East Belfast will be transformed into a hive of creative energy this summer when the EastSide Arts Festival comes to town.
The event runs from August 3-13, and everyone is invited to come and explore this part of the city, its people and places, during a fantastic 11-day festival, which will be packed with music and words, theatre, film, tours, visual arts, workshops and community events, all rounded off with the EastSide Family Circus and Big Top weekend.
Participants will use a diverse range of venues across east Belfast, including C.S. Lewis Square, Strand Arts Centre, EastSide Visitor Centre, Maple Leaf Club, The Bath House, Skainos Rooftop Garden, St Martin’s Church, Willowfield Parish Church, The Bank, and the Tumble Circus Big Top.
Highlights for this year include a free Festival Fun Day, featuring a purpose-built People’s Pharmacy where creative prescriptions will be handed out to passers-by to brighten their day, the EastSide Family Circus at the Big Top on C.S. Lewis Square, offering entertainment for the whole family, and a Big Top Weekend, featuring a cabaret evening and performances from both Gareth Dunlop and Ciaran Lavery.
Other music highlights include Ken Haddock and the Arco String Quartet recording a new album, Anthony Toner, Kaz Hawkins, The Illegals with Niamh Kavanagh and Belfast Community Gospel Choir, and there will be poetry from Jan Carson, Poetry NI and Glenn Patterson, comedy and magic from Midweek Magic Club, theatre including Sam McCready’s adaptation of Robert Harbinson’s No Surrender, and Terra Nova’s new anti-racism play, Me You Us Them, as well as a diverse range of cinema screenings at Strand Arts Centre and a special pop-up screening of A Patch of Fog at Wyse Byse Warehouse, which was a location for the film.
On top of all that, there will be bus, walking, cemetery tours and the Van Morrison and George Best tours, and a host of visual arts, classes and workshops, including courses at The Bank with the Belfast Bankers.
During the festival, both east and west Belfast will connect with the Translink East West Bus Tour, which has been specially commissioned for the event.