Thursday, September 04, 2014

Belfast Festival - 16 Oct to 1 Nov 2014 - bandsmen, holy bus tours & multi-lingual sci-fi #belfest

In six weeks' time, the Belfast Festival at Queen’s will be up and running with 110 events over 16 days. Some highights from their programme.

Disappointingly there are no performances in SARC’s whizzy Sonic Lab this year. Update - breaking news - SARC students are performing PLAY/Sounds of Squash (complete with trumpet, trombone, tuba and a game of squash) in a PEC squash court on Friday 24 (7pm) and Saturday 25 October (3pm and 7pm)!


More Than a Flag – 3 Bands, 2 Sides, 1 World War – commemorates East Belfast’s participation in the First World War through song, poetry, music and drama as 18 young bandsmen work with Dan Gordon and Happenstance Theatre Company in this much anticipated premiere. Thursday 23 – Saturday 25 October at 7.30pm in Ballymacarrett Orange Hall, Albertbridge Road. Tickets £7.

The Holy Holy Bus premières with a play by Brassneck Theatre Company that follows four women on a “hilariously madcap adventure” as they go on “a pilgrimage that leaves a West Belfast parish once a year to tour the holy sites of Ireland”. Tuesday 21 – Friday 31 October (not Sunday 26) at 8pm in Belfast Waterfront. Tickets £12-15. [Reviewed]

An Enemy of the People by leading German repertory company Schaubühne is probably the best of the new generation of theatre you'll see on the island this year. Adapted from Henrik Ibsen's 1882 script, director Thomas Ostermeier creates a small town political thriller. When the Dr Stockmann realises that the water used in the town spa baths is poisoned by local industry he finds the council and local press standing in the way of full disclosure. Political muck and eventually paint flies in this extraordinary piece of theatre. Thursday 23-Saturday 25 October at 7.30pm in Grand Opera House. Tickets £21.50-31.50. [Preview based on seeing the play in the Barbican in late September - it's a brilliant piece of theatre - don't miss it.]

Makaronik by Dave Duggan and produced by Aisling Ghéar Irish Language Theatre Company. It’s a multi-lingual sci-fi drama in Irish, English and Empirish.
It’s the year 2084 in a world where ‘The Empire’ reigns supreme. Most European languages are forbidden. We’re introduced to the menacing wilderness that was once Belfast. Makaronik, the last woman standing, has been instructed by ‘The Centre’ to wrap up her archive and send back all remnants of the Irish language for ‘storage’. Diarmuid and Gráinne, two high level officials, arrive to ensure that all goes smoothly and that Makaronik comes back with them….. but will it all go as smoothly as planned?

Futuristic, yet rooted in an ancient tradition - think of Beckett’s Endgame, Ridley Scott’s Bladerunner, with just a hint of The Matrix – Makaronik asks big questions about the relentless drive of technology, as it makes the world seem smaller. It asks what are we losing out on? It’s also a story about home, security, and the basic human need to create family and community, even under the most alien of circumstances. A struggle that is at the beating heart of Makaronik.
Makaronik plays on Friday 24 and Saturday 25 October at 8pm and Sunday 26 October at 3pm in Lyric Theatre. Tickets £12. After Belfast Festival, Makaronik will tour through Galway, Monaghan, Derry, Maghera and Dublin.


War photographer Paul Conroy will deliver Amnesty International’s Annual Festival Lecture – Syria: The World's Most Dangerous Place for Journalists – explaining why the role of war correspondent has never been more important or more perilous. Followed by a Q&A chaired by William Crawley. Monday 20 October at 7.30pm in QUB Great Hall. Tickets £8. [reviewed]

Actor Adrian Dunbar will reflect on the work of playwright Stewart Parker in the annual memorial lecture.  Saturday 18 October at 5pm in Brian Friel Theatre (QFT). Tickets free, but booking essential.

Former Blairite advisor and negotiator Jonathan Powell asks Should Governments Talk to Terrorists? Spoiler – yes. He’ll discuss his new book Talking to Terrorists (“an inside look at the subterranean exchanges that occur between governments and terrorist organisations”) with Mark Carruthers. Saturday 18 October at 7.30pm in QUB Great Hall. Tickets £8. [reviewed]


A smorgasbord of Chinese cinema in the Queens Film Theatre over the festival.


Photographer Donal McCann followed Máirtín Ó Muilleoir during his year in office as Belfast Lord Mayor. He’s launching his book and exhibition on Saturday 18 October at 2pm in the Golden Thread Gallery. Free admission. Exhibition runs until 21 October.

Global Groove promises “a readical manifesto on communications” with video art created by Nam June Paik – Korean-American father of the genre – using surreal visual wit, artworld figures and Pop iconography in “a joyful, hallucinatory romp and a prophetic statement on mass communication and contemporary art”. Runs from 11am to 4pm daily in QUB Naughton Gallery from Thursday 23 October until 2 November.

Kabosh present the world premiere of 20, a multi-sensory experience of Belfast in an unexpected venue.
Superb Detached City in Excellent Convenient Location … Surrounded by picturesque hills, this lively metropolis features south-facing gardens, a thriving port, two airports and a variety of road & motorway connectivity. A colourful history with huge potential for development. Midnight, 31st August 1994. The IRA declares a ‘complete cessation of military operations’. The announcement sends shockwaves throughout the province sparking joyous celebration, anger, frustration, elation, resentment and relief. Does peace have a price?
20 is open from 10am to 6pm, Thursday 23 October until Saturday 1 November in The Dome, Victoria Square.

Join the Belfast Civic Trust for a floodlit bus tour of key civic buildings in the city to hear their history and architectural story. View significant Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian Belfast buildings such as Belfast City Hall, St Peter’s Cathedral, Clonard Monastry, St Anne’s Cathedral, the Custom House and Stormont together with modernist architecture such as the Waterfront Hall and the Ulster Museum. Bus picking up passengers on Thursday 23 October at QUB, University Road at 7.30pm. Tickets £12.

A couple of days later there’s another bus tour, this time taking in Modernist Churches of Belfast and exploring if the universalising tendencies of modernism erased the differentiation between Protestant and Catholic churches in Belfast. Architectural researcher Rosaleen Hickey leads the one hour tour at 11am on Saturday 25 October. Free but booking essential as the tour is limited to 30 spaces.

Passport Deals are offering festival goers discount if they book two different events from a list in various genres:
  • 2 Classical for £20
  • 2 Dance for £25
  • 2 Film for £8
  • 2 Music for £15
  • 2 Talks & Literature for £8
  • 2 Theatre for £40

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