Annual Review 2022-23

November, 2023

Highlights of the Year in the Arts in Northern Ireland

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s Annual Review 2022-23 recounts many of the highlights of the (financial) Year in the Arts in Northern Ireland, supported by Arts Council exchequer funding from the Department of Communities as well as National Lottery funds.

Artists and arts organisations from Northern Ireland achieved some highly notable successes in 2022-23, including major accolades for the Lyric Theatre and Northern Ireland Opera, and an Oscar for ‘An Irish Goodbye’. Such achievement, nationally and internationally, was all the more remarkable, given that the sector had not yet had time to recover fully from the impact of the pandemic before finding itself facing another potentially existential challenge: the cost of living crisis.

The Annual Review 2022-23 provides a vivid account of the year in the arts and its many highlights, reminding us all of the breadth of contribution that a rich, creative environment makes to improving the quality of everyone’s lives in Northern Ireland.

Major creative highlights of 2022-23 include:

  • Stage Beyond returns with its first live production since the pandemic, with a unique take on Chaplin’s ‘The Great Dictator’
  • Royal Society of Literature hosts the third NI Writers Day, chaired by American-British playwright Bonnie Greer.
  • The University of Atypical celebrates the 10th edition of the Bounce Arts Festival
  • The Waterside Theatre launches its inaugural Spread the Word Literary Festival
  • Open House Festival opens The Court House venue via the first ever Community Asset Transfer in Northern Ireland
  • Belfast International Arts Festival celebrates its 60th anniversary
  • Four mid-career artists are awarded £15,000 Arts Council Major Individual Artist Awards in recognition of their contribution
  • Six talented young musicians are awarded Young Musicians’ Platform Awards
  • The Playhouse marks the 25th anniversary of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement with ‘HUME – Beyond Belief – The Life and Mission of John and Pat Hume’
  • Northern Ireland Opera’s production of ‘Into The Woods’ wins Best Production at The Irish Times Theatre Awards
  • Lyric Theatre wins ‘Theatre of the Year’ at the Stage Awards
  • ‘An Irish Goodbye’ wins the Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film

The Arts Council continued to support the arts throughout the year through its broad range of investment programmes, including the introduction this year of a new, three-year, £1.5m Rural Engagement Arts Programme.