We’re used to banks lending money, but Ulster Bank is also lending out space in its branches as a stage for up-and-coming performers to mark its support for Belfast’s largest arts event.

Branches around the city will host artists such as musicians, dancers and magicians over the coming weeks in the build-up to the Ulster Bank Belfast International Arts Festival (11 – 29 October).

Supported by Arts & Business NI, the initiative is intended to widen access to the arts and encourage customers and members of the public to engage with this year’s festival.

Performances will take place on set days and times in some branches from Connswater in the east of the city to Andersonstown in the west, starting on Monday (October 3).

To promote the initiative, local musician James Downey joined Ulster Bank’s ‘Bank on Wheels’ and performed on its journey to serve customers in locations such as Carryduff.

Ulster Bank Head of Northern Ireland, Richard Donnan, said: “As title sponsor of the Ulster Bank Belfast International Arts Festival, we’re really excited to provide as many people as possible with access to the arts, and we’re delighted to be working with Arts & Business NI and the Festival to do so”.

Brona Whittaker, Arts Manager, Arts & Business NI, said: “The Ulster Bank and Belfast International Arts Festival is a partnership which connects Ulster Bank customers and reaches into local communities drawing in wide ranging audiences. The partnership brings an eclectic range of creativity to inspire and engage the city. Put the dates in your diary and get in on the act.”

Performers participating in the initiative, which runs between 3 and 14 October, include musician James Downey, singer Marie Mullan, magician Caolan McBride, blues band Reverend Doc, and brass heavy band Fat Lip.