Arts Council of Northern Ireland

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What’s on in the Arts

Wednesday 23rd September 2020 at 11am 0 Comments Literature , Northern Ireland Music , Visual Arts , Dance , Drama


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 and outdoors, supported by exchequer and National Lottery funding.


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:

The Gap Year by Belfast based writer Clare McMahon: Kate, Roisin and Oonagh decide enough is enough, life is too short - sure didn’t Kate’s husband drop dead in the bread aisle of Lidl? They’re going to follow in their children’s footsteps and take a Gap Year. Thailand? Europe? Down Under? No, they’re going to visit every county in Ireland, sure there are a few they’ve never even heard of?

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, Alice Malseed and Finn Kennedy.

‘Listen at the Lyric’ is available to listen at on the following dates:

  • The Gap Year, 29th Sept – 12th Oct
  • 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

The Playhouse: The Playhouse Theatre and Peacebuilding Academy, presents, Beyond the Barricades, written by Micheal Kerrigan and directed by Anne Crilly, live online on Wednesday 30th September at 8pm.  The Playhouse Theatre and Peacebuilding Academy is a cross-border project that creates art that enables reflection, active dialogue on the consequences of conflict, and techniques to engage with painful memories safely. The Academy works with representatives from interface and highly segregated areas, victims and survivors as-well as public sector organisations such as the PSNI.  Theatre is used as a tool to explore community relations issues in a safe and accessible environment, promoting healing and reconciliation in a liberating and transformative way.  The latest play from the Academy, Beyond the Barricades, centres around Machus and Cal as they embark on a youthful odyssey of self- discovery in Derry against the backdrop of a world in turmoil.   Watch at

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


Northern Ireland Opera: The Garden, Ghost and a Butterfly, is a brand new music and animation project that premiered as part of Culture Night on 18th September.  Inspired by Sinead Crossan and the students of Ardnashee Special School in Derry/Londonderry, composer Conor Mitchell has composed a work that tells the story of the children’s experiences of lockdown. In a vivid, cinematic score featuring voice (Abigail McGibbon), soprano (Rebecca Murphy), clarinet (Sarah Smith), oboe (Chris Blake), trombone (Ross Lyness) and harp (Tanya Houghton), he tells the tale of a little girl sitting by a windowsill, watching a caterpillar transform into a butterfly, but wary and scared of the ghost wandering the garden.

In a beautifully illustrated short animation, drawings from Ardnashee’s pupils have been brought to life by concept artist Chris Thompson to depict the public’s entering of a new, post-lockdown phase, as the butterfly flies past the ghost, unharmed, and the little girl feels safe to go out into her garden, the ghost receding from view.  Watch the animation at

Northern Ireland Opera: 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.

  • Saturday 26th September, 2-4pm, Connswater Shopping Centre for Take Up Space, Price: Free
  • Friday 9th October, 2-3pm, Down Arts Centre for Mindwise, Price: Free
  • Saturday 10th October, 2-4pm, Carers Trust Community Concert, Newry, Price: Free
  • Wednesday 14th October, 6pm and 8pm, St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, Singing Struggle And Agreement (Part of Belfast International Arts Festival), Price: £7.50
  • Wednesday 28th October, 2-4pm, Connswater Shopping Centre, 'Take Up Space', Price: Free
  • Friday 13th November, 6-10pm, 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 us at 

Moving On Music: This week Moving on Music premiere the first ‘All About’ Outreach video from jazz pianist, Scott Flanigan.  final ‘All about Jazz Piano’ video looks at the jazz standard ‘Autumn Leaves’ and talks about why tunes such as this have been around for so long. Scott will break down the song and talk us through how to improvise around the keys that are used.

Tune in next week for the final artist in this season of the ‘All About’ series, the fabulous Irish harpist, Gráinne Meyer. In Gráinne’s series, she will talk about the history of the harp, how it is used in different ensembles and will break down popular orchestral pieces for harp.


Northern Lights: Check out the brilliant Northern Lights Line up that Roe Valley Arts Centre has coming up this Autumn.  Northern Lights brings you live music, storytelling and spoken word streamed right to the comfort of your own home via Facebook, Youtube and Zoom.

Next up is Lore on 8th October.  The band is fronted by singer/songwriter Carolann Carlile. Born in Belfast, Carolann was raised in our very own Limavady. Carolann has never meet a cupcake that she didn't like and loves kittens (especially fluffy ones). On piano and from rural Dungiven is composer/song writer Raymond O‟Kane. Also from Dungiven, guitarist and composer Luke McCloskey is the founding member and original driving force behind this fantastic 4 piece indie-folk band. Last but not least is Rebecca Hall form Ballymena on violin/fiddle.  Be sure to keep an eye on their social media and website for details of how to watch.  Visit 


Drive-in performances: MayWe with the support of the Arts Council and Catalyst present the LOUGH DOWN LINE UP at Queen’s Road, Belfast on 26-27 September.  There are eight drive-in shows to choose from across two days, with a headline performance from And So I Watch You From Afar.  There’s also comedy from Lurgan’s Micky Bartlett and performances from Ronnie Greer and his eight-piece band, Joshua Burnside, Ciaran Lavery, Prime Cut Productions and Pan Narran’s, My Left Nut stage show, Catilin-Magnall Kearns's, 'The Monolgues', Belfast Operatic's 'Songs from Stage and Screen' as well as Mr Hullabaloo and 'Dino Day Out' children's theatre.  Tickets are priced from £15-20 per car per show and are available at

Belfast International Arts Festival: The 58th Belfast International Arts Festival (BIAF) has been digitally launched with an imaginative and inspirational programme for the times we live in, as Northern Ireland’s leading contemporary multi-artform festival largely goes virtual for 2020.  From 12th October to 1st November, inspirational events featuring dance, music, theatre, film, visual arts and discussion will be largely hosted online, with a small number experienced in-person. 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.

Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich:  kick off the 30 year celebration of Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiach with an inaugural heritage event, a special art exhibition, Cultúrlann Collection, which will launch in Dánlann Dillon at the beginning of October. They also 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 along with storytelling and mumming with Cleamairí Feirste as per the ancient Samhain tradition. The concert will be broadcast on Cultúrlann Facebook and YouTube channels on Friday 30th October at 8:30pm.


R-Space: in Lisburn is now reopen to the public.  Details of their current and upcoming exhibition are below:

Re: New Wallace #3
Robert Peters
12 September - 16 October 2020 11am to 5pm Tuesday to Saturday
Augmented reality and mixed media by Robert Peters casting an eye on the fraught relationship between Britain and Ireland in the 19th century; absentee landlords, rent strikes, decadent aristocrats, the Famine and Home Rule.  Re: New Wallace #3 is the much anticipated third in their series of Re:New Wallace Collection exhibitions, in collaboration with The Wallace Collection, London. 

MMM#8 – Obvious
Aimée Nelson, Aoife O'Connor, Gary Shaw, Jill Phillips, Mr. Papers, Pauline Clancy
7 November - 11 December 2020  11am to 5pm Tuesday to Saturday
Six artists based in Northern Ireland have been selected from an open call as part of our 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.

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

VOID: Void has a new website! Here you can find all the latest updates about their events and exhibitions. You can also look back on their past exhibitions and events by searching the archive. There is also a shop where you can search through their artist publications or show your support for the arts by donating or becoming a Void Supporter. Void will continue to create both online and in-house content to bring to their audience so keep an eye on the website for further information.  Their public gallery is also now reopened and will be showing an exhibition by artist, Alan Phelan, echoes are always more muted, from 5th September until 31st October

Roe Valley Arts: presents the online Dungiven Regeneration Club Virtual Exhibition from 2nd September until 10th November.  Dungiven Regeneration Club (DRC) was established in 2015 to advance the arts culture in Dungiven area and to aesthetically regenerate the area through art.  For this exhibition the members of the club have submitted works of art that they have created over the lockdown period. The exhibition highlights the wonderful artistic talent in our local Causeway Coast and Glens Borough and is a brilliant example of how the arts can bring a community together and enhance their local area.

Golden Thread Gallery: is now reopen to the public with the below exhibition on show:

Dissolving Histories: An Unreliable Presence – showing until 30th September
Co-curated by Mary Cremin and Peter Richards, featuring artists: Bassam Al Sabah; Liliane Puthod; Michael Hanna; and Stuart Calvin

Craft NI: is now reopen to 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: has re-opened its café and galleries to the public.  From now until 11th October, The MAC presents the popular, Ulster University BA and MFA Fine Art Graduate Show, across all three MAC galleries.  The MAC is open from 10am-4pm Wed-Sun and you must book to attend the exhibition at

Belfast Exposed: present two exhibitions which will be highlighting the work of a selection of recent graduates from the MFA Photography and BA in Photography and Video at Ulster University.  The exhibitions are:

Anthropology (MFA Exhibition) – 3rd September – 24th October, exhibition link:
Human Condition (BA Exhibition) – 3rd September – 24th October, exhibition link:

University of Atypical: is now open to the public presenting the re-opening of Brian Kielt’s exhibition, Confessionals.  Brian Kielt is a painter based in mid-Ulster who makes work about memory, trauma and anxiety. In 2012 Kielt co-founded the LOFT collective and continues to collaborate with members on numerous projects. This is Kielt’s fifth solo exhibition. His work has featured in several group shows and has work in private collections in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland and the USA.

Conscious that many people may continue to shield, they have also organised an online event for those who can’t make it to see the exhibition. A Studio Visit with Brian Kielt will take place on Saturday 3rd of October 2020 from 2pm to 3pm. Join online for an informal tour of the artist’s studio, in the rolling foothills of Glenshane. This is a great opportunity to meet the artist, find out more about his creative process and the ideas that inform his practice, and get a sneak peek of works in progress. Questions for the artist from attendees are welcomed. Register your interest and receive the Zoom link at


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