Richard Wakely and Joe O'Neill pictured outside Belfast Harbour offices
Festival News

Belfast Harbour has today announced that it will be a key sponsor of Belfast International Arts Festival 2020, which kicks off next week.

As Northern Ireland’s largest contemporary arts festival, this year’s programme features an extended Talks & Ideas programme; theatre, dance and music performances reimagined for a digital audience; international documentary and film; and developmental initiatives for artists from across the island. It is an opportunity to see, hear and experience inspirational performances from world class artists, thinkers and leaders.

The 2020 edition continues to explore contemporary matters of interest to audiences such as gender equality, multi-culturalism, representation, the climate crisis, and democracy.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and government restrictions surrounding live events, the arts sector has suffered a period of extreme financial hardship. Belfast International Arts Festival 2020 is an opportunity to help maintain the arts sector and to showcase talent in the sector as it charts a path to recovery.

Joe O’Neill, CEO of Belfast Harbour said: “Belfast Harbour has a long-standing reputation of supporting the arts sector in Northern Ireland and we understand that now, more than ever, it needs our commitment and dedication to ensure its continuing survival. Belfast International Arts Festival is a cornerstone of the cultural calendar in Northern Ireland, and we hope that this year’s event will be a cause for real celebration amid the global pandemic. We see the festival as an opportunity to support the well-being of the arts sector in the City and I hope as many people as possible will support it over the course of the three week run.”

Richard Wakely, Artistic Director and Chief Executive at Belfast International Arts Festival said: “Belfast International Arts Festival is a fixture for those working in the arts sector, and for audiences at home and abroad; the fact we are able to deliver a digital programme this year despite Covid-19 highlights the strength and resilience of the arts in Northern Ireland. Art reminds us of our own humanity and decency and this year’s festival will hopefully be an uplifting moment for both the artists and communities we serve.”

“With a serious reduction in our funding, we must make a lot less, go a lot further so support from valued partners such as Belfast Harbour will be crucial as we try to reach new audiences and enable artists, musicians, dancers and actors create new work until the economy recovers.”

This year marks the festival’s 58th edition and for the first time the autumn programme will be rolled out as an innovative, inclusive digital experience, taking place from Monday 12th October to Sunday 1st November.

To view the festival’s full programme, click here.