Thursday, September 15, 2016

Culture Night Belfast 2016 Preview (Friday 16 September) #CNB16

This time tomorrow the Cathedral Quarter will be buzzing with families as tens of thousands of people enjoy the hundreds of free Culture Night Belfast events planned for the balmy evening.

The full programme is available on the Culture Night Belfast website, but here are eight events/locations plucked out for your delight. Culture Nights in other towns and cities across Ireland can be found on the central website.

Between 4pm and 9pm, Oxfam Ireland will be hosting Write to Refuge in Redeemer Central (101 Donegall Street). It’s an interactive exhibition highlighting the stories and plight of people forced to flee their homes by conflict and persecution. Authors like Glenn Patterson, Bethany Sawson, Shelley Tracey and Colin Dardis will share their written response to beautiful photographs of people on the move around the world (7-9pm). You can write your own reflection or make and decorate a paper boat with a message for our politicians about the refugee crisis. There’ll be a live-tweet-along screening of ET in the same venue at 4pm and a recording of the BanterFlix Podcast at 8pm.

Food-waste campaigner Pascale Robinson will be ‘Breaking Bread’ in an attempt to feed 5,000 Culture Night attendees as Donegall Street is transformed into an outdoor dining venue from 3pm onwards. The tasty communal curry will be made out of 1.5 tonnes of surplus produce from fourteen local farmers that would otherwise have been binned. Compostable plates and cutlery complete the sustainable feast. The vegetables will have been prepared at Chop and Bop events across Belfast on Thursday afternoon. Support from Friends of the Earth and Belfast Food Network along with Belfast Harbour’s continued sponsorship of CNB has enabled this large scale food sharing to be part of the programme along with other art, comedy, music and street theatre.

Amnesty’s virtual reality headsets in North Street (6-8pm) will transport you from Belfast to the devastated streets of war-torn Aleppo in Syria. Gain a new understanding and empathy by viewing these apocalyptic scenes from 360 degrees with footage and audio captured by Syrian citizen journalists.

Katie Richardson and her remarkable Open House Choir are performing with the Marching Band Ensemble on the Electric Ireland Stage in Buoy Park at 5.30pm. (They’re back singing in the Victoria Square pergola at 8pm.) The Ulster Orchestra will follow at 6.30pm and the Belfast LGBT Quire at 7.30pm. And if you’re impressed with the orchestra, you can meet the instruments up close in the Ulster Orchestra Instrument Petting Zoo at 7.30pm.

The live musical accompaniment to episodes of Lily’s Driftwood Bay is always a treat: 5-6pm in the Black Box.

The music in St Anne’s Cathedral will rotate every hour. Eurovision’s Molly Sterling will be singing at 3pm, Iain Archer at 4pm and the big sound of the Ulster Youth Jazz Orchestra at 8pm. And if you want something to sooth your soul away from the busyness of the streets, try Chorale Evensong at 5.30pm or the chanted Sung Compline at 9pm.

And I’ve no idea how the cast never mind an audience are going to squeeze into Keats & Chapman bookshop on North Street, but some aspects of Tinderbox’s new production What We’re Made Of (review) will be there after 5pm. Bet their new star Hen makes an appearance!

The now annual Slow Bike Race will make its unhurried way up Academy Street, starting at 6.30pm. He/She who shall be last … shall be first! And before that, the inaugural Belfast Pantomime Horse Race will take place in Royal Avenue at 6pm.

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