Culture Night Belfast Launches

Another evening of free events and activities to entice culture vultures out and about

Culture Night Belfast 2011 has officially launched, with another colourful programme of free events scheduled to entice culture vultures out onto the streets of the capital on Friday, September 23.

And Belfast will again be joined by the likes of Derry~Londonderry, Strabane, Newry and many other towns and cities across Northern Ireland in a mass celebration of all things culture.

At the launch, guests got a sneak preview of some of the events on offer for the third Culture Night Belfast, which will take place in venues and outdoor spaces across the city centre and beyond.

Organisers revealed a packed programme and promised a beguiling evening of gigs, games, comedy, debate, dancing, poetry, exhibitions, theatre, street performances, taster tours and workshops, plus the first ever Culture Night Parade.

'In just three years, Culture Night Belfast has become widely celebrated as an evening that all communities, visitors and people of all ages and backgrounds can participate in,' said Lord Mayor, Cllr Niall Ó Donnghaile. 'It is also great to see that there are now a number of other Culture Nights taking place across the north.'

Organisers of the city’s landmark cultural date have delivered a bespoke, interactive evening of entertainment and discovery for all the family throughout the historic Cathedral Quarter. Many more venues in other parts of the city are also taking part in a bid to make Culture Night 2011 the most memorable yet.

Last year, over 15,000 people attended Culture Night Belfast’s 100 events (watch video above). This year, organisers have planned over 160 activities and events, taking place in almost 100 venues. Organisations of all kinds, from churches to galleries, pubs to libraries, newspaper offices to barber shops are set to take part alongside artists and performers of all stripes in a much expanded line up.

Culture Night Belfast Manager, Adam Turkington was warmly applauded at the launch as he announced a programme with a strong urban, community and interactive theme. Speaking at the launch, Turkington invited people to immerse themselves in the 'full Culture Night experience'.

'Culture Night is all about people. People coming out, participating, having fun and helping to shape the evening in all manner of ways. For us, Culture Night Belfast is a shared and joined-up experience, where you don’t quite know what you expect and there’s a surprise at every turn, on every street and in every building or space.'

One of the signature highlights of this year’s Culture Night Belfast will be the first ever Culture Night Parade, which will form a centrepiece of the evening’s proceedings. The newly elected mayor of the Cathedral Quarter, punk godfather Terri Hooley, will head the festivities in an open top cavalcade (listen to his thoughts for the night in the podcast above).

Voting for the position of Mayor of the Cathedral Quarter was hard fought, with cultural administrator Kathy Young in second place and Belfast playwright, Martin Lynch, taking up the rear.

Highlights in a dizzying evening of highs include the Secret Urban Garden, a Musical Evening at St Anne’s Cathedral, a Street of Magic, Caravan Jam, Horrible Histories, Belfast Telegraph Tours, The Quare Big Egg, Comedy Soup, Story Sessions and Belfast Literary Taster Tours.

There is also Circus Snacks for Adults, Burlesque Tasters, Armagh Pipers, Kids Square, The Barber of Seville at Tivoli’s Barber, Crafty Convoy, Kids Gigs with Katy and the Carnival, St George’s Choristers, the Quare Big Egg and Art Cart Rap.

Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, described Culture Night Belfast as 'unmissable. By opening their doors and inviting the public to dozens of free events and performances, our arts organisations are making a significant contribution to the cultural tourism offering in Belfast and at a time when our economy needs it most.'

Follow the links for information on events taking place in Belfast and Derry~Londonderry during Culture Night 2011.