Titanic 100 Festival Events
Exhibits, plays and tours - on land and water - tell the tale of the ill-fated liner in Belfast throughout April and May
Belfast City Council is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the launch of the Titanic with a two-month long ‘Titanic 100 Festival'. Between March 31 and May 31 there is a packed programme of talks, tours, exhibitions, plays and special commemorations taking place throughout Belfast.
‘There’s so much going on,’ Brenda Willis, City Events Officer, says of the festival. ‘There’s so much for the family to do, for kids right through to adults. Anyone who has a small interest in Titanic or a huge interest in Titanic, there’s something for everyone.’
The main centerpiece of the festival is the photographic exhibition on the lawns of City Hall. It chronicles the building of the great ship from inception to launch, using the photography of RJ Welch, the official photographer for Harland and Wolff.
‘It concentrates on Edwardian Belfast,’ Willis explains of the exhibition. ‘You step back in time to 100 years ago when Titanic was being built right here in Belfast. The photos are a fascinating look back at history. There are lot of great stories.’
In addition to photographs from 100 years ago there will also be 250 artifacts associated with the White Star Line and the Titanic on exhibit in City Hall during a four-day festival over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend (April 23 – 26).
A new addition to the festival this year are a series of plays and dramas focused on and around the ill-fated trans-Atlantic liner.
‘This weekend, April 9 and 10, we have The Man who Left Titanic at City Hall, which is a premiere in Belfast,’ Willis points out enthusiastically. ‘Then we also have Blackness After Midnight on April 21 and 22, again here in City Hall, which is a recreation of the trial that took place after Titanic sank. And we also have The Iceburg, Stewart Parker’s 1975 radio play, down at The Barge on May 20 and 21.’
Throughout April and May, there will will be a series of tours, both on land and water, visiting key landmarks associated with the Titanic story.
‘We have free bus tours every Saturday and Sunday at two o’clock for everyone to go on and learn about the Titanic,' says Willis. 'You get to go into the drawing office where all the plans for the Titanic were drawn. You get to go onto the slipway where the Titanic was launched from, and you get to go to the dry dock and pump house where the Titanic was fitted out.’
In addition to the centenary of the launch of Titanic, a number of other anniversaries are being marked throughout the festival. These include the centenaries of the opening of the Thompson Graving Dock and the launch of SS Nomadic, the 150th anniversary of the opening of Harland and Wolff – and the 99th anniversary of the sinking, on April 15 1912, of Titanic herself.