News Image
Festival News

Belfast International Arts Festival has prised open the lid on the 57th edition of the contemporary arts festival, running 15 October to 3 November across Belfast, revealing its first two headline acts.

Singer songwriter Glen Hansard and his band return to Belfast for a special intimate sit-down performance at The Grand Opera House in Belfast on 23 October, marking the opening of his European tour. Tickets go on sale this Friday at 9am.

From his decades as lead singer of Irish stalwarts The Frames, through to new album This Wild Willing, his fourth solo album, the audience can expect a journey through Hansard’s musicianship. Rock and folk ambitions coexist with moments of strangeness, intimacy, and stillness. Topics of vulnerability, desire, chaos, joy and love are explored in Hansard’s trademark soaring emotional and dynamic shifts. For anyone who hasn’t seen Hansard perform live, he channels absolutely everything into his performance.

See Glen Hansard and his band in the beautiful surroundings of The Grand Opera House on Wednesday 23 October. Tickets are £27-£33 and go on sale this Friday from the venue and at

To Da Bone, presented by French arts collective (LA)HORDE, explores youth culture, identity and expression. In a world in which daily life is increasingly being lived online, this production takes a closer look at a youth subculture called Jumpstyle. This high-energy dance and music scene grew out of the 90’s hardcore techno scene in the suburbs of Belgium and the Netherlands and spread globally over the internet. Young people share their solo routines online, exchanging styles and ideas with each other. As a result, communities emerge through social media whose members meet for virtual as well as real-life jumpstyle battles. Christine and the Queens fans will recognise (LA)HORDE from the video for ‘Girlfriend’ and current tour.

(LA)HORDE’s performances form part of a nationwide celebration of contemporary dance from France to be formally launched in its entirety in London on 10 July and is generously supported by the Institut Francais.

The cast of 11 jumpers from around Europe take to the Grand Opera House stage on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 October for the UK and Irish Premiere of this electrifying performance. Tickets are priced £12-£20 and go on sale this Friday from the venue and at

Festival Director, Richard Wakely, said “Today, we have announced the first two signature events from a programme of world class art and culture from home and abroad that showcases an ever-broadening range of perspectives, with voices and faces, new and familiar. Glen Hansard is one of Ireland’s most beloved songwriters whilst (LA)HORDE represents the new and exciting younger generation of dance makers coming out of Europe. Together they herald a great autumn of festival events that the whole city can enjoy.”

Nóirín McKinney, Director of Arts Development at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added, “The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is tremendously proud to be Principal Funder of the Belfast International Arts Festival which continues to bring world-renowned acts to Belfast as well as offering an important platform for our own artists to perform. The Arts Council recognises this festival’s enormous contribution to arts and culture in return for a relatively small amount of public investment and we look forward to welcoming the 2019 Belfast International Arts Festival this Autumn.”

Audiences can look forward to world class theatre, dance, visual art, music, film, literature and talks, with the full #BIAF19 programme being revealed in mid-August.

Belfast International Arts Festival is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, The National Lottery through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council, British Council, Department for Communities and Institut Francais.

Tickets for the first announcement shows are available from Friday 14 June at 9am from or via the Grand Opera House box office.


Notes to editor

  • Belfast International Arts Festival will run from Tuesday 15th October to Sunday 3rd November 2019.
  • The Festival is led by Festival Director, Richard Wakely.
  • The Festival’s core public funders include The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council, and British Council. Other important funders include Department for Communities and Institut Francais.


PR agency to be appointed but in the meantime, we welcome media enquiries. Contact Sarah Kelly, Marketing Manager: 0289521 9741,


  • (LA)HORDE is a collective of three leading cross-disciplinary artists based in France and who produce film, performances and installations as well as dance work.
  • This Wild Willing was released on April 12 2019 on ANTI-

About the Principal Funder, Arts Council of Northern Ireland:

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is the lead funding and development agency for the Arts. Our funding enables artists and arts organisations to increase access to the arts across society and deliver great art that is within everyone’s reach. National Lottery-funded arts programmes are bringing communities closer together, tackling prejudice, racism, isolation and mental health and improving emotional wellbeing.   (twitter) @ArtsCouncilNI   (facebook) \ArtsCouncilNI

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland Lottery Fund distributes a share of the money raised by The National Lottery for good causes.

  • Over £30m is raised for good causes every week
  • More than 500,000 projects have been funded
  • Over £36bn has been raised since the Lottery started