Belfast Telegraph

Shankill play pick of festival


The Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen's may be over for another year, but the Belfast Telegraph — official media partner to the event — is proud to announce the results of its ever-popular Audience Award.

We asked festivalgoers to tell us which shows got their pulses racing and audience members responded in their droves, with thousands of entries both online and through the voting slips handed out at each show. There was certainly a strong showing for locally-set theatre in this year's programme, with several productions focusing on key events in Belfast's history.

But the pick of the programme for audiences proved to be Crimea Square, at the Spectrum Centre on the Shankill Road, which has scooped the Belfast Telegraph Festival Audience Award 2013.

The production told the story of the Shankill Road over the past 100 years, from the signing of the Ulster Covenant to the recently-commemorated 1993 bombing.

“We're proud as punch to have been chosen,” said Jo Egan from the Spectrum Centre.

“There have been some amazing shows in the festival this year and to think that our community play from the Shankill has topped the poll is brilliant.

“A massive thank you to all those who voted for Crimea Square.

“This award is a reflection of the hard work that the writers, actors, stage and tech crew have put in to this production. It makes all the hard work worthwhile!”

As well as the paying public picking a winner, we asked our reviewers and judges in four categories to tell us which events they thought should be ‘best in show' across the packed programme.

... and the genre winners from excellent programme who caught the critical eye of the experts


WINNER: Efterklang, Elmwood Hall

What the judges said:

"The Danes were as affable as their music was otherwordly. They got the fans interacting with a rare rapport, and played the hell out of their stunning back catalogue. The band dispatched their other- worldly pop to the delight of a partisan crowd."


Chris Jones – Freelance music writer

Joe Nawaz – Music critic

Andrew Johnston – Musician and critic


WINNER: William Scott Exhibition, Ulster Museum

What the judges said:

"An extremely well-curated exhibition, cleverly done. It used two major exhibitions from outside Northern Ireland and added material to great effect.

"There was also the fact that Scott was brought up here. A beautiful exhibition."


Amanda Croft – Art lecturer

Liz Baird – Art critic

Chris Caldwell – Owner, Tom Caldwell Gallery, Aghalee


WINNER: Ars Nova Copenhagen, St Gerard's Church

What the judges said:

"A clever and enlightening programme. It was sung very well by this choral group. This was not the kind of thing you hear very often. Exactly the sort of thing the festival should be doing."


Philip Hammond – composer and music critic

Alf McCreary – Belfast Telegraph journalist

Terry Blain – music critic


WINNER: Bullet Catch, Lyric Theatre

What the judges said:

"Thought-provoking, original and gripping, it mixed magic and theatre beautifully.

"For those who thought it was going to be a straightforward 'magic' show, it was actually a finely-crafted piece."


Grania McFadden – Belfast Telegraph theatre critic

Ian Patterson – Theatre critic

Una Brankin – Theatre critic

Belfast Telegraph Digital


From Belfast Telegraph