Ten Payday Weekend Ideas

It's been a long month of tightening the belts, so celebrate the fact that it's almost over by getting out to these great events

Friday, January 27

Powder Her Face at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast

Northern Ireland Opera kick off the year and bid farewell to Artistic Director Oliver Mears with the Irish premiere of a modern classic. Performing for three nights over the weekend at the Lyric, Powder Her Face is an acerbic black comedy recounting a sensational sex scandal which rocked Britain in 1963.

Tickets: £20 (students £15). Book here.

Powder Her Face

You Must Be Joking at Theatre at the Mill, Newtownabbey

Laughs have been in short supply as the dreary weeks of January have dragged on, but nevertheless it is still said to be the most potent medicine on the market. If you think current affairs have been loony of late, then this line-up of comics may put things in perspective, or at least make you weap tears of glee rather than despair as John Linehan hosts stand-up from Adrian Walsh, May McFettridge, Gene Fitzpatrick and Neil Dougan.

Tickets: £22. Book here.

you must be joking

Independent Venue Week at Various Venues

Independent Venue Week continues to direct the spotlight towards the smaller stages which play a huge part in the beginnings of bands and artists around the UK. Friday, January 27 sees Northern Ireland's own Documenta headline at Voodoo, as part of a mini-tour of acts signed to 2017 ambassador Tim Burgess's O Genesis label. They're joined by Horsebeach and Yucatan while We Were Thieves, Nolan, John Andrews and Nathan Hughes all perform stripped back sets at the Sunflower Bar.

On Saturday, January 27 the Portrush Playhouse hosts the dynamic triple bill of Emerald Armada, Runabay and VerseChorusVerse. It's worth noting that these are just the officially participating venues, and that the ethos of the week should apply wherever you might be, no matter what time of year. Read about some of the best haunts the country has to offer in the words of local musicians and music experts themselves.

Materiality: The Quality of Being Composed Matter at Ards Arts Centre, Newtownards

Ards Arts Centre follow Ellie Niblock's intriguing Absorption with another peculiar exhibition, this time by a number of different artists. In it, Sally Young, Sandra Robinson, Emma Hawthorne and Trisha Campbell explore the ingredients which together make us human. Unique, anthropomorphic sculptures and other works tap into issues ranging from birth and aging to physical health and mental well-being. What's more; it's free to attend. Well worth a visit.

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Hamlet at the Millennium Forum, Derry~Londonderry

Icarus Theatre Company's artistic director Max Lewendel recently spoke about how people shouldn't be afraid of Shakespeare, and that the playwright wrote for the same audiences as Game of Thrones currently does. It makes sense then that his new adaptation of Hamlet repurposes the source material squarely for casual viewers and devoted followers of the series alike, just as it approaches it's final descent onto our screens. All that's missing are the dragons.

Tickets: £9.00-18.50. Book here.

Saturday, January 28

I'll Tell My Ma at the MAC, Belfast

Patricia Gormley's hilarious one-woman show charts four generations of misadventures in one West Belfast family. This one features smart sixteen year old Davina, who has a penchant for Russian vodka and the high life; her mother Chelsea Marie, a 'CryinAir' stewardess on a mission to join the Mile High Club; granny Patricia who thinks she can turn her tragic life into a best-selling book; and great-granny Eileen, who is getting to grips with the age of social media at the ripe old age of 80.

Tickets: £12-25. Book here.

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Reflections on North at Seamus Heaney HomePlace, Bellaghy

This weekend Kabosh become the latest theatre company to offer a new perspective on classic Seamus Heaney works at Bellaghy's new HomePlace hub. The intimate Helicon venue will host a dramatic presentation of the poet's celebrated fourth collection, North, which Artistic Director Paula McFetridge believes still carries emotional resonance 'on many levels' for today's audiences.

Tickets: £10. Book here.

Seamus Heaney Homeplace - courtesy of HomePlace

Jake O'Kane at the Market Place Theatre, Armagh

One of the finest comedians Northern Ireland has produced, seasoned stand-up Jake O'Kane returns with new show Old Enough to Know Better, which dissects the insane from the mad whether it be things he's come across online or stories from the past year brought to life with photos from The Irish News archive. As ever, nothing will be off limits.

Please note - this show is now sold out.

Jake O'Kane

Sunday, January 29

Lords of Strut - Late Night TV Talk Show at the Black Box, Belfast

One of the closing events of an ever eclectic Out to Lunch festival, which has helped keep spirits from sinking all throughout January, idiotic brothers Sean and Seamus are our hosts for an hour of slapstick mayhem disguised as talk show from decades past. Strictly for adults, this action-packed soap opera turns the absurdity up at every turn, with audience participation, dance routines and more that'll make you wish you could binge a whole series.

Tickets: £8.00. Book here.

Billy Bragg and Joe Henry at the Ulster Hall, Belfast

The curtain comes down on Out to Lunch with a triumphant send-off from Billy Bragg and Joe Henry, who in 2016 recorded a joint album of classic railroad songs while travelling nearly 3,000 miles across America. Those attending can expect to hear songs from the journey as well as favourites from both artists' back catalog as the festival that always comes first bows out for another year.

Tickets: £20.00. Book here.