Belfast International Arts Festival’s top picks

Belfast International Arts Festival runs from 15 Oct – 3 Nov in various locations across Belfast.  With over 200 events and 14 UK, Irish and world premieres, there is something for everyone.  This week’s top picks are:

To Da Bone, Fri 25 – Sat 26 Oct, The Grand Opera House,

Christine and the Queens fans will recognise the work of French arts collective (LA)HORDE from the video for Girlfriend, and from their stunning Glastonbury performance.

To Da Bone is a captivating, contemporary rebel-call to the social media generation and explores youth culture, identity and expression.  The cast of 11 dancers were crowd-sourced from across Europe through internet auditions, and have created this pulsing and electrifying performance of jumpstyle dance, with powerful intensity and emotion. High energy.  Stunning.

Real Magic, Tues 22 – Wed 23 Oct, The MAC,

Groundhog Day meets Samuel Beckett!  Real Magic creates a world of absurd disconnection, struggle and comical repetition. Part mind-reading feat, part cabaret act, part nightmare game show, this surreal adventure takes its cue from popular culture and current affairs, while questioning larger systems of control. A compelling commentary on the individual desire for change in the face of higher power.  Make your own political comparisons!

Before, Thurs 24 – Fri 25 Oct, The MAC,

Touchingly combining some of the best-loved songs from musical theatre with the story of an estranged father and daughter, this solo show is set on the closing day of Clery’s department store in Dublin. Writer and performer Pat Kinevane received the Herald Archangel Award at the 2019 Edinburgh Festival.

Staging Schiele, Sat 26 Oct, The MAC,

Four dancers inhabit radical artist Egon Schiele’s highly-charged world of colour, masterful lines and unusual perspectives that put the human body on visceral display. Shobana Jeyasingh’s award-winning choreography matches the raw intensity of Schiele, and scrutinises the relationship between male artist and female model; the viewer and the subject.

Unique Instruments, Expectant Spaces, Fri 18 Oct – Fri 8 Nov, Ulster University, York Street

Metaphor, simile and story-telling are at the heart of local architectural practice Hall McKnight’s work.  This large-scale installation, which appeared at the prestigious invitation-only 16th international Architectural Exhibition in Venice, cross-references a number of their projects including the re-imagining of new civic spaces from a variety of different perspectives. 

The Octavia Poetry Collective, Wed 23 Oct, Ulster Sports Club,

Octavia is a poetry collective for women of colour, founded by poet, Rachel Long in response to the lack of inclusivity and representation in poetry and academia. The evening will explore themes of representation, cultural identity, and equality.

Lanny with Max Porter, Tues 22 Oct, Black Box,

An innovative hybrid of fairy tale, fable, and myth, Lanny is Max Porter’s hugely anticipated second novel and was recently long-listed for the Man Booker Prize 2019.

The Worst Cafe in the World, Wed 23 – Sun 27 Oct, Worst Café (pop-up), Cotton Court

If reality TV had a lovechild with theatre, this is it.  A Big Telly special for Festival, there is just one week to get a table, place your orders and experience the gloriously mad ‘Worst Café in the World’. Pure comedy and pathos, this chaotic foodless venue promises a large serving of entertainment for people who like their theatre fresh. Make sure to book your dinner elsewhere!

For information visit: or to book call 02890 246609.