Northern Ireland Theatre Association Conference

Listen to full podcast recordings, including Irish Labour Party leader Michael D Higgins' keynote address

The 2011 Northern Ireland Theatre Association’s annual conference attracted a broad range of theatre practitioners to the Grand Opera House last month.

NITA is the representative body for professional theatre in Northern Ireland and drives development of the industry, delivering dynamic, coherent advocacy for theatre to participants, politicians and the public.

The conference was hosted as part of the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure’s Month of Culture. Attendees were encouraged to network and share best practice with practitioners from other companies.

Irish Labour Party President, university professor, human rights campaigner and published poet, Michael D Higgins, made the keynote address.

Higgins has been instrumental at keeping arts at the heart of government in Ireland and keeps the audience entertained with a speech entitled 'Culture, Creativity, Community and the Creative industries'. Listen to the full podcast recording below:

NITA Conference: Michael D Higgins by CultureNI

A number of national and international experts also attended the conference. Speakers included Philippe le Moine, international Producer and Vice Chair of the European Network for the Performing Arts, and Gavin Quinn Artistic Director of Pan Pan Theatre Company.

Also present was Arts Management Consultant Anne Bonnar, who played a pivotal role in the development of Creative Scotland, the new single public body for the arts, culture and creative industries in Scotland.

One lively debate was centred around a panel discussion entitled 'Getting Your Work Successfully Produced Abroad', which was chaired by Terra Nova's Andrea Montgomery. Listen to the full podcast recording below:

NITA Conference: Producing Theatre Abroad by CultureNI

NITA’s new vision for 2011-2014, ‘Putting Theatre at the Heart of a Healthy Society’, was launched at a reception at the end of the conference. Speaking about the importance of this new vision, NITA Chair Stephen Beggs commented:

'NITA have been developing a key vision for the theatre industry here over the next four years. The arts play a critical role in Northern Ireland and it is of utmost importance that the theatre industry receives the investment it needs to continue developing audiences and bringing benefits to our country.'

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland added: 'The 2011 NITA Conference will serve as a valuable platform for theatre participants to come together, share ideas and receive practical advice on developing the sector.

'The conference will also help showcase Northern Irish theatre to an international audience, raising the profile of local practitioners while demonstrating the skills of our artists. The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is pleased to support the Northern Ireland Theatre Association and wishes them every success for their 2011 conference.'

The NITA Conference was supported by Arts Council of Northern Ireland, British Council and Department of Culture, Arts & Leisure. Listen to the keynote address and a discussion about how to produce theatre internationally in the podcasts above.