Out To Lunch 2009

Out To Lunch defies the crunch. Click Play Audio for a podcast with Duke Special and Lord Mayor Tom Hartley, featuring music from Cara Cowan 

Belfast's youngest arts festival, Out to Lunch returns this coming January with a mouth watering array of entertainment to banish the current financial gloom and post-Christmas blues.

A sister festival to the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival in May, Out to Lunch is now in its fourth year with a programme that runs for four weeks and hosts lunchtime and evening events. 

With all lunchtime shows costing just £5 and including a hot lunch, organizers expect tickets to be snapped up quickly. ‘It’s the perfect Christmas present in these cash-strapped times,' believes festival director Sean Kelly. 'A gift which will nourish the mind and the body for a mere £5!’

Music, literature and comedy feature heavily in the programme, which this year also includes a Tango display, a workshop for aspiring stand-ups and a bus tour of Belfast’s famous literary haunts. The opening weekend sees a Burlesque art drawing class, a Paupers Ball and a unique and intimate performance by Belfast’s own Duke Special.

The festival welcomes some of the biggest talents in the world of comedy including Northern Ireland's own Owen O’Neill, Craig Hill, Shappi Khorsandi, Maeve Higgins and the Edinburgh smash hit Ivan Brackenbury’s Hospital Radio Christmas Show (pictured above).

Other major names attending are the UK’s most celebrated black poet Linton Kwesi Johnson, parliamentary sketch writer Simon Hoggart, BBC Jazz Vocalist of the Year Christine Tobin, folk legend Dick Gaughan, trad music’s finest Zoe Conway, artist, writer and rock maverick Billy Childish and Dungiven-born singing sensation Cara Dillon.

Roisín McDonough, chief executive of the Arts Council, the principal funder of the festival, sees the festival a major attraction for locals and tourists alike.

'With its strong line-up, an innovative approach to engaging with new audiences and building partnerships with local businesses in the area, the annual Out to Lunch mini arts festival makes a major contribution to the creative and economic regeneration at the heart Belfast city centre’s Cathedral Quarter.' 

Check out Culture Live! events listings for information on all of the events in this year's festival programme.

The Out to Lunch Festival is also supported by Belfast City Council, The Department of Social Development and The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure.