Belfast Telegraph

Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen's: Host of local and international talent on show

Local artists and organisations from all over Northern Ireland will be taking part in Ireland’s leading contemporary international arts festival, the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s, as they join the impressive line-up of Europe’s top theatre directors and internationally acclaimed artists in dance, film, theatre and music, filling venues all over Belfast from October 16 - November 1.

Fans of classical music should look out for local rising stars, Soprano, Emma Morwood, described by The Sunday Times as a ‘radiant Pamina’ for her role in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, and up and coming conductor, Eugene Monteith.  Eugene who hails from Strabane, will take charge of the baton at the Emerging Conductors lunchtime concert with Ulster Orchestra, following an intense week of masterclasses for emerging conductors led by Guest Principal Conductor Jac van Steen.

Be transported back to the golden age of the romantic Parisian salon with the fabulous, Quercus Ensemble, who are offering up a wonderful  evening of songs, games and dances at the Café De Paris featuring a specially commissioned work by Northern Irish composer Patrick Brennan.  Quercus Ensemble is a dynamic mixed chamber ensemble founded by Kim Vaughan (cello) from Derry and featuring many of Northern Ireland's top young professional musicians.  This event is part of the Northern Lights Mini-Fest presented with Belfats Music Society in an annual showcase of outstanding young classical musicians from Northern Ireland.

World-renowned pianist and star Barry Douglas performs with the Ulster Orchestra in the concert, A Fanfare to Fate, an evening which also celebrates the work of local composer Simon Mawhinney, with a performance of ‘The Pot of Pulgarve’.

Richard Wakely, Director, Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s, said, “The Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s aims to bring the world’s leading artists and performers to Belfast, but we also aim to bring Belfast to the world, by offering a platform to the outstanding, home-grown talent we are fortunate to have in the region.  From showcasing the more established professionals such as world-renowned pianist Barry Douglas, the Ulster Orchestra and the award-winning Kabosh theatre company, to the array of emerging talented singers, musicians and dancers, the Festival provides an opportunity for Belfast and Northern Ireland to stand up and be proud of our artists and thriving arts sector.”

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music at the Arts Council, commented: “As one of Northern Ireland’s premier arts events, the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s, offers the ideal platform for the very best local and emerging artists to showcase their talents, alongside top international acts. It’s a wonderfully eclectic programme which provides genuine excitement and enjoyment to audiences, helping to bring great art within the reach of everyone.”

Belfast based dance company, Maiden Voyage, will premiere their 20th original production, Neither Either, in a cross border collaboration with Liz Roche Company, Dublin.  The dance workshop, aimed at schools, takes its inspiration from the writings of the great Seamus Heaney and is a free workshop with the aims of promoting a healthy and active lifestyle.

Kabosh’s new production, 20, reflects on the 20th anniversary of the 1994 IRA Ceasefire in this unique multi-sensory experience of Belfast which takes place in the enchanting setting of the Dome, Victoria Square.

If you’ve ever wondered how artists work, wonder no more as Belfast Open Studios open their doors for a glimpse into the creative processes that result in the artworks often shown in galleries and museums.  Studios taking part include, Flax Art Studios, Creative Exchange, Paragon, QSS Bedford Street and Platform Arts.

Other local highlights include:

- Brassneck Theatre’s hilarious new comedy, The Holy Holy Bus, is a bittersweet Belfast comedy which follows four females on their pilgrimage to the holy sites of Ireland.  This performance is produced by the producers of A Night With George and Man In The Moon.

- Aisling Ghear’s futuristic and multi-lingual new play, Makaronik, written by Dave Duggan, is set in the year 2084 and if futuristic yet set in tradition – think if Beckett’s Endgame and Ridley Scott’s Bladerunner.

- Replay Theatre Company presents ‘Tiny’ a new show for babies which comes with its own magical theatre space with sounds, lights and textures and is performed to just a few babies at a time.  This show is now sold out.

-  More than a Flag, is a world premiere from Dan Gordon and Happenstance – which involved Dan working with 18 young East Belfast bandsmen to create a special performance commemorating the part East Belfast played in WW1.

The Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s presents great and diverse works of art from home and abroad, bringing audiences something very special that they cannot see elsewhere, all combining to deliver one unique festival which runs throughout the city.

The 2014 festival features 110 events with performers from 18 different countries and 26 premieres, covering classical and contemporary music, film, dance, theatre, talks and visual arts.

The festival would not be possible without the support of our sponsors and public sector funders including Title Sponsor, Ulster Bank, Principal Funder, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Tourist Board, Queen’s University, Belfast City Council, British Council, O2 International Sim, Belfast Harbour, Arts & Business NI and Department for Social Development, plus, the many venues, performers and partner organisations whose commitment and passion bring the arts to life for all to enjoy.

The Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s box office is now opens with some shows now sold out.  Check-in at www.belfastfestival.com for details and tickets.

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