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What’s on in the Arts online!

Thursday 9th July 2020 at 1pm 0 Comments Circus & Carnival Arts , Community Arts , Dance , Drama , Literature , Northern Ireland Music , Visual Arts

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

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 things to do online, supported by National Lottery funding.

Belfast Music Society (BMS): will present their popular concert series, Chamber Babies, for ‘little listeners’ and their mums and dads online this week with the first of three short online programmes featuring local musicians Aisling Agnew (flute), Tanya Houghton (harp), Ruth McGinley (piano), William Curran (clarinet) and Cecily Smith Nesbitt (cello). Programmes 2 and 3 will go live on Wednesday 22 July and Wednesday 5 August* (tbc), and all three programmes are available on demand for a month following release. Watch on BMS’s website,, or on their Facebook page,

The Bruiser Virtual Arts Academy is coming to a laptop near you!  Committed to nurturing home-grown talent, Bruiser Theatre Company are excited to launch the Bruiser Virtual Arts Academy, running from August 2020. The Bruiser Virtual Arts Academy is an intensive eight-week online programme that provides extraordinary performing arts training for passionate young artists. This new virtual arts academy is the closest Bruiser can get to the rehearsal room experience; fostering collaboration, team work, performance skills enhancement and providing a unique insight into Bruiser’s process.  The Level 1 Virtual Summer School is for students aged 12-16 and the Level 2 Virtual Summer School is for students aged 17-21.  For an information pack and application form, email or call Lisa May on 07813 162961

ITMA: The Irish Traditional Music Archive (ITMA) are running a series of music initiatives and online learning opportunities on their Facebook Page at

Fighting Words Global Writing Lockdown: On 11 July, 44 writers from Northern Ireland will have their work featured in this global writing initiative. Keep an eye on their website for a link to the anthology

They are also calling on all frontline workers and their children to hear your stories!  Fighting Words NI – in partnership with Fighting Words - is running a project to draw together a collection of writing to capture the experiences, thoughts and ideas of frontline and key workers and their families during the Covid-19 pandemic.  Frontline workers includes, but is not limited to, medical workers, delivery drivers, shop assistants, emergency workers, post office staff, bus drivers – and their children.  Submissions can be fiction or non-fiction and we welcome all forms of creative writing including prose, poetry, comics, illustration, and song lyrics.  Visit their website for details on this and all other writing initiatives that you can get involved in

Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich: has a range of online digital activities this month aimed at young people under the theme of The Solar System.  Join them online for music, art and science activities to learn about the Solar System! Mark 20-24 July in your diary to learn all about the moon and stars.  Visit

They are also featuring a Song of the Day of their Facebook and Twitter providing an opportunity to promote music and heritage and to support musicians who have lost out in gigs and concerts during the pandemic. If you’re a musician and would like to contribute to the series, contact

Stickyfingers: in Newry has created a series of popular short and fun tutorials with their artists to on their Facebook page to encourage people to get creative at home! Visit

Arts Care: The Say A Great Big Hello campaign continues this month, supported by public and National Lottery funding through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Children In Need.  The campaign is calling upon children throughout Northern Ireland to paint a happy picture, take a fun photograph or record a song, poem or dance using the word ‘hello’ and send these into Arts Care who will share them with children who are currently in hospital, hospice or residential care, to cheer them up.  All the photos and video clips will form part if an online art exhibition on Arts Care’s Facebook page and Arts Care 4U YouTube channel for children everywhere to enjoy.  Send you photos and videos to

Jan Carson: Belfast-based writer Jan Carson has created a series of short films during lockdown aimed at writers wishing to develope their talent. The interactive workshops are available to view now on YouTube and can be watched individually or as a complete writing course.  Based on the ideas of French writer Xavier de Maistre in his book, Journey Around My Bedroom, each session will encourage participants to explore the creative potential in the small spaces in which they currently find themselves, using familiar objects and the view from their window to create new stories.  Visit

Newry Chamber Music (NCM): Every Wednesday NCM present their new online concert series, Live In Your Lounge, at 7:30pm on their YouTube channel.  Each concert last 30 minutes and this week features, Dominic Dudley (double bass), Jonathan Aasgaard (cello), Alex Petcu (miramba, Joanne Quigley McParland (violin) and Thérèse Fahy (piano).  Visit

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
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

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.

The MAC’s Instagram account over the next seven weeks will act as a platform for two online artist commissions in response to the experiences of lockdown and social distancing.  Visit

The MAC is also calling on everyone to save those rainbows!!  The MAC is asking all those children to keep their amazing rainbow drawings and paintings for a very special exhibition when the MAC re-opens.   Keep an eye on their Facebook page for details on how to send them to The MAC, but until then keep your drawings safe and don't stop making art!  Visit


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 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

At Home with Northern Ireland Opera: is offering a range activities for children online.  Activities are available on their You Tube page at and includes:

  • Kitchen Percussion with Cathryn Lynch
  • A Singing Session with Sarah Richmond
  • Dance with choreographer Jennifer Rooney: Bizet’s Carmen
  • Stage Make-Up with Connie McGrath
  • Learn To Conduct with Sinead Hayes
  • Science of the Voice with Dr Trevor Agus
  • Making Props with Noleen and George Stevenson
  • Superhero Costume with Carla Barrow


Pitched for primary school children, these are fun, interactive videos which adults might want to join in on too!  There’s also a singing lesson for older children with Sarah Richmond. Future projects in the pipeline include set design and more singing projects too so watch this space!

The Duncairn’s Virtual Cabaret, features a live stream series of performances from some of Ireland, Scotland & the UKs finest musicians, poets and artists on Facebook and YouTube.  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.

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 with local musicians, Conor Lamb and Deirdre Galway.  Enjoy online at

BBC Ten Pieces is offering free online Connecting The Dots workshops with BBC musicians.  These FREE, interactive sessions connect UK primary schools with BBC musicians and are available until the end of term.  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.  Find out more at

Glasgowbury in Draperstown, has been continuing to deliver classes online and for the month of April alone delivered of 56 weekly music lessons,  58 dance classes and creative mentoring sessions.  A number of young music makers, Ruairí O'Kane, Nathan Murray, Cora Rafferty and Gemma Bradley recorded a beautiful rendition of, Somewhere over the Rainbow, in support of frontline NHS staff and as a lockdown challenge for the kids.  Watch the video on their Facebook page here

Oh Yeah Music Centre Belfast’s dedicated music hub, Oh Yeah Music Centre, has partnered with Belfast Live to create the Lockdown Sessions, an online series which promotes and supports Northern Ireland’s music community.  From interviews with local musicians to live performances, it’s unmissable! Visit

Dún Uladh are hosting a series of Saturday Night Sessions on the first Saturday of each month with local folk and traditional musicians.  Keep an eye on their Facebook page for upcoming sessions 

Newry Chamber Music (NCM): Introducing NCM’s new online concert series ‘Live In Your Lounge’.  The six-week series started on Wednesday 24th June at 7:30pm on their You Tube channel.  Visit for details on all upcoming concerts.

Moving On Music: will also be releasing a series of short concerts every Friday.  They’ve put together great little series that reflects their live concert programme, with a mix of jazz, classical, folk and all the stuff that doesn’t fit neatly elsewhere. Concerts are short and sweet (15 – 25 mins), informal and beautifully performed.  Videos will be posted on Facebook and YouTube and available to watch whenever suits.  Visit

Moving On Music: continue with their new ‘All About…’ outreach video series featuring tutorials and demonstrations from world-class classical and jazz musicians.  Each video will offer insight, advice and techniques for budding musicians, and an opportunity to practice alongside the tutor.  Tune in this week for tutorials on jazz voice from Aoife Doyle.  Visit 

Distant Sky Festival: As the festival can’t happen this year, Snow Water and Smarts produced a film with the islanders featuring musicians, Neil Martin, Reevah, Ciara O'Neill, writer, Glenn Patterson and Tour Alaska, presented by Joe Lindsay. The film is an opportunity to engage in a virtual festival to bring our finest artists to all corners of the world and is supported by Tourism NI and Tourism Ireland.  Watch the film back at


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.  Visit

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

DU Dance: 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: 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

Kabosh: with investment from the Arts & Business NI Creative Seed Fund Kabosh has commissioned actor, Gerard Jordan, to create 3 video tutorials with his 10-year-old daughter, Eve.  The Apptastic Tutorials offer you and your family an entertaining step-by-step guide to get the most out of 3 free creative apps: Snapseed (photo editor), Gacha Life (comic strip storyboard) and Funimate (dance video).  The perfect way to keep you all creatively inspired and entertained in lock-down.  Get in touch if you’d like to purchase the tutorials or find out more information at; Purchasing the app tutorials is one of the ways you can help support local artists and Kabosh during this difficult period.   Watch the Apptastic Tutorials trailer at

Young at Art: have shared Spark Arts For Children resources following recent national and international events and protests, to give parents, carers and those who work with young people some tools and language to respond to questions from children about racism.  They said, 'These conversations are opportunities to seek understanding, to explore themes relevant to our lives and for children to learn about themselves and the world they live in, the first steps in raising an anti- racist child.......We can all make a difference to the lives of our children and we hope these resources are helpful to you. #BlackLivesMatter

Embrace Race - Diverse Books for Children
Parent Toolkit - How to Talk to Kids about Race and Racism
Books and resources to help children understand racism
BookTrust - Anti-racism is for everyone
Google Books - Antiracist Baby

The Local Artists Podcast: is a brand new podcast that features conversations with local artists and people who work in the arts sector in Northern Ireland.  The most recent conversation features  playwright and Arts Council of Northern Ireland Dance and Drama Officer, Caoileann Curry-Thompson.  Visit

Crescent Arts Centre: will soon be launching the summer term of their Creative Learning Programme with online tutors from the comfort of your home.  Keep up to date at

Spanner In The Works Theatre Company: produces theatrical works that shine a light on challenging and important social issues.  Recently the company has been making extracts of their plays available to the public on their Facebook page, followed by signposting to professional organisations that can offer help in dealing with issues raised.  Visit

Watch it back! Splendid Isolation - Lockdown Drama:  As part of BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine, which aims to continue to bring culture into the homes of audiences during lockdown, BBC Arts, the Lyric Theatre, BBC Northern Ireland, with support from National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, have created six brand new film dramas from some of Northern Ireland’s biggest names in writing and acting.  The dramas explore the positive and negative aspects of social isolation and lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Watch all six 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.

Seamus Heaney HomePlace: created a lockdown series, Keeping Going, featuring special readings and musical performances from some of the region’s finest artists including Neil Martin, Rosemary Jenkinson, Maureen Boyle, Glenn Patterson, Stephen Sexton, Anthony Toner and the Ulster Orchestra.  A ll episodes are available to watch back at

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

Creative Writing with Roe Valley Arts and Cultural Centre: 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 us 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 : #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: 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 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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