Flicking through the Belfast Festival at Queen’s programme this morning, a few events stuck out. Though the high ticket prices also stuck out!
Belfast’s Synagogue up on the Somerton Road is always worth a visit. This year the visit of The Jewish Way of Life exhibition coincides with the festival. “An interactive and accessible ... interactive guide to Judaism.” Runs from 13 October through to 20 November.
Los Desterrados last played in Belfast Synagogue back in March 2008 and it was a great night. They’ll be back in Belfast on Sunday 18 October, this time in the Spiegeltent. Expect a toe-tapping night of flamenco, jazz and laughs.
After their recent successes with Two Roads West, Kabosh are premièring Gavin Kostick’s new play This is What We Sang at the Synagogue on Thursday 22 and Sunday 25–Thursday 29 October. Set on the Jewish Day of Atonement – Yom Kippur – five family members relate their life stories and seek absolution for their past as they tell the story of their home city Belfast. Update - now reviewed.
Urban Hymns was a sell out success in May Street Presbyterian Church at last year’s festival - and made into a fabulous film. The Unforgettable Choir will once again feature The Inishowen Gospel Choir backing a myriad of artists on Monday 19 October, this time in Belfast City Hall. Update - now reviewed.
While the new Lyric Theatre is still not much more than a set of foundations, they are taking over the Elmwood Hall for next season’s productions. On Friday 23 October, there’s a chance to take a virtual tour of the new building with architects from O’Donnell & Toumey.
Prof Noam Chomsky will be delivering the Amnesty International Annual Lecture in the Whitla Hall on Friday 30 October, surveying “the threats and prospects for our early 21st century” but also finding “hope for the future of liberty in the ‘unprecedented international global justice movements.’” SOLD OUT
In a more light-hearted session, Amnesty’s Stand Up For Justice comedy gig will be tickling ribs in the Ulster Hall on Tuesday 20 October.
Former BBC reporter and independent MP Martin Bell will be speaking in the Elmwood Hall on Tuesday 27 October. Outraged at the lack of honest politics, Bell is working with Terry Waite to recruit independent anti-sleaze candidates to stand in constituencies at next year’s general election.
Local wit Tim McGarry will be presenting an Irish History Lesson in the Waterfront Studio on Thursday 29 and Friday 30 October. The blurb promises comedic answers to important questions such as “How low do the Fields of Athenry lie? And “Do black and tan really go together?”
The first piece of commissioned public art will be launched in the Titanic Quarter on Thursday 29 October. Tony Stallard will give a talk and his Kit sculpture will be unveiled in the ground floor of the ARC Abercorn Residential Complex (ARC) which is about to complete its first phase.
There’s a 90 minute conducted floodlit bus tour of Belfast’s Architectural Heritage leaving from outside the QFT that will take in Queen’s City Hall, St Anne’s Cathedral, St Peter’s Cathedral, Clifton House, Ulster Hall and Stormont.
Conveniently for the festival, both the Ulster Museum and Belfast City Hall will reopen around the time of the festival. The Ulster Museum are sponsoring the showing of two observational documentaries about the Irish artist Sean Scully in the QFT (Wednesday 21 and Sunday 25 October).
If you enjoyed Channel 4’s Red Riding trilogy earlier in the year, you can catch the three powerful and disturbing films on the big screen in the QFT over three evenings (Tuesday 27, Wednesday 28, Thursday 29 October).
Lastly, four year olds and up may enjoy the story of Pinocchio as told with puppets and shadows in the Old Museum Arts Centre between Tuesday 20 and Saturday 24 October.
And there will be free Musical Storytimes featuring pirates and giraffes and the Live Music Now’s Fell Clarinet Quartet in the Spiegeltent (5–8 year olds, Tuesday 20 and Wednesday 21 October) and Ardoyne/Ormeau Road Libraries (3–5 year olds, Friday 23 October).
Some tickets are already on sale. Others will be released online on Monday 24 August. Now updated with links to events on festival website now that booking is open.