What's On

What's On in the Arts

19th October, 2023

From festivals, to concerts, exhibitions and more. Here's your guide to What's On in the Arts....


The City of Derry International Choir Festival is now on until 22 October with choral events taking place in the Millennium Forum, the Guildhall and other venues in Derry~Londonderry, Strabane and Inishowen. Over sixty choirs from across Ireland, the UK and Europe have signed up to participate in the festival’s packed schedule of competitions, workshops and community performances. Visit www.derrychoirfest.com for more information.

Belfast International Arts Festival: has announced details of their 2023 programme. Fresh from their milestone 60th year celebrations, Belfast International Arts Festival is now on and continues until Sunday 5 November featuring the absolute best in international and homegrown theatre, dance, music, visual art, literature and film. Highlights include;

  • Gary Mitchell’s new play, Burnt Out (11th October – 4th November), at the lyric Theatre.
  • Other theatrical highlights include the return of the formidable Pat Kinevane and Fishamble Theatre Company with the critically acclaimed King (27th–28th October); the hugely entertaining and provocative work.txt (24th–25th October) from one of the UK’s brightest young playwrights, Nathan Ellis and a new and innovative adaptation of Rhinoceros – Rhino by Eugene Ionesco and from Tinderbox Theatre Company (18th–29th October)
  • Discussing their latest literary releases as part of this year’s talks and ideas strand are gifted authors Jacqueline Crooks & Santanu Bhattacharya (31st October), Keina Yoshida (1st November), Claire Kilroy & Mike McCormack (2nd November), Rachel Connolly & Nicole Flattery (3rd November), Megan Nolan & Paul Murray (4th November) and many others.
  • Delivering a special keynote address on leadership (19th October) will be this year’s Featured Artist, Nicholas McCarthy. Born without a right hand in 1989, Nicholas made history in 2012 when he became the only one-handed pianist ever to graduate from London's Royal College of Music. Since then, he has performed extensively in the UK and internationally, including for the 2015 edition of Belfast International Arts Festival. The talk is one of four special events Nicholas is involved in with this year’s programme. Others include a special guest appearance with the Ulster Orchestra (20th October) and a special free concert at Ulster University (27th October) alongside Acoustronic, the Derry-based ensemble of young musicians founded by NI based composer, Frank Lyons,
  • FIQ!, 20 & 21 Oct, Grand Opera House. Groupe Acrobatique de Tanger bring their phenomenal acrobatic energy to Belfast International Arts Festival with FIQ!, a luminous, acrobatic and playful ode to the young people of Morocco that is a celebration of light and colour. An absolute treat for audiences of all ages this autumn, FIQ! will transport you to a colourful, visual world designed by celebrated artist Hassan Hajjaj. Expect magical acrobatic feats, breakdancing and freestyle football, set to the unique sounds of DJ Dino’s scratching and fiery rap in the majestic surroundings of the Grand Opera House.
  • The Waterboys, 28 Oct, Ulster Hall. Few bands have as great a live reputation as The Waterboys.From their mid-1980s "big music" period through the influential mix of Celtic, gospel and country on their classic Fisherman’s Blues tours, to the hundreds of brilliant shows accompanying the last decade's run of supremely in-form albums from 2011's An Appointment With Mr Yeats to this summer's Good Luck, Seeker The Waterboys have consistently blended tightness, inspiration and improvisation to reach heights of performance few other acts can. Led by mercurial and brilliant Scottish guitarist/vocalist Mike Scott, the 2020 version of the band features the established line-up of Memphis keyboard great "Brother" Paul Brown, ace British drummer Ralph Salmins and funky Irish bassman Aongus Ralston.
  • This October at the Lyric Theatre, as part of the Belfast International Arts Festival, the Multi-Award-Winning Tinderbox Theatre Company are thrilled to premiere Patrick J O Reilly’s new adaptation Rhino. An intriguing fusion of Sci-Fi and Dark Comedy, alive somewhere between online gaming and virtual reality: RHINO offers a modern reinterpretation of Eugene Ionesco’s renowned play 'Rhinoceros'. RHINO will play a limited run of only 12 performances at the Lyric Theatre from the 18th – 28th October 2023. Pe
  • GUTTER, 28 & 29 Oct, The MAC. Created by ACNI’s Major Individual Artist 2022, Eileen McClory, and brought to life by Irish Times Theatre Award nominee Kevin Coquelard. Experience GUTTER, a provocative dance theatre production by Eileen McClory that explores our hunger for gossip and the world of modern broadcast journalism. In GUTTER, Eileen McClory delves deep into the human craving for sensational news, transforming the solo performer into the enigmatic host. This thrilling production pulls back the curtain on the ruthless world of modern broadcast journalism, where the concepts of free speech, false news, and journalistic integrity collide in an explosive dance theatre experience.

For full programme information and to book visit www.belfastinternationalartsfestival.com

Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival: 26-29 October 2023, presents a festival of music on film with highlights including:

  • IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE THIN AIR - Have You Got It Yet? The Story of Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd (N Irish Premiere), The Avenue Cinema, Thursday 26 October, 5.30pm, Doors 5.00pm, Unreserved Seating, £16.00
  • ABBA in Studio 2 (1976), Ulster Sports Club – Tap Room, Thursday 26 October, 8.00pm, Doors 7.30pm, Unreserved Seating, £6.00
  • It’s a Fine Thing to Sing (N Irish Premiere), Avenue Cinema, Friday 27 October, 5.30pm, Doors 5pm, Unreserved Seating, £16.00
  • Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes, The Deer’s Head, Sunday 29 October, 8.00pm, Doors 7.30pm, Unreserved Seating, £8.00

Visitwww.cqaf.com for the full programme

Sound of Belfast: 9-19 Nov 2023. The Oh Yeah Music Centre has announced the details of its Sound of Belfast 2023 programme. Highlights include:

  • NI Music Prize at Ulster Hall, which will see an Oh Yeah Legend Award presented by IMRO to Paul Brady, followed by a special performance.
  • Women’s Work showcase returns as part of Sound of Belfast with an eclectic mix of new music, the only Youth Open Mic in Belfast will unearth new sounds of the city as will the Volume Control Clash of the New Breeds live final.
  • Beyond Skin will present a show titled Safe Harbour, Concert of the Diaspora
  • A unique storytelling aspect is integral to this year’s Sound of Belfast, to tell the tales behind the music. In Belfast Central Library, Duke Special will be discussing his new album ‘Blood for Ghosts’ which is to be released both on vinyl and as a book. Eric Bell will take us through his autobiography Remembering, Before, During and After Thin Lizzy with Stuart Bailie in The Deer’s Head.

Full details can be found at www.soundofbelfast.com

Belfast XR Festival: Welcome back to the Belfast XR Festival 2023, running from 4th to the 5th November. This year the Festival is proud to partner with the ground-breaking StoryFutures Xperience who have provided 20 pieces of virtual reality content made by Oscar and BAFTA award-winning filmmakers that showcases the best of local and international immersive technology content. Visit www.belfastxrfestival.com for tickets and information on all events.

  • A figure of a soldier is silhouetted against a building
  • Alison McCrudden, Eileen McClory and Richard Wakely sitting in studio with camera and lights.