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Belfast International Arts Festival to serve culture feast online

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Story time: Philippa O’Hara from children’s theatre company Cahoots NI

Story time: Philippa O’Hara from children’s theatre company Cahoots NI

Story time: Philippa O’Hara from children’s theatre company Cahoots NI

Despite the ongoing restrictions being faced by the arts community in Northern Ireland, Belfast International Arts Festival is still promising a feast of culture as it kicks off the 58th annual festival today.

Running until November 1, the line-up includes a wide range of events from the world of film, music, theatre, dance, and visual arts featuring local, national and international authors, poets and broadcasters.

This year, the majority of the programme will be hosted online for free with a select number of live and in-person events, exhibitions and screenings.

"In recent months, due to the restrictions facing the arts and cultural sectors, theatre companies and indeed artists and innovators from right across the creative industries, have adapted their storytelling efforts to leverage technology and to showcase world-leading theatre remotely," said festival director Richard Wakely.

"Importantly, these productions are interactive, not passive. With that comes another layer of complexity in delivering a seamless production that is directed remotely. It also demonstrates how much the storytelling medium has progressed in a relatively short space of time."

The festival will open with the premiere of a new online and interactive theatrical production of Macbeth by the Portstewart-based Big Telly Theatre Company. It opens first to secondary schools before being available to the general public on Zoom from Wednesday, October 14 to Saturday 17.

Other highlights include leading children's theatre company Cahoots NI's The University of Wonder and Imagination, a fun-filled, immersive theatrical experience for families broadcast from a purpose-built set.

Singing Struggle and Agreement, originally to take place at St Anne's Cathedral, will be broadcast online this Wednesday, October 14.

The choral interpretation of The Belfast Agreement sees its all-Ireland premiere at the festival and features songs of struggle from across the world and an expert panel bringing insights from those inside the talks process and comment from those reporting developments outside the room where it happened.

Log on to belfastinternationalarts festival.com for full list of events

Belfast Telegraph