Magical Belfast square to honour CS Lewis
A new magical place for Belfast will open later this month with the launch of the landmark CS Lewis Square - the latest phase of the £40m Connswater Greenway regeneration project.
The £2.5m square, which is being built at the intersection of the Connswater and Comber Greenways, will mark the life and work of the writer, who spent his early childhood in east Belfast.
It will feature seven sculptures created by Irish artist Maurice Harron which are all based on characters from The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, including Aslan, Maugrim, Mr and Mrs Beaver, the Robin, the White Witch, the Stone Table and Mr Tumnus.
Three hundred trees have been planted around the square, which has a capacity of 2,000, and there will also be new railway tracks, arches and facade art around the development.
Wendy Langham, project manager for Connswater Greenway, said: "The square will be a public space for events and activities.
"We have no outdoor performance space as such in this part of the city so in the past when we've held big events we've had to hold them in car parks and the parks sometimes aren't big enough either."
CS Lewis was a natural choice for the square, Wendy said.
"When we developed the idea for the square we looked at what the strengths were in terms of inspiring people from this part of the city and CS Lewis seemed to be an untapped resource," she said.
"While other parts of Northern Ireland have developed their love or interest in CS Lewis - such as in the Mourne Mountains or at Dunluce Castle - Belfast hadn't really captured anything significant."
The opening celebration will take place at 6pm on November 22 - the anniversary of CS Lewis's death.
Guest of honour will be American-British actor, biographer, film and record producer Douglas Gresham, the stepson of CS Lewis, who will speak in memory of his stepfather and formally open the square.
East Belfast actor Dan Gordon will compere the event.
As well as the unveiling of the seven new sculptures, seven short films will be shown to bring the statues to life.
There will also be dancers and musicians - including members of the Ulster Orchestra performing live.
Harpist and composer Nodlaig Brolly has also written a piece inspired by the new artwork entitled 'Land of Dreams' that will be performed at the opening.
To conclude the event, a snow machine will transform the magical space into a winter wonderland as Aslan is revealed to the public.