Who’d have thought that spending Sunday lunchtimes in a theatre would become the must-do event of 2010? Yet that’s what’s been happening in Belfast, thanks to Sunday In The City.
It started out as a plan to introduce a bit of craic to the quietest day in the week.
And one of the events which has really taken off is the lunchtime gig in the Ulster Hall. Rehearsed Readings for a Quid has seen the sneak preview of Dancing Feet, the new musical about George Best which will play at the Opera House later this year. Red Lemon, Ransom and Rawlife theatre companies have also been providing entertainment during February lunchtimes.
Staying with innovative theatre, Cahoots NI’s Magic Medicine, is a blend of arts and healthcare, and is currently touring special schools, hospices, hospitals and respite units right across the country.
This new scheme offers children who rarely have the chance to see live theatre, tickets for The World’s Smallest Circus, where they are treated to a series of magic tricks and illusions, created by Cahoots’ Paul McEneaney. Magic Medicine tours until March 5.
And on the subject of tours, Centre Stage is on the road with its production of Sam Hanna Bell’s That Woman at Rathard, marking the centenary of the author’s birth.
The play is Bell’s own adaptation of his novel, December Bride. It’s visiting Down Arts Centre this evening, and continues its journey around the North next month.
On to the north west, which last night saw the opening of Dave Duggan’s new play, Still The Blackbird Sings: Incidents at Ebrington Barracks, at Derry’s Playhouse. The drama reinvents events in the life of the poet and soldier Francis Ledwidge, who was stationed at the barracks in 1916. Ledwidge asks why an Irishman would join the British army. The Playhouse is also the venue for a new production by C21 theatre company, which next week stages the Northern Ireland premiere of Sylvia Plath’s Three Women. Plath’s only play is written in verse, and traces the very different experiences of three expectant mothers.
You can see it at The Playhouse on Thursday and again on March 8 in Belfast’s Ulster Hall.