East Side Arts Festival 2014 Launched

Growing, thriving and legacy building - these were just some of the key messages at the launch of East Belfast’s 3rd annual summer festival.

The EastSide Arts Festival, delivered by East Belfast Partnership with support from Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and Arts Council for Northern Ireland will run 21st – 25th August  across East Belfast locations, and will showcase a varied arts programme with something for everyone across the east of the city and beyond.

With the closure of Orangefield High School the festival programme will feature and celebrate some of the powerful, creative talent to emerge from the school. It will also feature as a location for some of the festival events. Earlier this year, ex-Orangefield boys’ pupil and legendary East Belfast singer Van Morrison announced two gigs (22 and 23 August) with one specifically for ex-pupils and staff.  With an overwhelming response from ex-staff and pupils Mr Morrison has announced a third (24th August) performance with tickets available Saturday 19th July from 1-3pm.

EastSide Arts Festival is delighted to showcase and celebrate many of the ex-Orangefield pupils and staff through performance, visual art, lectures, walking tours, film and music.  These include the playwright Marie Jones, writer Brian Keenan, Thin Lizzy musician Eric Bell, poet Gerald Dawe and actor Sam McCready. It will also celebrate the contribution of late playwright Stewart Parker, pioneering first headmaster of the school the late John Malone and the late David Ervine. The programme also features a range of East Belfast talent including, singer Kaz Hawkins, novelist Glenn Patterson, actor Dan Gordon, the late writer and broadcaster Sam Hanna Bell, and much more.


A whole range of free events will be staged in Orangefield Park in association with Connswater Community Greenway and will include circus acts, music and a cross-community art installation called ‘Wish Project’ which will bring wishes alive through a ‘wishing garden.’ Continuing on the cross community theme the festival will also feature a performance, in partnership with West Belfast Festival Feile An Phobail at The Strand Arts Centre, of RMS Titanic – An Evening with Donal Lunny, Anthony Cronin, and guests.

Maurice Kinead, CEO of East Belfast Partnership, said:

“We are delighted to announce details of the EastSide Arts Festival, 21st - 25th August.  This is the 3rd annual festival we have delivered and we believe, yet again, that we have created a programme that will reach out to everyone in the East Belfast Community and beyond.  With the closure of Orangefield School we felt it was important to celebrate its legacy and showcase the huge talent that emerged from the school. We are immensely proud that some of the successful, creative and high profile past pupils are returning to mark this momentous occasion with us.  I would like to thank our key sponsors, DCAL and Arts Council for Northern Ireland, who along with our commercial sponsors, have made this festival possible. We hope to welcome as many people from the east of the city and beyond during the festival and hope that they leave with a sense that the arts is growing and thriving here.” 

Roísín McDonough, Chief Executive, Arts Council of Northern Ireland said:

“The Arts Council is delighted to support the EastSide Arts Festival.  Across this great city the arts have been a marvellous tool for building identity and developing community, transforming and sharing the space in which we live, in new and inspirational ways. I welcome this year’s varied programme of arts events - there is something for everyone, from young to old and everyone in between. There are also a number of free events which we hope will allow everyone in the east of the city to access and participate in the arts.  The EastSide Arts Festival will play a pivotal role in the life of East Belfast this year and in years to come and I encourage everyone to get involved.”

The festival will be staged in a number of east Belfast locations including Orangefield High School, The Strand Arts Centre, Park Avenue Hotel, Orangefield Park and Shorts  Recreation Club. The official charity for the festival is Barnardos. 

To find out more about programmed events please visit www.eastsidearts.net 

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