Belfast Telegraph

The five top festival picks

Treat yourself to an unforgettable performance and make the time to check out at least one of our five top festival picks. Each performance takes place in the Black Box during the month of January.

1 Booka Brass Band - support by Tucan Black Box, today, 8pm

Booka Brass Band are a group of eight musicians that span the length and breadth of Ireland, stretching from Belfast all the way to Cork. With regular shows in venues all over Dublin including The Sugar Club, Whelan's and Twisted Pepper, alongside stomping sets to festival crowds at Electric Picnic, Sea Sessions and Longitude, their unique offering and incredible live energy has brought them an unusual level of success in their first year together.

2 Shlomo Black Box, Sunday January 11, 8pm

Internationally acclaimed beatboxer and World Loopstation Champion Shlomo creates an incredibly energetic live show that is like nothing you will have ever seen before - jaw-dropping, inspirational and totally absorbing. A Guinness World Record holder, Shlomo gave up astrophysics to perform his amazing vocal pyrotechnics. Since then Shlomo has won global acclaim and has also worked alongside some of the biggest names in music including Bjork, Damon Albarn of Blur, Jarvis Cocker, Martha Wainwright, The Specials, and even top comedy acts such as the Mighty Boosh.

3 Simon Armitage Tuesday January 13, 1pm

When Simon Armitage burst onto the poetry scene in 1989 with his spectacular debut Zoom! it was clear he would go on to reshape the landscape of contemporary poetry. Since then, he's published 10 collections of poems, two best-selling non-fiction books and a new translation of Sir Gawain And The Green Knight. With the publication of his latest collection Paper Aeroplane: Selected Poems 1989-2014, Armitage will read from and talk about his engaging, darkly comic and irreverent work.

4 Austentatious: An Improvised Jane Austen Novel Black Box, Wednesday January 14, 1pm & 8pm

One of the most talked-about shows on the UK comedy scene, Austentatious: An Improvised Jane Austen Novel is a comedy play spun in the inimitable style of Jane Austen - and based entirely on audience suggestions. Be it 'Mansfield Shark', 'Darcy & Hutch' or 'I know what you did last season', no two shows are ever the same. A seasoned cast presents an irreverent 100% improvised take on the works of Britain's best-loved novelist. Performed in period costume with musical accompaniment.

5 Opera for lunch - drama, desire and death Black Box, Tuesday January 20, 1pm

As Northern Ireland Opera prepares for its new production of Salome - Richard Strauss's infamous tale of lust and murder - three of Northern Ireland's finest young singers take us on a tour of opera's great femmes fatale.

Sopranos Andrea Delaney and Maria McGrann, and Mezzo-Soprano Helen Aiken will perform arias by composers including Puccini, Mozart and Tchaikovsky in this mesmerising concert.

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