An experimental feminist Northern Ireland film-opera about class and conflict, will be premiered in Belfast on Wednesday, 19 April, as part of a series of events to mark the anniversary of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement.

History of the Present, a collaboration by writer Maria Fusco and American-British filmmaker Margaret Salmon, tells the story of ordinary lives, still dominated today by the looming presence of the Belfast peacelines. This semi-autobiographical, ground-breaking film brings working class women’s voices to the forefront, amplifying untold stories of marginalised communities and collective trauma. 

The 45-minute piece is composed by the internationally respected composer Annea Lockwood, with improvised vocals provided by French opera singer, Héloïse Werner. It is the first opera of its kind to look at working class voices from Northern Ireland, with early stages of the work developed during Maria’s fellowship at the Royal Opera House in London.

Made on 35mm and SD video in the streets of Belfast, the Ulster Museum and the Royal Opera House, the work is set to be premiered at the QFT, Belfast on Wednesday, 19 April as part of a series of events organised by British Council Northern Ireland and the Belfast International Arts Festival to mark the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

This intersectional, intergenerational feminist work forefronts working-class women’s voices to ask: who has the right to speak, and in what way? Layering sociological, cultural, and political themes from the recent history of Northern Ireland, the work exercises voice, breath and field-recording composition through a range of film techniques and operatic articulations, to amplify marginalised stories.

The premiere of History of The Present at the QFT will be followed by a panel discussion with Maria Fusco, Margaret Salmon and Annea Lockwood, chaired by Curator, Annie Fletcher. For more information on the production and to buy tickets visit:

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