Wednesday, 10 February 2016


Belfast is set to become a hiving global focus for lesbian, gay, bi and transgender arts, with the launch today of The Barracks, the only dedicated queer arts development and showcase space in the UK or Ireland.

Nestled down Exchange Place laneway, one of Belfast’s oldest entries in the Cathedral Quarter, The Barracks is launching in tandem with a new five-year plan from Outburst Queer Arts Festival, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year.

The cutting edge, intimate new venue will be available for open hire, in addition to housing TheatreofplucK, NI’s only publicly funded queer theatre company (Trouble, The Trouble With Harry, D.R.A.G)

Both launches come hot off the back of a prestigious Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards nomination for Belfast native Stacey Gregg.  Her transgender-themed play, Scorch, was developed last year for Outburst, making Belfast an unlikely new centre of excellence for queer arts in these Islands.

Outburst’s Creative Director, Ruth McCarthy commented;

"Despite the legal inequalities we still have here, Belfast has moved on massively in terms of our  LGBT community and our aspirations. Our festival is developing and showcasing some of the  best work, not just here but worldwide. We present work by Theatreof pluck and other world-class  local producers, and it’s time to celebrate what have in terms of diversity here. We are a globally  recognised festival now and we have an amazing creative community here in Belfast, yet our  legal and political leaders are lagging behind in showing off this wonderful asset."

TheatreofplucK Director Niall Rea added;

"We are hugely excited about this new venture at The Barracks. We wanted to offer an affordable,  exciting space to both established and upcoming performance makers. We hope that within five 
 years, the name of The Barracks will be synonymous with the very best and most exciting cutting  edge art coming out of these islands."

In her introduction to Outburst’s plan, Arts Council of Northern Ireland Chief Executive, Roisin McDonough, says;

"We need risk takers like Outburst to champion the arts and strengthen the voice of the LGBTQ  community in Northern Ireland. They help enlighten minds to the possibility of, indeed the imperative for true respect and equality for all."

The launch takes place Wednesday 10th February, 5.30pm-7pm at The Barracks, Exchange Place, BT1 2NA

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Belfast Festival Marketing Officer Job Opportunity CLOSES Thursday 23rd July at 5pm

Belfast Festival

Marketing Officer
Deadline: Thursday 23 July 2015 at 5pm

The Belfast Festival (formerly the Belfast Festival at Queen’s) is Ireland’s leading festival of contemporary and international arts and ideas and takes place across the city every October. We are currently recruiting for a Marketing Officer to start as soon as possible and to help deliver our 2015 edition, which opens on 9th October.

Post Title: Marketing Officer (temporary to December 2015)

Hours: 37.5 hours (some unsociable working hours will also be required)

Salary: £21,000 to £23,000 per annum, subject to experience

Role details

In general the post holder will assist the Marketing Manager to secure existing audiences, develop new audiences and maximise box office income through efficient and cost-effective promotion, administration, and integrated marketing campaigns, activities, and events. Within this, the Marketing Officer will have direct responsibility for certain key tasks and initiatives including developing and maintaining the Festival website and social media channels.

Download further details by clicking here

Deadline for completed applications is 5pm on Thursday 23rd July 2015

The Belfast Festival is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council, British Council and Tourism NI and is committed to bring an equal opportunities employer.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Job Opportunities at Belfast Festival (Closing 17 July at 5pm)

Belfast Festival

Programme and Operations Administrator
Finance Officer (part time)
Office Administrator (part time)

Deadline: 17 July 2015 at 5pm

The Belfast Festival (formerly the Belfast Festival at Queen’s) is Ireland’s leading festival of contemporary and international arts and ideas and takes place across the city every October. We are currently recruiting for several posts to start as soon as possible and to help deliver our 2015 edition, which opens on 9th October.

Post Title: Programme and Operations Administrator (temporary to January 2016)

Hours: 37.5 hours (some unsociable working hours will also be required)

Salary: £25,000 to £27,000 per annum, subject to experience

Role details

The Programme and Operations Administrator role forms part of the new Festival team and is primarily responsible for providing guidance and support to festival artists, projects and events from home and abroad and across a range of artistic disciplines. In addition, the post holder will undertake a variety of associated administrative tasks including the management of event staff and volunteers, assisting the Technical Director with the delivery of events and projects and contributing to internal and external reports.

Post Title: Finance Officer (part time)

Hours: circa 21 hours per week

Salary: £25,000 to £27,000 per annum and pro-rata, subject to experience

Role details

The Finance Officer is responsible for the day to day operation, accuracy and integrity of the financial accounting systems within the Festival. S/he is responsible for managing a modest payroll, producing monthly accounts, stakeholder reporting and setting up and implementing financial systems and controls. The successful applicant will be highly self motivated with the ability to work with a range of staff across all departments, have excellent organizational skills and hands on experience as well as a formal accounting qualification such as AAT or ACCA/CIMA.

Post Title: Office Administrator (part time)

Hours: circa 21 hours per week (flexible with some unsociable working hours in the run up to and during the Festival)

Salary: £22,000 per annum (pro-rata)

Role details

The Office Administrator is responsible for the day to day management of a small but busy office. The role is focused on secretarial and reception duties and providing support to CEO/Artistic Director but also involves assisting the marketing department with a range of tasks including managing stakeholder events, updating databases and maintaining online publicity and website entries together with basic bookkeeping, minute taking at board meetings and general office administration.

For further details on all the above posts please contact us at

Deadline for completed applications is 5pm on 17 July 2015

The Belfast Festival is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council, British Council and Tourism NI and is committed to bring an equal opportunities employer.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Yer Granny by National Theatre of Scotland

National Theatre Of Scotland’s new comedy Yer Granny, is set in Glasgow, in a flat above an obsolete chip-shop, pushed out of business by its competitors across the road.  Set in a hyper realistic but hideous 1970's living room, decorated alarmingly in mismatched patterns and beige, the Bay City Rollers blast out from the radio, and the clothing is the cream of seventies fashion.

The occupants are the Russo family. A 100 year old Granny, played by Gregor Fisher, who is greedily eating the family out of house and home, the audience wondering just how much food she can get through.  Diligent hard-working grandson Cammy and his wife Marie try to keep things going but are obstructed by their hapless family members. Cammy's brother Charlie is a 'musician' who has written a few bars of 'Requiem for Accordian' and not much else. Unwilling to work, he impedes Marie's plan for him to get a real job, at every opportunity. Innocent and romantic Aunt Angela wants to help out, and her spiral into drug dealing is perhaps the most humorous aspect of the play. Nice but dim Daddy's girl Marissa completes the family set up.  

The broad comedy of the first act darkens in the second.  Granny's insatiable appetite drives the family to desperate measures. There is a sense of impending doom and the morality of the family dissolves under the strain. Marie leaves her husband, they sell the furniture piece by piece, Marissa becomes a prostitute, Aunt Angela deals drugs. Charlie perhaps has the most outrageous approach to the problem, trying to lose Granny at the fair, attempting to murder her and inventing an elaborate scheme to marry her off to the much younger octogenarian Donnie Francisco.

The play appears to have many layers of meaning.  Granny could represent our global consumption of the world's resources, threatening ecological catastrophe. She could represent the parasitic matriarch in some European societies, controlling the lives of her children and grandchildren. She could represent capitalism, the welfare state or communism devouring it's government, its economy and its society.

It asks "What is your breaking point?" "At what point do you sell out your moral values?"

Based on Roberto Cossa’s Argentinian classic farce La Nona, written in 1977, a time of great difficulty for playwrights in Argentina, when artistic censorship was in place and Cossa asked "Do we Argentine playwrights even exist?"

Soon after Cossa’s condemnation of artistic censorship, he and other Argentine playwrights launched ‘Teatro Abierto’ (Open Theatre), a movement that would become one of the most important artistic resistances during the dictatorship. In a massive festival that generated over 25,000 spectators, artists came together to stage one-act plays that directly or indirectly spoke out against the dictatorship and proved that yes, Argentine playwrights do exist.

During the dictatorship, there was no censorship for plays before they were staged. After the premiere, some plays, like Eduardo Pavlovsky’s intense family drama ‘TelaraƱas’, were banned. However, many plays with decidedly political undercurrents premiered to great public and critical success, one of which was La Nona in which our ravenous Granny ends up killing her children.

I'm not sure that the depth of meaning was clear to the Gregor Fisher fans in the Lyric, who laughed and cheered at every move he made.  The audience laughter at the comedy of the first act lessened considerably as the surreal plot and dark humour took over and people realised that there was no way out from the ferociously gluttonous Granny who at the end threatened to eat the audience as well.

Yer Granny is at the Lyric until Saturday. Click here to find out more.

Read more about Teatro Abierto here:

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Dan Gordon to make his Danske Bank Stage debut in co-production of The Shadow of a Gunm

Belfast-born Dan Gordon will next month make his long-awaited debut on the Lyric Theatre’s Danske Bank Stage in the new co-production with the Abbey Theatre of Sean O’Casey’s masterpiece The Shadow of a Gunman.

Best known for his portrayal of Red Hand Luke in the BBC Northern Ireland sitcom Give My Head
Peace, Dan Gordon also starred in Marie Jones’ acclaimed play A Night in November in the old Lyric Theatre in 2002, and directed her sell-out play Mistletoe and Crime at the Lyric in December 2014.

Gordon plays the role of Adolphus Grigson, an Orangeman living in the same Dublin tenement slum
as Donal Davoren - a romantic poet, mistakenly believed to be an IRA gunman in hiding by his
neighbours. Sensing that this assumed identity is winning him the respect and love of those around
him, Davoren does nothing to discourage the deception, but when the city is placed under curfew
his fantasy starts to feel uncomfortably real.  Funny, profound yet ultimately tragic, the play offers a
window onto the horrors of conflict and the allure of appropriating an alter ego when the
admiration of others is at stake.

This new production - the first Gunman at the Lyric for 10 years - is directed by Wayne Jordan and
stars award-winning Mark O’Halloran (Adam and Paul, Calvary), Amy McAllister (Philomena, Ruby Strangelove Young Witch) and David Ganly (Shakespeare in Love, The Weir) in addition to Dan

Executive Producer Jimmy Fay said, “Sean O’Casey is one of the most brilliant Irish writers of the last 100 years, and we’re really excited to be partnering The Abbey to bring this vibrant new production to Belfast and Dublin.  I’m a big admirer of Wayne Jordan’s work, and I’m sure that audiences will be as delighted as I am with the fresh approach to the play that Wayne has taken. This is a fantastic play that manages to be genuinely funny without shirking away from the realities of war, and it feels as contemporary today as it did in 1923”.

Previews will be on May 3, 5 and 6, and the production will run until June 6.

Tickets are priced from £15 - £24.50, and can be booked by calling the Lyric box office on 028 9038 1081 or online at

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

The Pillowman - The Lyric Theatre, Belfast

Oscar-winning Martin McDonagh’s black comedy thriller The Pillowman opens at the Lyric Theatre tonight, in a new production from Decadent Theatre Company.

The play, which has won two Tony Awards, the Olivier Award for Best New Play, and the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Foreign Play, has received widespread critical acclaim in London, New York and the Irish Republic, and has cemented McDonagh’s reputation as one of the leading playwrights and film writers of his generation.

Decadent’s production stars David McSavage (The Savage Eye) and Gary Lydon (War Horse, The Guard, Calvary) as two brutal policemen operating in a totalitarian state. When the short story writer Katurian K Katurian (Peter Campion – London Irish, 6Degrees, Lawless) is brought in for questioning he can’t understand what he could have done wrong, but he gradually realises that there may be a terrible connection between his stories and a series of bizarre and horrific murders.

The Lyric Theatre’s Executive Producer Jimmy Fay said, “Martin McDonagh’s plays have always been hugely popular in Northern Ireland, and for many people The Pillowman is his finest work. We’re excited to host this incredible production and its all-star cast, and I’d urge anyone with an interest in award-winning theatre, gripping thrillers and the art of comic storytelling to see this show.”

The Pillowman will be performed on the Danske Bank stage from March 24 - April 19. Tickets cost
from £15 - £24.50, with £10 student tickets available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and matinees.

Contains strong language and adult content.

For more info and to book tickets click here.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Celebrations in Dublin and Belfast as the Lyric Theatre scoops four Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards

Northern Irish theatre was celebrating last night as the Lyric took four of the available 12 judges’ awards at the annual Irish Times Irish Theatre Awards in Dublin.
This was the Lyric’s biggest ever haul at the Awards, and followed the theatre’s unprecedented 12 nominations this year. It was also the best performance on the night from any theatre on the island of Ireland.

The four awards were:
• Best Director – Selina Cartmell for Punk Rock, by Simon Stephens
• Best Costume Design – Mike Britton for How Many Miles to Babylon by Jennifer Johnston, adapted for stage by Alan Stanford
• Best Set Design – Alyson Cummins for Pentecost, by Stewart Parker
• Best Lighting Design – Ciaran Bagnall for Pentecost, by Stewart Parker

Executive Producer Jimmy Fay said, “I’m absolutely delighted that the Lyric has been recognised with these four awards. The fact that the awards are for three different productions and cover costumes, set and lighting design as well as directing, shows how vibrant and exciting Northern Irish theatre is right now”.