Arts Council of Northern Ireland

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What’s on in the Arts

Wednesday 15th September 2021 at 1pm 0 Comments

The Arts Council has rounded up fantastic arts and culture events to enjoy online and in person, supported by the Department for Communities and National Lottery funding.

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Culture Night: The creative team behind this year’s Culture Night Belfast installation have revealed ambitious plans to create a vast structural, lighting and sound show that will fill the Cathedral Quarter’s Writer’s Square from 17-19 September 2021. Belfast artist Gawain Morrison and his team will turn Writer’s Square into The Ogham Grove, a monumental, immersive sculpture and accompanying digital trail which will create a whole new experience for Belfast. Visit

Belfast International Arts Festival: the 59th annual Belfast International Arts Festival (BIAF) returns from 6th October to 7th November with an extensive programme that gives audiences opportunities to both experience live performances again whilst also enjoying a selection of online events at home.

Glen Hansard and The Great Irish Songbook is set to headline Belfast International Arts Festival. On Friday 22 October, exactly two years since Hansard’s sold out performances at BIAF in 2019, the lead singer of Irish rock band The Frames and one half of folk-rock duo The Swell Season, is looking forward to his first gig in front of a live audience on the island of Ireland since the pandemic.

The Great Irish Songbook, featuring legendary Irish folk group Dervish and a stunning line-up of special guests is set to take to the Grand Opera House stage on Thursday 21 October. Artists performing some of their favourite Irish songs alongside an eight-piece Dervish include Belfast’s own Brian Kennedy, the multi-award-winning Cara Dillon, Gaelic folk singer Karen Matheson, the revered Eddi Reader and Belfast’s own Open Arts Community Choir. For more information and to book tickets, visit

Portico of Ards Comedy Festival: with funding from Ards and North Down Borough Council, the Portico Comedy Arts Festival takes place across two weekends, 17-25 September 2021, with all events happening in the stunning grade A-listed architecture of the Portico of Ards in Portaferry. Highlights include:

  • The Pirates of Penzance on Friday 17 Sept
  • Sat 18 Sept brings NI comedy sensation Paddy Raff accompanied by BT9’s most famous export, his alter-ego Nigel
  • A family show from The Scott Brothers Duo on Sun 19 Sept provides the perfect introduction to classical music for all ages
  • On Thurs 23 Sept, ‘Our Jimmy’ is back by popular demand. David Hull Promotions presents comedian William Caulfield's latest show featuring the beloved Ulster characters first created by the late James Young
  • Neil Delamere, star of BBC’s The Blame Game, Fighting Talk and the Newsquiz, hits the road again with his riotous new stand-up show, Liminal, on Fri 24 Sept.
  • The festival concludes on Sat 25 Sept with The Iconettes and their band The Hitzvilles. Featuring hit songs that pays tribute to the best ‘girl groups’ and ‘divas’ of the 60s and 70s

For tickets visit

Bounce! Festival: Bounce is the annual arts festival produced by University of Atypical that showcases outstanding new work by D/deaf, disabled and neurodiverse writers, producers, actors, dancers, musicians, and directors. Join them from 1-3 October for a fun and eclectic long weekend of new experiences, stories and memories. A full programme if events will be released soon. For more information go to


Belfast Exposed: presents,

Gallery 1: Jerwood/Photoworks Awards 2020 - Silvia Rosi & Theo Simpson, 5 August – 25 September 2021

Belfast Exposed presents Jerwood/Photoworks Awards 2020 which showcases new photographic works by two early-career artists, Silvia Rosi and Theo Simpson. Both awardee artists explore the idea of history through their photographic practices, across themes of family, industry, identity and architecture.

Studio Gallery: Belfast Exposed presents the second instalment of provocative punk photography magazine ‘Rotten Magazine Volume Two - I’ve Always Liked Slime’ - created by Joel Seawright and Lucy Jackson, 9-25 September.

This exhibition brings together a selection of photographs and spreads from the publication, featuring work from Gareth McConnell’s ’Sex Drugs & Magick, Zara Carpenter’s ‘Bed’, and a previously unpublished series of work by Ciarán Óg Arnold.

Exploring the collectively experienced distortion of time during lockdown and its decaying effects on mental health, the images are manipulated to become more visually dissonant, and text becomes almost illegible. The themes of each series – love, sex, drugs, mental health – are woven together and re-contextualised through emails, comments sections, internet forums, and text messages. In this way, the magazine becomes a series in its own right, revealing a collective narrative through individual stories.

This exhibition and launch will appeal to post punk fans. The work draws you from the visual energy of the imagery and through a distortion of text, highlights a discrepancy between our physical experiences and the digital ways we relive them


Street View: Noel Bowler, 5 August – 25 September 2021

Above The Fold is the culmination of an ambitious long-term project (2012-2020) from Irish artist Noel Bowler. Using his signature medium format film camera to photograph newspaper newsrooms across Europe, the United States and Asia, his unique project shows us the physical space and the structural layers that have formed the foundation of our modern press.

For further details visit

ArtisAnn: ArtisAnn is proud to provide the first professional group show featuring this year’s class of emerging young talent. All the artists have graduated from the School of Art at Ulster University, winning several awards and prizes along the way. Artists include:

Leah Davis
Fatima Hussain
Amber Rossi

Amber Rossi’s art is filled with memory and nostalgia. As she says, “my work is very much influenced by my own personal and old family photographs from my childhood. Old photographs really fascinate me. Looking through photos of my mum and aunt when they were my age, finding it almost impossible to imagine a time when I didn’t exist.”

Leah Davis paintings are beautiful portraits, capturing complex body language, gesture and interactions. Leah describes her own work “as a contemporary figurative painter, I explore the relationship between the figure and external space”. Since graduating she has had work accepted by the Royal Ulster Academy of the Arts.

Fatima Hussain is an equestrian artist who explores female representation and aspects of femininity linked with horses. Her primary challenge of not only physically representing horses but also articulating their character in relation to its human counterpart. She explains that “intertwining this with my own Persian heritage and roots culminates in this profound affinity for horses that I possess.” She has received several awards and has had work accepted by the RUA.

The exhibition runs at the ArtisAnn Gallery at 70 Bloomfield Avenue, Belfast from Wednesday 1st September to Saturday 2nd October 2021. Visit for further details.

Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich: Cultúrlann Mc Adam Ó Fiaich’s Ballaí Bana Gallery is delighted to host, Artists At The Mill, an exhibition from an ever evolving group of creatives from Conway Mill from 5 August until 30 September 2021. Conway Mill is situated a mile or so away from Cultúrlann on the Falls Road. Rich in history this successful example of preservation now houses multi-use business and community development. The top floor is dedicated to artists and makers of mixed disciplines, including painting, printmaking, glass, ceramics, sculpture, and textiles. For further details visit

Void: presents Cevdet Erek, Beating a Retreat, 7 September – 30 October 2021.

Cevdet Erek is an Istanbul based artist and musician. A background in architecture, sound engineering, and performing in a band forms the basis of his practice. In his working process Erek often responds to architectural context through interventions, using sound to inhabit architectural spaces. The exhibition at Void, Beating a Retreat, was disrupted by COVID-19 and due to travel restrictions, has been developed at a distance through the lens of conversations, processes of experimentation and virtual tools.

For his exhibition at Void Gallery, Erek has composed a new sound piece titled Back with the bodhrán, an instrument associated with traditional Irish music of the 1960’s. Erek draws parallels between the bodhrán and instruments widely used across Turkey, Northern Africa and the Middle East, as well as the traditions of disparate cultures. Alongside Back, Erek presents a wall piece utilising parchment similar to the drum’s skin.

In Beating a Retreat, Erek also draws on our perception and experience of time in the series Rulers and Rhythm Studies (2007 -ongoing). A new ruler conceived for this exhibition, Ruler 2019 BC19 to 1AC19, bases itself on an imaginary COVID-19 calendar that takes 2020, the year that the pandemic declared by WHO, as its year zero. The exhibition serves as a punctuation and meditates on where we are at present as we slow down and move through this tumultuous period.

Beating a Retreat starts and ends with the sound work Welcome and Goodbye - a piece that builds on Erek's previous large scale installation works such as ÇIN (Turkish Pavilion, Venice Biennale, 2017). Welcome and Goodbye utilises signals which interfere differently, corresponding to whether you are entering or leaving the exhibition.

For more about the exhibition visit

Centre for Contemporary Art Derry-Londonderry (CCA): presents, presents

MODERNISMS: legacies of Northern Irish modernism

Artists: James Ashe, Rachael Campbell-Palmer, Philip McCrilly, Grace McMurray, Ben Weir

Curators: Catherine Hemelryk & Matt Retallick

Dates: 29 May–18 September 2021

CCA Derry-Londonderry presents MODERNISMS, an exhibition of five artists responding to themes of modernism in Northern Ireland. From architecture and infrastructure, to everyday domestic design, the artists are brought together and ask us to look again, revealing the remarkable in the commonplace. From weaving and textiles, tower blocks and fireplaces, abandoned shoe factories and churches, MODERNISMS demonstrates the complex and nuanced influence of modernism on all our lives. Visit for further information.

The MAC: presents the following exhibition across all three galleries

Anne Tallentire, But this material…

8th September – 21st November 2021

This exhibition is the first significant institutional presentation of Anne Tallentire’s work since her career survey This and other Things 1999 – 2010 at the Irish Museum of Modern Art. But this material… brings together key works from the last decade as well as work which is re-imagined for the particular architectural and spatial qualities of the MAC galleries.

Tallentire’s practice explores the built environment and how we inhabit space; her process is characterised by a critical relationship to materials and technology. Fundamental to her approach is the repurposing of found materials often associated with the construction industry to delineate space in relation to specific cultural, social, geographic and architectural contexts. Through a visual and textual interrogation of everyday materials and structures, Tallentire’s work reveals systems that shape the built environment and the economics of labour. She explores dimensionality and mapping by using everyday building materials to transpose one physical space onto another.

In representing abstractions of living and shared space, Tallentire questions the conditions that determine, regulate and shape patterns in daily life. Her practice is a commentary on the present circumstances of infrastructure and the social impact of such living environments. The current debate on the rising costs of housing and the systemic failure of the state to provide adequate social housing is alluded to in her work. For further information visit at

Belfast Print Workshop: present five Belfast Print Workshop artists, Danielle, Helen, Josephine, Jonathan and Coby have been hard at work and prepared online workshops for you to try at home.  For full details visit  


Ulster Orchestra: presents their new season of concerts including;

  • 24 September, Rustioni conducts special opening concert
  • 8 October, Polish Heroes
  • 23 October, Electric Arcade
  • 29 October, Rustioni conducts from Russia to Hollywood
  • 11 November, Virtuosic Storytellers
  • 25 November, The Charm of the Classical
  • 3 December, Rustioni conducts Pictures at an Exhibition

For further details and to purchase tickets visit

Lá na Cruite | Harp Day 2021

Lá na Cruite, Harp Day 2021 takes place on Saturday 16th October where harpers all over the world will celebrate Ireland’s 1,000-year-old harping tradition. Harp Day 2021 will combine live events and virtual broadcasts on their Facebook and You Tube channels.

This year’s theme is HARPS ALIVE; a response to a renewed sense of awareness of the beauty of the world over the past 18 months when we paused to listen and to look around us with a new perspective; hearing bird song, getting out and about, walking on our beautiful hills and coastal areas, and relating to nature in a different way. So this year Lá na Cruit is calling harpers to reconnect with nature, let their harp music reflect the beauty in their favourite outdoor spaces: on hills, beside lakes, on the coast, in forests or even in their own back gardens.

Contact them at if you are planning an event in your area and visit for further information.

Oh Yeah: The award winning NI Music Exhibition at Oh Yeah is now open for visitors after being shut for almost 18 months due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. The NI Music exhibition at Oh Yeah is the only permanent exhibit for popular music in Northern Ireland. There is much to see, including a series of storyboards documenting and plotting the history and the stories of Folk, Punk, Rock, Jazz and more. There is a ‘Legends’ series of wall displays that hail the great achievers including Ruby Murray, Van Morrison, Terri Hooley, Bap Kennedy, David McWilliams and Henry McCullough to name a few. Exhibition cases display some unique rock and roll memorabilia including the Fender Guitar that Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol used to write ‘Run’ and ‘Chasing Cars’, a vintage street sign of Cyprus Avenue, made famous in a Van Morrison song, and a specially arranged exhibit of Gary Moore memorabilia.

Exhibition Opening Times

Mon – Fri: 10am-4pm

More info will follow on when the Music Bus Tour will restart soon. To enquire about a visit, or for further info and group bookings please contact or call 02890310845

Portico of Ards: Live music concerts are back at Portico! After 18 months of being forced to close due to the Covid restrictions, the Portico of Ards in Portaferry is finally able to open its doors to audiences. More than 50 concerts have been rescheduled over the last year and a half, which means there’s a jam-packed calendar of events coming up between now and Christmas.

From September through to December concerts include Ryan McMullan, The Pirates of Penzance, The Bjorn Identity, Shane Todd, The Shamrock Tenors and many more. To find out more about Portico or concerts coming up please visit

Duncairn: Duncairn’s video project, ‘In Focus’, continues every Sunday. Each episode is a documentary-style portrayal of young and emerging artists from across the island and includes musical performances in a variety of locations. Available to watch at 7pm every Sunday at

Moving On Music: presents the following live gigs this September and October.

Saturday 18th September, Iarla Ó Lionáird, Úna Monaghan & Kevin Murphy, The MAC, Belfast

Sunday 10th October, Scott Matthews, Duncairn, Belfast

For more information visit

Northern Ireland Opera: presents,

La Bohème

Northern Ireland Opera announces the return of live opera performances with a unique and exhilarating new production of Puccini’s La Bohème this September. The staging of one of the most loved and timeless masterpieces in the operatic canon marks Cameron Menzies’ first production in front of live audiences since he joined Northern Ireland Opera as Artistic Director midway through the pandemic in February this year.

This bold new interpretation will be brought to life inside the iconic Carlisle Memorial Church in Belfast across four evenings. A historic focal point in the city, this beautifully decayed church provides the perfect atmospheric backdrop to tell the story about a group of Bohemians who are all searching and desperately trying to find their way in life and love. La Bohème will be performed live in front of socially distanced audiences across 4 nights.

Dates: September 18, 20, 23, 25. Please sign up on the website to receive further details

The City of Derry International Choir Festival:

Internationally-renowned guest artists will include the Grammy Award-winning American a cappella ensemble Chanticleer, described as the “world’s reigning male chorus” by The New Yorker, and known across the globe as the “orchestra of voices”. The Festival will also welcome acclaimed conductor and composer Bob Chilcott, award-winning Derry chamber choir Codetta, and the Ulster Orchestra, for a programme of live and live-streamed concerts during Festival week.

For more information and updates visit or follow the City of Derry International Choir Festival on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram.

ITMA: 'Drawing from the Well' is an online monthly ITMA series which connects artists with archival materials to inspire new art. To date, nine videos, podcasts and blogs have been created by leading traditional musicians, singers, and dancers, including Louise Mulcahy, Martin Hayes, Edwina Guckian and Cormac Begley. All episodes are free to view online at

Phil Taggart: ChillDaBeats is the brand new show from NI DJ, Phil Taggart. Every week he brings you a soft focus selection of the best alternative chill sounds along with the biggest guests picking some brain soothers in the Soul Food Selection. ChillDaBeats goes live every Sunday. Listen on Spotify at This podcast series is supported by emergency funding through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Department for Communities.

Tommy Sands and Artsawonder:  In this new online film series, legendary musician, Tommy Sands, films, sings, listens and learns from a singing five times world champion drum major Alan McBride, two young women, Jenna Stevenson and Wendy Graham Hanna, who initiate and drive an Arts hub shop, a rhythmic drum weaver rhythmic drum weaver Damien McKeown and a young woman Bronagh Kelly who lovingly echoes the poetry of her mother.  To watch visit Media | Artsawonder (

Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich: presents Music Corner, the best of traditional music with great traditional musicians which is streamed live on their Facebook page every Saturday. Visit Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich (


DU Dance (NI): presents Belfast Boys, physical dance theatre for boys aged 7-11 years at the Crescent Arts Centre. Classes at 2-3pm every Saturday starting 18th September. No experience is necessary. Book at

BBC Arts Culture in Quarantine: Twelve D/deaf, neurodivergent and disabled professional artists based in England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland were commissioned earlier this year to produce new film and audio works for BBC platforms. Three of the twelve artists are from Northern Ireland and includes, playwright, Shannon Yee, animator, Joel Simon and poet/comedian, Alice McCullough. These new works are now available to view on BBC I-Player at

The commissioning programme is part of BBC Arts’ Culture in Quarantine initiative, which has brought the arts into people’s homes during lockdown. The twelve new commissions champion the work of D/deaf, neurodivergent and disabled professional artists by helping them produce work when some may have been self-isolating, and provide a platform to explore their experiences of living through Covid-19.

The programme was established in a partnership between BBC Arts, Arts Council England, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Arts Council of Wales and Creative Scotland to mark the 25th anniversary of the passing of the Disability Discrimination Act into law, forming part of wider disability programming across the BBC.

The Playhouse: presents

  • Beyond The Barricades, 30th September
  • The Playhouse Digital Arts Festival, 1st November
  • As If I Cared- poems and other parts of a life, 7th December
  • The Right Twig: Radio 2020, 13th December

For further information visit

Crescent Arts Centre: has reopened to the public and have released a new programme of classes and workshops available in person and online. Visit

They will also be running monthly Book Festival events until March 2022. Details of all events can be found at

The Lyric Theatre: presents the following,

Rough Girls: 4th – 25th September 2021. A brand new play by Tara Lynne O’Neill telling the story of the first all-female football team set in Belfast at the end of the First World War.

The Border Game: 2-23 October 2021. From the award-winning writers Michael Patrick & Oisín Kearney (‘My Left Nut’ and ‘The Alternative’), and Irish Times Theatre Award-winning director Emma Jordan (‘Red’ and ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’); ‘The Border Game’ is a timely and powerful reflection on 100 years of the border and how it has impacted those who live along it. Inspired by 100 testimonies collected by the writers with real people living all over the 300-miles of the border.

Pinocchio the Musical: 26th Nov 2021 – 2nd January 2022. The creative team behind the Lyric’s hit shows “Alice the Musical” and “Peter Pan the Musical” return with a brand new musical version of the greatest magical adventure of all time; “Pinocchio The Greatest Wonder of the Age”.

For further details on all events and to buy tickets visit

Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company: has launched the Echo Echo Festival of Dance and Movement in Derry-Londonderry. The acclaimed international festival has become established as a headline event in the city’s cultural calendar in recent years welcoming artists and audiences from all corners of the globe. Visit Echo Echo Festival of Dance and Movement ( for details.

Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company has also launched their Digital Programme, a series of online bite-sized courses, each designed to encourage the exploration of creativity in movement, in the comfort of your own home. The courses are aimed at different age groups and are all led by the highly experienced artist-teachers of the Echo Echo Ensemble. Each course consists of 8 easy to follow videos of roughly 15-20 minutes long which include a variety of playful warm ups and exercises, some technical instruction and much guidance for the development Visit to find out more and register. Once you have completed the sign-up form you will receive links for the programmes directly to your email address and it’s all completely free of charge!

Declan McConaghy Show: Newry based former BBC broadcaster, Declan McConaghy has created a new series of short films where he talks in-depth to creatives from Newry and the surrounding area who have made a contribution to theatre, music, dance and the performing arts in general. The view the films visit


Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich: Cultúrlann’s Drama School ‘Aisling Óg’ will start back on … from 1pm-3pm and we cannot wait! This is a great opportunity for children from Primary 1 and up to build on their confidence, conversational skills and acting abilities all whilst making new friends and having great fun. We explore every aspect of the arts including dance, art, music and drama to fulfil an exciting and engaging programme!

Also don’t miss Plúra-Lúra, Nóra Bheag, Daideo and all their friends with their stories, songs and dances that small children will enjoy while enhancing their educational development. There will be plenty of storytelling, puppets and art activities to keep the little ones entertained.

Find out more and register at

Duncairn: has released details of their new programme of digital classes for August – November 2021. Classes include bookbinding for beginners, sketching and drawing, embroidery, poetry, paper art, calligraphy, quilt-making, weaving and more. To book visit

Duncairn Player: all of the previous video projects can now be viewed from the Duncairn Player including The Duncairn Virtual Cabaret, Take 2, Carlingford and the Ring of Guillion Sessions.  Visit Player — The Duncairn

Wheelworks:  is delighted to support you right now with in person and online workshops in everything from digital music making, street art, animation, coding, drama, Virtual reality and much more. All of their workshops are bespoke to suit you and your organisation, whether that's driving to your venue in our mobile studio, the ArtCart, or bringing their professional artists to you virtually to delivery online masterclasses.   To book your perfect digital and arts activities just email and visit

EastSide Arts: check out EastSide Arts’ YouTube channel which includes lots of videos of their past work, event launches and festivals.  They have also been uploading lots of our recent online event recordings to the channel and these range from the series of EastSide Greenways webinars to events that took place during C.S. Lewis Festival.  Visit

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.

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. Arts Care’s new dedicated online arts and well-being workshop resource, ‘Break-Time’, accessed via their website to support the mental, emotional and physical well-being of children and young people through the Arts. New art, music, dance & exercise, drama, creative writing and clown doctor’s CDTV videos will be uploaded regularly and it’s all FREE. Visit

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