EastSide Belfast Arts Festival 2020 goes virtual

  • The Belfast-based EastSide Arts Festival can be enjoyed by viewers online this year, or in a small number of east Belfast locations as part of a live, socially distanced audience.

    The festival will run from 6 – 16 August 2020 and will feature music, theatre, literature, storytelling, visual art, talks and tours under the theme, ‘Moments of Joy’.

    This year’s programme is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

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    Despite Covid-19 challenges, organisers said the festival “has adapted to ensure that it continues to bring unique, exciting, joyful events to east Belfast this summer whilst making safety and accessibility the main priority.”

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    Some festival highlights to look forward to are as follows:

    1. Theatre moments: Kabosh Theatre Company presents to a live, socially distanced audience at Connswater Shopping Centre, The King of East Belfast, a story of ‘Old Godfather Clark’ aka well-known and popular east Belfast bookie, Clark Groves.Join Amadan Theatre Company online for The Old Curiosity Show, designed specifically for an online audience it will be theatre as you’ve never seen it before! Or perhaps join The Travelling Cycle Circus on their outdoor adventures along the Connswater Community Greenway.
    2. Heritage moments: The iconic Strand Arts Centre will provide socially distanced cinematic treats in their beautiful art deco building including Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) and Green Book (2018). Join well known east Belfast man Sammy Douglas for the much anticipated online launch of the EastSide Lives Heritage Trail with a film preview and Q&A, or take a virtual C.S. Lewis or Yardmen Tour in which you can experience all the sights and sounds of the east without leaving your home!
    3. Music & Audio moments: EastSide Sessions at Portview will premiere new recordings by musicians Gareth Dunlop, Edelle McMahon, Dani Larkin and Arborist, in the stunning surroundings of Portview Trade Centre, including short interviews with each artist by Anthony Toner. Also at Portview, and fully live-streamed, will be EastSide Electronics. Presented by The Night Institute, this event will feature a selection of the city's most forward-thinking artists for a night of exciting electronic music. Also online, join Stuart Bailie as he celebrates Van Morrison’s 75th birthday, which occurs in August, with two special events featuring Stuart’s reviews of his 75 favourite Van songs. Join the festival for an online special performance at The Ballyhackamore Working Men’s Club by renowned musician Joshua Burnside.
    4. Online Storytelling moments: Listen to Drag Queens reading from their favourite children’s books, artists reading from books for children highlighting specific issues such as race or gender or attend the online launch of author Jan Carson’s Postcard Stories 2.
    5. Art moments: Join us on Zoom for a workshop with Alice McCullough about painting, poetry and a discussion about the relationship between these art forms. Or come to one of our socially distanced Street Art Walking Tours with Seedhead Arts and discover the new artwork that adorns walls across east Belfast.
    6. More moments: There’s a whole host of outdoor and online events including green yoga with music, Greenway photography, The Vault Artists’ Market at C.S. Lewis Square, a Dragtastic Wrap Party, exhibitions and artists’ talks, and Samba in the Park with BEATnDRUM.

    Director of the EastSide Arts Festival, Rachel Kennedy commented: “With the theme, ‘Moments of Joy’, the programme continues to reflect and celebrate the growing diversity and creativity that is making its presence felt in this part of the city.”

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    For the full festival programme and ticket information visit www.eastsidearts.net. Follow the festival on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram #ESAFest20.

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    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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