Funding, Organisations

Arts Council commissions 21 new works thanks to £200,000 of National Lottery funding

23rd December, 2022

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland today (Friday 23 December 2022) announced £200,000 of National Lottery funding to support twenty-one arts organisations based in Northern Ireland in the creation of new high-quality, innovative works.

Blue background with text: Arts Council commissions 21 new works thanks to £200,000 of National Lottery funding
Commissioning Programme Announcement

The funding is part of the Arts Council’s Commissioning Programme, a scheme which aims to offer arts organisations, across all artforms, the opportunity to create new works of high artistic quality by providing vital funding. These new works will either be presented, exhibited, performed, broadcast, recorded and /or disseminated to audiences in Northern Ireland and internationally (where applicable), either live or online.

Gilly Campbell, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland said,

“Today’s announcement is welcome news and I congratulate all of the organisations set to benefit from this funding. Thanks to The National Lottery players, this programme will support the creation of twenty-one exciting new works that otherwise may have been unattainable. The Arts Council’s Commissioning Programme reflects the Arts Council’s commitment to supporting our arts organisations in creating world-class, high-quality, innovative works and I look forward to experiencing these thrilling works as they develop.”

Among those offered Commissioning Programme funding are:


Dylan Quinn Dance Theatre
Funding amount offered: £9,500
Project title: My Grandfather’s House
My Grandfather’s House will be an immersive, site-specific physical theatre performance exploring the clash of British and Irish identities through one man’s story of how he struggled to find belonging in his mind and belonging in his home. Transported back to a contentious fractured period in Northern Ireland’s history, audiences will experience the personal and social compromises that existed then and continue to impact now.

Maiden Voyage
Funding amount offered: £18, 050
Project title: New dance and new music commission
Maiden Voyage will commission a new dance and new music work from Steve Davis, Sarah Golding, four dancers and two musicians that will place rhythm, percussion through instruments and bodies at the fore of this new work which will be toured across Northern Ireland.


Funding amount offered: £18,000
Project title: TOGETHERNESS
Dumbworld will commission composer Brian Irvine & writer/director John McIlduff to work with local conflict resolution academics, community, and sporting groups to create the musical score and narrative for a new performance piece entitled, TOGETHERNESS. TOGETHERNESS will explore the extent to which conflict is hardwired into the ways humans respond to disagreement & challenges. Part contemporary opera, part radical performance, TOGETHERNESS will be performed during in 2023/24 to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

The Belfast Ensemble
Funding amount offered: £11,000
Project title: Conor Mitchell’s new opera for children
The Belfast Ensemble will commission the multi-award winning composer/librettist Conor Mitchell to write a new opera for young audiences. Ambitious in scale, the work for chamber orchestra and singers circles the themes of dystopia and sustainability, and will be delivered and presented in live form in 2023 in partnership with the Belfast Children’s Festival and The Belfast Ensemble.


EastSide Arts
Funding amount offered: £6,110
Project title: Three Pay Cheques away
Eastside Arts will commission playwright Alice Malseed to work in collaboration with the EastSide Partnership’s Scaffolding Project to write a new 70-minute play exploring the stories and lives of those living with or experiencing poverty in east Belfast. Alice will conduct research and interviews with people working in poverty services and the clients who access these services in order to create solid research which will inform her writing. The purpose is to use theatre and drama to raise awareness, provoke audiences and inspire empathy within our community, and to present the play in EastSide Arts Festival in 2023.

Prime Cut Productions
Funding amount offered: £9,176
Project title: Donor by Clare Elizabeth Smyth
Prime Cut will commission Ciara Elizabeth Smyth to write a new work, Donor, exploring involuntary fertilisation and featuring an all-female cast. There have been many instances of male fertility doctors abusing patients, even impregnating some. Many of these have been unearthed by the increasing commonness of DNA testing. Donor will explore the experience of two half-siblings who find each other online prompting one of them to commit an act of violence. A full touring production is expected in 2024-25.


Belfast Photo Festival
Funding amount offered: £12,940
Project title: 'Principled and Revolutionary: Northern Ireland's Peace Women' - A Major New Photographic Commission by Hannah Starkey
‘Principled & Revolutionary’ is an arts and public engagement project exploring the role of women in peace-building in Northern Ireland and beyond. Coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, it consists of a major new artwork commission and exhibition at the Ulster Museum by renowned Northern Irish photographer Hannah Starkey. The exhibition will be accompanied by a public engagement programme of talks, events, workshops and symposia as part of Belfast Photo Festival 2023.

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council
Funding amount offered: £12,814
Project title: Crossing the Park
Crossing the Park is an artwork taking place over the period of 12 months whereby artist, Michael Hanna, will attempt to change allegiance from Everton Football Club to their local rivals Liverpool Football Club in a series of steps based on a commissioned psychology paper by Professor Rhiannon Turner who specialises in group behaviour. Michael will work closely with the FE McWilliam Gallery and Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris, as well as community groups, writers, and other artists to deliver this touring exhibition and publication.


Beat Carnival
Funding amount offered: £10,000
Project title: THE BEAT – rhythm roots branching out
Beat Carnival will commission artist-musician Katie Richardson to research, develop and produce a large-scale, soundscape score, ‘THE BEAT’. The work will draw from Beat Carnival’s Afro-Brazilian street & community rhythm expertise and branch out into contemporary electronica. The soundscape will be realised by Beat Carnival’s percussionists, BEATnDRUM, BEATnBRASS band, string players, electronica musicians, singers and other instrumental collaborators. The project will be performed with 75 musicians plus visuals and dance at a BEAT carnival 30th anniversary outdoor spectacle.

Arts Ekta
Funding amount offered: £8,698
Project title: The Orchestral Qawwali Project
This project aims to create a new Sufi-Celtic music collaboration between artists from The Orchestral Qawwali Project, international Irish composer and musician Neil Martin, Sadler's Wells 2022 Young Associate Vidya Patel and local orchestral musicians. The Orchestral Qawwali Project, voiced by Abi Sampa, produced by Rushil Ranjan and lifted by the rhythms of Amrit Dhuffer’s table, will perform a unique brand of qawwali music, juxtaposing modern orchestral harmonies with ancient melodies. The collaboration will bring UK-wide artists together to perform a concert at St Anne’s Cathedral as part of the Belfast Mela 2023, one of Belfast’s signature festivals.

To view a list of all those offered funding under the Commissioning Programme visit