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What’s on in the Arts

Wednesday 23rd December 2020 at 4pm 0 Comments

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, all supported by exchequer and National Lottery funding.

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Snow Water: presents, UNDER A CHRISTMAS SKY, from 10th – 24th December, 2020.Under a Christmas Sky features Northern Ireland’s finest musicians, actors, poetry and story-telling, filmed live at the Ulster Folk Museum. From traditional to contemporary everything you will see and hear has one thing in common. The…magic…of…Christmas!

Snow Water (the creators and curators of Distant Sky and Atlantic Sessions) are bringing you one cultural treat per day from 10th – 24rd December, and on Christmas Eve you can watch our full programme, hosted by BBC’s Joe Lindsay. Each day, an advent door will open online to reveal a delicious film for the viewer. Under a Christmas Sky combines beautiful poetry from the likes of Michael Longley, George Bernard Shaw, Thackeray and Frank Ormsby, with songs by Darlene Love, Joni Mitchell, Bing Crosby as well as traditional carols. But with a twist – all are given new interpretations by some of Northern Ireland’s finest artists! Watch on YouTube at Under a Christmas Sky and Facebook & Instagram: @distantsky

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

Ulster Orchestra will also present an online concert, The Magic of Christmas, on 18th December and this is still available to purchase and view until 1st January 2021.  Their Festive extravaganza features their very own Santa – otherwise known as Derry Girls star Ian McElhinney – and features popular local performers Peter Corry and Emma Morwood. We also welcome Cormac Thompson, the 11 year old schoolboy whose videos for his Nannie turned him into an online singing sensation! Their conductor and music arranger for the evening is Paul Campbell and NI Opera's Associate Artists will also be performing.  This wonderful one-hour Christmas show features an array of enchanting carols, festive music and a few little surprises that will make it fun for all the family – get ready to sing along in your living room and enjoy a real Christmas cracker of a night!  Tickets for the concert are priced at £12 per household.   Visit The Magic of Christmas - A Special Online Concert - Ulster Orchestra

Sestina: After 3 years of sell-out performances, Sestina Music is delighted to announce that 'Carols at the Museum' will be presented this year online instead, recorded in the spectacular surroundings of the Ulster Museum, Belfast.  Regular attendees of 'Carols at the Museum' can expect the usual unique mix of traditional favourites, lesser-known carols and contemporary arrangements from composers around the world, sung by the stunning voices of Sestina.

The concert was broadcast online on Saturday 19th December at 7pm, and will remain online for 2 weeks. Tickets are free to book, but they ask that you consider supporting their artistic costs with a donation when making your booking. You will receive a link to watch the concert prior to its broadcast.  This concert is supported by sponsors, Exitex Ltd. and funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland National Lottery Programme. Watch back at

Belfast Philharmonic Choir: presents the Belfast Philharmonic’s Christmas Virtual Choir Project online and is available to watch for two weeks. The concert was part-funded by the Arts Council’s Organisations Emergency Programme.  The performance is a full virtual recording of Britten’s Saint Nicolas, and features singers from all of the Phil’s choirs, from the P4s in Phil Kids right through to the adults, plus a community chorus in the two hymns. There are more than 250 individual voices who all recorded themselves from home while choirs have not been able to meet in person. The concert includes Irish tenor, Ross Scanlon,  singing the title role, plus an ensemble of Northern Irish musicians who also all recorded themselves remotely before the concert was mixed together for viewing online.  To enjoy the  free concert visit

Armagh Rhymers: The Armagh Rhymers have been delighting schools with song, dance, music & stories for 42 years.  To keep the magic alive this Christmas, the Armagh Rhymers moved online with our first-ever digital-only school series.  This pilot program featured 6 primary schools across Northern Ireland with classes of all ages logging on to see The Rhymers bring their much-loved festive spirit, with a special visit from the Big Man himself, Santa!  Featuring traditional classics such as ‘The Wren’ as well as some Christmas favourites, this highly interactive performance got all the kids up, dancing and singing along.

With fun festive yarns, Santa getting into mischief, and a dancing lesson from the Horse it was an action-packed performance full of the joys of Christmas.  Visit

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

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

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.  Find out more at and

Armagh Pipers: The Armagh Pipers present a series of concerts in their Fonn Friday’s Concert Series 2020-21.  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.

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 

Strabane Brass Band: has released a virtual advent calendar to perfectly count our way down to Christmas! At 7pm every evening, a new performance will be released on Facebook featuring members of the band. During the lockdown period, members of the band have been busy recording lots of new music including full band pieces, ensembles, duets and solos.  Don’t forget to ‘like’ or ‘follow’ Strabane Brass Band on Facebook to find your daily festive treat.  Visit



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



Tumble Circus: presents Winter Circus the movie live watch party on 27th December at 3pm.  Tumble Circus is back with their ever-popular Winter Circus, and this Christmas they are coming to you!  With no big top tent in Writers Square Belfast, this year Tumble Circus are treating you and your family and friends to Winter Circus the Movie, in the comfort of your front room, kitchen, bathroom or anywhere you can get the internet.  Made and filmed in iconic locations around Belfast, Winter Circus the Movie is a new hammer smashing film, with everything you expect from the world class Tumble Circus troupe and more.

Directed by award winning maker of circus films Ken Fanning, Winter Circus the Movie will be all human, all skill and all thrill.  Forget what you think you know about circus and experience breathtaking acts, including acrobats, trapeze, and jugglers, and plenty of laughs too, packed into half an hour of revolutionary Belfast inspired circus. With a modern soundtrack, international circus artists and comedy characters that both young and old can enjoy. See for yourself what’s made Tumble Circus an international award-winning modern circus company, from the comfort of your own home.

Winter Circus the Movie is available to watch from 3pm on Sunday 27th December 2020 on Facebook, YouTube and

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

Culturlann McAdam O 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

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

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 arts and craft activities to keep you entertained over the festive period.  Visit
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


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

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!  The shows continues until Christmas Eve and tickets include, panto performance from Cre8 Theatre, REAL actors interacting live at the venue, popcorn, soft drinks, festive cheer!  Book at

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

CCA: in Derry-Londonderry are pleased to welcome you back to CCA with Jan McCullough’s Tricks of the Trade, a solo exhibition that explores spaces of construction through sculptural installation.  The works installed across CCA’s galleries reference elements found in spaces such as workshops, garages, factory floors and sheds – that the artist has encountered and photographed over the last decade.  Read more about the exhibition at 

Catalyst Arts: presents Common or Garden
Chris Alton | Jérôme Bel | Bloomers | Emmet Brown | Victoria Brunetta & Kate O’Shea (Durty Books) | Just Books | Aidan Wall | Fiona Woods
Catalyst Arts Gallery, 5 College Court, Belfast, BT16BS
Opening: Friday 11 December, 12-8pm
Common or Garden uses the gallery as a space to propose and foster approaches based on the model of the commons in which resources, ideas and knowledge are shared and distributed democratically. By exploring processes of exchange, collaboration and learning, it asks: can we build practices rooted in collectivity?

The exhibition will include works by Chris Alton, Jérôme Bel, Emmet Brown and Aidan Wall. It will also host a zine library, curated by Bloomers, and The Library of Common Knowledge, featuring books donated through an open call which will be open for visitors to use and share throughout.

The associated programme includes contributions from Chris Alton, Bloomers, Victoria Brunetta & Kate O’Shea (Durty Books), Just Books and Fiona Woods and facilitates discussions on topics such as self-publishing, activism, commonist aesthetics and DIY culture.  See for more details of upcoming talks and events. 

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

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, presents, Generation, an exhibition featuring artists: Hugo Byrne, Róisín de Buitléar, Mark Campden, Ryan Connolly, Mourne Textiles, Cara Murphy, Alla Sinkevich, Katherine West.

This exhibition invites us to consider the unique perspective of a group of Irish based designer-makers who are custodians of a familial tradition of making and creativity, continuing and/or reinventing the work begun by previous generations of their family.  It explores how generational relationships and personal histories have encouraged an added sense of responsibility, influenced aesthetic considerations and helped shape overall narratives. Based on the notion that making matters, the exhibition reminds us that no matter what form it takes, the importance of making and respect for tradition remains at the heart of these family enterprises.  The exhibition continues until 23 January 2021 and to book an appointment to view the exhibition please email

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: has a series of 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 for updates. 

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 created an in-house gallery space for members to exhibit their work and an online shop.  For full details visit


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