British Council is a major partner in a number of festivals that occur in Northern Ireland throughout the year. We aim to get great art to everyone by championing, developing and investing in artistic endeavours.

Belfast International Arts Festival

Belfast International Arts Festival – Northern Ireland’s biggest contemporary arts festival – is back for 2018, running from 16 October to the 3 November.

We’re proud to have supported the festival since its inception, and in this 56th year, audiences can expect a world class and eclectic fusion of theatre, dance, music, visual art, literature, films and talks –  with over 120 events and 12 premieres. 

The programme includes a special season of architectural events in partnership with PLACE and British Council as part of Open House Belfast

Now in its fourth year, Open House Belfast returns to open up some of the city’s most unique and interesting buildings and spaces for Belfast residents and visitors to experience free of charge.  Part of the Open House Worldwide family, a network of more than forty architecture festivals happening in cities around the world. Full details of the buildings, spaces and special events featuring in Open House Belfast will be announced in September 2018.


Highlights include:

Curating Architecture: The Venice Biennale | Thurs 18 Oct | The MAC | 5.30pm | £8

Every two years, national pavilions transform Venice’s historic Giardini and Arsenale, demonstrating technical and cultural innovation in building design around the world and the response of architects to major challenges in contemporary society. 


The Infinite City: Live Episode | Sun 21 Oct | Sonic Arts Research Centre, QUB | 5pm | £5

A podcast about cities, produced by PLACE. Join hosts Rebekah McCabe and Conor McCafferty for an evening of chat, with Darran Anderson and Garrett Carr discussing public space, architecture and city life in Belfast at Sonic Arts Research Centre. Tickets available soon.

Listen to the podcast here.


HIVE Choir | Fri 19 – Sat 20 Oct 

An innovative new music ensemble will perform in several buildings as Open House Belfast artists in residence.


Myths of Belfast | Sat 20 Oct

Architecture tour led by Andrew Molloy, telling stories of the development of Belfast over several hundred years.

Watch this short video about Belfast International Arts Festival 2018:

Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival

The Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival (CQAF) is an annual festival of music, comedy, theatre, art and literature that brings the streets of Belfast's Cathedral Quarter to life.

2018 was its 19th year and we were proud to support Belfast dancer and choreographer Helen Hall and her acclaimed piece Inside the Speaker , as well as ex-NME editor, Stuart Bailie and the launch of his new book, Trouble Songs, which addresses the role of music in peacebuilding.

EastSide Arts Festival

In just six years, the Eastside Arts Festival has established itself as one of Belfast’s most important multi-arts celebrations, putting east Belfast firmly on the cultural map.

2018 came alive with a programme that gets bigger and better every year and was packed with family events, spoken word, comedy and theatre.

Highlights included the premiere of Alice Malseed’s Jade City, which debuted at the City of Belfast Boxing Academy. This hard-hitting play explored a dark, toxic and tumultuous friendship and we proudly supported the soundtrack by Mojo Fury’s Michaela Mormecha.


External links