Belfast International Arts Festival is celebrating 60 years with a new extended 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.
Dinner With Groucho by Frank McGuinness
5 – 9 October
The official opening event of BIAF 2022 promises blistering wit, brilliant buffoonery, and reflections on the ephemeral nature of life. In a strange restaurant two American giants who revere each other, Groucho Marx and T.S. Eliot, meet for dinner. Both in their own ways great defiant spirits, they create magic and anarchy, revealing secrets and sorrows.
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (The Trocks)
28 – 29 October
For almost 50 years, the all-male comedy ballet company Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (affectionately known as “The Trocks”) have been delighting audiences of all ages at sell-out performances featuring their fabulous sense of fun and their flawless dance.
Martin Hayes & the Common Ground Ensemble
Martin Hayes is one of the world’s most celebrated fiddlers and an influential figure in Irish traditional music. Rooted in the classical, folk and contemporary worlds, Hayes is the founder of the seminal Irish-American supergroup The Gloaming, and has collaborated with everyone from Bill Frisell and Yo-Yo Ma to Sting and Paul Simon.
To Make a Monument
13 October – 13 November
To Make a Monument is a new project by artist Jan McCullough, produced in collaboration with Household launching its first phase at BIAF. This sculptural and photographic project reveals a hidden archive and history of Belfast. A series of large-scale, enigmatic images will appear around the Queen’s University campus. Depictions of machines and spaces that no longer exist, but that at one time were crucial to the working life of Belfast and provided the city with its rhythms and atmosphere, will be found as sculptural installations in unexpected places.
15 – 23 October
Welcome into Ron’s World. A world in which mini and monumental sit side-by-side. A world that makes us wonder how others think and feel. Written and performed by Stephen Beggs, this specially commissioned performance will take place in the MAC galleries alongside Ron Mueck’s amazingly detailed life-like sculptures. This is the first exhibition of his work on the island of Ireland and will be an awe-inspiring sight for families.
How to Fail as a Popstar
6 & 8 October
In a thrilling cabaret-style performance consisting of anecdotes, music, and choreography that straddles all genres, Shraya takes us on a journey through her rise in showbiz, beginning with singing Hindu bhajans and R&B covers when she was young at competitions for teenagers, to moving cities, all the way to her first album.
Paul Carrack, one the UK’s great singer songwriters and a figurehead of soulful pop for decades, will return to the Grand Opera House as part of Belfast International Arts Festival; last appearing there in 2017 to a sold out audience.
The Scorched Earth Trilogy
A unique blend of opera, contemporary orchestral music, street art and animation, presented as a mapped video and sound installation and experienced in public spaces, with the audio transmitted to silent-disco headphones.
Larkin in Belfast: The Importance of Elsewhere
2022 is the poet’s 100th anniversary and BIAF are delighted to welcome Philip Pullen, Chair of Larkin100 to enlighten Belfast about the poet’s life here, and the impact of our city on his writing.
The Second Copy: 2045
With lucid clarity and deadpan humour, The Second Copy: 2045 takes a look at the dynamics of contemporary art, the role of institutions and the telling of history. Atbane makes us rethink the connections between objects, documentary and fiction in a museum context.