Belfast Telegraph

Highlights of theatre & dance @ #BIAF19

Belfast International Arts Festival

This year's Belfast International Arts Festival is going to be the best one yet, hosting a stream of live acts from the world of music, theatre, art and literature, catch the details of this years opening and closing events below;


Hiroaki Umeda - Median & Accumulated Layout, Tues 15 - Wed 16 Oct, The MAC

Think Radiohead meets Aphex Twin via The Matrix!

Combining choreography, microscopic science, digital sound and laser projections, experimental Japanese choreographer Hiroaki Umeda draws inspiration from elements invisible to the naked eye. The dancer’s own body and movement becomes part of the throbbing, ebbing cellular projections all around him.  A precision-sharp, captivating, super-intelligent and totally immersive experience.

Lady Magma: The Birth of a Cult, Thurs 31 Oct - Sat 2 Nov, The MAC

This jaw-dropping new work from Northern Ireland’s Oona Doherty and Prime Cut Productions is an edgy, thought-provoking ode to modern femininity, performed by a stunning ensemble of international contemporary female dancers.  Lady Magma has the possibility to be shocking, pleasurable and, above all for the times we live in, is a much-needed statement against the historical oppression of women and female sexuality.

Having met critical acclaim at Edinburgh Festival last month with her award-winning Hard to be Soft – A Belfast Prayer (2017), Oona Doherty’s Lady Magma is set to be a stunning tour de force performance to close this year’s festival.


The Playboy of the Western World, Tues 8 Oct -Sat 2 Nov at the Lyric Theatre

Inspired visually by the likes of Shane Meadows' This is England, this reimagined classic directed by Oonagh Murphy is not to be missed!  Met with controversy when it was first staged at the Abbey Theatre in 1907, John Millington Synge’s brutally hilarious masterpiece, The Playboy of the Western World, is about life on the margins and the lengths we go to, to create a reality more exciting than the place we find ourselves.

Before, Thurs 24 - Fri 25 Oct, The MAC

Touchingly combining some of the best-loved songs from musical theatre with the story of an estranged father and daughter, this solo show is set on the closing day of Clery’s department store in Dublin. Writer/performer Pat Kinevane received the Herald Archangel Award at the 2019 Edinburgh Festival.

SPLICED, Tues 29 - Wed 30 Oct, Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich

This production from Timmy Creed deals with mental health and male identity in the uber-masculine sports world of gaelic games. Honest, brave and hard-hitting, SPLICED is a visceral account of his struggle to become an individual outside of the sporting institution that raised him.


To Da Bone, Fri 25 - Sat 26 Oct, The Grand Opera House

Christine and the Queens fans will recognise (LA)HORDE from the video for Girlfriend, and from their stunning Glastonbury performance.

French arts collective (LA)HORDE cast 11 dancers from nine European countries to create this pulsing and electrifying performance of jumpstyle dance, with powerful intensity and emotion.

To Da Bone is a captivating, contemporary rebel-call to the social media generation and explores youth culture, identity and expression.  High energy.  Stunning.

Staging Schiele, Sat 26 Oct, The MAC

Four dancers inhabit radical artist Egon Schiele’s highly-charged world of colour, masterful lines and unusual perspectives, inspiring the likes of David Bowie and Wes Anderson, that puts the human body on visceral display. Shobana Jeyasingh’s award-winning choreography matches the raw intensity of Schiele, engaging with his anxieties as well as with his supreme self-confidence.


Real Magic, Tues 22 - Wed 23 Oct, The MAC

Groundhog Day meets Samuel Beckett!  Real Magic creates a world of absurd disconnection, struggle and comical repetition. Part mind-reading feat, part cabaret act, part nightmare game show, this surreal adventure takes its cue from popular culture and current affairs, while questioning larger systems of control. A compelling commentary on the individual desire for change in the face of higher power.  Make your own political comparisons!

The Worst Cafe in the World, Wed 23 - Sun 27 Oct, Worst Café (pop-up), Hill Street

If reality TV had a lovechild with theatre, this is it.  A Big Telly special for Festival, there is just one week to get a table, place your orders and experience the gloriously mad ‘Worst Café in the World’. Pure comedy and pathos, this chaotic foodless venue promises a large serving of entertainment for people who like their theatre fresh.  Best to book your post-show dinner elsewhere if we’re honest.


Ireland's Call, Wed 23 - Sat 26 Oct, Lyric Theatre

John Connors, the award-winning RTE Love/Hate actor, makes his debut as a playwright with this one-man show about three Dublin teenagers being enticed into a life of crime.

New Playwrights Showcase, Thurs 31 Oct - Sat 2 Nov, Lyric Theatre

The Lyric teams up with Belfast Festival to invite you to a series of performed readings showcasing the exceptional talents of new and upcoming writers. Audiences will have the chance to see these new works for the first time, presented in dynamic double-bill readings on consecutive evenings.  Be the first to experience these new voices and talent.

Visit for full details and booking links or book in person at the Visit Belfast Welcome Centre, Donegal Square North, Belfast or by telephone: 028 9024 6609.

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