Belfast International Arts Festival is celebrating 61 years with a new season of contemporary arts and cultural events. Each autumn the Belfast International Arts Festival delivers an incredible line-up of theatre, dance, music, film, talks and visual arts events; and this year’s programme does not disappoint. Here are our top 10 picks from this year’s line-up of theatre, dance and music events.

BIAF23 VB Belfast Ensemble Marc Almond

An Evening with the Belfast Ensemble and Marc Almond

17 October

Join The Belfast Ensemble for an unforgettable evening in The Grand Opera House as they share the stage with iconic pop star Marc Almond! Enjoy a concert of two halves featuring the critically acclaimed Abomination: A DUP Opera and the multi-award winning song cycle Ten Plagues. A once in a lifetime evening set to live long in the memory. Not to be missed!



27 – 28 October

King tells the story of Luther, a man from Cork named in honour of his Granny Bee Baw’s hero, Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Luther only leaves his apartment for essential journeys, and to perform as an Elvis impersonator. The play explores prejudice, privilege, and resilience, as Luther struggles to live life to the full.  



20 – 21 October

Groupe Acrobatique de Tanger bring their phenomenal acrobatic energy to Belfast International Arts Festival with FIQ! FIQ! is a luminous, acrobatic and playful ode to the young people of Morocco that is a celebration of light and colour. An event that’s not to be missed!

From the quiet man to the quiet girl

From the Quiet Man to the Quiet Girl - An Irish Film Journey

26 October

A celebration of Irish film music, and the role played by music in telling the great stories of Irish cinema over the past 100 years at Belfast’s iconic Strand Arts Centre. Join top award-winning composers from the Screen Composers Guild of Ireland and host Hugh Odling-Smee (Film Hub NI) as they explore seminal Irish films, and how their scores reflected the culture of the day.

Rear Windows

Rear Windows

04 – 05 November

Join the innovative and creative minds of Big Telly for an online Interactive and immersive experience performance based on Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1954 thriller Rear Window. Rear Windows presents human stories, old and new, of life unfolding through our own and other people’s windows. 

Ellipses (2)

Ellipses : An Anthem to End Wars

05 November

In an ambitious collaboration of poetry and music Poet Maria McManus and composer Keith Acheson pitch a heartfelt and uplifting evocation of how we might galvanise peace, reconciliation and hope. Ellipses will feature the critically acclaimed Sheelagh Greer (mezzo soprano), Arco String Quartet alongside other musicians and speakers from across the island.

Declan OROurke

Declan O'Rourke

27 October

From an album scheduled for the making in 2024, Dublin born songwriter Declan O’Rourke will take to the road this October and November. He will be bringing audiences an airing of his first new material since the landmark, Weller-produced Arrivals, of 2021 alongside classic gems from across his rich and broad career.

Gary Younge

Gary Younge

17 October

For the last three decades Gary Younge has had a ringside seat during the biggest events and with the most significant personalities to impact the black diaspora. Dispatches from the Diaspora is an unrivalled body of work from a unique perspective that takes you to the frontlines and compels you to engage and to ‘imagine a world in which you might thrive, for which there is no evidence. And then fight for it.’ 

ulster orchestra glitter of waves

Ulster Orchestra: Glitter of Waves

20 October

Nicholas McCarthy, BIAF Featured Artist for 2023, joins the Ulster Orchestra to perform two stunning and demanding piano works. Globally-acclaimed pianist Nicholas McCarthy, Belfast International Arts Festival Featured Artist for 2023, was born without his right hand and remains the only one-handed pianist to graduate from the Royal College of Music.

Belfast City Hall

Street Statues, Sculptures & Architecture Tour

15 & 25 October

Belfast has an abundance of Art scattered around the City! This tour begins in the grounds of the magnificent City Hall where there are many imposing statues of past Lord Mayors and significant people who have shaped Belfast. This event is outdoors, please dress weather appropriately.

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