Guidelines for a Long and Happy Life is new play by Paul Kennedy, set “one generation after a global apocalypse” (ie, bigger than the current economic crisis).
Only a few survivors remain, scouring the desolate landscape looking for food and clean water. Making contact with other humans is the biggest danger and the only hope. As desperation and paranoia grow, every move becomes a decision to trust or die.
The play takes place across the expanse of Old Victor Stationery Warehouse on Marshalls Road, off Castlereagh Road in Belfast, and the audience will move around the site to follow the action. Saturday 15 – Saturday 29 October (excluding Sundays). Tickets £12.
Back in the early 1990s, I remember seeing a production of West Side Story in the Gasworks site on Belfast’s Ormeau Road. The cast performed the beautiful songs by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim from a sparse multi-level set constructed from scaffolding. West Side Story is going to be staged in another unusual venue during this year’s Belfast Festival. Running from Wednesday 26 to Sunday 29 October, Music Theatre 4 Youth will be taking over May Street Presbyterian Church with a set built by the team from HBO’s Game of Thrones. Tickets £15.
Botanic Gardens will be inhabited by animals, goblins, fairies and pixies after 7pm on Wednesday 26 to Saturday 29 October. Enter through the main Stranmillis Road gate, and discover The Enchanted Garden. Tickets £3.
Hear the distinctive sound of Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares in the Ulster Hall on Wednesday 19 October. Formerly known as the Bulgarian State Radio and Television Female Vocal Choir the group has a unique sound and a distinctive uniform. Tickets £20.
Using audience suggestions to create a new show every night, Showstopper! The Improvised Musical will put itself into the hands of the ticket holders seated in the Waterfront Studio. In their own words:
… a bunch of improvisers who have learned how to make up a fully-realised musical on the spot based on audience suggestions. It includes incredible, moving story-lines, amazing songs, full group harmonies, dance numbers. It’s also very funny to watch.
We’ve been working on this show since 2008, working out how to improvise in increasingly esoteric styles – musical, dance, straight theatre, film genres – whatever helps us make the show more interesting.
Tuesday 25 – Thursday 27 October. Tickets £15.
Over three evenings, a “small swarm of loudspeakers” spread across the Ulster Museum atrium will plan “an hour of improvised instrumental music” from the archive of composer Joel Cathcart. Cicadas features the sound of guitars, gongs, a harp, an organ and a vibraphone.
The catch? Given the positioning of the speakers around the atrium, you can’t hear the full piece from one position.
Instead, each listener will navigate the architecture of the performance space to discover new sounds and constellations of sounds, shaping their own experience of the piece from within its interior.
Monday 17 – Wednesday 19 October at 7pm. Free.
Do you think there should be statutory regulation of the news media? That’s the title of the Europa Hotel’s 40th Birthday Debate. Chaired by Noel Thompson and introduced by Sir Billy Hastings, four speakers will address the topic before the audience votes: Suzanne Breen (journalist), Chris Bryant (Labour MP), Bob Satchwell (Society of Editors director) and Paul Tweed (Belfast-based international libel & defamation lawyer). Penthouse Suite, Europa Hotel. Tuesday 25 October at 7.30pm. Tickets £7.50.
At primary school when the UK Navy task force sailed to the South Atlantic – a conflict that played out on the radio with heavy military censorship and no moving pictures – I read The Battle for the Falklands by reporters Max Hastings and Simon Jenkins with interest. Max Hastings went on to edit the Daily Telegraph and London Evening Standard as well as picking up a knighthood. Tickets are still available for An Audience with Sir Max Hastings in the Ulster Hall at 3.30pm on Sunday 23 October. Tickets £10.
Malachi O'Doherty, Gerry Anderson and Carlo Gebler discuss men, manhood, sex and the dishes on Monday 17 October at 8pm in the Elmwood Hall. I dread to think where that particular discussion will go. Tickets £8.
After years of driving mad Noel Thompson in the back of his taxi, Tim McGarry is delivering his take on Northern Ireland politics to audiences over two nights in the Waterfront Studio. Friday 21 and Saturday 22 October. Tickets £15.
Catalyst Arts’ current exhibition is looking at Digital Arts in the Gallery: New Media Showcase. The showcase of “work by artists who use a range of new media in strategically different ways”. You can see for yourself how new media technologies intersect with visual art at College Court between 11am and 5pm between Thursday 6 to Thursday 27 October (closed Sunday and Monday). Free.
As part of the Peripheries architectural conference at QUB at the end of October, the QFT is showing the film Build Something Modern at 4pm on Saturday 29 October.
[A] moving documentary that tells the little known story of ground- breaking and idealistic young Irish architects, including Seán Rothery, Richard Hurley and Gerald Fay, who travelled to Africa from the 1950s to the 1970s in search of both challenge and creative freedom. As champions of modernism, the young architects, aided by the efforts of colleagues from home, produced a large canon of remarkable architecture including churches, hospitals and schools deep in the heart of Africa.