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What’s on in the Arts

Wednesday 18th November 2020 at 12pm 0 Comments Community Arts , Dance , Drama , 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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Dylan Quinn Dance Theatre:  Dylan Quinn Dance Theatre launches the first ever Inside Outside Youth Festival, from November 27-29th 2020, showcasing fantastic creative work by young people 15-21 years of age from across Fermanagh. Building on the highly successful Inside Outside Festival established in May 2020, the Youth Festival will take place over the final weekend of November bring together an eclectic programme of performances, presentations and discussions from and with young people across Fermanagh. 

Platforming dance, drama, music, visual arts and a unique conversation event, the inaugural youth festival will provide a dedicated platform for talented local young artists. Invitations have been issued to schools across the county and any young person 15-21 interested in sharing their artistic work is welcome to contact the festival to explore opportunities for participation.  In order to support the ongoing development and delivery of local professional and participatory arts programmes the festival will be selling tickets in two methods, a  full price all access 3 day Festival Weekend Ticket is £10 and a Student All Access 3 day Festival Ticket is £5. The full festival programme will shortly be available to view online at

Catalyst Dance Festival:  Catalyst Dance Festival takes place on Thursday 19th November and will showcase the high-quality and exciting work produced by Individual Dance Artists who have received support from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland through their Support the Individual Artist Programme: including the Artist Career Enhancement Scheme (ACEs), General Award and Major Individual Award (MIA).  Theatre and Dance NI alongside Catalyst curator, Eileen McClory, have designed this platform that will provide the essential opportunity to showcase the dance talent that exists here in Northern Ireland, and for choreographers to showcase their work in a professional capacity.  The event is free and open to programmers and the general public alike, with registration in advance encouraged. The 30 minute film will take you through a showcase of three professional works including:

Gary Rowntree (ACES Artist 2019) – Togetherness
Ayesha Mailey (ACES Artist 2018) – See Me Disappear
Eileen McClory (ACES Artist 2018 & HATCH Artist 2014/15) – CUCK

To book visit



Panarts: Let it Grow, From Seed To Song is a brand new series of music videos recorded by local singer-songwriters with Panarts, the team behind the brilliant Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival.  Follow the Panarts Twitter account to access the songs as they’re released.

AVA Festival:  AVA has teamed up with long-standing partner Red Bull and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland to launch an unforgettable electronic audio visual stream with Max Cooper against the beautiful background of Carlisle Memorial Church, Belfast.  The homecoming performance for Max Cooper brings a new live A/V show to Belfast, combining the world class visuals with the distinctive high Victorian, neo gothic style of the building, creating a truly special audio-visual experience.  This live recording will also be the first electronic performance in the venue, and the last of 2020, marking a special occasion for the city.  This stream will be available to AVA’s online community for free on Wednesday  18th at 8pm available on Youtube, Facebook and
To get the most of the experience AVA encourages you to link up sound systems and big screens to create the best set up you can! 

Theatrical Belfast:  A brand-new production company, Theatrical Belfast, has launched in Northern Ireland with their first show, A West End Christmas, coming to St Anne’s Cathedral on 11th December.  The concert will star West End and Broadway leading man, Alistair Brammer (Wicked, Miss Saigon, Les Miserables) and local West End star Raymond Walsh (Les Miserables, Finian’s Rainbow).

Running for two socially distanced performances on December 11 at 5.30pm and 8.30pm, the concert will feature a variety of songs from hit musicals such as Les Mis and Miss Saigon, along with some festive favourites.  Raymond and Alistair will be joined by a very special guest, Belfast ‘Songbird’ Jolene O’Hara, and students from the JH Academy of Theatre Arts, as well as a six-piece band led by musical director, Matthew Campbell.  The venue will be completely Covid compliant, with all safety regulations taken to mitigate risks. Capacity has been reduced to 200 for each performance, with temperature checks and sanitizer provided throughout the venue.  Tickets are now on sale at  and can be booked as groups of two to six people.

Fleadh Mhór Dhoire 2020: celebrates the traditional Irish Arts and will be delivered online this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.  The festival is hosted by Greater Shantallow Community Arts in conjunction with CCÉ Baile na gCailleach and will broadcast from 19th - 23nd November 2020 on a variety of online platforms.  The programme of events includes a mini-series of Irish music workshops aimed at encouraging and promoting the traditional Irish Arts,  traditional Irish singing & storytelling concerts, Irish literary Talks, headline concerts from some of the best traditional Irish artists and bands locally, regionally, and nationally and, much, much more! The online events are free to access and open to people of all ages and abilities.  For additional information visit

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

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



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.



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

Lyric Theatre:  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. #SaveTheArts #SaveOurTheatres #LyricOnline


VISUAL ARTS - please check each galleries website for details on opening as they are subject to change due to the current Covid-19 regulations.

VOID: VOID gallery in Derry-Londonderry, is delighted to once again welcome back Clare Mc Laughlin who will bring her art project, Seen-Unseen, to the zoom platform. Seen-Unseen deals with the non–visual exploration of art and allows the blind or vision impaired person to experience artwork through their other senses. Taking place on the 30th of November, participants will visit Alan Phelan’s exhibition echoes are always more muted through an online tour. Clare will lead a thought provoking, memory stimulating, interactive and sensory session which will explore the exhibition through a tactile workshop.  Seen-Unseen at Void Gallery is funded by DCSDC and will take place during Disability Week NI 2020 which takes place between 30th November and 4th December.  Visit

Golden Thread Gallery: presents WHAT AL-NADEEM KNEW – Outburst Arts Festival at the GTG from Friday 27th November until Friday 18th December

All Day.  Golden Thread Gallery is delighted to welcome Outburst Arts Festival back to the gallery with a remarkable video and multimedia installation.  ‘What al-Nadeem Knew‘ is a multimedia storytelling project that uses collective memory and official and non-official records to unearth different meanings to the current political and economic predicament of Egypt.  Examining the symbolism of music and its performance, specifically that of iconic Egyptian singer and film actress, Um Kalthoum, as being an essential part of the regime propaganda, the installation tries to reconstruct alternative stories about the past, while opening different possibilities to reimagine the future.

Concept: Ismail Fayed
Music/Sound Conception/Dramaturgy: Adham Hafez
Video/Visual Score: Mohammad Shawky Hassan

In order to keep all visitors and staff safe, and follow government guidelines,  GTG is asking all visitors to book their visit in advance by emailing

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’ - 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 their galleries and cafe with new exhibitions across all three galleries - Peter Liversidge, In a Rainbow of Coalitions and Frederic Huska.  Visit for updates on opening times.

R-Space: in Lisburn present a rescheduled exhibition, Obvious, which runs until 11 December 2020 at R-Space Gallery (32 Castle Street, Lisburn).  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 on opening times.

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 Cultúrlann: 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.  Please register via their website: 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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