebook page Visit their Instagram page for a series of pop-up performances

NI Opera’s weekly Opera Club details can be found at and
NI Opera: NI Opera and Richard Yarr’s musical presentation, At Home for Heroes: A Classical Thank You to the NHS and Frontline Workers’, is a one-hour long online concert first broadcast on 25th May to 2,600 viewers across the world.  The classical concert is available to watch back at

Musician, Matt McGinn and Cormac Neeson host a global and virtual 'In the Round' music session using Facebook Live with special guests from around the world.  Visit

Bluegrass, gypsy swing and folk family trio, Cup O’Joe, have been hosting regular gigs live from their living room in Armagh.  Visit

Join singer-songwriter, Amanda St John, live from her home on Facebook every Sunday evening from 8-9pm.

The Journal of Music hosts a weekly Digital Concert Planner here


Maiden Voyage, a multi award-winning dance company in NI, wants to get everyone dancing at home!  The company has released their work and creative resources to download for use at home.

Dylan Quinn Dance Theatre in Enniskillen, has a free programme of movement activities especially designed for older people as part of their Arts & Older People funding from the Arts Council. The movement sessions are available for everyone at

Will you accept the DU Dance Challenge?  DU Dance is putting together a series of weekly challenges to get everyone dancing at home! Follow their social media for weekly updates and share your dancing with the hashtag #DUDancechallenge Visit


Waterside Theatre, in Derry-Londonderry, has an online programme of classes for families, children, young people and Care Homes to help us shake off those lockdown blues.  We have lots of your favourite artists delivering workshops in dance, drama, storytelling, movement, music and visual art.  For more information on our timetable and how to join in and get creative contact

Strand Arts Centre: Comedy sketch trio, Those Who Can’t, is delivering a series of ‘Strand-ed at Home?’ online sessions as the Strand Arts Centre’s lockdown artists not in residence. From Zoom meetings and overzealous home parenting to creating new recipes with cupboard leftovers (how many uses are there for butter beans?), these short, sharp, satirical commentaries provide a mockumentary style response to our new ways of working and living.  Videos are available at


John Hewitt Society has launched a new poetry initiative, Poetry Clips: An Archive of John Hewitt Society Contributors. This unique collection will feature a range of short videos showcasing readings from world-renowned poets including Billy Collins and Sinéad Morrissey along with emerging poets such as Stephen Sexton, Susan Dickie and others. New videos recorded by the poets will be released for viewing on The John Hewitt Society website and social media platforms on a weekly basis.

BookTrust has launched BookTrust NI HomeTime which features a new video every week from NI authors and illustrators.  From free online books, author readings, activity sheets, competitions, videos to live drawalongs, BookTrust HomeTime has been designed to keep families busy and enjoying reading.  Malachy Doyle, Andrew Whitson and Jan Carson have created content for the BookTrust NI HomeTime page, reading stories, teaching us how to draw characters and sharing ideas for keeping in touch through Postcard Stories.  Visit

Hear award-winning children’s author, Oliver Jeffers, read and

Learn to draw and access free online books with BookTrust

Verbal Arts Centre in Derry-Londonderry has launched WellRead, a free website aimed at supporting parents of children aged 8- 11 years to nurture a child’s emotional health and wellbeing through storytelling.  The WellRead website features a collection of carefully curated, new and classic, short stories by authors from all over the world.  Accompanied by a series of questions using state-of-the-art chatbot technology parents, are guided through the story to help them spark a conversation with their child.  WellRead is designed to help parents talk to their child about emotional wellbeing and for   a child to learn more about their own feelings as well as the feelings of those around them. It also allows them to explore new ways of solving problems and coping with stress.  To get started with WellRead visit

Children’s Books Ireland has launched the #ImagineNation campaign bringing together leading Irish children’s authors and illustrators to create a free 24-page #ImagineNation playbook available for free download to children from all over Ireland to enjoy.   The playbook has activities, puzzles, poems and short stories from some of Ireland’s best children’s writers and illustrators to delight, entertain and spark creativity.  Download your copy at

Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre in Limavady is connecting the local community through creativity with virtual arts activities for all ages.  All activities are free with something for everyone, including writing and illustrating short stories, making poems and reading their favourite books.  For more information to go or follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Bluebell Arts in Derry-Londonderry, will be hosting a series if spoken word events and opportunities for a wide range of poets, writers, performers and spoken word artists. The poetry slams will be held on Saturday 30 May 2020, Saturday 27 June and Saturday 25th July 2020 at 6 p.m.  To enter email Frank Rafferty on and an entry form and a copy of Slam rules will be sent to you.  The slams will be broadcast live via the Bluebell Arts Derry Facebook group page


#GetCreativeAtHome has online creative activities available for everyone to find a way to get creative while staying home.  There are over 280 creative activities to offer creative inspiration to people of all ages.  These free (or low-cost) activities cover almost every art form you can think of and most can be done without specialist equipment.  For info on all activities visit

Rainbow Factory is bringing colour and life into the lives of young people with an ingenious interactive website!  During the current crisis the team at Rainbow are acutely aware of the need to stay connected with young people, support them in their isolation and their anxieties.  With this in mind the Arts Team has been working extremely hard to design and develop a Virtual Rainbow Factory, so that hundreds of young people can continue their beloved performing arts training and ignite old and new friendships.  Safeguarding is of the utmost importance, therefore much of the site is password protected.  You can access via: and CLICK the link to Virtual Rainbow Factory. For more information simply email: and to receive your special password.

Beyond Skin has launched #ArtsDialogue Online Workshops, an international collective of musicians, artists, producers, writers & peace activists with workshops including graffiti/street art - joropo dance - sound & healing - creative mindfulness - refugee awareness - hiphop/grime/trap production - Indian arts - South Indian & Tanzanian cookery, mandolin, ukulele, bouzouki tuition - songwriting for social change - decompress stress - unlocking voice & rhythm  and Youth4Peace Training.  Most private group workshops will be hosted through Zoom and Northern Ireland groups have access to part or fully funded workshops. Contact for more information.  Visit

Studio 2 Greater Shantallow Arts in Derry has re-released a 30min film they produced with Dan Gordon and featuring Bronagh Gallagher in honour of our wonderful NHS staff.  The film can be viewed at Also visit to see what other wonderful things they are doing.  

Wheelworks has launched the Make, Do, Create Festival consisting of a series of free artist-led creative workshops, ideas and inspiration that will take place online every day.  From animation, visual arts, music, photography, dance and abstract film making, there is something to suit all tastes.  Visit

Arts Care’s new channel allows everyone at home take part in their range of visual arts workshops, ‘stay active’ movement sessions, music and singing, storytelling, poetry reading and t enjoy the wonderful clown doctors.  The channel also offers a range of participatory arts workshops especially for older people in residential care or who are self-isolating at home.   Visit

Say A Great Big Hello Campaign is Arts Care’s latest campaign which asks children and young people at home, throughout our communities, to create an art work, take a photo or write a poem to send a Big Hello message to children and young people in hospitals, cancer care services, looked after children, children with complex needs and those children and young People in mental health units at this time.  Email to be part of the online exhibition!

Arts Ekta storytelling series: Join ArtsEkta every Thursday for their fabulous online storytelling series, 'World of Words'. Each week a line-up of amazing storytellers, writers and poets from around the world will be taking over their Facebook page with tales, myths and legends. There will also be an opportunity for people to get involved in an exciting creative writing competition with winners having their stories professionally animated. Keep updated with all online offerings at 

Streetwise Community Circus continue with the brilliant, Streetwise at Home, a digital hub where people, young and old, can learn circus skills from professional circus performers.

New Lodge Arts hosts a weekly dance session every Monday at 6.30pm live from New Lodge Arts Facebook page.  What a great way to start the week ahead with loads of energy!  Get the whole family involved! Visit

New Lodge Arts has created the Boredom Buster Activity Book. The book is filled with games, creative challenges, colouring in, stories and much more and is guaranteed to keep kids entertained!   The booklet was designed by local artists and the New Lodge Arts staff team.  Download your copy here

Community Circus Lisburn has been sharing weekly workshops online for young people to enjoy and learn new skills.  So far they’ve covered, a variety of circus skills, the history of circus, making a cake in a mug and other fun activities to keep children entertained at home.  Visit

Strand Arts Centre is sharing the magic of movies during life in lockdown with older people in the community.  The East Belfast venue has been on the road delivering Silver Screenings rescue packs, including DVDs of classic films and popcorn, fun facts, trivia and CDs of local artists reciting poetry and singing, to those older people who may feel isolated and in need of some movie magic.  To find out more and get involved visit

Bluebell Arts also has a variety of online Creative Arts Video Workshops for a wide range of arts and crafts activities for all ages on the Bluebell Arts Derry YouTube channel


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