Arts Council of Northern Ireland commissions 24 new works thanks to £200,004 of National Lottery funding

1st February, 2024

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland today (Thursday 1 February 2024) announced £200,004 of National Lottery funding to support twenty-four arts organisations based in Northern Ireland in the creation of new high-quality, innovative works.

Four dancers posing on chairs in loose, floaty white clothing.
Maiden Voyage, 15 Chairs, one of the 24 organisations set to receive funding through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland's National Lottery Commissioning Programme. Image by Luca Truffarelli.

The funding is part of the Arts Council’s National Lottery 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 from The National Lottery. 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.

Noirin McKinney, Joint Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland said, 

“Today’s announcement is welcome news and I congratulate all the organisations set to benefit from this support. Thanks to The National Lottery players, this programme will support the creation of twenty-four 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 high-quality, innovative works and I look forward to experiencing these new projects as they develop.”

Among those offered National Lottery Commissioning Programme funding are:


Maiden Voyage, Belfast.

Funding amount offered: £13,371.

Project title: Moonlight Dream.

Maiden Voyage, based in Belfast, will commission a brand-new dance theatre production designed for babies 0-3 and their grown-ups from acclaimed Greek choreographer Georgia Tegou and artistic collaborators from Northern Ireland. Moonlight Dream is a sensory-rich experience that encourages babies to explore the enchanting world of the night sky and a magical opportunity for caregivers to share the art of storytelling. Funding will be used towards four weeks of development workshops. The work will then be scheduled for presentation in various venues across the region.


Northern Lights Project, Derry-Londonderry.

Funding amount offered: £5,000.

Project title: A commissioning programme for new electroacoustic music by four women composers.

Northern Lights Project, based in Derry-Londonderry, will commission four prominent composers to create a new work for Northern Lights Project’s electroacoustic ensemble, Electric Circus. The completed works will be programmed in Northern Lights Project’s series of regular concerts in Derry and Belfast in late 2024-early 2025. The composers include Amble Skuse (Scotland), Ailís Ní Ríain (Ireland), Brona Martin (Ireland) and Linda O’Keefe (Ireland). All four composers are internationally renowned, and have a distinctive artist voice, with a range of interests including found sounds, music-installations, acoustic ecology, innovative uses of digital technology and the synthesis of voices.

Dun Uladh, Fermanagh & Omagh.

Funding amount offered: £18,000.

Project title: Summer Séisiún.

Dún Uladh, based in Omagh, will commission Summer Seisiún to provide a unique traditional entertainment experience at venues across Ulster. Seisiún, promoted by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (CCÉ), boasts the longest running summer shows of its kind with the series takeing place at over 50 venues, entertaining local and international audiences of all ages. The Commissioning Programme funding will reinvigorate the Dún Uladh Summer Seisiún show with a new and exciting theme which will celebrate the Ulster Traditional style, bringing new music to audiences in Summer 2025.


Tinderbox Theatre Company, Belfast.

Funding amount offered: £6,110.

Project title: Marcus - a new production by Matthew Sharpe exploring race and identity in Northern Ireland.

Tinderbox, based in Belfast, will commission, develop and produce 'Marcus' by theatre-maker and performer MATTHEW SHARPE, and will present the work at The MAC in Belfast and at the Dublin Fringe.

In the play, the protagonist is forced to rethink his identity when a racist remark throws his world upside down. This production will explore racial diversity from a Northern Irish perspective and create space for wider conversations about race in NI. Tinderbox will also commission Shannon Yee, Dramaturg, to support the development of Matthew's work, bringing her expertise in bi-racial identity and writing.

Armstrong Storytelling Trust, Causeway Coast & Glens.

Funding amount offered: £13,000.

Project title: Reclaim, Reframe, Reflect.

Armstrong Storytelling Trust based in the Causeaway Coast & Glens area will commission the project, Reclaim, Reframe, Reflect, which will see the creation of a quality immersive storytelling piece for live performance across NI. Working with professional storytellers and a musician, a story, music and digital experience will be created, reclaiming the forgotten stories of women and feminine archetypes from local folklore and mythologies. Through re-framing these stories, Armstrong Storytelling will invite audiences to reflect, discuss and creatively respond to the ideas and themes of the piece.


Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast.

Funding amount offered: £20,000.

Project title: Major new work commission from Claire Morgan.

Artist Claire Morgan will make a bespoke, site-specific installation for the new Golden Thread Gallery in Queen Street, Belfast. Aligning with the gallery’s themes of restoring and reactivating an historical space, Claire’s work will echo the building’s past, while also passing commentary on throwaway consumer culture. The installation will be presented to the public in the new gallery alongside an exhibition of Claire's past works in the other gallery space from October-November 2024. A supporting programme of talks and workshops will extend the project's reach, and it is hoped the installation will tour to other venues.

Open House Festival, Ards & North Down.

Funding amount offered: £4,100.

Project title: Court House visual art programme.

This project will promote the Court House in Bangor as a place to view high quality visual art. Open House will commission three visual art exhibitions that will be exhibited in 'The Drawing Room' as part of the Court House’s annual events programme. Exhibitions will include commissions from local artists and arts collectives including Lisa Ballard, Jan McCullough and Seacourt Print Workshop. The programme will include a launch, artist talks, workshops and art tours providing a range of ways to profile the artists involved, and for audiences to engage with their work. A selected artwork from each exhibition will become part of the Court House permanent visual art collection.


In Your Space Circus, Derry-Londonderry.

Funding amount offered: £6,750.

Project title: Children’s Theatre Christmas Show.

In Your Space Circus (IYSC), based in Derry-Londonderry, will commission actor and theatre maker, Michael Johnston and director, Andrew Stanford, to develop a new festive children’s circus theatre show, to be toured in 2024. The finished piece will be an immersive show aimed at children and young people of varying ages and ability levels, with a positive mental wellbeing message embedded within the narrative. The new show will be developed in close collaboration with IYSC’s creative director and local actors.

University of Atypical, Belfast.

Funding amount offered: £10,000.

Project title: Commissions for Bounce Arts Festival 2024.

The University of Atypical, based in Belfast, will commission two new works to be showcased at the Bounce Arts Festival in 2024. The first work will be a new dance commission choreographed and performed by Helen Hall and Linda Fearon. The second work will be a new d/Deaf led theatre performance event co-designed, curated and performed by artists Jane O'Brien and Paula Clarke.