The Belfast International Arts Festival

The Belfast International Arts Festival gets underway this week and runs until November 3 in various locations across the city. This week’s top picks are:

The Playboy of the Western World, October 8- November 2 at the Lyric Theatre

Inspired visually by the likes of Shane Meadows’ This is England, this reimagined classic directed by Oonagh Murphy is not to be missed. Met with controversy when it was first staged at the Abbey Theatre in 1907, John Millington Synge’s brutally hilarious masterpiece, The Playboy of the Western World, is about life on the margins and the lengths we go to, to create a reality more exciting than the place we find ourselves.

Hiroaki Umeda – Median & Accumulated Layout, October 15-16, The MAC

Think Radiohead meets Aphex Twin via The Matrix!

Combining choreography, microscopic science, digital sound and laser projections, experimental Japanese choreographer Hiroaki Umeda draws inspiration from elements invisible to the naked eye. The dancer’s own body and movement becomes part of the throbbing, ebbing cellular projections all around him. A precision-sharp, captivating, super-intelligent and totally immersive experience.

ASUNA- 100 keyboards, October 17-19, The MAC

Pioneering Japanese sound artist ASUNA presents 100 Keyboards (literally!) featuring 100 battery operated keyboards, which create an intriguing and fascinating ambient wash of overlapping notes and sonic textures that envelop the audience from every direction.

La Dame Blanche, October 18, The Empire Music Hall

Hip-hop, cumbia, dancehall and reggae collide in this powerful performance.  Hailing from Cuba where her father, Jesus ‘Aguaje’ Ramos, is the artistic director of the Buena Vista Social Club, La Dame Blanche delivers an irresistible Afro-Cuban mix, which compels the body to dance.

This Brutal House with Niven Govinden, October 18, No Alibis Bookshop

Drag ball culture, for years an LGBTQ+ subculture, has come into the mainstream eye through TV shows and drag clubs. Govinden illuminates themes of race, gender, and sexual orientation within society through the lens of the vogue ball community.

La Spire, October 19-20, Botanic Gardens

Free event for all ages. Breath-taking aerial acrobatics on an impressive steel spiral sculpture. The all-female cast combine raw strength, tenacity and vulnerability, accompanied by a live musician and special sound machines to create a suspense-filled dreamlike journey into human fragility and power.

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