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.
Skip to section
Out To Lunch: The 15th annual Out to Lunch Festival returns from 8th-30th January 2021 with a series of shows already announced including Joshua Burnside, Malojian, Jordan Adetunji, Kevin McAleer and Dea Matrona among many others. For tickets and full programming information visit www.cqaf.com
University of Atypical Bounce arts festival: Bounce is the annual arts festival produced by the University of Atypical that showcases outstanding new work by D/deaf and disabled writers, producers, actors, dancers, musicians and directors. The festival returns from 4th-6th December and it free to enjoy. Visit www.bounce2020.org
ISLAND Arts: To celebrate the City of Lisburn & Castlereagh's Virtual Switch-on and the spirit of Christmas, ISLAND Arts would like to invite you to test drive ISLAND Arts' Christmas activities for children and families. Enter the magical, theatrical world of Cahoots Theatre Company's, 'The University of Wonder and Imagination' or join ISLAND Arts' FREE 'Christmas Creative Club for Children.' Tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, so the sooner you go online the better the chance you have of securing the tickets you want. For details visit www.islandartscentre.com future
Brassneck Theatre Company and Brassneck Youth present: 'A bELFast Christmas', written & Directed by Tony Devlin and produced by Alison McCrudden. Starring Keith Singleton, Christina Nelson, Debra Hill and the young performers from Brassneck Youth, the film will be broadcast online in Sunday 20th December at 6pm for broadcast on Youtube and Brassneck/Feile Facebook pages.
Santa has crash landed in the Falls Park on Christmas eve. To avoid further disaster, Mrs Claus sends head elf MistleJoe McJingles to find Santa, fix the sleigh and deliver the last of the presents. There's one problem however... MistleJoe McJingles is a buck eejit. Can MistleJoe team up with the Fairy of the Falls to defeat the Wicked Witch of the West and save Christmas? Find out in Brassneck’s epic festive film.
This project kindly funded by Arts Council NI and Halifax Foundation NI. Thanks also to BCC for use of Falls Park. Filmed on location in the Falls Park and Priors Scrapyard
Christmas on the Stage Beyond Tree: Stage beyond is an award-winning theatre company for adults with learning disabilities. This December the company will create a five-part production, Christmas on the Stage Beyond Tree, which will be shared on their Facebook page and on their website. Visit www.stagebeyond.com
Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich: presents Fleadh Feirste 2020. There'll be a fantastic mixture of music, drama, discussion and family events taking place virtually across the Gaeltacht Quarter as part of Fleadh Feirste 2020. To view the full programme visit https://issuu.com/culturlannmcadamofiaich/docs/fleadh_feirste2020
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 https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCW8vA0LnFDwumD_oGo2FwqQ?sub_confirmation=1
Youth Action NI / Rainbow Factory: present the Virtual Winter Wonder Zoom on Thursday 10th December at 5pm. Join the arts team for fun, games and Christmas spirit. Suitable for young people aged 13 and under visit www.therainbowfactory.co.uk
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 email@example.com. Suitable for participants who range in age from 8 to 80 plus.
Wheelworks: is back with a jam-packed programme of online arts and craft activities to keep you entertained over the festive period. Visit www.wheelworksarts.com
Arts Care: has a wonderful range of arts activities available online on their Arts Care 4U Premium +, their online arts delivery channel that everyone can access. Visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQ85xLA2BlQQdrnWBhKw1hw
Ulster Orchestra: has created their own Countdown To Christmas Advent Calendar. Check in at 1pm every day from 1st December to Christmas Eve for a musical gift from them to you! Visit www.twitter.com/ulsterorchestra
On Saturday 5th December, the Ulster Orchestra perform in a chamber concert to celebrate Belfast Music Society’s centenary. This is part of the extended Belfast International Arts Festival and takes place online at 8pm Reserve your free virtual seat at www.belfastinternationalartsfestival.com
Live from the Ulster Hall: Live from the Ulster Hall is a new, innovative digital event experience, proudly supported by The Arts Council for Northern Ireland and the Department for Communities through their Organisations Emergency Programme. For the first concert in the series, the Ulster Hall is delighted to welcome back Ryan McMullan to the iconic stage to perform as part of the new digital entertainment experience. Ryan McMullan is recognised as one of Northern Ireland’s biggest and brightest talents and is thrilled to be back performing for all his fans who can continue to enjoy his live sessions via this new platform from the safety and comfort of their own home. Tickets cost £15 and are available at www.ulsterhall.co.uk
Irish Traditional Music Archive: is releasing their beautiful Drawing from the Well series on their YouTube channel ITMAVideos - YouTube with some released already which you can view back and a few more to follow on:
2 December 2020
Mary Bergin, Tony Linnane & John Blake
The Wiliam Forde Music Manuscripts
16 December 2020
Brían Mac Gloinn
Songs from Arranmore Island
Dun Uladh: has launched, Exploring our Culture, a series of free talks in December on the following dates:
1st Dec – Derek Moore, Londonderry Bands Forum
3rd Dec – Fintan Vallely, musician, writer, lecturer
8th Dec – Linda Ervine, East Belfast Mission
10th Dec – Dr Peter Smith, University of Ulster
15th Dec – Ian Burrows, RSPBA NI
Plus Saturday 19th December at 8.30pm, Four Men and a Dog online concert. Visit www.dunuladh.ie
National Youth Choir Northern Ireland (NYCNI): is releasing a series of virtual choir performances each weekend for five weeks on both Facebook and YouTube. These are the final performances from their online courses which took place in October. View the first release at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ug-3K68ILDs
Scott’s Jazz Club: Scott's Jazz Club is based at Ballyhackamore Club, 1A Sandown Road. The club was formed by Cormac O'Kane, Colin Harper, Scott Flannigan and Karen Smyth and is a dedicated jazz concert environment featuring amazing sound, lighting and projection mapping. Keyboard virtuoso, Scott Flannigan, is the club's musical curator and host. The gigs will feature the best of Irish Jazz talent in upcoming performances that will be live streamed online. Cormac O'Kane and Richard Brown have installed a sound and lighting setup and are filming and livestreaming the performances. They are also producing Scott's Jazz Club Bites, a series featuring interviews and performances from the shows. The club has already built a strong social media following and ran two sold out shows before the current lockdown. In episode 2 of Scott's Jazz club, Scott was joined by renowned Belfast Jazz trumpeter, Linley Hamilton. This episode features Linley's funky performance of 'Happy People' with Jack Kelly on bass and the amazing drummer, Dominic Mullan, from Dublin.
Armagh Pipers: The Armagh Pipers present another concert in their Fonn Friday’s Concert Series 2020-21 on Friday 11th December featuring Rioghnach Connolly and Martin McGinley. You can also watch back a stunning performance from 13th November featuring Jarlath Henderson and Brian Finnegan at www.armaghpipers.com
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. https://twitter.com/BelNash
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. 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 surprise 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 National 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 www.porticoards.com
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 https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKddGiZ5vY-msXyUq0ni4zQ
Lyric Theatre: Whilst the doors of this much-loved theatre remain temporarily closed, the magic of the Lyric lives on with not one but four Christmas show to enjoy from the safety and comfort of our homes this festive season. Families can join the Lyric Online and take a trip to marvelous magical places with Peter Pan: The Musical, Alice: The Musical and Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf from 5th December – 3rd January. Why not wrap up your family Christmas experience with a bespoke Christmas hamper from the Lyric and local Belfast sweetshop, Aunt Sandra's.
The Listen at The Lyric series gets into the festive spirit with a Christmas special from Conor Grimes and Alan McKee from 8th December – 3rd January. The Nativity…What the Donkey Heard is an audio adaption of their hugely popular 2016 show, The Nativity…What the Donkey Saw. The Lyric has also inventively created a wonderful range of merchandise to treat yourself or a loved one this Christmas including Christmas cards, tote bags, t-shirts, books and more. Visit www.lyrictheatre.com
Seamus Heaney HomePlace: Actors, authors and an ambassador come together for a one-off programme of performances on Friday 11th December to mark the 25th anniversary of the award of the Nobel Prize in Literature to Seamus Heaney. A Nobel Celebration, will be opened by actor Ciarán Hinds with a specially recorded reading of ‘Digging’. The occasion will include a key note address from Daniel Mulhall, Ambassador for Ireland to the United States, talks by renowned academics and authors Rosie Lavan and Roy Foster, and an introduction to her acclaimed version of Seamus Heaney’s ‘Anahorish’ by Lisa Hannigan.
As well as its focus on Heaney’s work, this bespoke production will also celebrate the work of the other three Irish Nobel Literature Laureates - WB Yeats, George Bernard Shaw and Samuel Beckett. Star of stage and screen Fiona Shaw will read an excerpt of Beckett’s ‘Happy Days’, the life and work of George Bernard Shaw will be analysed by friend of HomePlace, Fintan O’Toole, who will also be part of the panel discussion on Yeats with Mark O’Connell and Emma Dabiri, titled ‘The Centre Cannot Hold’. This event will celebrate the 100 years anniversary of the publication of ‘The Second Coming’ and is presented in conjunction with Yeats Society, Sligo. For more information and to purchase tickets visit www.seamusheaneyhome.com
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 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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9JG10BS_Qo
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 https://letsgohydro.com/drive-in-cinema/drive-in-panto/
VOID: It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at VOID with three online workshops for kids with artist facilitators, Karen Cassidy, Sinead Crumlish, Zoe McSparron. Sinead Crumlish will show you how to make your own air drying clay so that you can make your own Christmas decorations, Karen Cassidy has your Christmas cards sorted with her workshop on Watercolour Christmas Cards and join Zoe McSparron to make a Swirling paper plate Christmas Tree that you can hang in your window. For full details, see their website or stay tuned on social media. Workshops will be posted to VOID’s website, Facebook videos, and Instagram IGTV at 11am on each Saturday at Christmas. Visit https://www.derryvoid.com/
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 https://www.belfastexposed.org/
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 https://www.ruaarchive.org/139th-annual-exhibition-2020/
Millennium Court Arts Centre: in Portadown, is showing their current exhibition" NO TIME" by Martin Boyle online. Visit http://millenniumcourt.org/new-page-1
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 http://www.craftni.org/
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. They also have a series of movies at Christmas showing in the venue and a range of online activities. Visit www.themaclive.com for updates.
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 https://www.rspacelisburn.com/ for full details on opening times.
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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wsbZ8cOPBA&t=14s
Belfast Print Workshop: Belfast Print Workshop has 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 https://www.bpw.org.uk/