Season's Greetings!

Hello <<First Name>>

We hope you and your loved ones are well. A huge thank you to our audiences for making this year a memorable one. Thanks to all who made a donation, booked tickets, and joined us online. Season's greetings to one and all, and best wishes for 2021!

This year's unique edition of Belfast International Arts Festival was made possible thanks to our principal funder, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and to Belfast City Council, Department for Communities, British Council, the Government of Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Tourism NI and a range of project funders and sponsors, including Belfast Harbour.

We are forever grateful to the wonderful artists, companies, authors, speakers and programme partners who made BIAF20 a reality. We applaud you!
Christmas Holidays:
The office will be closed from Monday 21 December and reopen on Monday 4 January 2021.
Happy Holidays!


FestivalUK2022 Shortlist

We are delighted to be one of 30 creative teams shortlisted in the #FestivalUK2022 R&D Project. 
The creative team includes:
  • Belfast International Arts Festival - Oona Doherty, Eileen McClory, Richard Wakely
  • Amanda Coogan 
  • Kwame Daniels
  • Digital Catapult NI - Nigel McAlpine
  • Conor Mitchell
  • Northern Ireland Science Festival - Chris McCreery
  • W5 - Judith Harvey, Adrian Lutton
  • Hannah Peel
Read more about FestivalUK2022

Digital Access

Sculpture by Ursula Burke, whose exhibition was backdrop to Madrigals at the Museum

Disability Arts Online assistant editor Joe Turnbull recently spoke to several members of our team about how we approached digital access this year.
Read More

Thanks to support from Halifax Foundation for Northern Ireland, we were able to offer a number of audio-described and captioned events. Catch up now on BIAF YouTube channel.

Sestina Music have generously agreed to allow an extended broadcast of the audio-described versions of Madrigals at the Museum Books 1 & 2, which contain footage from Ursula Burke's exhibition (pictured above), and these are available up to 8 January 2021. For those not familiar with the term, audio description provides verbal commentary on visual cues and elements. 

Several of our Talks & Ideas events are closed captioned, enabling access for D/deaf, hard of hearing audience members and those who may not have English as a first language. 
The 5 professionally captioned talks are:
  • Bryan Washington and Paul Mendez
  • Helen Lewis
  • Sebastian Barry and Sarah Moss
  • Stuart Maconie
  • Patrick Freyne
A special thank you to Hugh Odling-Smee for professionally captioning these last two talks.
We should also mention that the Scholastique Mukasonga and Nina Bouraoui discussion is in French with English subtitles, kindly provided by the Institut français du Royaume-Uni.

#BIAF20 Satellite Events

Pan Pan
  • Thurs 17 Dec
  • 8.00pm
  • Strand Arts Centre
  • £10
What Is The Word is an audio cinematic experience presenting a curated collection of Samuel Beckett poems, performed by some of Ireland’s leading actors.

What is the Word grapples with the struggle to express, a theme present from Beckett’s early work but sharpened by his lived experience of illness. It offers an immersive sensory journey into some of Beckett’s most rarely performed works.

139th RUA Annual Exhibition

The 139th RUA Annual Exhibition is available to visit online. For many, it is part of an annual trip to the Ulster Museum, which has now reopened to the public. Please note that booking is currently essential to gain access to the Ulster Museum. Read more

BBC Radio 3 Concerts

Martin James Bartlett playing piano in St Mark's Church Belfast
BBC Radio 3 concerts in partnership with BIAF
  • Tues 5 - Fri 8 Jan
  • 1pm
  • BBC Radio 3’s Lunchtime Concert programme
John Toal introduces performances from the acclaimed Doric String Quartet, the award-winning cellist Leonard Elschenbroich and pianist Martin James Bartlett - winner of BBC Young Musician in 2014. Recorded in St Mark's Church, Belfast, the recitals will be broadcast as part of a 4 episode series from Tuesday 5 to Friday 8 January 2021 at 1pm each day on BBC Radio 3’s Lunchtime Concert programme and will feature music from all 3 concerts.

Find out more about performers and programme:

Martin James Bartlett (solo recital)
Leonard Elschenbroich (cello) & Martin James Bartlett (piano)
Doric String Quartet


Watch BIAF20 on YouTube
Miss anything at the Festival? A selected number of events from #BIAF20 are now available on demand on the Festival's YouTube channel including: 
  • Septet (For Four)
  • Singing Struggle & Agreement
  • Oona Doherty & Luca Truffarelli - In Conversation
  • Madrigals at the Museum Part 1 & 2 (Audio-described version now avail to 8 Jan)
  • Ulster Orchestra Chamber Ensemble (available up to 5 Jan)
  • No Word For Stay - Panel Discussion
  • Stuart Maconie - The Nanny State Made Me
  • Kevin Maxwell & Nazir Afzal - Law, Race & Equality
  • Patrick Freyne - OK, Let's Try Your Stupid Idea
  • Helen Lewis - Difficult Women
  • Elaine Feeney & Daisy Johnson
  • Jenni Murray - Fat Cow, Fat Chance
  • Robert Webb - Come Again
  • Colette Bryce & Nick Laird
  • Lennie Goodings - A Bite of the Apple
  • Bryan Washington & Paul Mendez
  • Sebastian Barry & Sarah Moss
  • Jenny Offill - Weather
  • Scholastique Mukasonga & Nina Bouraoui
  • Sarah Churchwell & Michell Cresfield


Donate today. Image of audience waiting in theatre foyer before a performance
We bring Belfast to the world and the world to Belfast, a multidisciplinary arts festival that brings people and artists together.

In the midst of the current pandemic, to ensure our survival and a return to a full programme of live events in 2021, we need your help. 

If you are able to make a financial contribution to Belfast International Arts Festival, we can do this together to:
  • Continue to present a vibrant and world-class programme from home and abroad, reimagined for the times we live in.
  • Maintain our Free For Everyone events.
  • Support the artistic community in creating new work, in different formats, to reach audiences and promoters at home and abroad.


Audience Survey image showing graphs, pie charts and form
Thanks to everyone who took the time to complete the post-festival audience survey this year. Congratulations to Lorraine who won the £100 gift voucher for No Alibis.
Even in these challenging times, we are viewed in a positive manner as a festival that offers high quality content, variety and positive overall experience:
  • 91% stated their overall experience was very good or good
  • 89% stated variety of events was very good or good
  • 88% stated quality of events was very good or good
  • 94% would recommend the festival to a friend or family member 
  • 93% would like to see online events continue in future editions
There was a small number of respondents who didn't attend the programme, with just under half of those stating that the online experience wasn't as attractive as live. 
59% of respondents were happy to donate an amount of their choosing, 11% would prefer a guide price, and 8% didn't donate. 17% welcomed free access either due to their income being adversely affected by pandemic, or due to being a student or pensioner. 
There is more analysis to be carried out and all comments will be considered in future plans.


If you enjoyed this year's Talks & Ideas programme, and would like to get a copy for yourself or a loved one, visit No Alibis Bookstore BIAF20 collection (a few signed copies in stock)

No Alibis also have giftcards available to purchase in store and through their website. Visit No Alibis
Sestina Music presents their annual Christmas concert 'Carols at the Museum', recorded in the Ulster Museum, Belfast. The online concert will be broadcast on Saturday 19th December at 7pm. Tickets are free. Book Now
Catch up on Bounce, the annual arts festival produced by University of Atypical that showcases new work by D/deaf and disabled writers, producers, actors, dancers, musicians, and directors. 
A selection of performances from recent festival is available on their Vimeo channel for everyone to enjoy.
Go to Vimeo
Some interesting events coming up over December and Spring for your diary:
For Artists:
Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival Creativity Bursaries: three creative bursaries to support and encourage new work by writers, musicians and theatre practitioners based in Northern Ireland. Closing Friday 18 December. READ MORE

Save the Dates:
Belfast International Arts Festival 2021
13 October to 31 October (TBC)

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