Festival News

Belfast International Arts Festival, 16 October – 3 November, will showcase new work from six playwrights as part of the Lyric Theatre’s New Playwright’s Programme, a six-month writing development programme, aimed at emerging playwrights to create new work, an initiative supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Earlier this year six writers, from Northern Ireland, were awarded a place on the prestigious programme and will now reveal their new works at the Lyric Theatre this autumn in a series of performed readings showcasing their exceptional talents.

Playwrights, Alice Malseed, Breman Rajkumar, Lee Coffey, Martha Barnett, Meghan Tyler and Shirley-Anne Bonner were selected from a record breaking number of submissions to take part in the programme, developing new work with the support of the Lyric’s Literary Manager, Rebecca Mairs.  Festival audiences will have the chance to see these new works for the first time, presented in dynamic double-bill readings on consecutive evenings – an exclusive opportunity to be the first to experience these new voices.

Richard Wakely, Artistic Director, Belfast International Arts Festival, commented: “Belfast International Arts Festival is once again delighted and honoured to partner with the Lyric Theatre to present the New Playwright’s Programme.  This is the second edition of an important development platform that champions new writing and writers for the stage.  Each year the Festival includes new works and theatre companies from home and abroad, allowing audiences the opportunity to see the very best pieces of contemporary theatre from across the world on the Belfast stage.

Executive Producer of the Lyric Theatre, Jimmy Fay, added:  “New writing is the lifeblood of any producing house theatre. Theatre is always about making the moment new and all theatres should search for extraordinary, inquisitive and vibrant voices that play with and understand the art and craftiness of theatre. Here in the Lyric we are exceptionally lucky to have a brilliant scout in Rebecca Mairs, someone who understands and can seek out the most extraordinary voices. Not every voice can make it to the stage but everyone who takes part in the New Writing Programme Rebecca coordinates and curates is offered exceptional insight, craft and inspiration to take on their journey.

Gilly Campbell, Arts Development Officer for Drama and Dance, Arts Council, commented: “The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is committed to providing valuable, meaningful opportunities to support new writing from emerging talent.  We are delighted to support this important initiative through National Lottery funding and to partner with the Lyric Theatre on the New Playwrights Programme for the second year.  We warmly congratulate all six new playwrights and look forward to seeing their work on the Lyric stage at this year’s Belfast International Arts Festival.

Performed readings from the Lyric’s New Playwrights Programme will take place as part of the Belfast International Arts Festival from 1-3 November, Lyric Theatre, with tickets costing £10