Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Unforgettable opening for Belfast's Metropolitan Arts Centre as 5,000 visit venue

The new MAC building in St Anne's Square in Belfast opens its doors to the public. The art and theatre space is free entry and has a number of exhibitions and theatres
The new MAC building in St Anne's Square in Belfast opens its doors to the public. The art and theatre space is free entry and has a number of exhibitions and theatres
Crowds explore the various spaces of the MAC

The opening weekend of Belfast’s newest arts venue the MAC was a huge success, with more than 5,000 visitors passing through its doors.

Nearly a decade in the making, the £18m building in Saint Anne’s Square officially opened on Friday, and is well on its way to achieving its target of 120,000 visitors in a year.

Maeve Lewis, the MAC’s marketing manager, told the Belfast Telegraph that the team was thrilled to welcome so many people to the distinctive new building.

“We have been really busy and have had such a positive response from everyone,” Ms Lewis said.

“People are really impressed with the free galleries and that we’re open seven days a week. The Robert Therrien table and chairs installation has proved really popular with families.”

Evelyn Minnis from Carnmoney enjoyed her first visit to the MAC and said having somewhere that offers music, theatre, dance, art and food was a real asset to Belfast. “The building is not like I thought it would be,” she said.

“I was expecting it to be very industrial but I’ve been surprised by how beautiful it is inside, and the William Conor exhibition is great.”

John Pelan, from north Belfast, said he is looking forward to returning to the MAC next week to see dance production, Straight To DVD.

“It’s about time there was something like this in the this area,” he added.

Lisa Spence and Jillian Thompson travelled from Derry to catch yesterday’s opening show of Owen McCafferty’s courtroom drama, Titanic — Scenes from the British Wreck Commissioner’s Inquiry, 1912.

They said the production, which runs until May 20, was brilliant. “It delved into history I didn’t know about and was so interesting,” Jillian said.

Mia Lern Hayes, who sits on the MAC board, said it was creating a buzz among artists and everyone else.

“It’s exactly what the sector needs and what audiences enjoy,” she said. “The MAC is an exciting multi-disciplinary venue that’s putting Belfast on the map.”

Background

The Metropolitan Arts Centre (MAC) is part of Saint Anne’s Square and is located behind St Anne's Cathedral in the Cathedral Quarter. The new £18m building is open seven days a week and houses two theatres, three art galleries, education and workshop rooms, rehearsal space, a dance studio and a cafe. It has been funded by the Department for Culture Arts & Leisure, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Department for Social Development, Laganside Corporation and Belfast City Council, among others. For more information call 028 9023 5053 or visit www.themaclive.com.

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