From 1-11 August places and spaces across east Belfast will transform into hubs of creativity and diversity for the annual EastSide Arts Festival. Supported by Arts Council of Northern Ireland, this year’s programme is filled with glorious new experiences and amazing and inspiring activities for everyone to enjoy. For the full festival programme visit www.eastsidearts.net and follow the Festival on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram #ESAFest19.
Music, comedy, film, theatre, talks, workshops, exhibitions, literature, events for the young and old, community events and heritage tours will take place over the 11 days. With so much to experience, here are 11 ideas to capture your imagination:
1. The Big Top at C.S. Lewis Square is back with cool stuff for families including The Irish Video Game Orchestra, Bollywood Baba and Pink and Blue. Music from Kitt Phillipa and Beauty Sleep, a day celebrating 50 years since The Pound opened in Belfast, culminating with a performance by Henry Cluney and Jim Reilly’s X-Stiff Little Fingers; circus cabaret with Tumble Circus and to finish the festival in style, a Dragtastic Wrap Party.
2. Visual Arts: Enjoy late night art events with ArtisAnn Gallery, The Vault and Creative Exchange or call into the fantastic new QSS Studios in the Wyse Byse building for their members’ exhibition.
3. Film: Classic films at Strand Arts Centre include the 60th anniversary screening of Some Like It Hot and Sunday brunch and screening of When Harry Met Sally.
4. Tower Street Faculty Takeover: For one day only Seedhead Arts take over the old Tower Street Campus with a quirky school curriculum including beginners’ axe throwing, ballroom dancing and a cocktail masterclass.
5. Workshops: Check out Project Dance’s weekend of dance or join east Belfast author Heather Richardson for her workshop, ’Stories of the Streets.’
6. Talks & Tours: Choose from dozens of tours from Van Morrison to George Best, Yardmen to Gaelic Tours, Titanic Belfast to Belfast During the Blitz, Gourmet Greenway Foraging to discovering the stories of people from the past in Dundonald Cemetery.
7. Children and Families: Travel to Narnia with Mr Tumnus and Translink, listen to three beardy men play music just for babies in ‘Baby Daddy’, meet books and bears at Connswater Shopping Centre, join in all things creative at the FunKademy or check out Drag Queen Story Time at Holywood Arches Library.
6. Special Events include a tea dance at Knocknagoney Community Centre, a literary knittery with Emily DeDakis and Yoga in the Park with East Belfast Yoga and Vault Artist Studios.
9. Theatre and Comedy: Enjoy A Night in November, the award-winning play by east Belfast’s Marie Jones at Strand Arts Centre, a new play by Daniel Kelly about living with Dementia, A Thought for Your Pennies, back by popular demand the cult classic Murder She Got Wrote Off or take a sneak preview of a brand new play, Living the Dream, based on a true story featuring the ‘spirit’ of George Best and John Lennon.
10. Music and Words: Take you pick from an 80s Prom with live band at The Vault, live music by The Ronnie Greer Almost Big Band with special guests Alice McCullough and Ken Haddock, Hex Hue at St. Martin’s Church, Boxcar Blues Brothers, Matt McGinn, poetry with Colin Dardis, storytelling with Tenx9 and ‘Reporting the Troubles’ with Deric Henderson and Ivan Little.
11. EastSide Festival Fayre and Parkfest: Enjoy A World of Rhythms with ArtsEkta, street dancing with JamzNI and an event showcasing new DJs with More Volume. Two days and two parks - there's free family fun at C.S Lewis Square and Orangefield Park as part of EastSide Parkfest. And the live sessions stage will host young talent from the annual Forestside singer/songwriter competition at Orangefield Park.