16th Jan 2020 in Arts

What can Tetris tell us about how we connect with one another and how we belong? Do you want to know why a man’s best friend is a stick? What happens when a Hermit decides to leave the house?

Can four birds stick together when all they have in common is Jabberbabble? Have you heard the truth about Captain Hook? Have you ever wondered what the world is like for the partially-sighted?

All these questions will be answered from Friday 6 to Wednesday 11 March, through more than 100 events which will take place in 13 locations across the city at the 22nd Belfast Children’s Festival.  This year’s festival, which is one of the largest children’s arts festivals on the island of Ireland and the UK, will explore the concepts of home, place and belonging.

Eibhlín de Barra, Director Young at Art, unveiled the packed programme at today’s festival launch in the MAC, Belfast, which will serve as the hub for the 2020 Festival.

“The 2020 Festival programme is a wonderful mix of theatre, dance, comedy, music, visual arts and literature for families. From the thought-provoking Inside the Speaker to the hilarious Hermit and from Replay Theatre’s Untold Truth of Captain Hook to the brilliantly off the wall Jabberbabble, audiences will be spoilt for choice. On top of it all we are again pioneering a weekend of family-friendly fun and activities in the heart of the Cathedral Quarter.

“In 2019, we welcomed over 15,000 local and international visitors to Belfast and we hope that visitors to the 2020 Belfast Children’s Festival will be excited by the programme as we are.”

This year’s festival will have a particularly strong focus on work from the Netherlands, with the performances of Tetris, Hermit and Jabberbabble. In addition, Young at Art are delighted to be presenting the locally-produced ‘Inside the Speaker’ and ‘Stick by Me’, from Scotland.  The maximum ticket price is £10, and adults pay the same price as children. Many Belfast Children’s Festival events are free.

Looking ahead to the annual event, the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Cllr Daniel Baker said: “The Belfast Children’s Festival is the perfect opportunity for families to enjoy a fantastic mix of creative, affordable and accessible entertainment right in the heart of Belfast. Returning for its 22nd year, the festival’s popularity continues to grow and it has become one of the most anticipated events in our cultural calendar. The diversity of the programme on offer is a true credit to the Young Art Team and I wish them every success.”

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is Young at Art’s principal funder and thanks to public and National Lottery funds, Young at Art is able to programme and deliver a wide range of artistic content, education and engagement programmes, and professional development throughout the year.

Roisín McDonough, Chief Executive Arts Council of Northern Ireland added: “The Arts Council supports the annual Belfast Children’s Festival, as well as Young at Art’s activities throughout the year, through a mix of Government and National Lottery funding.

“As the National Lottery has just celebrated its 25th birthday, I would take this opportunity to acknowledge the invaluable role that the Lottery plays in enabling arts organisations throughout Northern Ireland to deliver enriching arts and cultural experiences for everyone to enjoy. With the help of this investment, Young at Art continues to achieve great, ambitious things, as it enables young people to enjoy the very best of the arts and explore their creative potential to the full.”

Belfast Children’s Festival is supported by Tourism NI to drive visitor numbers, increase spend in the local economy and raise the profile of Northern Ireland as the home of great events. Last year, Belfast Children’s Festival welcomed families from the island of Ireland, the UK and Europe.

Young at Art continues to build on a promising partnership with Destination CQ Bid and is encouraging families from across Belfast and beyond to explore the Cathedral Quarter and find out what it has to offer for all the family. On Sunday 8 March the Cathedral Quarter family fun day will be bursting with exciting activities, including Baby Rave in the MAC, free children’s art workshops, an Acoustic Picnic in Oh Yeah Music Centre, augmented reality workshops with Art Cart and more, all supported by Destination CQ BID.

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, is also a destination for families.

“We’re delighted to be continuing and growing our successful partnership with the Belfast Children’s Festival in 2020.  This partnership will help to further connect children and young people families 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.”

Festival tickets are on sale at www.youngatart.co.uk

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