Six Hours Of Arts & Culture To Be Broadcast Online Tomorrow For Culture Night Belfast Online [Sept 18]

The normal Belfast Culture Night extravaganza may not be packing the city’s streets this year but six hours of the best of the arts will be broadcast across multiple channels tomorrow (Friday 18).

Rising to the challenges of these unprecedented times Culture Night Belfast is determined to keep the show on the road.

Streaming across a number of virtual platforms, Culture Night Online 2020 aims to be accessible to those who would attend in-person each year as well as those who have yet to experience the best of Northern Ireland’s arts and culture scene.

Susan Picken, Director of Cathedral Quarter Trust (the charity behind Culture Night Belfast) said that the 2020 programme will be a spectacular online display of talent.

Susan urged those going online on Friday to remember the difficult times the arts are going through.

She said: “Culture Night Belfast was originally started over twelve years ago to support and promote arts and culture in the Cathedral Quarter. Without the talent and dedication of our local arts community, Culture Night Belfast wouldn’t exist and we want to do everything we can to support them at this difficult time.

“Each year tens of thousands of us go out and enjoy, for free, the unique experience that Culture Night Belfast offers. All we are asking is that you enjoy our online programme this year in the comfort of your own home and donate the price of a pint (or maybe two!) to support the amazing artists, performers and venues who have made Culture Night Belfast into one of the best-loved nights of the year.

“A number of cultural and creative charities have been chosen who will be the beneficiaries of all donations made. These include charities who work to support those in the arts, culture and creative sectors as well as key local institutions including St Anne’s Cathedral and The MAC. 

“The charities selected are Help Musicians NI and Theatre and Dance NI – Membership Assistance Programme, Music Venues Trust and theTheatre Artists’ Fund.”

This year’s core programme of commissioned pieces will see venues such as Belfast Cathedral, the Black Box, the Oh Yeah Centre and The MAC act as the backdrop to what is set to be an exciting evening of entertainment.

This will also include a specially commissioned piece by filmmaker Will McConnell called We’re Still Here.

The six hours of arts programming will be on: YouTube live; Facebook Live; Twitch; Twitter via Periscope; Instagram Live; and, on NVTV (Freeview 7 (greater Belfast) and Virgin Media 159 (across Northern Ireland), programming also available for download at nvtv.co.uk.

Simon Wood, NVTV Chairperson said the station was committed to supporting the arts in any way it can.

He added: “Northern Visions is delighted to support the many artists, musicians and creators who have come together to ensure that Culture Night 2020 can be celebrated in these challenging times. There will be a dedicated broadcast on NVTV throughout the day and night”.

“Community arts has been at the core of Northern Visions work since it was established in 1986. 

“Northern Ireland’s community artists are amazingly resilient, we’ve seen it all, the recession and inflation of the 80s, boom and bust in the 1990s, the financial crisis of 2008 and years of austerity. As we look to recover from the ravages of Covid-19 and how we might build back better, let’s ensure that this time, the most vulnerable in our society, those in our poorer neighbourhoods, are truly able to access the arts and participate in enhancing the innovation and creativity which will drive the recovery”. 

This year’s Culture Night Belfast Online programme has been supported by the Arts Council NI, Belfast City Council, Department for Communities and Belfast Harbour.

For more information on this year’s programme or to donate go to culturenightbelfast.com or follow #CNB20 #CNBonline on social media.

Creative Experiences are back at the Market Place

The Market Place Theatre’s full programme of interactive workshops is back to bring a bit of sunshine to Autumn 2020.

It’s time to get out, get creative and get happy! With full safety measures in place and limited numbers, you’ll need to be fast to secure your place for what has fast become the most popular interactive experience around.

Bake Off fans will be delighted with the tasty range of baking experiences on offer from learning how to create bespoke children’s birthday cakes to decorating an in-vogue drip cake. Or why not allow the kids take part in decorating their own range of Christmas cupcakes, piped and decorated with a selection of seasonal decorations.

Wanting to create a unique piece for your home? Then you’ll be spoilt for choice with the range of imaginative workshops enabling you to produce beautiful items of homeware. Why not make your own super-cute dog-shaped cushion, or learn how to weave stunning, contemporary coasters. Use winter foliage and greenery to produce a gorgeous willow door wreath to add the wow factor to your home. Or design, construct, carve and decorate your own Moroccan styled ceramic lantern.

If looking after yourself and your appearance is more your thing, then you can join one of our make-up masterclasses, and gain confidence in perfecting your look. Or you can learn old style tailoring by designing and stitching a gent’s tweed necktie. There’s a superb opportunity for youngsters to learn how to create an item of clothing from scratch with The Great British Sewing Bee’s Angeline Murphy. Or you can accessorise after completing your very own bespoke leather wallet or belt, hand-crafted to your specifications.

These are just a selection of the amazing workshops on offer, with many more to choose from this Autumn and Winter, so get the creativity flowing again, and come along and immerse yourself in one of these hugely engaging experiences.

Tickets for these, and many more incredible workshop experiences, can be purchased by contacting the Box Office on [028] 3752 1821, or online at www.visitarmagh.com/marketplacetheatre

Keep up-to-date with the latest news at the Market Place Theatre, follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/marketplacearmagh) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/mptarmagh) where you will find all the latest information, special offers and video previews.

11 Acts You Don’t Want To Miss at this Year’s Culture Night Belfast Online

Streaming across a number of virtual platforms on Friday September 18th, Culture Night Online 2020 aims to be accessible to those who would attend in-person each year as well as those who have yet to experience the best of Northern Ireland’s arts and culture scene. 

Following the release of a packed seven hour programme, here are 11 acts you don’t want to miss: 

1. CNB 2020: Film – We’re Still Here

The times are far, far from normal and the future is very uncertain but, despite this, our art goes on. This year’s CNB Film is both a love letter to the strength and endurance of all who are part of our brilliant arts and culture community and a message of hope – We’re Still Here and together we will get through this.

Featuring Cherrie on Top.  Written and directed by Will McConnell. Will McConnell is a filmmaker and visual artist from Belfast. He works as an independent self-shooter and his clients have included, amongst others, the British Council, Culture Night Belfast, the British Museum, Universal Music Group and Diageo.

2. Trocaire Documentaries

Two short documentaries from Trocaire, followed by an interview with their creator, Emmet Sheerin.

Sumud: Everyday Resistance a film about life under Israeli military occupation in the West Bank through the stories of Palestinian women. It takes its title from the Palestinian concept sumud (‘steadfastness’).

Women in their Place: A short documentary about women in Honduras struggling to defend land and environment from exploitation by big business and facing criminalisation, assault and murder.

3. NIHRC: Film + Discussion – It Seems 

Join the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission for the debut screening of its short film, It Seems – featuring Belfast-based poet, Niamh McNally. 

The film’s focus is on the issue of climate change, and it raises important questions about its impact on our human rights. 

Following the screening, these issues will be discussed by a panel of experts and will be chaired by NIHRC Chief Commissioner, Les Allamby. 

The screening will include an introduction by poet Niamh McNally. It Seems was developed by the NIHRC, in partnership with Amnesty International, Sustainable NI and Climate Northern Ireland.

Chair: Les Allamby, Chief Commissioner, Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission

Panel: John Barry, Professor of Green Political Economy, Queen’s University Belfast, Patrick Corrigan, Head of Nations & Regions, Amnesty International, Grainia Long, Commissioner for Resilience, Belfast City Council, Géraldine Noé, Head of Environmental Sustainability, Business in the Community

4. Oh Yeah Presents

From the rooftop of the Oh Yeah centre live music blasts out across Belfast city centre.

Music from local band Charles Hurts and Becha.

5. Black Box Presents

Coming to you from Hill Street, Belfast the Black Box presents a night of performance.

Music from Susie Blue and performances from Sinead O’Donnell and tenx9.

6. Ulster University Graduate Show at The Mac

A guided virtual tour around the Mac’s new exhibition featuring work from this year’s MFA Fine Art Graduates from Ulster University’s School of Art.

This show highlights the work of a selection of recent MFA and BA Graduates from Ulster University, curated by Deirdre Robb. 

The BA Fine Art course reflects and supports the diversity of contemporary art practice including Painting, Video, Photography, Sculpture, Drawing, Performance, Printmaking, Time-based work, and studies in History and Theory. 

7. Ulster University Graduate Show at Belfast Exposed

A guided virtual tour of Belfast Exposed’s new exhibition ‘Anthropology and Human Condition’ highlighting the work of a selection of recent MFA and BA Graduates from Ulster University, curated by Deirdre Robb.  

Anthropology highlights the work of a selection of recent MFA Graduates from Ulster University. The works presented are universally human and deeply personal navigations of current climates and a response to exactly this moment in time. The exhibition sits with the process of grief and walks along the borders of small towns and fallen cities.

Human Condition highlights recent graduates from the BA in Photography and Video at Ulster University. The works presented are a broad exploration of human existence plunging into topics from water quality to fluid gender expression and roles. Further observations on mental health spanning youth to retirement, isolation, healing, and recreational space. 

8. The All New Family Friendly Fun Time Video Hour!

Join your host, Stephen Beggs, for 60 marvellous minutes of storytelling, magic, mischief, mayhem and silly songs.

Featuring top local performers Paul Currie, Rachael McCabe, George Firehouse and Mary McGurk.

9. Essential Journeys Live from Bounce Culture at Belfast Cathedral

Bounce Culture brings together some of the most talented musicians they know, to have fun with loops and sounds in Belfast Cathedral.

Playing for the first time together this event features: Úna Monaghan (Harp, Composer/Researcher/Sound Artist), Kaidi Tatham (Keys/Flute/Percussion/Composer/Music Producer), Rick Swann (Trumpet Player/Music Producer), Dena Anuksa (Singer/Songwriter/Vocalist/Music Producer) and Kwame Daniels (DJ/Host)

10. Swing Survival with The Swing Gals

Swing out sisters! 

Long-time Culture Night favourites, the Swing Gals, perform an uplifting mash-up of songs of survival and hope from the plush surroundings of the Bullitt Hotel’s new Rattlebag Bar.

11. Ronnie Greer’s Blues Band at the Grand Central Observatory

Northern Ireland’s blues legend Ronnie Greer will perform some of his best known hits at the Grand Central Hotel in Linen Quarter, exclusively for culture night.

Ronnie is one of the country’s best known blues and jazz guitarists who has shared the stage with some of the biggest names in the business including Dr John, Luwll Fulson, Phil Guy, Johnny Mars and many more.

Ronnie’s Chicago Blues with a twist is sure to delight all music aficionados.

For more information on this year’s programme go to culturenightbelfast.com or follow #CNB20 #CNBonline on social media.

If you’re a creator and want to submit your event to Culture Night Belfast this year simply fill out the submissions form at culturenightbelfast.com/cnb-online 

Antrim Castle Gardens Is Awarded Tourism Northern Ireland We’re Good To Go Certificate

Antrim Castle Gardens has been awarded Tourism Northern Ireland ‘We’re Good To Go Certificate.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Jim Montgomery with Head of Arts and Culture Ursula Fay.

Tourism Northern Ireland (TNI) working in partnership with Visit England, Visit Scotland and Visit Wales have developed this standard to ensure a common approach across the UK to provide reassurance that safe working guidelines in relation to COVID-19 have been adopted. 

Antrim Castle Gardens has been a safe haven for locals and more recently visitors as lockdown restrictions have relaxed. With additional visitor services now available at the award-winning Gardens a number of COVID-19 secure measures were put into place to ensure that Executive guidance on the operation of visitor attractions during recovery was fully complied with.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Councillor Jim Montgomery said “I am delighted that Antrim Castle Gardens has received this accreditation allowing visitors to feel confident about the management and operation of this attraction during recovery. It is so important for our health and wellbeing to enjoy the freedom of open spaces and with record numbers availing of the Gardens during this pandemic our focus on public safety is paramount.”

Businesses operating within the visitor economy including accommodation, visitor attractions, restaurants and pubs, business conference and events venues and tour and coach operators are currently eligible to apply for the ‘We’re Good To Go’ industry standard.

County Down Producer Set To Drop The Bomb On New Release

Dj and Producer Synyx. Photo by Francine Montgomery / Excalibur Press.

County Down-based music producer James Mountstephens has released the stunning track Drop The Bomb under the performance name of Synyx.

Fans of EDM, and progressive melodic techno pop, will want to be ready for this release, which was produced in James’ Dromore studio.

Using the song as a mirror of how relationships can turn sour James captured the mood of the times.

“I feel it is quite an original track,” he explained. “It has a melodic progressive vibe, aggressive bass synths, a lot of feeling around the issue of negative relationships.”

Inspired by his friend and fellow producer Alex Holmes James developed the track from an initial concept by toplining melody to create a drive in the release.

Drop The Bomb is the latest creation under the name of Synyx.

Originally from Birmingham, the married father of two has been living in Northern Ireland for 12 years, after establishing his reputation in the Midlands.

“After learning how to mix vinyl a I was fortunate enough to establish DJ gigs at prestigious clubs such as Miss Moneypennys and Fuel as well as establishing residences at top Midlands clubs,” explained James.

The Synyx moniker, and associated Monkey branding, was developed by James to better reflect on the direction of his music.

“I wanted to create a strong brand character to coincide with my music that fans can engage with, something a bit more than just me as a producer,” he said. “A fictional character that can maybe bring good change to the world through music and my own beliefs and learnings, my own perception of truth.

“Synyx was really a twist on the word cynical at a time I found myself questioning more and more of the mainstream narrative.

“To further merge all this I needed a lead character so I had the idea of a chimp that was lost in space and then intercepted by an advanced god like alien race. He was genetically enhanced with the ability to travel the galaxy. His cause, to bring truth, peace and unity to the universe.”For more information go to synyx.co.uk. Drop The Bomb is out now.

Cahoots NI Brings The Magic Of Theatre Into Your Home With The University Of Wonder & Imagination

Cahoots Artistic Director Paul McEneaney with actor Hugh W Brown launching the new Cahoots show University of Wonder & Imagination. Photo by Francine Montgomery / Excalibur Press For more information contact Tina Calder, Excalibur Press, 07305354209, tina@excaliburpress.co.uk

Northern Ireland-based children’s theatre company Cahoots NI has launched an immersive digital theatre experience with the aim of bringing the magic and joy of theatre to young audiences at home.

The University of Wonder and Imagination is an hour-long interactive digital theatre production that allows audiences to effectively direct the performance, based on their interaction with the performers. In this ambitious and innovative undertaking, Cahoots NI will broadcast from an extensive, purpose-built set in Belfast, where magic and illusion have no boundaries.

The show will have it’s Northern Ireland premiere as part of this year’s Belfast International Arts Festival running from October 22nd – 25th and 29th – November 1.

Limited to pre-booked audience numbers per performance, guests will assemble with their fellow University students and, led by the mysterious Professor Bamberg, will embark on a journey where nothing is quite what it seems. 

Audiences will interact with lively lecturers, experience themed rooms filled with illusion and encounter problems and puzzles in an attempt to unlock magical powers and graduate with flying colours.

Speaking about the new production, Paul Bosco Mc Eneaney, Creator/Director of The University of Wonder and Imagination, and Artistic Director of Cahoots NI, said: “We are thrilled to be opening the doors of the University of Wonder and Imagination for enrolment.

“Now, more than ever, we want to capture the sheer joy and wonder that theatre and live performance brings young audiences, something we so desperately miss being able to provide at this time. We have worked hard to create an experience that would act as a first step to bridge the gap between young people and live theatre that can be enjoyed at home.

“Developing this production has allowed us to explore a completely new channel through which to bring magic and illusion to children and their families via digital technology. The choices our audiences make live, during the event, will shape their unique theatre experience – and that’s hugely exciting for us.

“The technology we are using for the production is intricate, but it will be seamlessly blended with physical sets and magical illusions. Our audiences haven’t seen anything like this from Cahoots NI before, and we believe it will be a fun-filled, thrilling experience for children, for their families and for our cast and crew to be a part of.” 

The University of Wonder and Imagination is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Caoileann Curry-Thompson, Arts Development Officer for Drama and Dance, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: “Despite the enormous challenges presented to the Arts as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Cahoots NI continues to offer audiences world-class children’s theatre with their latest show, The University of Wonder and Imagination, this Autumn.  

“With their trademark ingenuity and wizardry the Cahoots team are managing to bring the essence of stage magic and theatrical spectacle to life through new technologies. Cahoots’ work is not only multi award-winning and internationally acclaimed, but also a firm favourite with family audiences at home and abroad. 

“This latest show promises to be a wonder to behold! The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is hugely proud to support this terrific production which will be enjoyed by many online, helping to bring great art to everyone.” 

Cahoots NI is at the forefront of Northern Irish theatre and is the leading professional theatre company producing work for children. Since beginning operations in 2001, Cahoots NI has produced original, critically acclaimed work for children including Under the Hawthorn Tree, Secrets of Space, Shh! We have a Plan and has toured its work internationally including in China and the USA.For more information go to cahootsni.com or follow Cahoots NI on social media #UniversityofWonder #CahootsNI

Offers of the week to help you enjoy the perfect staycation

Discover Northern Ireland helping to save your holiday break

September 7: Northern Ireland’s hotels and restaurants are excited to be giving a warm welcome to visitors after reopening, meaning it is just a small step to a giant adventure this autumn.

Now you can embrace Northern Ireland’s giant spirit with a staycation at one of the many B&B’s, luxurious spa hotels and great value self-catering properties on offer.

Discover Northern Ireland has selected the best offers of the week because, this year, it’s not about how far, it’s about how fun.

County Tyrone 

Two and Three-Night Family Breaks, Glenavon House Hotel (3*) from £95 per person sharing 

Enjoy a fantastic family break and chill out in one of Glenavon House Hotel’s spacious family rooms including a full breakfast each morning to set you up for a busy day ahead. Two and three-night breaks available and includes use of the hotel’s luxurious leisure facilities, 20 metre swimming pool, kids pool, sauna, fitness suite and steam room. (Kids hours apply for leisure facilities).  Please note the changing rooms and the Jacuzzi in the leisure facilities are currently closed following Government guidelines. There is also tons to do nearby including movie nights at the local cinema, local playparks, feed the ducks at Drum Manor Forest Park or enjoy a day out at Jungle NI. To book call +44 (0 )28 867 64949. Offer available until 31st December 2020. Subject to availability 

Derry~Londonderry

One-Night B&B, Best Western Plus White Horse Hotel (4*) from £89 per room per night based on 2 people

An ideally located family run hotel less than five minutes drive from the centre of the historic walled city of Derry~Londonderry and on the main route to the Giant’s Causeway. Enjoy this 4-star hotel with leisure facility, including a 20m pool, kids pool area, fully equipped gym, luxurious beauty suites, hot tubs and day spa. The hotel has its own newly refurbished, and award winning restaurant and bar on site.  To book call +44 (0) 28 7186 0606. Offer available until 31st March 2021. Subject to availability.

Belfast

Autumn Staycation Deal, Stormont Hotel (4*) from £45 per person sharing, plus 20% off if you stay for two+ nights

Experience a staycation without the fuss. Just minutes away from the City Centre and adjacent to Stormont Estate, the Stormont Hotel offers the perfect location for a visit to Belfast or exploring County Down and beyond. Stay 2+ nights and get 20% off the total price. Your staycation includes luxurious overnight accommodation with Full Irish Breakfast, exclusive ESPA products, luxury bathrobes & slippers and complimentary WiFi with access to over 7,000 digital newspapers & magazine. To book call +44 (0) 28 9065 1066. Offer available until 30th December 2020. Subject to availability.

VAN MORRISON CONFIRMS LIVE SHOWS AT THE EUROPA HOTEL IN OCTOBER

Just days after his 75th birthday, rock legend Van Morrison has confirmed a series of socially-distanced live shows at Belfast’s Europa Hotel in October.

Just days after his 75th birthday, rock legend Van Morrison has confirmed a return to live performing in Ireland with a series of socially-distanced shows at Belfast’s Europa Hotel in October.

The socially-distanced concerts will take place over three nights on October 29, 30 and 31at the world-famous hotel, which is part of the Hastings Hotels group.

Tickets will be sold in pairs or by tables of eight and the maximum number at each show will be 184 as part of measures to adhere to social distancing legislation in Northern Ireland.

The performance with the Belfast native will be preceded by a drinks reception and two-course supper showcasing the best of Northern Ireland produce.

Ticket prices for the first two rows are available at £250 per person, or £2,000 for a table of eight, and all other tickets are £150 per person or £1,200 per table of eight

The world famous four-star Europa Hotel is located in the heart of Belfast City Centre and offers a choice of 272 hotel rooms – including 92 executive bedrooms and suites.

The elegant decor, contemporary bistro, bustling bar and relaxing piano bar lounge make it the hotel of choice for business and leisure guests visiting Belfast.

Due to its prime location, the Europa Hotel is a short distance from many of Belfast’s top visitor attractions including the Ulster Museum, Grand Opera House and Titanic Belfast.

Hastings Hotels has been voted Ireland’s best luxury hotel group for the past two years.

The Hastings collection has seven hotels, including the five-star Culloden Estate and Spa, the world-famous Europa Hotel, the four-star Stormont Hotel and Northern Ireland’s largest hotel, The Grand Central Hotel.

Tickets for the Van Morrison concerts can be purchased through Ticketmaster or for further information go to www.hastingshotels.com/europa-belfast/events

Culture Night Online 2020 Launches Packed Core Programme

Lord Mayor of Belfast Alderman Frank McCoubrey and Susan Picken, director of Cathedral Quarter Trust and Culture Night Belfast. Photo by: Francine Montgomery / Excalibur Press For more information contact Tina Calder, Excalibur Press, 07305354209, tina@excaliburpress.co.uk

Culture Night’s 2020 core programme has been unveiled with a packed line-up of music, debates, art and thought-provoking films that will all happen online on Friday 18 September.

Like everyone else in Northern Ireland, artists and arts organisations are facing enormous challenges due to Covid-19 and so this year Culture Night Belfast is going totally online. The team at Culture Night Belfast is determined to keep the show on the road in some shape or form.

Streaming across a number of virtual platforms, Culture Night Online 2020 aims to be accessible to those who would attend in-person each year as well as those who have yet to experience the best of Northern Ireland’s arts and culture scene.

Susan Picken, Director of Cathedral Quarter Trust (the charity behind Culture Night Belfast) said that the 2020 programme will be a spectacular online display of talent. Susan urged those logging on on Friday 18 September.

“Please take the opportunity to donate some of what you would have spent on a normal Culture Night,” she said. “You can either donate here and we will send what we raise on to one of our nominated charities, or you can follow the links on individual submissions and donate to the artist, organisation or venue of your choice.

“Please help our arts & culture community to survive this difficult time and ensure a vibrant cultural future for all of us.”

This year’s core programme of commissioned pieces will see venues such as Belfast Cathedral, the Black Box, the Oh Yeah Centre and The MAC act as the backdrop to what is set to be an exciting evening of entertainment.

Susan said: “This year’s programme is very different from what you may be used to but we hope it captures the varied and eclectic mix of arts and culture you have come to know and love in the real-world event,” she said. “There are three main strands for you to log on to, dip in to and enjoy.

“Our three strands are Core, Showcase, and Gallery. Core has a special programme of performances from iconic venues across the Cathedral Quarter which have been carefully chosen and commissioned by the team here at CNB.

Showcase is an opportunity for our other artists and creators to get involved as it features online submissions from local artists, performers, creatives, venues, cultural organisations, businesses and more and demonstrates the wealth of homegrown talent at work across the city.

Gallery is a special open submission visual arts strand introducing the work of a wide variety of artists encompassing painting, photography and much more.”

The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Alderman Frank McCoubrey said: “We are delighted to be supporting Culture Night again this year – a year which has been enormously challenging for our cultural sector.

“I have been so encouraged to see how many of our culture and arts organisations have adapted their activities and programmes to continue to develop and showcase the city’s creative talent during the last few months. Culture Night will bring a spotlight to this and promises a wide range of virtual events to immerse yourself in on Friday 18 September.

“Belfast City Hall will also be lit up in pink and blue on the evening of 18 September to symbolise citywide support for cultural organisations and individual artists across the city.”

Among the performers taking part this year in the CNB Online Core Programme are Cherrie On Top, Susie Blue, Sinead O’Donnell, tenx9, Charles Hurts, Becha, Stephen Beggs, Paul Currie, George Quinn, Rachael McCabe, Bounce Culture, The Swing Gals and many more.

Anne McReynolds, Chair of the Cathedral Quarter Trust, said: “2020 has been incredibly challenging for the arts and culture sector and for all our audience and participants.  

“The future of the arts in Northern Ireland remains very uncertain. Nevertheless, artists have never given up without a fight and so our programme for Culture Night Online demonstrates how talented and innovative our arts community here is.  

“Hopefully on Friday 18 September everyone will be reminded just how vital arts and culture is to our city and our wellbeing. Please support our local arts and culture by logging on during Culture Night on 18 September.”

The core programme, which is supported this year by Belfast City Council and Arts Council NI, will also include a specially commissioned piece by filmmaker Will McConnell called We’re Still Here, two documentaries from Trocaire and the premiere of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission’s film It Seems along with a discussion chaired by NIHRC Chief Commissioner, Les Allamby.

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: “Despite the enormous challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, Culture Night Belfast is back with an impressive digital programme thoughtfully designed against a backdrop of iconic locations in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter and featuring a wealth of Northern Irish talent from across the artistic spectrum.  

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is hugely proud to support Culture Night through the Organisations Emergency Fund, supported by the Department for Communities, and I would encourage everyone to get online on 18th September and show your support for our tremendous arts community.”

For more information on this year’s programme go to culturenightbelfast.com or follow #CNB20 #CNBonline on social media.

If you’re a creator and want to submit your event to Culture Night Belfast this year simply fill out the submissions form at culturenightbelfast.com/cnb-online 

Guest artists, virtual choirs and familiar faces at the 2020 City of Derry International Choir Festival

The City of Derry International Choir Festival recently announced exciting plans for an online edition this October, 21-25, featuring an exclusive concert by guest artists Tenebrae, a massed sing of Danny Boy conducted by world-renowned composer/conductor Bob Chilcott, and a virtual Choral Trail featuring performances from choirs across the globe.

In addition to the already top-quality programme, the festival will include a second exclusive filmed concert by leading Irish a cappella ensemble Ardú. Founded by Derry man Ciarán Kelly and based in Dublin, the award-winning group specialize in arranging well-known popular music for six voices, creating funky beats, rhythms, melody and harmony with only their voices. The performance will take place in the spectacular surroundings of The Glassworks, Derry, and will be free to view on the festival’s social media channels and website.

Furthermore, festival organisers have announced a school choir project as part of their programme of events this autumn, featuring 10 post-primary schools from Derry, Strabane, Omagh and Donegal. Representatives from each school will take part in a virtual choral performance of the much-loved Over the Rainbow, which will be premiered on the opening night of the festival, Wednesday 21 October.

Familiar faces feature in a short mini-series of programmes, commissioned for daily broadcasts during festival week, that dive into the archive of the last seven years of guest artists, international choirs, youth and community singing, from the inaugural festival in 2013’s City of Culture year to 2019’s seventh edition of the festival.

Festival Director Dónal Doherty says, “In a time of social distancing and isolation for so many, we have never felt such a strong desire from our many contributors and participants to feel connected through music. Friends from our previous seven festivals will be joined by many new friends from all over the world to help us create a truly memorable celebration of song for Festival 2020. We look forward to welcoming you to the party!” Further programme information and details of how to participate in the 2020 festival at www.derrychoirfest.com