Thursday, July 23, 2015

Cooking up the beginnings of a mouth-watering Belfast International Arts Festival programme (9 Oct-1 Nov) #belfest

“You can’t keep a good thing down” as my Mum would say.

Putting the withdrawal of Queen’s University’s funding and support behind them, the Belfast Festival has gone through the administrative pain of forming a new company and shaken off its south Belfast shackles. The redesigned 2015 festival will bring internationally acclaimed arts and ideas to people and locations right across the city as well as appeal to those beyond Belfast and beyond these shores.

The ever-enthusiastic Festival Director Richard Wakely promises “a world class programme of theatre, performance art, moving image, visual art, dance and music from folk, to contemporary and classical with opportunities for audiences to directly engage and participate in the creative arts”.
The newly redesigned Ulster Bank Belfast International Arts Festival will appeal to the much more diverse and multi-cultural community which makes up modern day Northern Ireland, whilst promoting all that is good about our country to the wider world.

The Ulster Bank remains the title sponsor, and the festival has kept the support of the Arts Council, Belfast City Council, Tourism Northern Ireland, the British Council and DSD.

While the full launch won’t be until early September, the organisers are teasing audiences with the a handful of the acts that will perform from 9 October to 1 November.

The Kitchen is a mouth-watering show about the healing power of cooking from South India that’s coming to the Grand Opera House. Tickets £12-£24.
On stage a couple enact a drama without words, stirring huge steamy vats of payasam, a traditional Indian dessert. Behind them, under coppery light, 12 drummers beat out a surging rhythm on their sacred mizhavu drums while the fragrance of aromatic rice wafts through the theatre. This mesmerising mix delights all the senses – especially taste – as the payasam is passed around for sharing afterwards.

If that doesn’t whet your appetite then try the absurd humour of Swiss acrobat and clown Martin Zimmermann who is bringing the UK and Ireland première of his show Hallo to The MAC. Tickets £14/£12.
Somewhere between Beckett and Buster Keaton, Hallo pits shape-shifting human against treacherous animate architecture, teetering on the threshold between collapse and order. Changing between trench coat, helmet, bowler and shroud, (while periodically stopping to vacuum), Zimmermann breaks walls and breaches skylights as his surroundings ceaselessly remodel themselves in sculptural echoes of his own creative mind.

More details on the emerging Belfast International Arts Festival programme on their website, Facebook page and Twitter feed.

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