The MAC is Open For Business

Watch video from the opening of a MAC-nificent new addition to the Northern Irish arts scene

The MAC, Belfast’s brand new arts venue in Saint Anne’s Square, opened its doors on Friday, April 20 in dramatic style, with abseilers and a 10-piece band. By Monday, April 23 more than 5,000 people visited the stunning building to see the visual art in the three galleries, have a coffee, lunch or simply to have a wander around.

Tickets for Titanic (Scenes from the British Wreck Commissioners Inquiry 1912), the MAC’s first theatre production, have also become the hottest ticket in town since the venue opened. Minister Arlene Foster even dropped in on rehearsals for a sneak peak and to congratulate the MAC team on their successful opening.

Anne McReynolds, Chief Executive of the MAC said, 'We are absolutely thrilled to have had such a phenomenal number of people visit the MAC this weekend. We have been so excited about opening for such a very long time and it is fantastic to now see and hear so many visitors exploring and enjoying the building with the enthusiasm that we hoped they would. We have all worked extremely hard to create a world-class facility in the heart of this city. We have created a programme which will appeal to audiences of all ages and interests from international art and live shows, to our family-friendly workshops and our café/bar.

'This project has been ten years in the making and we would like to thank our many public and private sector funders especially DCAL, The Arts Council, DSD, Belfast City Council and all our supporters who have helped us get to this stage. We are confident that that the MAC will add another layer to the cultural offering in Belfast and Northern Ireland to help put this region on the worldwide stage.'

On April 22 the MAC’s live show programme commenced with a compelling courtroom drama by award-winning playwright Owen McCafferty Titanic (Scenes from the British Wreck Commissioner’s Inquiry, 1912). Starring a stellar cast of national and local actors, some of whom are household names and directed by Charlotte Westenra, this MAC production is the hottest ticket in town. Minister Arlene Foster even dropped in on rehearsals for a sneak peak and to congratulate the MAC team on their successful opening.

The stunning collection of visual art in the MAC's three galleries has also attracted a significant number of visitors. It includes A People Observed, an exhibition that brings together, for the first time, two of the most popular artists L.S. Lowry and Belfast-born William Conor in the MAC’s climate controlled Tall Gallery, alongside a video installation by local artist Nicholas Keogh, while contemporary LA-based artist Robert Therrien’s huge table and chairs installation, is exhibited in the MAC’s vast Upper Gallery. Meanwhile, Dublin-based artist Maria McKinney’s intriguing installation is on display in the Sunken Gallery on the ground floor.

The Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure, Carál Ní Chuilín, Minister for Social Development, Nelson McCausland, Chair of the Arts Council, Bob Collins and Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile were in attendance at the launch.

Ní Chuilin said, 'This is an impressive venue and a focal point for the arts in the Cathedral Quarter which stands proud among the north’s cultural offering. Investment in the arts is a key economic driver which makes an important contribution to our society and leaves a legacy for generations. What we see here in the MAC is a tremendous achievement and a culmination of a lot of hard work. It is another prime example of how the Executive is building a better future for all of us. Congratulations to all concerned.'

The MAC and Canteen (the in-house café/bar) is open daily from 10am until late Monday – Sunday 10am-7pm and entry to all the arts exhibitions is free. Tickets for the live shows are available at www.themaclive.com.