7th Mar 2019 in Arts

This Friday 8th March, the Belfast Children’s Festival is set to take the city by storm as the popular festival celebrates its 21st birthday.

With events all across the city, many of which are in the Cathedral Quarter, the festival will treat audiences to everything from dance, theatre and comedy to drama, the arts and more all under the festival’s broader theme of ‘Our Place in the World’.

Taking place from March 8-13, this year’s theme is all about encouraging children and young people alike to think about their contribution to the world around them as global citizens, and the festival will be home to 27 fabulous events.

Cathedral Quarter BID along with Arts & Business are delighted to be supporting the festival this year.

Gareth Neill, CQ BID Manager said it was an opportunity to show that the Cathedral Quarter, as well as being a renowned business area and night-life hub, also a destination for families.

“We’re delighted to be partnering with the Young At Art Children’s Festival this year to support the CQ BID vision to ‘create, celebrate, invite and inspire’.  This partnership will help to further connect Young At Art audiences with businesses in the area.

“There are so many unique businesses here, from innovative dining through to cutting edge tech companies and this partnership will drive further footfall into the area and in turn increased spending throughout the Cathedral Quarter.”

Belfast Children’s Festival launch event in Belfast Cathedral

Oorlog (War)

Theater Artemis (The Netherlands)

Downstairs at The Mac

Friday, 8th March: 19:00

Saturday, 9th March: 15:00

Sunday, 10th March: 15:00

Tickets: £10

Everyone is concerned about war and even though children have their own ideas about the issue, the fact that adults never seem to have answers for them has persuaded director Jetse Batelaan to tackle the subject. In this new outing from Artemis, which was founded in 1990 and has blossomed into one of the leading youth theatre companies in the Netherlands, Mr Batelaan looks at the subject of war in his own melancholy style. The show explores the effects of war on people and their surroundings and the chaos it causes. The result is a moving piece of theatre that highlights the strength of the human spirit and its ability to endure the toughest circumstances. The show opens at the festival at The Mac on the 10th and is suitable for children over the age of six years old. You don’t want to miss this.



Milo’s Hat Trick

Cahoots NI

Naughton Studio, Lyric Theatre

Friday 8th March: 18:30

Saturday 9th March: 14:00 and 16:00

Sunday 10th March: 14:00 (suitable for members with autism) and 16:00

Tickets: £10

‘Milo’s Hat Trick’ is a delightful adventure and is suitable for all, including very young members of the audience. Adapted for the stage from the books of Jon Agee, the story follows the trials and tribulations of Milo the Magnificent. Unfortunately for Milo, he is anything but magnificent and has performed a series of magic tricks only to have failed miserably; however, he meets a bear who might just help him turn his fortunes around and accomplish his next trick: pulling a rabbit out of his hat. The production is performed by Belfast-based theatre company Cahoots NI, who will convey the story in their own particular style. Cahoots NI have been performing in theatres, schools and healthcare settings since 2001 and have earned much acclaim in Ireland, the UK, Asia and America.




Cathedral Quarter

Saturday, 9th March: 14:00 to 17:00


The inSPIREd family fun day is one of the main events of the festival and offers a whole range of activities across the Cathedral Quarter. There are lots of opportunities for families to get in on all the cultural action, thanks to activities such as the Acoustic Picnic at the Oh Yeah Music Centre, a digital animation workshop with the Can Do Academy, theatre workshops with Northern Ireland Opera, DJ workshops with Bounce Culture and augmented reality workshops with Art Cart. Kids can even enjoy a wee dance with mum or dad at the Baby Rave, which is taking place in Belfast Cathedral. This variety of interactive workshops and live performances makes for a smashing day to remember for all the family.

Can Do Claymation

Baby Rave: Rave In The Nave (SOLD OUT)

Young at Art Events

Belfast Cathedral

Saturday, 9th March: 10:30, 12:00

£10 (1 adult, 1 baby)

Part of the inSPIREd family fun day, this entertaining session of music and dance is specially designed for children under 4 and is just as much for the adults as it is for the kids. Parents and children can enjoy the party atmosphere of a rave but explore rhythm and music together in the stellar venue of Belfast Cathedral. The rave’s energetic dance leaders will get guests out of their chairs and grooving to the music. It’s not just all about the children, though, as the DJ will spin tracks that parents will recognise as well. The event takes place at 10:00 in the morning, but if that’s a little too early for bass drums and dancing for you, there’s also an event at midday. The venue itself is wheelchair accessible and guide dogs are welcome, leaving no one excluded from this lively day there.



The Alien’s Guide to Dance Gone Wrong

Maiden’s Voyage Dance

Upstairs at The Mac

Saturday, 9th March: 14:30, 16:00 (later performance suitable for audience members with autism)

Sunday, 10th March: 14:30, 16:00 (later performance suitable for audience members with autism)

Tickets: £10

The Maiden Voyage Dance company — who captivated audiences with ‘Quartet for 15 Chairs’ and ‘Pause and Effect’ — are back, this time with ‘The Alien’s Guide to Dance Gone Wrong’. The show, which is being performed for the first time ever, is set in the future and is all about a group of aliens who have come to Earth and are learning to dance. The only problem is, there are no humans left to teach them, so how will they learn the steps — if at all — and will they get them right? This show is one of the major highlights of the festival and will be a real feast for the senses, with choreography by the highly regarded Lea Anderson. The performance will be audio described, making it suitable for the visually impaired.




Fionnuala Kennedy and Prime Cut Productions

Brian Friel Theatre, Queens University Belfast

Thursday, 7th March: 19:30 (preview)

Friday, 8th March: 19:30 (preview)

Saturday, 9th March: 19:30

Sunday, 10th March: 19:30

Tuesday, 12th March: 19:30 (post show discussion)

Wednesday, 13th March: 19:30

Tickets: £10 and £8 (preview and concession)

You may find yourself reaching for the tissues when you watch this show. ‘Removed’, written by Fionnuala Kennedy, will shock you, move you and make you laugh. The story focuses on the life of Adam, a young man who has had his life turned upside down and is growing up in the care of the state. The independent theatre company Prime Cut Productions, which set up in 1992, take on the immense responsibility of delivering this powerful story and they achieve this with immense finesses. The performance at the show will be the first ever introduction of ‘Removed’ to Ireland and to the world itself. Get ready to feel your emotions stirring. The show runs until 16th March, so if you are unfortunate enough to miss the festival, you’ll still have time to catch it.



Da Vinci Day

Young at Art Events

Ulster Museum

Sunday, 10th March: 13:00 to 17:00

Tickets: Free

This free, drop-in workshop for children is a fantastic way for children to get creative and learn about the work of the Renaissance master himself, Leonardo Da Vinci. The workshop takes place in the Ulster Museum and is based on the Royal Collection Trust exhibition ‘Leonard Da Vinci: A Life in Drawing’ (also in the museum), which marks 500 years since the death of the late eminent artist and features two of his most famous works: ‘The Head of St Anne’ and the anatomical drawing ‘The Skull Sectioned’. Children will have the chance to make dragon masks, flying machines and more in the workshop.



Family Comedy Club (SOLD OUT)

With Paul Currie

Black Box
18-22 Hill Street

Monday, 11th March: 19:00

Tickets: £10

The Family Comedy Club features homegrown comedian Paul Currie, who will be performing at Queen’s University Belfast. You can expect silliness and to leave the show in the very best of spirits as Mr Currie — who has enjoyed success with his ‘Hot Donkey’ show and other shows, and who has performed at famous comedy venues such as The Stand, in Edinburgh and Glasgow, and The Comedy Store, in London —treats the audience to his own unique style of comedy. Mr Currie’s background as a street performer and teacher of circus has allowed him to blend puppetry, clowning and traditional stand-up comedy into his act, which gives it that little something extra. The show is suitable for children over the age of six and you should definitely catch it if you like a good laugh.


Paul Currie

We Come From Far, Far Away

New International Encounter Theatre (NIE) — Norway/ UK/ Czech Republic

Factory at The Mac

Monday, 11th March: 10:00 and 12:00

Tuesday, 12th March: 10:00 and 12:00

Wednesday, 13th March: : 10:00 and 12:00

Tickets: Part of the Schools Programme and not open to the general public

‘We Come From Far, Far Away’ is based on real stories of young people who have come to foreign countries alone and are seeking asylum. Despite their difficult stories, the refugees displayed genuine hope for the future. The show is performed by New International Encounter (NIE), who originally formed in 2001 and give their first performance at a school in the Czech Republic. Since then they have created 24 shows and have toured in Europe, Norway and the UK with this show. Their production ‘We Come From Far, Far Away’ tells the story of a boy who has travelled from Syria and is seeking asylum. Storytelling, shadow puppetry, clowning, live music and more are all part of the performance to convey this thought-provoking story.



Ponten Pie & El Mes Petit De Tots (Spain)

Upstairs at The Mac

Tuesday, 12th March: 18:30

Tickets: £10

‘Loo’ is a magical show designed for children aged between two and five as a chance for them to enjoy the sensations of the theatre in a special way. The show is performed by the Spanish company Ponten Pie, with the El Mes Petit De Tots festival, and will enjoy its first outing on Irish soil at the festival. ‘Loo’ itself is a hot, dry wind that comes from Asia and has the task of turning land into desert and of devasting damp areas, oceans and jungles, leaving boats stranded and unable to ever sail again. The visual effects and the evocative music work together to produce a wonderfully poetic and beautiful piece of theatre that illustrates the damaging effects of this wind. Audiences can prepare to be captivated.



Expedition Peter Pan

Het Laagland (The Netherlands)

Downstairs at The Mac

Wednesday, 13th March: 19:00

Tickets: £10

The quirky ‘Expedition Peter Pan’ is performed by the energetic Dutch theatre group Het Laagland. The play is based on the famous tale by J.M. Barrie, but this time the central characters are all adults. They’ve been taken out of their jobs and transported into Neverland, where they rediscover their sense of play and their dreams. Audiences can expect singing, dancing, visuals and special effects in this uplifting work of family theatre. With its inspiring titles and passionately delivered performances, Het Laagland have delighted audiences in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and France, and have even crossed the Atlantic to entertain audiences in Brooklyn, New York. Book a ticket for this show and you may well discover the child in you, too. Your life will certainly feel better.


Expedition Peter Pan

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