Movie Review of the Week – Black Swan

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Stars: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassell

Is it Oscar time already? The annual barrage of cinematic Oscar-baiting flawed character studies is coming thick and fast. The King’s Speech, 127 Hours and Black Swan all opened within a few weeks of each other. Strategically placed to ensure they are at the forefront of the academy’s consciousness, February has been a veritable bloodbath of promotional frenzy. A month rife with the unusual Hollywood veiled modesty and deflected platitudes from those in contention for Oscar glory on February 27th. Black Swan, Darren Aronofsky’s latest is certain to contend.

Aronofsky’s early work set him apart as an exciting visual auteur. Pi’s monochrome styling and Requiem For a Dream’s lush aesthetics, replete with busy hip-hop montages and quick cuts marked him as a creative force to be reckoned with. His next feature, the bloated but underrated The Fountain marked something of a sea change. He followed the grand strokes of The Fountain with a more personal and intimate work. The Wrestler enabled Aronofsky to focus on characterisation and the development of relationships. It garnered widespread critical acclaim and re-asserted Mickey Rourke as a Hollywood talent. Not an easy task.

His latest and most fully realised feature Black Swan, finds impressive subtlety and it disorientatingly crosses genres from a seemingly linear plot. What opens as a straightforward examination of the competitive world of professional ballet, gradually mutates into a deep exploration of purity and corruptibility. Portman’s Nina is a technically astute dancer. Her naive, almost virginal character is adrift in a sea of back-stabbing, blood-thirsty competitiveness. Flashdance this ain’t.

Natalie Portman’s portrayal of Nina in Black Swan is peerless. She drips with aching vulnerability throughout and assuredly makes the role her own, I struggle to think of anyone else who could come close to matching her empathetic performance. Portman exudes a physical and emotional vulnerability that is painfully delicate and tender. She lost 20 pounds to play Nina and spent almost a year training tirelessly for the part. Portman’s sacrifice in the pursuit of perfection will undoubtedly place her as firm favourite for Best Actress come Oscars Night. Aronofsky says of Nina’s evolution: “It’s about transformation, it’s ultimately a werewolf movie. Swan Lake is about a girl trapped as a swan, at night she’s half swan half human, so I saw it as a werewolf movie.”, the film definitely mutates into something quite dark and akin to a troubled psychological horror movie. It is often difficult to watch, I was more grossed out by some of the displays of contorted physicality in Black Swan than ‘that’ scene in 127 hours. The graceful beauty outwardly seen cloaks a dark turmoil.

The excellent supporting cast bolsters Portman’s tour de force portrayal.Vincent Cassel’s company director ‘Thomas’ controls his dancers through dark sexuality and brash arrogance. Nina’s mother Erica (Barbara Hershey) lives her failed dreams of becoming a ballet star through her daughter, they share an uncomfortably close relationship and she is visibly unhinged, teetering on the brink of collapse. Mila Kunis’ Lily is brilliantly disconnected, Nina’s view of her rival is eerily distorted as her dream world infiltrates her reality. All of the support cast help and hinder Nina in her pursuit of perfection. Perfection requires sacrifice, in Nina’s case she quickly loses her grip on reality.

The film is frighteningly powerful. Every aspect has been obsessed over and perfected, there is a contemporary interpretation of the traditional ‘Swan Lake’ score imagined by regular Aronofsky collaborator Clint Mansell which is suggestive of underlying tension and a dark undertow. Even the incidental sound effects are vital; as Aronofsky states “Most of the sounds in this film are manipulated swan sound. Everything from a flushing a toilet, subway… a swan noise… Sound is what takes it to the next level, I always make it part of that collaboration in filmmaking.” Aronofsky frequently uses the reflected reality of mirrors on screen, suggestive of the conflict between good and evil in Swan Lake. They serve to disorientate both Nina and the audience. The complete product is a fully accomplished masterpiece of modern cinema; displaying refined control, gripping tension and a superlative individual performance at its emotional centre.

2011 : A Film Odyssey is the movie review site of Chris Vaughan.

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Home Help – New Home & Interiors Show Brings Mad Men Style to Belfast

Design addicts and home owners from all over Ireland will descend on Belfast this March when The Retro Rooms Show makes its debut, showcasing vintage and restyled furniture, homewares, interiors, and design for the modern home.

Featuring 3o+ handpicked dealers from all over Ireland, The Retro Rooms Show will showcase affordable 20th century design classics including the best in vintage furniture and homewares sourced from all around the globe, as well as innovative restyled creations. Visitors will be able to search for the antiques of the future among mid-century modern designs and retro-kitsch collectables, ranging from furniture and textiles to ceramics and glassware, mirrors and lighting to kitchenalia, original movie posters, and much more besides.

The exciting new event is the brainchild of Becky Moore, creator of Northern Ireland’s leading vintage fairs, which include the popular and successful Frock Around The Clock events running since 2008. Exhibitors will include Dublin-based Kirk Modern and Retrorumage who specialise in mid-century furniture and decorative items, Palace Posters, specialists in original vintage movie posters, Belfast-based Jenny Bond Interiors specialising in restyled vintage furniture, and art collective ReFound who fuse reclaimed furniture and art into individual one-offs.

The Retro Rooms Show will be the hottest home and interiors destination in Ireland this year, affording visitors the perfect opportunity to choose unique focal pieces for the home from design originals of the 1930s – 1970s and to invest in quality vintage pieces that won’t depreciate in value.

Becky says ‘spring is traditionally the time for change and rejuvenation, particularly in the home, and in these recessionary times it makes sense to invest in quality vintage pieces that won’t lose their value. With vintage it is possible to create a unique and personal statement for your abode whether your taste leans towards sleek modern lines or an eclectic style, and The Retro Rooms Show is an exciting opportunity to find the coolest stuff on the planet for your pad. All of the exhibitors are hand-picked to uphold our reputation for high quality and originality and to give access to rare and beautiful design which offers an alternative to modern-day imitations’.

The event will also boast the fun and relaxed atmosphere that has become a trademark of all the Decadence vintage fairs, with cool and laid back sounds from the Buskers’ Den with singer and songwriter Della Storm and friends.

The Retro Rooms Show takes place on Sunday 6th March at the Holiday Inn, Ormeau Avenue, Belfast from 11am to 4.30pm. Admission costs £5 for adults and £3 for seniors and students.

More information on The Retro Rooms Show and all the Decadence events can be found on the website Enquiries should be made by email to

The 2011 Mourne Way Marathon Saturday 11 June 2011

The 2011 Mourne Way Marathon will be on Saturday 11 June 2011

In addition to the Marathon there will also be an “Ultra Marathon” which will be an out and back format along part of the route of the Mourne Way Marathon, a Half Marathon and a 10k run / walk incorporated into the route – these races, like the Marathon, will also finish in Kilbroney Park, Rostrevor. There will also be a “Challenge Walk” on the day along the full 26 mile route of the Mourne Way.

The route of the Mourne Way Ultra Marathon, Marathon, Half Marathon, 10k and Challenge Walk DOES NOT cross the tops of any mountains. It traverses the foothills of the mountains as opposed to crossing them. You will be able to enjoy the views of the mountains without having to climb them.

The main event will see competitors race the 26 miles of the Mourne Way from Newcastle to Rostrevor, Co Down. This route is a linear route, almost entirely off road, traversing the foothills of the Mourne Mountains passing Tollymore Forest, Fofanny Dam, Spelga Dam, Leitrim Lodge and Yellow Water before arriving at the finish in Kilbroney Park in Rostrevor.

The route will be fully waymarked.

The Mourne Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is a unique; largely granite landscape shaped by ice and man, with stunning vistas of coast, sea and countryside and all competitors will get a chance to take in these sights along the route.

Check out some footage from last year’s event:

For full details go to

Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

Eating Disorders Awareness Week is coming on 21st – 26th of February and as part of this Adapt Eating Distress Association is launching a campaign, “Never Give up the Sun Will Shine Again”, to raise awareness of the growing problem of Eating Disorders within Northern Ireland.

With 1 in 4 people suffering with a mental health problem and 5- 10% of people suffering with an eating disorder such as bulimia or anorexia, which has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, it is becoming more important to talk about these issues. Numbers are reaching an all time high and children as young as 8 being diagnosed with an eating disorder.

To tackle this Adapt, a Lurgan based eating disorders charity, are teaming up with fellow ED charities the Eating Disorder Association in Belfast and Family Eating Disorder Support in Newry to promote the services currently provided in Northern Ireland. For many years NI had no specialist services however with this campaign we hope to raise awareness to show those struggling with an Eating Disorder that there are specialist services now available in NI as well as support services through three major ED charities. For this EDAW we are inviting YOU to get involved and show your support for those suffering from ED’s, their family and friends. With a large number of people dealing with ED’s today it’s likely that you will know someone dealing with problems related to eating, body image and self esteem. We want to break down the stigma and take freely about eating disorders, the real effects of ED’s and bust a few myths about ED’s.

As part of this Eating Disorders Awareness Week we will be running workshops across February and beyond for young people, parents and anyone working with young people. We are offering an informal Q&A session in which Adapt aim to answer your questions about Everything You Wanted to Know about Eating Disorders but Were Too Afraid to Ask to help raise awareness about the issues surrounding Eating Disorders and to help distinguish the myths and stigma attached to Eating Disorders. To book a workshop please contact Una Foye on 02838347535 or email Want to support us? We don’t want your money, all we are asking is for you to pledge your support by contacting us, follow us on twitter (@adapt_EDA), like us on Facebook (search for Adapt Eating Distress Association), email us on or call 02838347535 and tell us you are supporting our campaign. We will add you to our banner of support that will be posted our website and we can post out info, badges and leaflets for you. We will be making my way around NI to get photos of people supporting our cause; feel free to contact us to join this or simply download a poster from any of our websites or social networking sites and email us a picture of our logo in a famous location or with a group.

To get involved call Una on 02838347535 or email, or come along to our office 37 High Street.


Lark In The Park 2011 are proud to announce an exciting addition to this years festival at Moira, Demesne Park on April 29th – May 01st. One of the UK’s leading artists TINCHY STRYDER has been confirmed to play on Saturday April 30th, sharing the bill on the saturday with Razorlight.

Mandie Brankin from Lark In The Park 2011 commented “We are incredibly proud of the line up for Lark in The Park 2011 and want to make it as enjoyable for all those attending as possible, we would like to thank the public for all their support” Many before him have tried and failed; in April 2009 Tinchy Stryder became the first artist ever to reach number 1 in the official national singles charts with a song title featuring the phrase ‘number one’. A self-fulfilling prophecy personified? Well, he’s certainly living up to his music moniker ‘Star in the Hood’. Over the past six months, 23 year-old Tinchy has signed a recording deal with Island Records and has racked up three consecutive top 3 hits, ‘Take Me Back’ feat. Taio Cruz, released in January debuted at no 39 on downloads alone, the following week on it’s official release the single climbed 36 places to number 3, and maintained a Top 5 position for four weeks. In April, ‘Number 1’ feat. N-Dubz debuted at Number 1 and topped the UK charts for a whopping three weeks, this was followed in August by Tinchy’s second 1 single ‘Never Leave You’ featuring Amelle from the Sugababes. Tinchy Stryder, is undoubtedly one of the UK’s most exciting artists, The Independent recently said, “If Grime was the football world, Tinchy Stryder would be like your Michael Owens and Wayne Rooney’s of today.” He just completed a sold out arena tour in September 2009, which caused such a demand with fans that he has had to put a larger arena tour straight on for February 2010. Tinchy, real name Kwasi Danquah, was born in Ghana in 1986 and moved to East London at a young age. He was brought up and still lives in one of the capital’s most dangerous boroughs – Tower Hamlets; yet despite his tough upbringing he has a distinctly positive outlook on life and is determined to provide a positive role model for kids across the country. Having started making music, along with his group ‘Ruff Sqwad’, aged just 13 Tinchy has seen through the years the negative press that the music he loves has received and is on a mission to change this. He recently completed a degree in Digital Arts and Moving Imagery at University of East London. “It’s important to me to show that black males aren’t all about looking threatening and robbing your granny” Tinchy quips. “It’s not always easy growing up in an inner city area, wherever it is, but in my music I want to show people that you can take that experience and turn it into something positive.” “I guess my writing is pretty much from my life experience right now” says Tinchy. “That’s why I’ve focused a lot on the whole star in the hood thing – cos I’m still here – where I always have been, but now people know me, so I can’t always go the same places I used to be able to. I’m not in a rush to get out cos I know my area and I love it, but hopefully one day through my music I can.” By the age of 21, Tinchy was a seasoned MC on the grime and London pirate radio scene. One of the industry’s main players, Wiley of ‘Wearin’ my Rolex’ fame, crowned Tinchy the ‘Prince of Grime’. In 2006 he was booked by two forward thinking teenagers, Archie Lamb and Jack Foster to play one of their club nights they ran while at school; this meeting changed the course of his career. The three of them struck an immediate bond and Tinchy signed to their company Takeover – for management, live, recording, merchandise and publishing. Together they designed the ‘Star in The Hood’ T-shirts which they sold on myspace and ebay and the profits financed the promotion/marketing of Tinchy’s debut album Star In The Hood. It’s now a flourishing clothing line, which has just expanded into retail, with the kind of profit margins that would impress Phillip Green. The buzz surrounding ‘Stryderman’, one of the singles released from the album caught the attention of execs at Island records. Tinchy Stryder, Jack and Archie signed a joint venture with the major at the end of 2008. Having just released his major label debut, Catch 22, which went Gold within 2 weeks of release and just signing a joint venture deal with EMI Publishing alongside Takeover for a joint music publishing company allowing Tinchy Jack and Archie the opportunity to develop and invest in new talent, the future is looking extremely bright for Stryder. As 2010 draws near he embarks on pushing the boundaries of Star In The Hood clothing and entering into partnerships with some of the UK’s largest retailers, planning his all new fully live show and summer full of festivals whilst also beginning the recording process for his second major label album with a host of exciting collaborators including re-uniting with Fraser T Smith and working with some of the top US record producers and writers, Tinchy is feeling great about the new year, “I’m out to takeover the world this time round, for 2010 and beyond” he smiles. Tickets for Lark In The Park 2011 are available now at selected HMV stores and Online from For further information please visit

Movie Review of the Week – The Rabbit Hole

Director: John Cameron Mitchell

Stars: Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, Diane Wiest

Grief in American cinema often seems confined to the middle class. In The Bedroom, American Beauty and The Ice Storm are amongst the finest examples of loss and anger committed to film in recent years. The odd similarity is their setting; all affluent families struggling with grief, isolation and a bourgeois malaise. Are the working class invulnerable to sorrow? Or are we simply to believe that material wealth cannot buy happiness, hope or consolation?

Director John Cameron Mitchell follows two films of sex obsessed eccentricity (Shortbus, Hedwig and The Angry Inch) with a film devoid of any intimacy at all. Becca (Nicole Kidman) and Howie (Aaron Eckhart) lost their four year old son Danny, 8 months ago in a blameless traffic accident. The family’s excitable dog chased a squirrel onto a road by the garden, Danny followed and was struck by a passing car – driven by local high school student Jason. The once happy family has been torn apart, painfully wounded by the tragic incident. Becca and Howie attend group therapy in at attempt to reconcile their guilt and trauma. The therapy only serves to further strain the troubled relationship. Howie desperately clings on to the memory of his son, watching old videos and obsessing over Danny’s paintings which still adorn the fridge. Becca seeks to remove any trace of Danny from her life; donating his old clothes to charity, convincing Howie to sell the house that is so full of memories and baking endlessly in an attempt to occupy her troubled mind.

Rabbit Hole is a successful character study and moving portrait of grief and loss. Fine lead performances are bolstered by an effective supporting cast (most notably Diane Wiest as Becca’s mother). The simmering, reserved behaviour of the leads threatens to boil over – but never really does. Despite one brief shouting match, feelings are mostly swept under the carpet. However, unlikely figures of solace and comfort slowly appear. Becca befriends Jason, the boy who killed her son. Howie smokes pot with Gaby, an eight year veteran of his trauma therapy group. Ultimately nothing much is resolved, how could it be?

It is difficult to look at the performances of Kidman and Eckhart in isolation. Whilst many of the scenes involving he grieving parents involve them being apart; each dealing with the loss in their own way – the dynamic of the relationship really dictates and influences how the other behaves. Like Blue Valentine, a movie in which the leads witness the death of a marraige – the actors are equal parts of a whole.

The restrained direction allows the actors to inhabit their roles without intrusion. The pristine home, beautiful neighbourhood and attractive leading couple act merely as a shiny veneer, thinly masking the turmoil bubbling underneath. Kidman’s Becca is difficult to warm to, sympathy mainly resides in Eckhart’s portrayal of Howie which conveys more sincere and relatable emotional reaction. The method by which grief is examined through two very different perspectives is both touching and jarring. The overall result is a film of opposites. Past and future, comfort and sorrow and most vividly – hope and despair. Often deeply affecting but unfortunately somewhat inconsistent in its delivery.

2011 : A Film Odyssey is the movie review site of Chris Vaughan.

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Local support group says having a social worker can be a really good thing.

Making plans for the Connect parents support group meeting, How having a Social Worker is a good thing’ on Weds 23rd February at Dromore Nursery School are Judith Clarke, Niamh Shiells and Sharon Beattie, principal at Dromore Nursery.
Making plans for the Connect parents support group meeting, How having a Social Worker is a good thing’ on Weds 23rd February at Dromore Nursery School are Judith Clarke, Niamh Shiells and Sharon Beattie, principal at Dromore Nursery.

Local support group CONNECT is having an information and support evening for parents of children with additional educational and support needs. The group’s founders Judith Clarke and Niamh Shiells invite local parents to an informative meeting about the support a social worker can give parents at Dromore Nursery School, at 7.30 on the 23rd February 2011.

Niamh Shiells spoke about the theme for the evening, “There is a myth that having a social worker is a bad thing and in some way a judgment of you as a parent. We want to show our parents that this myth can be turned completely on its head. If you have a child with additional needs a social worker can be invaluable, someone who can help you to access grants, services and a whole package of support for your child.“

Judith Clarke says “We are very pleased to have Karen Edgar from Social Work Services for Children with Disability speaking at this meeting and Karen will outline the support that her department can offer parents with children with additional needs. The evening is also a great chance for parents to talk to and receive support from other parents who may have similar experiences.”

Sharon Beattie, principal at Dromore Nursery continues to offer vital support to this new group and commented, “We are so pleased that our local parents now have a growing support network that they can meet with, to share and seek information. We will continue to host these very positive meetings at Dromore Nursery.”

All parents and others interested are welcome to attend Dromore Nursery School, 23rd February, 7.30pm. Please contact Judith Clarke on 07764 200870 if you wish to attend or for more information about the group. You can also visit Connect on Facebook.

Glasgowbury celebrate at Irish Festival Awards

GLASGOWBURY were celebrating this week after picking up two awards at the annual Irish Festival Awards in Dublin.

The ‘Small But Massive’ festival was once again voted Ireland’s Best Family Festival and the Best Service provider.

Now in its third year, the annual Irish Festival Awards celebration acknowledges the hard work done by festivals up and down the country.

The local festival is also celebrating the added coup of holding both the family and service awards for the last three years in a row.

“A massive thanks has to go to all of Glasgowbury’s fans who took the time to vote for us,” said festival organiser Paddy Glasgow.

“We’re over the moon to have held on to two such excellent awards since 2008 and hope to continue with festival success for many more years to come.”

Plans for Glasgowbury 2011 are ongoing and announcements regarding line-up and tickets will be made shortly. See for more information.

The Event 2011 – Keynote Speaker Jairek Robbins

Smart, low cost ways to quickly grow and sustain your business in any economy.

Are you ready to be a part of one of the most exciting business days of 2011? If you like to leave business events brimming with energy, feeling totally inspired with a ‘can do’ attitude and a notepad full of incredible ‘how to’ content, then The Event 2011 is exactly right for you and your business.

What is The Event 2011?

Quite simply The Event 2011 will be the most awe inspiring business event of the year, overflowing with no/low cost strategies and techniques that will help you to make more money in your business. It is a world class, multi-speaker event, with two incredible speakers from the USA, as well as dynamic talks from successful business owners closer to home.

In short, this is exactly what the talented entrepreneurs of Northern Ireland have been waiting for: a high energy, uplifting, content-rich event that will really deliver and equip you with the skills, mindset and resources you need to make a difference!

Jairek Robbins

Designing and Living Your Extraordinary Life and Business”

Having Jairek speak at this event is a real coup, an opportunity not to be missed. Focusing on mindset and motivation for business success, he helps people realise their business and personal potential.

After 11 years of studying the personal development industry and testing just about every strategy he could get his hands on (and not to mention 26 years growing up in the industry), Jairek is going to be sharing with you “WHAT WORKS!

At ‘The Event 2011‘ Jairek will show you how to create a specific action plan in living your version of an Extraordinary Quality of Life and Business.

By the end of Jairek’s 90-min power packed talk, you will be inspired from his message and you will also have a real plan of action on how you’re going to go out and turn your dreams into reality!

Jairek is simply amazing!! I’m proud to say that he is my coach and he has inspired me to do far more than I ever believed I was capable of. This an incredible and unmissable opportunity to hear Jairek in Belfast.

Other Speakers on the day:-

Darren Gardiner

“If You Want To Be A Success, Do What Successful People Do”

Darren is an exceptional local success story who travels the world with his company LSFX.

LSFX are one of the UK’s top sound, lighting and AV installation and production companies. They cover the UK, Ireland and mainland Europe. They offer a complete turnkey solution for any size or type of installation including: large hotel, large stadium, nightclub, house of worship, educational and leisure venues.

He is also a driving force behind Ground Espresso Bars, Northern Ireland’s very own chain of coffee houses.

Darren knows what it takes to be a success and will be sharing his experience and knowledge during this highly enjoyable, humorous and engaging presentation.

The easiest way to create a winner’s approach is to copy successful people. If you simply listen and apply Darren’s message, you’ll also be well on the way to your own success.

Colin Daymude

“Follow Up Failure is Killing Your Business”

Colin is the Director of Business Development at Infusionsoft, as well as being a highly sought after speaker and marketing expert.

Infusionsoft is the leader in Email Marketing 2.0. They combine powerful CRM software with email marketing and help small to medium businesses grow faster and smarter.

Colin is flying here exclusively for ‘The Event 2011‘ from the USA. This is a “one-off” opportunity to learn marketing and sales strategies from such an incredibly talented world class expert on business marketing.

Colin is going to share with you the latest leading edge concepts in marketing and sales strategies that are critical for success in this economy.

This is going to be an amazing presentation from a global authority, that will provide you with easy to use strategies and techniques exclusively for SME business growth. This is a presentation that is a must attend – put simply, you will discover how to make more money!

Zoe Cairns  – “Why Businesses Should Be Using Social Media”

Zoe is known as the “Queen of Social Media” and will show you how to market your business online and generate free traffic.

Many business owners are already using social media sites to promote their business but very few know how to maximise the effectiveness of them.

Zoe will demonstrate how to fully exploit the capabilities of these forums. In other words, you will learn invaluable methods of promoting your business and generating sales at no cost.

She will show you automation tools, twitter tools and lots of different strategies, tips and techniques on how you can create your presence online and build your brand awareness on the internet.

Zoe has many ways in which she will show you how to drive more traffic to your websites and blogs!!!!

Based in England, this speaker is in constant demand for her knowledge, at a range of top business events.

The largest businesses in the world are now utilising social media to create brand awareness, customer loyalty and gain sales. This is your opportunity to learn the secrets they are using so you too can make money from social media.

Simon Smith “Networking and Referrals Are The Lifeline to Success”

Simon is a seriously professional networker, and as the Managing Area Director for BNI (Business Networking International) in Northern Ireland, helps business owners become experts in word-of-mouth marketing.

Simon is incredibly successful at teaching business owners how to network and create referral business.

During his presentation he will discuss the importance and benefits of effective business networking, including: the value of referrals; the opportunities created by establishing rapport with other business owners and service providers, and the advantages of extending one’s business profile in their local area.

Simon is also going to be adding a unique twist on networking during his presentation.

This unique twist will be great fun, you will make great connections and you will have the opportunity of winning a fantastic prize!!

Great networkers make great leaders because they have unlocked the potential of networking in their busy lives. They have created simple systems that enable them to connect with others, stay connected and create valuable lifetime connections with key players, spheres of influence and other master networkers. You too can begin to gain these valuable skills during Simon’s powerful presentation.

To book your place on The Event 2001 click HERE. Early bird tickets are available but limited.

Final countdown for entries to Belfast Business Awards 2011…

Businesses across Belfast are being urged to apply for the Belfast Business Awards as soon as possible as the closing date for entries is two weeks away. Belfast City Council will host the prestigious event in the City Hall on Thursday 14 April with 21 awards up for grabs in recognition of the fine work of business enterprises, retail outlets and businessmen and women from across the city. The Belfast Business Awards are supported by Belfast City Centre Management (BCCM) and Victoria Square is the principal sponsor of the awards this year. The closing date for entries is on Friday 18 February. Calling on businesses to enter the awards are Councillor Conor Maskey. Chairman of Belfast City Council’s Development Committee, Hugh Black from Victoria Square and Andrew Irvine from Belfast City Centre Management.

Businesses across Belfast are being urged to apply for the Belfast Business Awards as soon as possible as the closing date for entries is two weeks away.

Belfast City Council will host the prestigious event in the City Hall on Thursday 14 April with 21 awards up for grabs in recognition of the fine work of business enterprises, retail outlets and businessmen and women from across the city. The Belfast Business Awards are supported by Belfast City Centre Management (BCCM) and Victoria Square is the principal sponsor of the awards this year.

The closing date for entries to the awards is on Friday 18 February.  Among the awards’ categories are ‘Best New Business’, ‘Best Green Business’, ‘Best International Trade Business’, ‘Best Creative Business’ and ‘Best Manufacturing Business’. Accolades will also be bestowed for the ‘Best City Hotel’ in Belfast, the ‘Best Restaurant’, ‘Best Café/Coffee Shop’. This year there will also be three new categories – the ‘Customer Service Excellence in the Professional Service Award’, the ‘Embracing the Belfast Brand Award’ and the ‘Belfast Champion Award’.

Councillor Conor Maskey, Chairman of Belfast City Council’s Development Committee, said: “The Belfast Business Awards will give local businesses a unique opportunity to gain recognition for the excellent contribution they make towards the overall development of our city.

“I would call on businesses from across the city to get their entries in for the awards as soon as they possibly can. Simply getting though to the final will raise an organisation`s profile amongst its peers but just as important is the huge boost it will give to internal morale. To win an award will be a mark of quality that will bring real prestige to that individual business.”

Hugh Black, Centre Manager of Victoria Square, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the prestigious Belfast Business Awards as lead sponsor, following the success of the previous year`s awards. These awards are unique in recognising and presenting businesses with the opportunity to gain recognition for the excellent contribution they make towards the overall development of our city.”

The Grand Opera House won two awards at the Belfast Business Awards last year – the Best Marketing Initiative and the Best Innovative Use of IT awards.

Paul Coleman, Digital Marketing Manager with the Grand Opera House, said: “The Belfast Business Awards were a tangible recognition of the hard work undertaken by the theatre’s marketing team and reaffirmed the venue’s standing among local arts organisations and the wider business community.

“Since winning the awards, the Grand Opera House has secured a new principal sponsor, due in part to the credibility that came with winning the Best Marketing Initiative, given the standard of entries in this category. The awards evening also presented a fantastic networking opportunity and many lasting business relationships were formed at the event.”

The closing date for entries to the Belfast Business Awards 2011 is Friday 18 February 2011. Entry forms can be obtained from the official website or by contacting 028 9024 2111.

Tickets are now on sale for the black-tie Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony on Thursday 14 April at Belfast City Hall. For bookings, please contact the enquiry line on 028 9024 2111.