Pick 'n' Mix Theatre Festival

The mini festival at OMAC returns, sweeter than ever. Click Play Audio for a podcast with Red Lemon's Patrick J O'Reilly and Bruiser's Stephen Beggs

The Old Museum Arts Centre’s annual mini festival, Pick ‘n’ Mix, is returning to Belfast over three days from June 19-21. And in true Pick ‘n’ Mix style, the festival promises something for everyone.

Six of Northern Ireland’s top theatre and dance companies will be joined by eight of the hottest emerging companies in the country to create a weekend packed with sweet theatrical and dance treats.

As with previous years, OMAC will be transformed into a complete festival-under-one-roof, with something happening on every floor. Audiences can pick from a mix of 26 shows including staged readings, sneak peaks, dance performances and mouth watering mini plays.

Áine McVerry, OMAC’s deputy director, explains the rationale behind the mini festival and what audiences can expect this year and in the years ahead:

'Pick ‘n’ Mix is a perfect example of what OMAC does best. For over 20 years OMAC has provided Belfast with some of the most original, inspiring and often provocative arts events. We will remain dedicated to continuing to do so in The MAC – Belfast’s first arts centre to be built from scratch in the heart of the Cathedral Quarter.

'The MAC will be six storeys high and will house two theatres, three visual art galleries, a dance studio, education, workshop and rehearsal spaces, offices for resident arts groups and a cool café and bar. This new space will open its doors in 2011 and will offer a world class programme ranging from blockbuster events and exhibitions to challenging, experimental new works. Just like Pick ‘n’ Mix, The MAC’s ethos will be to celebrate and showcase the very best in home-grown arts.'

Musician Duke Special, who attended the Pick ‘n’ Mix festival launch, said: 'As a patron of Bruiser, one of the companies involved in Pick 'n' Mix, I think the Festival is very important for developing theatre and dance in Northern Ireland. The programme of events on offer over the weekend in June is really fantastic and I look forward to seeing as many shows as possible.'

Previous Pick 'n' Mix festivals have provided companies the opportunity to road test future, full-scale productions on a much smaller level - audience participation being a central component of the festival. Companies such as Red Lemon have benefited greatly from the festival's ethos of fostering new talent. Red Lemon's Patrick J O'Reilly is full of admiration for the inclusive nature of the festival.

'Over the years we've been able to draw upon the experiences of the more established companies like Bruiser to develop and grow our own company. This year we'll be looking to do the same with the newer companies.'

Some highlights of this year's festival are sure to be Bruiser's The Government Inspector, Prime Cut's Ladybird and Girl on the Sofa and Echo Echo Dance Company's wacky-sounding Under Current and Poetic Phrase of Turns and Free Flight. Check out the OMAC website for more information on all festival productions and events.

As ever, all tickets for all events at the Pick 'n' Mix festival are priced at £5, or why not try the Pick ‘n’ Mix passport, £20 for a book of 6 adult tickets. OMAC will work in conjunction with a number of City Centre restaurants to offer exclusive meal deals for Festival goers. A bar will also be onsite for the duration of the festival for you to enjoy a drink in between performances.

Click here to meet the faces of last year's Pick 'n' Mix festival in our Pick 'n' Mix Players photo article