Ten Things to Do for £10 or Less

Bored of staying in? These quality events will help you beat the January blues without breaking the bank

Out to Lunch Festival

Various venues across Belfast until January 29

We could easily fill this list purely with events plucked from this year's Out to Lunch programme, such is the bespoke's festival's weighty menu of guilt-free, post-Christmas treats. We've already seen some top class performances and happenings in its first week, but there are many more bargains yet to come which will see you through that miserly first month of the year.

To name just a few, multicultural music troupe Ájo Arkestra will ignite the Black Box with an explosive blend of afrobeat and heavy funk on January 20 (£10), while on January 22 Heaney's Death of a Naturalist will come to life in a colourful vortex of live drawing, animation, audio and performance for its 50th anniversary (£8).

Elsewhere audiences can set themselves up for the day for just £4 on January 22 with the Electro Fry Up, a hearty breakfast for your ears, compliments of digital music innovators Chromatouch, Doctor Lilt and Robin Price. And on January 26 the meal from which the festival takes its name can be enjoyed alongside Idiom, an entertaining cross of dance and spoken word from Pony Panto host Leonie McDonagh (£7 including lunch).

All this and more in and around Belfast over the coming weeks. Head to www.cqaf.com/outtolunch/2017 to see for yourself.

The Linley Hamilton Quintet

January 13, Linen Hall Library, Belfast (£10)

What better way to blow off any lingering cobwebs from Christmas than in the company of one of the country's finest jazz purveyors. Trumpeter Linley Hamilton and his band will fill the normally hushed interiors of Belfast's Linen Hall Library with passionate, melodic playing and remind audiences why they're one of the most respected musical units around.

In a previous interview with Culture NI, Hamilton spoke about the pedigree of those performing alongside him. 'They’re great musicians and a very tight unit,’ he said. ‘And they emotionally connect with the music, which is my big thing. I emotionally connect with it, I live it and I breathe it and I feel freedom whenever I play and these guys relate to that.’

Remaining tickets will disappear fast.

Linley Hamilton

I, Daniel Blake

Showing at various locations across Northern Ireland

Film-lovers will have the opportunity to catch Ken Loach's Palm d'Or-winning drama, tipped to be amongst the toasts of the awards season, in a number of locations as it screens at the Golden Thread Gallery (January 18) and Cultúrlann (25) in Belfast, the Braid in Ballymena (19) and Portrush Film Theatre (26). 

Daniel Blake has worked as a joiner most of his life in Newcastle. Now, for the first time ever, he needs help from the State. He crosses paths with a single mother Katie and her two young children, Daisy and Dylan. Katie's only chance to escape a one-roomed homeless hostel in London has been to accept a flat in a city she doesn't know, some 300 miles away. Daniel and Katie find themselves in no-man's land, caught on the barbed wire of welfare bureaucracy as played out against the rhetoric of 'striver and skiver' in modern day Britain.

Inner Sanctum

January 18 - 20 at Foyle Arts Centre, Derry~Londonderry

The word 'ambitious' doesn't feel like anywhere near an adequate enough way to describe Inner Sanctum. Devised in collaboration by drama, art and nursing students as well as staff at Ulster University, the project is billed as a 'site-specific, interactive performance...unlike anything you have seen before'.

Nine shows over three days will take audiences of 32 at most through a (physically and emotionally) moving journey exploring real experiences of health care and human relationships, 'from the cradle to the grave'. The production leads from ongoing research by the university's Drama and Nursing departments into the use of drama techniques in improving communication skills and patient-centred care.

Tickets are priced at £5/£3 concession. Book ahead either by emailing innersanctum@mail.com or contacting Aoife Nugent on 077 1656 8806.

Chinese New Year Celebration

January 22 at the Ulster Hall, Belfast

Just because we're half-way into January and normal service has long resumed doesn't mean we can't continue to ring in 2017 a little longer. Chinese New Year falls on January 28, kicking off a two-week celebration around the world welcoming the Year of the Rooster. Northern Ireland's Chinese community is the country's largest minority ethnic group and one event central to local festivities will be an afternoon of fun, colour and culture at the iconic Ulster Hall on January 22.

Between 1pm and 3pm children and families will be treated to a vibrant, international display featuring 12 different global dances. Book ahead and your whole family can go along for as little as £8, or pay £10 at the door. For further details on prices visit www.ulsterhall.co.uk/what-s-on/all-events/chinese-new-year-celebration-2017.


Until January 21 at Ards Arts Centre

There isn't long left to visit Ellie Niblock's kaleidoscopic new solo exhibition at Ards Arts Centre. Having opened in December, Absorption showcases skills and experiences the mixed media artist gained on a residency in India, through a collection of curious, eye-catching sculptures.

The pieces on display, informed by the vibrancy of culture Niblock encountered on her travels, are thoughtfully arranged and will tingle the senses not just with their optic allure, but with an array of evocative textures. If the winter blues have you longing to get away, let this free exhibition transport you to a faraway place.

The Viola in My Life

January 21 at Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast

Having featured in not one but two of the world's top contemporary music groups, Garth Knox is always a coup for Belfast when he performs in the city. This month he joins Northern Ireland's own Hard Rain Soloist Ensemble for a special concert celebrating the works of great American composer Morton Feldman.

The titular instrument will be central in an evening which also promises new work by by Greg Caffrey, as well as works by John Cage and Piers Hellawell. At only £10 per ticket, The Viola in My Life will provide you a temporary escape, but leave a permanent mark with life-affirming music.

Florence Foster Jenkins

January 20 at the Courtyard Theatre, Ballyearl

Meryl Streep has made headlines this week for remarks made in her acceptance speech at the Golden Globes, where she was recognised with the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award. She was also nominated for Best Actress for her turn as tuneless 1920s opera singer/ironic icon Florence Foster Jenkins. On January 20 audiences can experience the glitzy comedy/drama in suitable fashion with cabaret style seating and a light supper, and at £10 per person it's almost like today's money has the same value it did way back then.

A Road Less Travelled

Opening January 19, 7pm at the Gerard Dillon Gallery, West Belfast

A Road Less Travelled, is a solo painting exhibition by Belfast based artist David Fox. The exhibition comprises of new works that explore the notion of journey without end, as depicted by desolate motorway and road scenes. For gallery opening times visit the An Chultúrlann website.


Willy Wonka - The Pantomime

Until January 28 at the Burnavon Theatre, Cookstown

And if you're still clinging to every remaining shred of Christmas cheer – which we won't judge you for - panto season still has some of that traditional magic to offer on stage at the Burnavon Theatre. Say no to New Year's fitness regimes and indulge your sweet tooth for just one more night with this fun-filled production of Willy Wonka.

With the passing of the great Gene Wilder and the 100th anniversary of Roald Dahl's birth both last year, more people than ever are rediscovering the classic tale. This show has all the costumes and timeless songs to make you fall in love with it all over again. Full priced tickets are £10. For booking information and show times visit www.burnavon.com.

willy wonka cookstown

Got an event coming up? Email info@culturenorthernireland.org to let us know about it.