It is easy to understand why Belfast is marketing itself as a city of festivals — as soon as the curtain falls on one, another pops up around the corner.
The tenth Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival draws to a close this weekend — still time to see Kabosh’s Two Roads West and Green Shoots’ Chronicles of Long Kesh — and after a short pause, the trumpets sound for Belfast Children’s Festival.
Showtime for small folk begins on May 22, and this year’s festival has a black and white theme.
It’s bringing the very best of international children’s theatre to Belfast, including award-winning Danish company Carte Blanche’s Kalejdoskop, and their labyrinth, where children can explore and experiment inside a chamber of curiosities.
Our own Cahoots NI will be performing at the festival, too — inside its very own tent.
The company will combine storytelling, music, magic and circus to tell the story of the Family Hoffmann’s Mystery Palace, where the more you look, the less you see.
Good storytelling is at the heart of the best theatre, and one of the best teller of tales around today is Alan Bennett.
The Riverside Theatre in Coleraine will be dedicating an evening to the work of Britain’s favourite living writer, in Talking Heads and Other Parts this coming weekend.
The show comprises two of Bennett’s monologues. Catriona Mullan will perform Bed Among the Lentils, while Jeremy Lewis tackles A Chip in the Sugar. Both pieces will be directed by Professor Tony Bareham.
Elsewhere, the Market Place Theatre in Armagh will be a hive of dramatic activity next week, when it plays host to the Ulster Drama Festival finals.
Colin Dolley is this year’s adjudicator, and groups from as far away as Dublin and Donegal will present their showcase productions in the hope of securing the Opera House Premier Award.
On Monday, the Balally Players from Dublin present Tom McIntyre’s The Hunger, while on Tuesday, 12th Ballymoney LDS perform The Memory of Water by Shelagh Stephenson. Wednesday sees CB Players Belfast in Martin McDonagh’s black comedy The Lonesome West, while on Thursday it’s the turn of Bangor Drama Club to perform Sam Shepard’s True West.
Theatre 3 from Newtownabby take the stage on Friday in Neil Simon’s Plaza Suite, while the Lifford Players wrap up the festival with their Saturday night performance of Gerald Healy’s The Black Stranger. Good luck to all, and may the best company win.
Winning's the name of the game in Daragh Carville's new play This Other City, which continues at the Grand Opera House. Success is there for the taking for property developer Patrick and his family — but at what cost, and to whom?
Finally, if you’re at a loose end this evening, make haste to Hilden Brewery, which is holding its first supper theatre event, hosted by Ransom Productions.
David Ireland’s Arguments for Terrorism is a bitter, sharp comedy which stars Richard Dormer as George Bush. Supper at 7pm, show at 9pm. How very civilised — I’ll raise a glass to that!