Spring has sprung, and with it, comes the promise of two packed weekends of free cultural events in March, the Belfast Arts Weekender.
Thanks to funding and support from Belfast City Council, there’s a range of events to experience spanning music, film, visual arts, theatre and urban art from 2-4 and 10-11 March – all free of charge.
Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Nuala McAllister said: “We decided to create this programme with our cultural partners to animate different corners of the city and to open up the arts to people who may not have considered
them before, or who might find ticket prices a barrier. Belfast Arts Weekender is an amazing way to find out more about our great city – and to take a step out of our normal routines to enjoy something completely different.
It’s free, so you really have nothing to lose.”
Creative Exchange Studios’ ‘Lightning Talks’ kicks off Belfast Arts Weekender at 6pm on Friday 2 March in The Engine Room Space, Portview Trade Centre, bringing together leading lights who are shaping east Belfast’s growing cultural landscape for an evening of inspirational discussion.
Across the city in the Duncairn Centre, north Belfast at 7:30pm, musician Conor Caldwell will début a specially commissioned piece of music ‘Our City, Our Home’, reflecting on growing up in the city and produced in collaboration with musicians from a range of cultures and musical backgrounds. An exhibition of photographs and video clips portraying life in Belfast, lectures, workshops and music sessions will also feature.
The next day, Saturday, 3 March, there’s an afternoon celebration of urban arts from 2-5pm at CS Lewis Square, entitled ‘Eastside Wardrobe Jam.’ Expect local and international street mural artists working live to transform ‘previously loved’ wardrobes and walls in the surrounding area, urban sports and dance displays by Thunder Action Sports, and music by Le Boom and Girl DJ Collective.
And on Sunday, 4 March at the Cultúrlann on Falls Road, west Belfast, Aisling Ghéar Theatre Company invites you to take an intimate glimpse into the fascinating world of the Fadgies – native Irish speakers from Omeath who settled and worked in Belfast’s famous markets.
The following weekend, the Ulster Orchestra presents U:O Interactive at the Indian Community Centre, north Belfast on Saturday, 10 March from 11am-3pm. For one unforgettable day, experience the orchestra as a living exhibition, try playing orchestral instruments under the expert guidance of professional musicians and you could even make music with your body.
Or pop over to Conway Mill’s Saturday market from 10am-3pm and immerse yourself in tales of the ‘Millies’ with Kabosh Theatre Company, actors including Gerard Jordan and Antoinette Morelli, historian Myrtle Hill and traditional musicians Jane Cassidy and Maurice Leyden – against a backdrop of amazing footage of the mill and its workers from the Northern Visions archive.
Over on south Belfast’s ‘Golden Mile’ on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 March from 12-4pm, enjoy curious tales during Accidental Theatre’s ‘SPOKE’ mini mobile theatre festival. The hub at 12-13 Shaftesbury Square will also host music, screenings, talks, and a chance to explore the neighbourhood (past, present, and imagined) through sparkling new writing and gripping performances.
And finally, you’ll have an opportunity to ask ‘Where am I in the photo?’ as Golden Thread Gallery and Belfast Photo Festival exhibit iconic photographs from Belfast people’s personal collections over both weekends.
For more information, go to www.belfastcity.gov.uk/artsweekender or join in the conversation on social media #BelfastArtsWeekender