New Era As Belfast Festival Returns Vowing “The Show Must Go On”

AFTER finding themselves the victim of funding cuts at Queen’s University the future of the Belfast Festival hung in the balance earlier this year.

However, with a whole host of supporters on board the Ulster Bank Belfast International Arts Festival (formerly the Belfast Festival At Queen’s) is back with a bang vowing “the show must go on”.

Organisers have established a new independent company which has worked tirelessly to secure the future of the festival and ensure they don’t disappoint by delivering a packed 2015 programme this autumn.

The new festival is set to run from Friday October 9 to Sunday November 1 in venues across the city.

Richard Wakely (centre), Festival Programme Director, Roisin McDonough (left), Chief Executive of the Arts Council NI and Stephen Cruise (right), Head of Branch Banking, Ulster Bank

Richard Wakely (centre), Festival Programme Director, Roisin McDonough (left), Chief Executive of the Arts Council NI and Stephen Cruise (right), Head of Branch Banking, Ulster Bank

Festival Director Richard Wakely said: “The Belfast Festival is very much alive and kicking. The show must go on.”

And Richard said the new festival will reflect “both the changing city around us and the continuing evolution of creative practice from around the world”.

He added that this year’s festival is set to feature a range of artists and performers from across the globe including what he describes as “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.”

Stephen Cruise, Head of Branch Banking, Private & SFA (NI), Ulster Bank said the financial institution were “very pleased” to be supporting the festival.

A full festival programme is due to be unveiled in early September, for more information log onto

4 Early Release Festival Highlights

1. Artist in residence

Amanda Coogan will take up the post of artist in residence this year. Best known for her challenging provocative and visually stimulating performance artist she has performed and exhibited in venues such as The Venice Biennale, Liverpool Biennial, New York and The Irish Museum of Modern Art.

BAM.Bel Fest Amanda-SubPage

2. Hallo

The Mac, Belfast
October 23 – 24

Martin Zimmermann is a pioneer of the nouveau cirque movement that has swept Europe in the last couple of decades with its blend of acrobatic feats, theatre, dance and comedy. The visual flair and sharp wit of his latest work, Hallo, can be seen in a unique UK and Irish premiere at The MAC.

BAM.Bel Fest HalloSubPage

3. The Kitchen

Grand Opera House, Belfast
October 21 – 22

A show about the healing power of cooking, The Kitchen is a sumptuous, multi-sensory spectacle from India of arresting sights, smells and sounds, culminating in something for your tastebuds too, at the Grand Opera House.

BAM.Bel Fest The_Kitchen-1st

4. Corners

Various venues
October 9 – November 1

A series of multi-disciplinary and site specific artist residencies, installations and projects that will take place across Belfast in unusual locations and venues. Designed and driven by cultural organisations at the fringes of Europe and linking cities and artists across the continent including Stockholm, Donostia / San Sebastián, Newcastle upon Tyne, Zagreb, Ljubljana, Rijeka, Belgrade, Gdańsk, Bari and of course Belfast. This project is co-presented with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

BAM.Bel Fest CornersSubPage1

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Tina Calder
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