Festival delighted to partner with the Ulster Museum to host iconic poppy sculpture as part of 14-18 NOW tour

Festival delighted to partner with the Ulster Museum to host iconic poppy sculpture as part of 14-18 NOW tour

The Ulster Museum will present the Weeping Window by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper as part of 14-18 NOW’s UK-wide tour of the iconic poppies.  The installation will be at the Ulster Museum from 14 October to 3 December 2017, following a joint proposal by National Museums Northern Ireland and Belfast International Arts Festival.

The presentations by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, will give people across the UK the chance to experience the impact of the ceramic poppy sculptures in a range of places of particular First World War resonance. The Ulster Museum houses Northern Ireland’s national collections of art, history and natural science.  In 2014, to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, the Ulster Museum opened a new, permanent ‘Modern History’ gallery. The ‘Decade of Centenaries’ period, from 1912-22, is at the heart of this gallery, in recognition of the significance of this period in shaping the future, outlook and identities of what was to become Northern Ireland. The First World War and its aftermath are explored through social, cultural, political and military history.

Jenny Waldman, Director of 14-18 NOW, said, “The poppies have captivated millions of people across the UK, and we are delighted to take them to Northern Ireland for the first time in 2017, where Weeping Window will be presented at the Ulster Museum, in partnership with the Belfast International Arts Festival. Artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper have created two enormously powerful artworks of national significance that continue to inspire all who see them.”

Kim Mawhinney, Head of Art, National Museums Northern Ireland, said, “We are delighted that this powerful and deeply moving sculpture will be coming to the Ulster Museum. As well as enriching Northern Ireland’s cultural and artistic landscape, this spectacular piece of art will also play a role in deepening our understanding of the First World War and sense of shared history during this pivotal period.  The Weeping Window will be a very special addition to our extensive Decade of Centenaries 1912-22 programme.”

Richard Wakely, Director of the Belfast International Arts Festival, said, “With less than a week until the start of the 2016 Festival, we are delighted and honored to have confirmation that we will co-host Poppies: Weeping Window which will be a cornerstone of next year’s Belfast International Arts Festival programme.  This project continues our cultural reflection on the importance and legacy of The Decade of Centenaries and the First World War in particular, which started this year with contributions from Taylor Mac, Fearghus Ó Conchúir and Matthew Green.  We appreciate that this is an opportunity for people throughout Ireland to experience this wonderful ceramic sculpture and we will work in partnership with other organisations to promote community initiatives that enable a greater understanding around the history of the First World War and what it means to Ireland today.”

Wave and Weeping Window are from the installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red – poppies and original concept by artist Paul Cummins and installation designed by Tom Piper – by Paul Cummins Ceramics Limited in conjunction with Historic Royal Palaces. The installation was originally at HM Tower of London from August to November 2014 where 888,246 poppies were displayed, one to honour every death in the British and Colonial forces of the First World War.

The two poppy sculptures being presented across the UK, together totaling over 10,000 poppies, have been saved for the nation by the Backstage Trust and the Clore Duffield Foundation, and gifted to 14-18 NOW and Imperial War Museums. Financial support for the presentations has been received from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Heritage Lottery Fund, and fundraising for the presentations is ongoing.

DAF Trucks are the transport sponsor for the UK presentations, and 14-18 NOW are delighted to partner with DAF on making this historic project a reality. The learning and engagement programme for the poppies tour is supported by the Foyle Foundation.


Find out more by clicking here.

Paul Cummins

Paul Cummins MBE is a ceramic artist, internationally renowned for the installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ at HRP Tower of London 2014, as well as many other installations including his work on the Cultural Olympiad in 2012. Locations for previous works include the Houses of Parliament, Chatsworth House, Althorp Estate and Blenheim Palace.   Paul was inspired to produce a ceramic poppy to honour every death in the British forces of the First World War, numbering 888,246.

Tom Piper

Tom Piper MBE was Associate Designer for the Royal Shakespeare Company from 2004 to 2014, and was closely involved in the redevelopment of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. His theatre credits include over 30 productions for the RSC, including the award-winning History series. Other recent designs include Hamlet, King Lear (Citizens Theatre), Red Velvet (Tricycle Theatre and St Ann’s Warehouse, Brooklyn), Tamburlaine (TFANA New York), Pride and Prejudice (Regent’s Park Theatre), The King’s Speech (Birmingham Rep and Tour) and Zorro the Musical (West End and world tour). Piper’s opera credits include Macbeth and Falstaff (Scottish Opera), Orfeo (ROH and Roundhouse). Tom collaborated with the British Museum and Alan Farlie Architects on the exhibition Shakespeare: Staging the World in 2012 as part of the Cultural Olympiad. Tom is a Creative Associate at the Tricycle Theatre.  His many awards include an Olivier Award (costume design) for the Histories series.

14 -18 NOW

14-18 NOW is a programme of extraordinary arts experiences connecting people with the First World War, as part of the UK’s official centenary commemorations. It aims to engage as many people as possible with the First World War, exploring how the war has impacted on the society we live in now. 14-18 NOW commissions new work by leading contemporary artists from all art forms, inspired by the period 1914-1918.  The commemorative period is marked by three key seasons – the first season centred around 4 August 2014 (Anniversary of the Declaration of War), the second is March to November 2016 (anniversary of the Battle of Jutland and the Battle of the Somme) and the last in 2018 (centenary of Armistice Day). 14-18 NOW is responsible for the UK tour of the iconic poppy sculptures by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper. 14 -18 NOW is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England, by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and by additional fundraising.  14-18 NOW has commissioned over 140 artworks to date that have been seen by more than 30 million people.




Ulster Bank Free Ticket Schemes

Ulster Bank Free Ticket Schemes


Community Ticket & Night for Belfast schemes to help increase access to the arts

Hundreds of free tickets for this year’s Ulster Bank Belfast International Arts Festival are being offered to the public as part of two initiatives from the event’s headline sponsor.

Ulster Bank’s Community Ticket and Night for Belfast schemes will, respectively, make 200 tickets available to community groups across Northern Ireland and 300 tickets available to the general public.

Richard Donnan, Managing Director Retail Banking and CIB & SME NI, Ulster Bank, says: “Our aim is to provide as many people as possible with access to the arts, and we’re very confident that once they’ve had a taste of the great acts performing in the festival, they’ll want to come back for more. We would strongly encourage community groups and the general public to take advantage of the opportunity to see what promises to be some exciting and inspiring performances.”

Richard Wakely, Director of the Ulster Bank Belfast International Arts Festival, added, “Accessibility and inclusivity are at the very core of Festival’s values and we applaud Ulster Bank, for providing fantastic schemes that enable people to be part of some truly international and world class Festival events.”

The free tickets can be applied for by registering on the festival website www.belfastinternationalartsfestival.com before the closing date of October 2.

The 200 free tickets for community groups are available across four of the Festival’s highlight performances: The Kitchen (Grand Opera House), Hallo (Downstairs at the MAC), Georgie Fame in Concert (Black Box), and Nicholas McCarthy (First Presbyterian Church, Rosemary Street). Please apply by clicking here.

The 300 public tickets are available for The Kitchen (Grand Opera House), a theatrical experience that serves up a ritual fusion of sight, sound, smell and taste all the way from South India. Please apply by clicking here.

2015 Festival Programme Unveiled

2015 Festival Programme Unveiled

The 2015 Programme for the inaugural Ulster Bank Belfast International Arts Festival was launched yesterday, revealing a truly world-class line-up of artists and events to inspire, provoke and stimulate.  It will feature 134 events from 23 countries, including 18 UK & Ireland Premieres, 9 Northern Ireland Premieres, 3 Irish Premieres and 2 World Premieres.

Major programme strands include a focus on arts and culture from India and Mexico; a wide range of spoken word and physical theatre and contemporary dance from acclaimed stage artists across the globe and new collaborative works and installations from the edges of Europe.

The Festival opens on 9th October with Adrian Dunbar starring in The Night Alive written and directed by Conor McPherson at the Lyric Theatre and also includes the multi-sensory stage spectacular, The Kitchen from India; the acknowledged pioneer of Europe’s cirque nouveau movement, Martin Zimmerman with his latest stage work, Hallo; a contemporary retelling for family audiences of one of Prokofiev’s most famous works as The Wolf and Peter; The National Theatre’s West End hit, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time; multi award winning poet, James Fenton and American journalist and nu media artist, Lyndee Prickitt to name just a few.

New contemporary dance and physical theatre from Europe’s next generation includes To Break – The Window of Opportunity by Robbert & Frank and Chivalry is Dead from Alex Deutinger and Alexander Gottfarb.

Theatre highlights from local artists include the World Premiere of The Suitcase written by Jane Coyle at the Belfast Synagogue in North Belfast, a poignant drama in which a Jewish family in modern day Belfast traces an unexpected connection to a young dancer in 1930s Vienna.

Prime Cut’s production of Mydidae from the BAFTA Award-winning writer of Skins and This is England, Jack Thorne, places the audience as flies on the wall of one couple’s bathroom, as they explore and unravel their relationship whilst taking a bath.

The city becomes the backdrop for a series of visual and performance-based installations created by artists from around Europe as part of the Corners of Europe programme in association with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Artist residencies and events will take place from the New Lodge to The Mill at Conway Street and the offices of the Belfast Telegraph, with a few surprise locations yet to be revealed.

Several of these projects reflect a recurring theme for this year’s Festival relating to the meaning of home and the nature of belonging: Oh My Home – Lost and Found in the foyer of the Belfast School of Art in York Street asks questions about migration, identity and rejection; whilst Birdhouse Gallery at Hazelwood Integrated College invites young adults to create works that reflect their notions of home. In the wider festival, Afghan refugee, Gulwali Passerlay shares his story in the Amnesty International Annual Lecture and members of the Irish Travellers Community showcase their art and stories in Thribli – Extended Family.

Music ranges from the legendary Georgie Fame giving a rare intimate live performance; the BBC Big Band inviting audiences at the Ulster Hall to dance to the swing hits of Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald; Maryland-born troubadour and Former Fleet Foxes member Father John Misty and concerts from the ever popular Waterboys, Bell X1, Andy Irvine and Sharon Shannon. The extraordinary one handed concert pianist, Nicholas McCarthy will perform during the Festival’s opening weekend with the final weekend comprising performances of a provocative new version of Turandot from Northern Ireland Opera and directed by Calixto Bieito recitals from Pavel Kolesnikov and friends in a new Festival relationship with BBC Radio 3 with the wonderful voice of Cara Dillon giving the closing concert.

Launching the programme for the newly-named Ulster Bank Belfast International Arts Festival (formerly Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s), Director Richard Wakely said, “We are really proud to present residents and visitors to our city with a rich programme of music, theatre, dance and arts from around the world.

“Central to the Festival is a genuine effort to look beyond Northern Ireland for creative inspiration; we felt it was very important for the programme to include free events, venues across the city and performances and events which can be accessed by all ages and backgrounds.  We are thrilled to be able to present several wonderful  free events: The Animotion Show , featuring the world-renowned percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie and Russian artist, Maria Rud creating live art projections and music at Belfast City Hall; Nine Nights, in association with ArtsEkta, which features over 1000 performers in a spectacular candlelit procession through the city; and a double bill of new and contemporary circus from France and Italy for families at Orangefield Park and again at Belfast City Hall”

The 2015 Festival will have a special focus on work from India and Mexico. As well as securing the UK and Ireland Premiere of Royston Abel’s The Kitchen at the Grand Opera House and the Diwali-inspired Nine Nights, our week on India features a screening of the controversial BBC documentary, India’s Daughter at the QFT and continues with a talk by Lyndee Prickitt, American journalist and creator of the devastating and ground-breaking multimedia fictional work that gives voice to a victim of India’s rape crisis.

As part of the UK/Mexico Year of Culture, the Festival is delighted to present the UK and Irish premiere of Nostoros, a study through dance of South American masculinity that is athletic, beautiful and often very funny. The QFT also hosts a special mini season of new and classic films from Mexico.

Bob Collins, Chairman of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland: “The importance of a distinctive, world-class, international arts festival such as this cannot be overstated in its value to the cultural life and reputation of the city. It preserves the ability to attract the biggest and best to our shores – performers that local audiences would otherwise not have the chance to see – as well as providing an international platform opportunity for our own home-grown talent to shine. The arts are a central part of everyone’s experience and can be transformative in all our lives. The Festival reflects that truth and makes a powerful statement of the place of the arts in the ambition and imagination of Northern Ireland.” 

Richard Donnan, Managing Director Retail Banking and NI SME & C&IB, Ulster Bank, said: “At Ulster Bank we recognise the powerful contribution that the arts and creative industries make to the social and economic wellbeing of our society.  The colour, atmosphere and standard of international performance excellence have been enhanced in this year’s diverse Festival programme, with something to suit all tastes and budgets.  The Festival’s ability to reach out and engage all areas of society showcases the regeneration and vitality of Belfast.  We are proud to support the Festival team in delivering a truly international and world-class arts Festival.”

Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Arder Carson, said: “We are delighted to support the Ulster Bank Belfast International Arts Festival and in particular to host some really exciting events at Belfast City Hall.  The Animotion Show, which has just finished a hugely successful run in Edinburgh, will see artist Maria Rud creating drawings and images, stroke by stroke, which are beamed live onto the façade of the City Hall, accompanied by the virtuoso drummer and percussionist Evelyn Glennie.  This is a free event on Sunday 18th October, but tickets will be a must.”

Kathryn Thomson of Tourism NI said; “High calibre events are firmly established within our tourism fabric, adding to the positive perception and profile of our destination, and making a valuable contribution to the economy. The Ulster Bank Belfast International Arts Festival conveys a hugely positive message to our visitors and provides local colour and atmosphere through a wide range of activity, while increasing visitor spend. We look forward to a successful 2015 Festival and a bright future ahead.”

Offering a truly rolling programme, with many performances only on for two or three nights, audiences at the Ulster Bank Belfast International Arts Festival could select something different every night of the week for the full 24 days of Festival.

Full festival programme here: http://belfastinternationalartsfestival.com/downloads/BIAF_2015_Programme.pdf

For media information contact Vicki Caddy at ASG PR on 02890 802000 or vcaddy@asgireland.com


Belfast Festival: The Show Must Go On!

Belfast Festival: The Show Must Go On!



Festival to go ahead, renamed as
Ulster Bank Belfast International Arts Festival

A new independent company has been established to secure the future of the Belfast Festival and to deliver the 2015 edition.

This new chapter in the Festival’s history sees itself renamed as the “Ulster Bank Belfast International Arts Festival” with a diverse and eclectic programme of events which will run from Friday 9th October to Sunday 1st November.

Making the announcement, Festival Director Richard Wakely said, “I am delighted to be able to confirm that the Belfast Festival is very much alive and kicking and that the show must go on! With the generous support of our public and private sector funders and partners, we have come together to launch a new international festival that reflects both the changing city around us and the continuing evolution of creative practice from around the world”.

The Festival’s ambition is to work with a range of partners across the city to create a genuinely civic event of arts and ideas of international stature and appeal.

Richard continued, “The Ulster Bank Belfast International Arts Festival will feature artists and performers from across the globe, bringing everything Belfast audiences have come to expect in recent years from the Festival and more: a world class programme of theatre, performance art, moving image, visual art, dance and music from folk, to contemporary and classical with opportunities for audiences to directly engage and participate in the creative arts.”

“This is a festival about togetherness, uniting people from all walks of life to experience and celebrate the best in world class arts and culture. At its core are a set of values that reflect the importance of global connectivity; access and participation; contemporary and inter-disciplinary arts practice and community.

“Building on the success of Festival outreach and participatory events in the last few years, the 2015 programme will see events, installations and performances taking place in an array of venues across the city, some traditional and some a little more surprising, which will be revealed in due course.

“The newly redesigned Ulster Bank Belfast International Arts Festival will appeal to the much more diverse and multi-cultural community which makes up modern day Northern Ireland, whilst promoting all that is good about our country to the wider world.”

Stephen Cruise, Head of Branch Banking, Private & SFA (NI), Ulster Bank said: “We’re very pleased to play our part in supporting the new look Ulster Bank Belfast International Arts Festival. I’m sure that we’ll see an exciting and vibrant celebration of local and international talent. As a bank we’re continually looking for new ways to better serve our customers, so I look forward to seeing the refreshed and reinvigorated programme for this year’s Festival.”

Richard Wakely also thanked the principal funder, The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, which played a critical role in recent months securing the future of the Festival.

Roisin McDonough, Arts Council Chief Executive said, “A truly international arts festival for the whole of Belfast remains an important objective for the Arts Council. As the principal public funder of the Ulster Bank Belfast International Arts Festival, we are delighted that the imagination and energy of the former artistic director Richard Wakely is at work on the 2015 programme and I have no doubt this year’s festival will be as creative, inspirational and thought provoking as ever.

“I welcome warmly the founding Board members who bring with them an enviable set of skills. I think we can now look forward to the journey ahead; one that will take the Festival to its destination as a dynamic company, delivering a stand-out programme of events, that will bring great arts from home and abroad within the reach of everyone.”

Other key Festival funders are Tourism NI, Belfast City Council, and the British Council, all of which continue to play a vital and positive role in helping to support and shape the future of the Festival.

The Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Arder Carson, stated: “Belfast City Council is delighted to continue its support of the new look Belfast International Arts Festival. I know that they have some very exciting plans for this year’s programme, and the Council looks forward to working with Richard Wakely and his team to deliver another world-class cultural event for our city.”

David Alderdice, Director of British Council Northern Ireland said: We are delighted to continue our partnership with Belfast Festival. The new Ulster Bank Belfast International Arts Festival offers a world class programme that is inclusive and welcoming to everyone.

“This year’s festival will bring the best of the world of the arts to Northern Ireland and provide our local artists with global connections for the future. The Festival is a clear and strong signal of Belfast’s international ambitions and steadily growing confidence as a world city.”

Chief Executive of Tourism NI John McGrillen said; “Tourism NI is delighted to support the continuation of a major international arts festival for Belfast.  Events are firmly established within our tourism fabric, adding to the positive perception and profile of our destination, and have been recognised as having an important role in contributing to the economy. The new Ulster Bank Belfast International Arts Festival will convey a hugely positive message to our visitors and provide local colour and atmosphere through a wide range of activity, while increasing visitor spend. I commend the dedication and hard work of Richard and his team and look forward to a bright future for the Festival.”

The full Festival Programme is due to be revealed in early September. Some highlights unveiled today are:

This year’s Festival Artist in Residence is Amanda Coogan, one of the most exciting contemporary visual artists practicing in the arena of performance art today. Her work is challenging, provocative and always visually stimulating. In recent years she has performed and exhibited at The Venice Biennale, Liverpool Biennial, New York and The Irish Museum of Modern Art. Amanda will be researching and developing a new work to premiere at the 2016 Festival.

Hallo: Martin Zimmermann is a pioneer of the nouveau cirque movement that has swept Europe in the last couple of decades with its blend of acrobatic feats, theatre, dance and comedy. The visual flair and sharp wit of his latest work, Hallo, can be seen in a unique UK and Irish premiere at The MAC.

The Kitchen: A show about the healing power of cooking, The Kitchen is a sumptuous, multi-sensory spectacle from India of arresting sights, smells and sounds, culminating in something for your tastebuds too, at the Grand Opera House.

Corners: a series of multi-disciplinary and site specific artist residencies, installations and projects that will take place across Belfast in unusual locations and venues. Designed and driven by cultural organisations at the fringes of Europe and linking cities and artists across the continent including Stockholm, Donostia / San Sebastián, Newcastle upon Tyne, Zagreb, Ljubljana, Rijeka, Belgrade, Gdańsk, Bari and of course Belfast. This project is co-presented with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

For all the latest information and to sign up for Festival News, visit www.belfastinternationalartsfestival.com Web address and follow on facebook and twitter @BelfastFestival for all the latest news.

  • ENDS


For media information contact:

Vicki Caddy or Sarah Monahan at ASG PR on 02890 802000,
Vicki Caddy mobile: 07814 380487

Belfast Festival Makes a Splash – the Show Must Go On The Belfast Festival is to go ahead this Autumn under the new name Ulster Bank International Arts Festival.  The new look festival will bring together world class contemporary arts and artists in a programme set to appeal to audiences in venues throughout the city. Launching the Festival are Richard Wakely, Festival Programme Director, Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council NI and Stephen Cruise, Head of Branch Banking, Ulster Bank.  For information visit www.belfastinternationalartsfestival.com.  Picture: Simon Graham, Harrison Photography

Belfast Festival Makes a Splash – the Show Must Go On
The Belfast Festival is to go ahead this Autumn under the new name Ulster Bank International Arts Festival. The new look festival will bring together world class contemporary arts and artists in a programme set to appeal to audiences in venues throughout the city. Launching the Festival are Richard Wakely, Festival Programme Director, Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of the Arts Council NI and Stephen Cruise, Head of Branch Banking, Ulster Bank. For information visit www.belfastinternationalartsfestival.com.
Picture: Simon Graham, Harrison Photography