Pick 'n' Mix Theatre Festival Returns to OMAC

International theatre and new Irish writing that 'confounds expectations'

Click to hear directors Lyn Harris and Emma Jordan discussing their respective international plays, the conservatism of Northern Irish audiences and the benefits of showing challenging work

Click to hear Rachael O'Riordan, Hanna Slattne and Monnine Dargan discuss theatrical themes, the difficulties of producing new writing, and the wider theatrical challenge

A young woman vanishes one night in Santiago. Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett sing their way to true love and happiness ever after. A Czechoslovakian scientist tussles with a Communist regime intent on controlling thought.

All under one roof on the same weekend...

The Pick ‘n’ Mix Theatre Festival, in association with OMAC, is back – a big bang of rehearsed readings, tasters and mini-plays by Northern Ireland’s leading independent theatre companies at Belfast’s spiritual home of cutting edge theatre, the Old Museum Arts Centre. 

As Northern Irish playwright John McClelland writes: 'Dangerous words may explode without warning.’

Dario Fo’Pick ‘n’ Mix is basically a coming together of the best local theatre companies all under the one roof, over the one weekend at the OMAC,’ explains marketing manager Joseph Nawaz.

‘There’s something going on all weekend, on every single floor. Performances, readings, even a bit of musical theatre. People can come and go and pick and mix from what they see on offer. It’s going to be a fantastic weekend. We aim to confound expectations.’

Much of the theatre has an international feel, with top theatre companies Bruiser, Prime Cut, Ransom, Rawlife, Replay, Tinderbox and the emerging Ether Theatre Company looking outside of Northern Ireland for inspiration.

Monologues and plays by international playwrights of the calibre of Nobel prize winner Dario Fo and the Italian humorist Edoardo Erba (the first English reading of his comedy The Builders), are presented alongside new works by Irish writers, such as the aforementioned McClelland, whose play Where The Shoe Pinches follows the travails of Czechoslovkian poet and scientist Miroslav Holub.

Miroslav Holub'Prime Cut's reading of Fermin Cabal's Tejas Verdas is sure to be a highlight, directed by Emma Jordan,' adds Nawaz. 'Set in Chile during Pinochet's regime, it tells the tale of a young woman who disappeared in Santiago. Foreign productions like this are sure to resonate with local audiences.

'For a lot of companies it’s an opportunity to present work that they are planning to expand on and develop and even tour this year or next.

'But the festival also gives audiences the chance to catch sneak previews of shows that they might not have seen before. It's an interesting and exciting mix of the local and international.’

Pick 'n' Mix Theatre Festival runs from June 13-15 at the Old Museum Arts Centre. Box Office: 028 9023 3332. Download a festival programme.

All tickets cost £5. The Wild Card Pick 'n' Mix festival pass (6 tickets) costs £20. Wild Cards should be purchased before May 30.