And there’s more at ESAFest19!

The countdown is on for this year’s fantastic EastSide Arts Festival (1-11 August), supported by Arts Council of Northern Ireland.  

This year’s exciting programme is filled with fun and inspiring activities for everyone to enjoy. With so much to do across the 11 days it can be difficult to decide what to do. With this in mind, we have taken the opportunity to round up some of the amazing experiences and activities that are running across this  year’s programme:

Walks, Talks and Tours:
East Belfast is rapidly becoming known for the huge selection of street art appearing on the walls, often replacing some of the more traditional murals in the area.  Lesser Known Murals Tour of East Belfast  is a 90-minute tour, led by tour guide and historian Peter McCabe, which will call at a selection of these, focussing on Titanic, C.S. Lewis and many of the less well-known murals.

Join photographer Carrie Davenport for a crash course to help you Photograph Your Greenway. Following the course enjoy a tour of the beautiful Connswater Community Greenway.

The Big Top @ C.S. Lewis Square:
There’s a wide range of music and cabaret to suit all taste in the Big Top, C.S. Lewis Square; check out Kitt Philippa, Beauty Sleep, Sonja Sleator and Gemma Bradley for a taste of some of the best new music coming out of Northern Ireland, all on one night, then let XSLF take you back to the heyday of the Pound Music Club during its punk years. Join Tumble Circus as they present Rampage – a show that will blow your mind with an hour of hammer- smashing, Belfast-inspired circus!

Unique Dance Event:

Check out NI’s first-of-its-kind weekend of all things dance with Project Dance NI. Two days, 40 workshops and seminars with some of the dance industry’s top professionals, teaching all styles of dance from Ballet to Breaking, for every age and ability. On Friday 2nd August drop into C.S. Lewis Square for JAMZ NI: a fun day of street dance battles and the UDO World Championships!  

Children and Families

Cool stuff for families, also in the Big Top, includes The Irish Video Game Orchestra who create music for video games, TV and film. For kids learning instruments, why not join the professional musicians in their rehearsal before the gig and learn some of the music? Through clowning and fun, Pink & Blue explores what it’s like to be a boy or a girl and what it means to be who you really want to be.  Join Bollywood Baba for a family rave, Bollywood style with lots of colour, props and amazing music, led by a team of brilliant Bollywood dancers.  For really little ones, check out Baby Daddy, a show for babies aged 6-18 months, featuring an all-male cast.  Three actor-musicians perform to a maximum of 8 babies (and their grown-ups) in a specially designed sensory theatre space.  Spaces limited so book now!

Queer Céilí at the Marty Forsythe
is an exciting production from Kabosh that explores the turbulent events of the 1983 National Union of Students Lesbian and Gay Conference, held at Queens University Belfast. The play is set against the soundscape of 1983, the escalating Troubles, vocal and violent opposition to homosexuality and a thriving punk scene.

Songs of the Shipyard by Peacock Angell draws the audience into the world of working-class Northern Irish shipyard poet and dramatist Thomas Carnduff, performing original musical settings of his poems interwoven with fascinating biographical excerpts from early-20th century Belfast. This event is dedicated to the memory of our dear friend Sam McCready who was a lifelong supporter of east Belfast and friend to the festival.

Stronger in Numbers by HEX HUE marks a clean break for Belfast vocalist, composer and musician Katie Richardson. Bearing the imprint of Scando-pop and percussive electronica every bit as much as 60’s girl bands and introspective indie, it offers up harmony-driven, bold, technicolour alt-pop that locks its gaze on the horizon to see better, brighter days.

Join Belfast Blues guitar legend Ronnie Greer with his Almost Big Band. Expect distinctive guitar playing, incorporating Chicago blues with sophisticated jazz, featuring Ken Haddock and with support from award-winning performance poet Alice McCullough.

Something a little bit different

East Belfast Yoga and artists from Vault Artist Studios collaborate to bring you a very special festival yoga practice at Yoga in the Park. The practice will be supported by a musician and visual artist from east Belfast’s largest arts collective and will take place in the new covered Pavilion in Victoria Park. Completely unrehearsed, the artists will respond to the yoga and the yoga flow will respond in return. Accessible to yogis of all levels, the teachers come from Yoga Quarter, a yoga studio based in Ballyhackamore. Mats provided. 

Join local Crime Fiction Ulster Noir writers Simon Maltman & Gerard Brennan for an evening of readings, chat and music. They will discuss crime writing from east Belfast and beyond, amid the boom in Irish Crime Fiction. Expect some readings, a bit of banter and a few crime related songs!

Elly Omondi will explore The Legacy of Dr Armattoe, his pioneering contribution as a West African immigrant in Ireland in the 1940’s; his work as a locum doctor in Belfast, as a GP in Derry-Londonderry, and his lasting work on anthropology as a science.

For the full festival programme visit and follow the Festival on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram #ESAFest19.