The Titanic Festival of Creative Arts 2012 is a 'mini-festival' of new art commissioned with funds provided by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. The festival features two Titanic-inspired plays, an exhibtion and several musical events.
The main focus of the festival, however, is composer Philip Hammond’s new Requiem for the Lost Souls of the Titanic, which will be performed in St Anne's Cathedral and St Peter's Cathedral in Belfast on consecutive days, April 14 - 15. Listen to Hammond play extracts from the requiem in the podcast below.
Requiem for the Lost Souls of the Titanic is the final event of the festival, which will take place in various venues across Belfast March 24 - April 15. The requiem has been specially funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board Events Fund and the PRS for Music Foundation, with sponsorship from Harland & Wolff, Power NI and Ulster Garden Villages Ltd.
Hammond's requiem, which he describes as his 'most ambitious project ever', will be premiered on the night of the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, commemorating the tragic loss of over 1,500 lives.
'The requiem will involve several conductors, four choirs (Belfast Philharmonic Society, Cappella Caeciliana, ScholaCantorum of St. Peter’s Cathedral Belfast and the famous Dublin-based choir Anuna), mezzo soprano Jacqueline Horner, all accompanied by the Downshire Brass Band from Belfast,' said Hammond.
'The Requiem will also feature readings specially commissioned from author Glenn Patterson, which will be complemented by a set of musical “meditations”, which I have written for The Fidelio Trio. All in all, there will be almost 200 musicians taking part in this performance.'
The Titanic Festival of Creative Arts also includes performances in other arts disciplines. A Better Boy is a newly commissioned one-man play from one of the leading Titanic experts, James Wilson Foster. Formerly Professor of English in the University of British Columbia, Foster moved back to his native Northern Irelandon on retirement. The play will be staged by site-specific theatre company Kabosh at the Belfast Barge, Belfast.
A newly commissioned play involving the Lyric Theatre and offering an opportunity for an outreach project for schools in Belfast has been written by playwright Rosemary Jenkinson. The White Star of the North is based on the theme of emigration in the early 20th century, specifically 1912, as the north of Ireland tries to maintain its political and social status quo.
A newly commissioned song cycle from Belfast composer David Byers will form the centrepiece of an evening of music from the Edwardian era – which will also include numbers that would have been in the repertoire of the musicians on board the Titanic.
Musician Una Hunt is designing and performing this programme with two young Irish singers. The performance will take place on April 12 at the new Public Record Office of Northern Ireland in the Titanic Quarter.
Prior to the recital, a specially written and devised series of tableaux based on the historical relationship between the docks and the shipyards of Belfast will be performed by Music Theatre 4 Youth in the atrium of the new PRONI building.
A special Titanic Toasts art exhibition will take place April 10 - May 11 at the Golden Thread Gallery. Curated by Peter Richards, featuring work by artists including Sara Greavu and Phil Hession.
Chairman of Belfast Titanic Company, Dick Mackenzie says of the festival: 'This festival seeks to reflect the huge creative energy that drove the people of Belfast in the first decade of the 20th in industrial terms and which now continues to permeate the arts in this small part of the world. We have designed the programme to act as a commemoration for those who lost their lives in April 1912.'
Visit the Titanic Festival of Creative Arts website for more information and to book tickets, or see details of events in our What's On guide.