Belfast Telegraph

56th International Arts Festival bringing an eclectic fusion of cutting edge performances to Belfast

From 16th October - 3rd November 2018

There will be world class theatre, dance, visual art, music, film, literature and talks across a range of venues in Belfast.

With over 120 events including 12 premieres, highlights of the 56th edition include Italian star of stage and screen Isabella Rossellini with her new one woman show Link Link, multi Grammy award winner Angélique Kidjo touring her version of iconic Talking Heads album Remain in Light, critically acclaimed Nina - A Story about Me and Nina Simone and American folk and blues legend Eric Bibb. Visit for more information. 

5 Key Events not to be Missed

Link Link with Isabella Rossellini

Grand Opera House – 31st October

A brand new one-woman (and one dog) show by Golden Globe-nominated actress and filmmaker Isabella Rossellini (Blue Velvet, Death Becomes Her, Fearless, Joy), Link Link is a monologue inspired by the animal world, based on scientific research with a comic twist.

Watch as enduring style icon Rossellini transforms herself into Aristotle, René Descartes, a medieval theologian, Harvard Professor BF Skinner and Charles Darwin to explore, in her own intriguing way, what distinguishes humans from animals. Following Rossellini's widely acclaimed theatrical lecture Green Porno (adapted from the celebrated Sundance Channel series of the same name), which explored the sexual behaviour of animals, Link Link addresses the latest scientific discoveries about animal minds, intelligence, and emotions.

Accompanying Rossellini's monologue are projections of her short comic films, home movies, photos, and drawings whilst her dog Pan, an outstanding supporting artist plays various animals assisted by puppeteer and animal handler Schuyler Beeman.

Isabella Rossellini is "Impossible to resist" –The Hollywood Reporter

Nina – A Story about me and Nina Simone

The MAC- 19th – 20th Oct

A searing and soulful theatre piece inspired by the life and music of Nina Simone. Backed by a brilliant band, Olivier Award nominee Josette Bushell-Mingo (Rafiki, The Lion King) mixes story and song as she draws together tales from the life of Nina Simone and her own extraordinary career.

Taking in the singer’s political acts as part of the Civil Rights Movement in 1960s America as well as the struggles in her personal life, Josette finds a parallel with the persisting inequality in today’s society, and questions how far we’ve really come.

Performed with an exceptional live band, this production peels back the layers to Nina’s songs, which are still as powerful and relevant in today's society as when they were first written.

**** "Josette Bushell-Mingo blows the roof off with this searing look at the life of Nina Simone" – Time Out London

***** "Josette Bushell-Mingo brilliantly channels both Nina Simone's musicianship and anger at racism" – The Scotsman

**** "A searing tribute restarts Simone's revolution" – The Guardian

Angélique Kidjo– Remain in Light Tour

Grand Opera House – 29th Oct

Angelique Kidjo 6 2017 Credit Sofia_And_Mauro .jpg
One of the Guardian’s ‘Top 100 Most Inspiring Women in the World’ multi Grammy Award-winning Beninese singer-songwriter, actress and activist, Angélique Kidjo will be performing her interpretation of iconic Talking Heads album ‘Remain in Light’ on the historic Grand Opera House stage.

Having partnered with super producer Jeff Bhasker (Rihanna, Kanye West, Harry Styles, Bruno Mars, Drake, Jay-Z) to create 'Remain In Light' - Angélique reclaims rock for Africa, bringing the Talking Heads' legendary 1980 album full circle. A track-by-track re-imagination of the original, considered to be one of the greatest albums of the ‘80s and deeply influenced by music from West Africa, notably Fela Kuti's afrobeat this will be a performance not to be missed.

“Africa’s premier diva” (Time Magazine) promises to bring to the stage euphoric singing, explosive percussion, horn orchestrations, and select lyrics performed in languages from her home country.

"A Breakthrough ‘80s Album Taken Back to Africa” – The New York Times

Lament for Art O’Leary featuring Horslips

The MAC – 2nd Nov

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Lament for Art O'Leary by Paul Muldoon with Lisa Dwan by Beowulf Sheehan
Pulitzer Prize winner Paul Muldoon presents his new translation of the greatest love poem in the Irish language Caoineadh Airt Ui Laoghaire (The Lament for Art O'Leary) set to music by members of the original Irish Celtic Rock Band, Horslips.

Composed in 1773 by O'Leary's widow, Eileen, The Lament for Art O’Leary tells the story of a young hussar's persecution and murder by a tyrannical landowner, Abraham Morris. In this special event, Muldoon, playing Art’s Father is joined on stage by Irish film, television and stage actress Lisa Dwan as Eileen O’Leary and the wonderful Ruth Smith as Art’s sister.

Featuring original music composed by Jim Lockhart and performed by members of Horslips -- Barry Devlin, Johnny Fean, Ray Fean and Jim Lockhart this powerful presentation of a great eighteenth century poem will make for a simply stunning live performance.

"Horslips opened, for a whole generation, the Aladdin’s cave of traditional music and song" - Fintan O'Toole, The Irish Times

"The most significant English-language poet born since the Second World War"- The Times on Paul Muldoon

"There is no questioning the breathtaking virtuosity of Lisa Dwan" - The Guardian

Climate Justice with Mary Robinson

Ulster University Belfast – 22nd Oct

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Former Irish President, Mary Robinson discusses her book Climate Justice, a stirring manifesto on one of the most pressing humanitarian issues of our time offering a lucid, affirmative, and well-argued case for hope.

Holding her first grandchild in her arms in 2003, Mary Robinson was struck by the uncertainty of the world he had been born into. Her mission would lead her all over the world, discovering an irrepressible driving force in the battle for climate justice found at grassroots level, mainly among women, many of them mothers and grandmothers like herself.

Mary Robinson served as the seventh, and first female, president of Ireland from 1990-1997, and as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997-2002. She is president of the Mary Robinson Foundation-Climate Justice, a centre working to secure global justice for those people vulnerable to the impacts of climate change who are usually forgotten – the poor, the disempowered and the marginalised across the world.

For more information and to book your tickets for this years festival visit:


From Belfast Telegraph

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