This week’s top picks at the Belfast International Arts Festival

The Belfast International Arts Festival gets underway this week and runs from 15 Oct – 3 Nov in various locations across Belfast.  This week’s top picks are:

The Playboy of the Western World, Tues 8 Oct -Sat 2 Nov at the Lyric Theatre,

Inspired visually by the likes of Shane Meadows’ This is England, this reimagined classic directed by Oonagh Murphy is not to be missed!  Met with controversy when it was first staged at the Abbey Theatre in 1907, John Millington Synge’s brutally hilarious masterpiece, The Playboy of the Western World, is about life on the margins and the lengths we go to, to create a reality more exciting than the place we find ourselves.

Hiroaki Umeda – Median & Accumulated Layout, Tues 15 – Wed 16 Oct, The MAC,

Think Radiohead meets Aphex Twin via The Matrix!

Combining choreography, microscopic science, digital sound and laser projections, experimental Japanese choreographer Hiroaki Umeda draws inspiration from elements invisible to the naked eye. The dancer’s own body and movement becomes part of the throbbing, ebbing cellular projections all around him.  A precision-sharp, captivating, super-intelligent and totally immersive experience.

ASUNA- 100 keyboards, Thurs 17 – Sat 19 Oct, The MAC,

Pioneering Japanese sound artist ASUNA presents 100 Keyboards (literally!) featuring 100 battery operated keyboards, which create an intriguing and fascinating ambient wash of overlapping notes and sonic textures that envelop the audience from every direction.  A truly unique performance!

La Dame Blanche, Fri 18 Oct, The Empire Music Hall,

Hip-hop, cumbia, dancehall and reggae collide in this powerful performance.  Hailing from Cuba where her father, Jesus ‘Aguaje’ Ramos, is the artistic director of the Buena Vista Social Club, La Dame Blanche delivers an irresistible Afro-Cuban mix, which compels the body to dance! Selling fast.

This Brutal House with Niven Govinden, Fri 18 Oct, No Alibis Bookshop,

Drag ball culture, for years an LGBTQ+ subculture, has come into the mainstream eye through TV shows and drag clubs. Govinden illuminates themes of race, gender, and sexual orientation within society through the lens of the vogue ball community. The Belfast International Arts Festival gets underway this week and runs from 15 Oct – 3 Nov in various locations across Belfast. 

La Spire, Sat 19 & Sun 20 Oct, Botanic Gardens

Free event for all ages!

Breath-taking aerial acrobatics on an impressive steel spiral sculpture. The all-female cast combine raw strength, tenacity and vulnerability, accompanied by a live musician and special sound machines to create a suspense-filled dreamlike journey into human fragility and power.

Part of FranceDance UK 2019 and generously supported by the Institut Francais du Royaume-Uni.

Jacqueline shares her pick of what’s on this weekend across NI

Down

Newtownards weekly market returns on Saturday from 8.00am to 4.00pm to Conway Square.  This market caters for all your needs with a diverse range of stalls including local fruit and vegetables, seafood and meat, tools, clothing and accessories, toys, flowers and plants, to name just a few. Something for all the family!

Armagh

The Björn Identity, Ireland’s greatest tribute to the world’s most famous super group – ABBA, make a welcome return to the Market Place Theatre Armagh this Friday evening.  Re-live or newly discover the magic of the ‘Swedish Super Group ABBA’ and their musical legacy that lives… ‘On and On and On’.

Fermanagh

To the Moon and Beyond is a free and spectacular light show that is quite simply ‘out of this world’.  Definitely one for all the family at Broadmeadow. There are 4 separate shows this Friday evening, each lasting approximately 20 minutes. From 7.00pm  with the last show taking place at 8.30pm.

Tyrone

To celebrate Positive Ageing Month, The Alley Theatre in Strabane is showing the classic movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid this Friday afternoon. Movie begins at 1.30pm and admission is £5 which includes tea & shortbread after the film.  

 Derry/Londonderry

This Saturday The Inishowen Gospel Choir brings their varied repertoire to the intimate setting of The Playhouse, joined by three of the finest soul, gospel, jazz and blues singers in Ireland – Mirenda Rosenberg, Amanda St John and Jaime Nanci. Tickets £12.

Antrim

Step back in time to delve into the designs, fashions and way of life in the 1940s and 50s, while enjoying a vintage crafternoon tea at the Island Arts Centre Lisburn this Saturday. With displays, demonstrations and hands-on opportunities you will see, touch and hear stories about fascinating memorabilia from the vast Living Vintage collection.

Belfast

The Jail of Horror at Crumlin Road Gaol, described as one of Belfast’s most fearsome scare attractions, is back and it’s bigger and better for Halloween 2019. Visitors, if they dare, will enter the off-limits dungeon of D Wing and face all their fears on an intense scare after scare journey which only has one way out!! Runs 11th to 31st October!

For further details on these events and to add your events free go to whatsonni.com. Follow us on twitter @whatsonNI and on facebook at fb.com/www.whatsonni for news, competitions and what’s on near you.

OFFERS OF THE WEEK

Northern Ireland boasts an irresistible collection of places to stay including beautiful B&Bs, luxurious spa hotels and great value self-catering properties. Discover NI has selected the best offers of the week to help you plan a short break.

·         Spooky Stayover, Stormont Hotel, Belfast  £65 per person sharing

There are no tricks, just treats for everyone during your stay at the four-star Stormont Hotel on the edge of Belfast City with its Spooky Stayover offer. This contemporary hotel sits adjacent to Stormont Castle and Parliament Buildings, providing a unique location perfect for beautiful walks. Offer includes Halloween themed afternoon tea for two and luxury overnight accommodation with a full Irish breakfast the following morning. To book call 028 9065 1066. Offer available from 26 October until 31st October 2019.

·         1 x Night B&B, The City Hotel Derry, Derry~Londonderry from £109 per room per night

The four-star City Hotel is renowned for providing outstanding service, excellent food and facilities at competitive prices. The hotel is located steps away from the  historic City Walls and is the ideal base to explore Portrush, the Giant’s Causeway and Derry~Londonderry itself. Offer includes overnight accommodation with breakfast the following morning. To book call 028 7136 5800. Offer available until 15 November 2019. 

·          1 x Night B&B, Mellon Country Inn Hotel, Co. Tyrone from £88 per room per night

The three-star Mellon Country Hotel is nestled in the foothills of the Sperrin Mountains, overlooking the River Strule, the region’s most popular spot for leisure activities like walking, cycling, fishing and golf. An ideal location to discover the natural beauty of Tyrone with the Ulster American Folk Park and beautiful Gortin Glen only minutes away. Offer includes overnight accommodation with breakfast the following morning. To book call 028 8166 1224. Offer available until 15 November 2019.

Food Focus: 10 things to do in Northern Ireland

As part of the ‘Taste the Island’ initiative for 12 weeks DiscoverNorthernIreland.com will have the top three food experiences and events in their weekly  10 things to do listing. DiscoverNorthernIreland.com has stacks of fun things to do across NI, from family days out to gigs and cultural events. Here are ten exciting things taking place this week including three food experiences and events (7-13 October)

1.       Slow Food Festival, Derry~Londonderry, 9-13 October.  Slow Food is a global, grassroots organisation that promotes true enjoyment of good food with the commitment to community and the environment – this two-day celebration showcases the best of local, clean, fair food with  talks and demos, tours and tastings, street food, family fun and much more at Guildhall Square.

2.       Taste Causeway 2019, Coleraine, 4-27 October. The Taste Causeway event will showcase the vibrant restaurant scene as well as offering a  full programme of food and drink experiences, including themed nights, taster menus, cookery classes, food tours, Econmusee tours, and opportunities to ‘meet the maker’.

3.       Mourne Mountains Food Trail, Annalong, 12 October. Let NI Food Tours take you off the beaten track into County Down, meet the local producers and farmers, hear their stories and taste their award winning food and drink.

4.       Portrush Motorcycle Beach Races, Portrush, 12-13 October. The East Strand will be the spectacular venue for the annual motorcycle beach races, organised by the Foyle District Motor Cycle Club, in conjunction with Causeway Coast and Glens Council.

5.       One Pot Feeds All: Talk and Book Signing with Darina Allen, Bellaghy, 7 October. Seamus Heaney HomePlace is delighted to welcome world-renowned cookery school owner and bestselling author Darina Allen for an intimate talk, cookery demonstration and book signing.

6.       Oktoberfest, Belfast, 4-19 October. Held in Custom House Square, the festival will have a full range of beers to suit your palate, including Paulaner Oktoberfest Lager which is only brewed for the Munich Beer Festival. All the food and beer will be served by friendly staff in traditional Bavarian costumes.

7.       Walled City Brewery Beer Masterclass, Derry~Londonderry, 12 October.  A 1½ hour interactive experience where you can relax and let the Walled City Brewery’s talented brewers tell you the extraordinary 9,000 year old story of brewing whilst tasting their ten house beers matched with artisanal local snacks.

8.       ‘Learn to’ Workshops, Lisburn, 12 October. As part of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council’s Food & Drink events calendar, Larchfield Estate is hosting a series of ‘Learn To’ workshops. From bee keeping to fermentation and bread and jam making there’s a range of interesting workshops on offer.

9.       Fright Night, Magherafelt, 12-31 October. This year’s Fright Night at Jungle NI will see the return of the horrid and harrowing “Woodland Trail”. Freaky sets frame a haunting story to send shivers up your spine, coupled with special effects, atmospheric lighting throughout and a creepy cast of nefarious creatures.

10.   2 Hour Paranormal Investigation, Belfast, 11-31 October.  The chilling expert led two hour paranormal Investigation gives visitors the opportunity to interact with the spirits as they get hands on with authentic experiments using paranormal investigating equipment. The serious paranormal investigation will visit various hotspots of the Crumlin Road Gaol, where paranormal activity has been reported and sighted.For more information on these events or to plan a short break in Northern Ireland, visit www.DiscoverNorthernIreland.com. For additional Taste the Island events, please visit www.discovernorthernireland.com/tastetheisland

A spud load of fun ahead at the Giants Causeway Community Open Day

On Saturday 5th October the Giant’s Causeway will host its second free open day this year which coincides with the Randox Northern Ireland Potato Festival on the grounds of the Causeway Hotel.

The Open Day, which takes place from 9am to 6pm is an opportunity for the local community and visitors to see for themselves the increasingly important and valuable work the National Trust do at the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Following a busy summer and a season of conservation projects promoting wildlife at the Causeway Coast, the National Trust want to celebrate the commitment and passion of the staff, rangers and volunteers by hosting a fun-filled weekend for all.

To kick off the celebrations there will also be a Community Open Evening on Friday 4th October at the Causeway Hotel. Visitors can start the weekend in style with complimentary nibbles, drinks and entertainment from 7 to 9pm.

Ciara McClements, Visitor Experience Manager at the Giant’s Causeway commented, “The Open Day will have something for everyone. Visitors and the local community are welcome to enjoy the full Visitor Experience free of charge, take a guided tour with one of the award-winning tour guides or pick up an audio guide and explore at your own pace learning about the geology, myths and legends of the Giant’s Causeway.

“The weekend also allows us to showcase our unique visitor offering and provide visitors from near and far the chance to experience all that the Giant’s Causeway has to offer. Over the past eight years we have welcomed over 30,000 people to our Open Days and we hope that this year will see even more visitors enjoying the outstanding beauty and stunning scenery that the stones has to offer.

“People of all ages can take part in arts and crafts sessions, face painting and celebrations galore creating memories at our special place. We are also delighted to host the Randox Northern Ireland Potato Festival once again on the grounds of the Causeway Hotel celebrating all aspects of the local potato industry!”

Final admission to the Community Open day is 5pm, with the Visitor Centre closing at 6pm. There will also be a free Park & Ride from Bushmills to the Giant’s Causeway. For more information visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/giants-causeway

Fashion with Patience: 5 Tips For The Perfect Workwear Look

When it comes to workwear, it can be hard to know exactly what to go for. You don’t want to go overdressed, but not too casual either that you look unprofessional. You still want to remain fashionable and cool whilst dressing respectfully and appropriately. Here’s my top tips for how to dress for work.

Suit Up

In my opinion with workwear, a bold suit is a fail safe option. You really can’t beat it. It’s an easy outfit to throw in in the morning with a pair of heels and blouse, shirt or jumper. The great thing about investing in a good suit too is the pieces work great as separates, you could wear the trousers with a blouse in the summer or style the blazer with different outfits.

Try a Pinafore

If you want to wear a more girly outfit for your office attire, consider wearing a pinafore dress. These dresses can look especially good in Autumn/Winter with tights, boots and a jumper underneath. Consider a pattern such as plaid, to mix up your look.

Stick To a Neutral Colour Palette

When shopping for workwear, it can be tempting to go for bold eye catching prints and colours. However it is often more savvy, to stick to a neutral colour, in order to create a capsule wardrobe. Buying basic neutral pieces that you can style in different ways will allow you to make the most out of your wardrobe and mix and match with different looks. 

Invest in a Good Pair of Shoes

When it comes to workwear a good pair of shoes is key, whether you prefer loafers, flats or heels being comfortable should be everything. So invest in a good pair of shoes that will last and will go with your everyday look.

If in Doubt Wear all Black

A backup outfit is always an all black outfit, cause it requires zero effort and is still so chic. It’s a great one if you are ever running late for work because you can just throw it on and instantly look put together, add a statement coat or sunglasses to dress it up and you are good to go. 

Written By: Patience Bradley 

Jacqueline shares her pick of what’s on this weekend across NI

Down

Everyone, regardless of their age, are encouraged to get into the outdoors and take the time to be mindful of their surroundings.  Crawfordsburn Country Park will host a free event on Saturday 5th October. There will be a range of wellbeing activities that you, your family and friends can all enjoy:

 Armagh

Visit the National Trusts Ardress House every Sunday in October for some appley family fun. At the height of the harvest season, Apple Sundays will celebrate the wonderful fruit that has made Co. Armagh famous!

 Fermanagh

Round 10 of the Ulster Superbike Championship, the Enniskillen 100, takes place this Saturday 5th October at Enniskillen Airport.  Scrutineering will take place in the Paddock from 7.30pm to 8.30pm Friday 4th October 2019 and 7.30 am until 9.30 am Saturday 5th.  Qualifying begins on Saturday at 9.30am with racing staring at 11.30 approximately.

Tyrone

Hatch, this Saturday and Sunday at the Alley Theatre Strabane, is full of Fidget Feet’s unique blend of music, comedy, theatre, contemporary dance and aerial dance. Hatch weaves craft workshops, Irish language and Irish dancing into this wonderful story for 4 – 10 year olds and their families. Saturday 1.00pm and 3.00pm, Sunday 2.00pm and 4.00pm.

Derry/Londonderry

Join James Mustich at the Heaney Homeplace Bellaghy this Sunday 6th October as he talks about how he came to choose the 1000 books he feels we all should read, providing an extensive, intelligent, lively library in which readers of all ages will find books for their own to-be-read piles. 

Antrim

Northern Ireland’s favourite potato-themed festival is back, bigger and better than ever, on Saturday 5th October 2019.  Set against the backdrop of the world-famous Giant’s Causeway, the Randox Northern Ireland Potato Festival is a heady mix of family fun, a celebration of world-renowned potato breeder John Clarke, and a chance to sample the delights of the agri-food industry which thrives in the Causeway Coast & Glens.

Belfast

Packed full of stalls and exhibitions focusing on personal development and spiritual awakening, the Mind Spirit and Body Fair takes place at the Crumlin Road Gaol this Sunday 6th October.  Followers of both modern and time-worn medicinal practices can find something to soothe their soul.

For further details on these events and to add your events free go to whatsonni.com. Follow us on twitter @whatsonNI and on facebook at fb.com/www.whatsonni for news, competitions and what’s on near you.

Offers of the Week!

Northern Ireland boasts an irresistible collection of places to stay including beautiful B&Bs, luxurious spa hotels and great value self-catering properties. Discover NI has selected the best offers of the week to help you plan a short break.

·         Autumn Two Night Escape, Whistledown Hotel, Co. Down from £99 per person sharing

The three-star Whistledown Hotel nestles quietly in Warrenpoint, surrounded by the magnificent Mourne Mountains. The hotel offers an ideal location for seafront walks as well as being a convenient from which visitors cam explore the region, visiting Silent Valley, The Fairy Glen, Kilbroney Forest Park and more. Offer includes two nights’ accommodation with a full Irish breakfast each morning. As part of this package, enjoy tea/coffee and a scone each on arrival and £30 dining credit to use on the night of your choice in the hotel’s bistro restaurant, and is available Monday-Thursday. To book call 028 4175 4174. Offer available until 31 October 2019.

·         1 x Night B&B, Mahons Hotel, Co. Fermanagh from £100 per room per night

Mahon’s is a traditional family run three-star hotel, situated in the heart of Irvinestown and only a short trip away from Enniskillen and Omagh. Being located in the heartland of Fermanagh and its beautiful lake district means beautiful country walks, water sports and of course shopping. Offer includes overnight accommodation with breakfast the following morning. To book call 028 6862 1656. Offer available until 15 November 2019. 

·         1 x Night B&B, Ballygally Castle Hotel, Co. Antrim from £120 per room per night

Overlooking golden sandy beaches and only a five-minute drive from Carnfunnock Country Park, the four star Ballygally Castle Hotel is the perfect base for exploring the Causeway Coast this summer. The castle dates back to 1625 and is the only 17th century building still used as a residence in Northern Ireland today. Offer includes overnight accommodation with a full Irish breakfast the following morning. To book call 028 2858 1066. Offer available until 15 November 2019. 

Food Focus: 10 things to do in Northern Ireland

As part of the ‘Taste the Island’ initiative for 12 weeks DiscoverNorthernIreland.com will have the top three food experiences and events in their weekly  10 things to do listing. DiscoverNorthernIreland.com has stacks of fun things to do across NI, from family days out to gigs and cultural events. Here are ten exciting things taking place this week including three food experiences and events (30 September – 6 October)

1.       Taste the Island on Rathlin Island, Rathlin Island, 4-5 October.  Slemish Market Supper Club presents “Taste the Island on Rathlin Island”. Hosted by two top chefs in two top venues, this weekend showcases the best of NI food and drink.

2.       Sustainable Seafood Soirée, Belfast, 4-11 October. This event being held at Fish City restaurant is aimed at seafood lovers who strive to be a conscious consumer. Enjoy a two-course seafood meal while hearing Fish City’s aim for sustainability and taking home a copy of ‘The Good Fish Guide’.

3.       The Randox Northern Ireland Potato Festival, Bushmills, 5 October. This festival at the Causeway Hotel, brings together members of the public and the farming community in a celebration of all aspects of the local potato industry.

4.       Waggy Races – The Castle Ward 5k, Strangford, 6 October. Waggy Races is a 5k fun run where you can enter as a runner, jogger or walker, with one or two dogs or in a pack, two runners and one dog. Race entry includes admission to Castle Ward, goody bags and prizes.

5.       Irish Vegan Festival, Belfast, 6 October.  The aim of this festival at the Europa Hotel, is to promote a vegan diet, sustainability and animal welfare in a positive atmosphere. It offers a range of stalls selling amazing vegan products ranging from cakes to jewellery to makeup and more.

6.       Hatch, Strabane, 5-6 October. This performance at the Alley Arts Centre introduces you to Bláithín, who loves caterpillars, moths and butterflies. Follow her on her adventurous journey with Uncle Rusty to find Pearl, the most extraordinary butterfly with the most exquisite colourful wings.

7.       Irish Gin and Cheese Pairing, Belfast, 3-4 October.  Taste and Tour have teamed up with industry experts to bring together an exciting evening, combining two of life’s greatest pleasures, gin and cheese.

8.       Broighter Gold Farm Tour, Limavady, 4-5 October. Visitors will tour the farm, before visiting the sheds and learning how the Broighter Gold journey started. Press and bottle your own Broighter Gold oils, before visiting The Lime Tree restaurant for lunch.

9.       Autumn Wellness & Natural Remedies, Ballycastle, 6 October. Learn how to make natural remedies to help aid a healthy and nourished autumn with Broughgammon Farm including a range of teas, honeys and gels.

10.   Signature Full Day Food Tour, Whitehead, 5 October. Hosted by Toast the Coast, this tour celebrates Northern Ireland food & drink as you journey by coach along the stunning scenery of the Causeway Coastal Route, with food tastings at each stop, light guided commentary and a meet & greet with locals to hear their stories.

For more information on these events or to plan a short break in Northern Ireland, visit www.DiscoverNorthernIreland.com. For additional Taste the Island events, please visit www.discovernorthernireland.com/tastetheisland

Belfast International Arts Festival 2019 Programme Launched

  • Belfast selected for French and Japanese International Cultural Partnerships
  • 14 Premieres, 200+ events, 20 days
  • 15 October – 3 November 2019
  • International programme focuses on crossing artistic borders and pushing boundaries

The programme for the 57th Belfast International Arts Festival has been launched, with a showcase performance by one of the Festival’s signature artists, Cuban-born Parisian musician, La Dame Blanche, who will perform at the Belfast Empire on Friday 18th October.  (Real name) Yaite Ramos Rodriguez is the daughter of the Creative Director of the Buena Vista Social Club.  Reflecting the festival’s key themes of internationalism and artistic fusion, La Dame Blanche brought guests at the launch to their feet with her infectious and unique blend of hip-hop, cumbia and reggae.

Festival Artistic Director, Richard Wakely unveiled the programme, which will this year feature over 200 events from the world of music, dance, film, visual arts, literature and theatre.

He revealed that Belfast has been chosen to contribute to two major international cultural celebrations, Japan-UK Season of Culture and FranceDance UK.  He said, “The 2019 Belfast International Arts Festival will open on 15 October with the UK premiere of Median, a contemporary paring of choreography with digital projection and electronic sound from Japanese multi-disciplinary artist Hiroaki Umeda. Think of the most creative music videos by Radiohead and Aphex Twin, meets the stealth and intensity of The Matrix.  Also featuring in the programme will be ASUNA, a wonderful young artist from Tokyo with his quirky, immersive sound installation, 100 Keyboards. It is an honour to have been selected to host some of Japan’s finest artists.”

Richard went on to reveal another major arts first for the city.  He said, “Showcasing the best of international dance for Belfast audiences has always been one of my biggest goals for the Festival.  I am especially pleased to announce that on the weekend of 25th and 26th October, Belfast International Arts Festival will be co-hosting the first ever all-Ireland dance conference, Co-Motion, in partnership with Dance Ireland, Dance Resource Base and Queen’s University Belfast.

“That weekend’s Festival programme will include performances by Shobana Jeyasingh Dance performing an Irish premiere of Staging Schiele (the story of radical Austrian nude artist and self-portraitist, Egon Schiele) before it heads to Southbank’s Queen Elizabeth Hall for its London run; and acclaimed French company (LA)HORDE performing their high energy jumpstyle piece To Da Bone.  This is a captivating, contemporary rebel-call to the social media generation, both in its narrative and in the way that the cast was crowd-sourced from across Europe, through an open audition on the internet.  The work of (LA)HORDE will be recognisable from the multi-million-viewed music video for Christine and the Queens’ track Girlfriend.” This y