Embrace is the Festival’s programme of participatory  and creative learning activities, which includes workshops, performance opportunities, artist talks and hosted visits  to selected festival events. 

In Partnership with the Arts Council NI.

Embrace is aimed at engaging communities and groups throughout the city across the festival programme. The events in Embrace  are designed to both enhance audience enjoyment and understanding of the events presented and to encourage active participation in the arts.

At the centre of this year’s Embrace programme are local young women who will make up the chorus for David Greig’s The Suppliant Women at The Grand Opera House on Friday 21 and Saturday 22 October. By putting local communities on stage alongside professional actors, not only are we helping to encourage a greater understanding of and participation in the creative arts, but are also promoting the values and characteristics of all our people to the wider world. The Chorus in The Suppliant Women have the main role in this contemporary reading of an Ancient Greek drama about fifty young women fleeing Egypt by boat across the Mediterranean to Greece to escape forced marriage to their cousins. They enter at the very beginning seeking refuge, and don’t leave the stage until the end of the play when they are welcomed into the city. If you are a young women aged between 16 and 26 years old and a can hold a tune, then take a look at our website for further details on how you might be able to get involved.

  • Fearghus Ó Conchuir discusses the body and the nation, particularly in relation to Casement’s legacy and the work of contemporary artists in a post-show talk to Butterflies and Bones: The Casement Project at the MAC on Thursday 13 October.
  • Artists Sarah Maple, Nicky Minus and Gina Wynbrandt discuss their artistic practice at Town Square, 45 Botanic Avenue at 9.30am on Friday 14 October.
  • Jan Martens examines the human body’s capacity for power and strength and what can be achieved through sheer determination in a post-show talk following the performance of The Dog Days Are Over at the MAC on Friday 14 October.
  • David Sherry, whose presentation of solo work will be exhibited from Thursday 6 October will give a public talk about his art in Golden Thread Gallery on Saturday 15 October at 1pm.
  • Amanda Coogan explains in a post-show talk how a visit to South Africa and the “Robben Island Bible” inspired her new performance art work, Run to the Rock at the MAC on Friday 21 Oct.
  • The creative team behind The Suppliant Women consider its’ contemporary relevance in relation to the continuing migration crisis arriving daily on Europe’s shores and the enduring stories from Ancient Greece, in a post-show talk after the performance of The Suppliant Women at the Grand Opera House on Friday 21 October.
  • Blind jazz pianist Justin Kauflin gives an inspirational talk and demonstration of his playing skills at one lucky school on the morning of Tuesday 25 October.
  • See how artists create works in their studios and get a first look at new works they are developing for galleries and museums during Belfast Open Studios 2016 on Saturday 22 October.