The Belfast Festival at Queen’s is a gift to all the people of our city.  It belongs to you.

It’s your celebration of art and culture, providing a showcase for the finest artistic talent, from your doorstep and further afield.

For over 50 years we’ve been lighting up the city with music, dance, drama, poetry, literature, comedy and visual arts. The festival attracts the biggest names in the world– everyone from Laurence Olivier to Jimi Hendrix has taken part.

It’s Ireland’s biggest festival of its kind, attracts 50, 000 people from all over the world, and puts Belfast on the world map of artistic celebration.

But more importantly it’s a festival for the people of Belfast, to celebrate their city and their love of the arts.

Richard Wakely

Welcome to the 2014 edition of the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s.

"You should never wear your best trousers when you go out to fight for freedom and truth."
Henrik Ibsen, An Enemy of the People

The arts are a powerful tool for personal and community development. They can entertain, delight, inspire and transform. However, what role do artists have today? Do they have a special responsibility to comment on society’s ills and to speak out about injustice? Or do artists contribute best to social change and improvement by the practice of their art, and that alone?

Diversity and Divergence is a theme that this Festival continues to explore. Diversity is not only essential from a legal, moral, ethical and business point of view, it also has the unique ability to refresh,  replenish and stimulate arts practice and be a motor for  innovation and change.

Our 2014 Artist in Residence, Claire Cunningham, explores how different faiths and religions view disability in Guide Gods; US Choreographer Camille A. Brown’s Mr. TOL E. RA ncE looks at race, stereotypes and the way humour plays into them in a unique European Premiere; tradition comes alive in the Bessie Award-winning La Edad de Oro from Spain’s Israel Galván and the Grand 
Opera House becomes a public referendum on the current state of political and social culture in Thomas Ostermeier’s radical new reading of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People.

So, join us in Belfast this October; your destination for entertainment and enlightenment.

Richard Wakely
Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s

Universities create huge and meaningful impact on our daily lives, from ground-breaking research to exemplary teaching and student volunteering. As the new Vice Chancellor, I want to particularly thank the Ulster Bank for their continuing partnership as title sponsor of the Festival and whose investment has ensured that this 2014 Festival positively contributes to our shared objective of contributing to the economic and cultural revival of our city.

Last year, our new Festival Director, Richard Wakely offered us a glimpse of how the Festival will evolve and grow to better serve the entire city, its artists, citizens and visitors, with a diverse programme of international contemporary and inter-disciplinary events and an emphasis on audience participation and community partnership.

This year, we welcome two new sponsors to the Festival family of supporters; O2, who are sponsoring the Music Club at the Elmwood Hall and Belfast Harbour Commissioners, who are sponsoring the Classical music programme. I also want to pay tribute to both our public sector funders, including The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council, Northern Ireland Tourist Board and The British Council for their continuing and generous financial investment in the Festival and of course to you, the many thousands of supporters who turn out each year to enjoy the Festival events.

Professor Patrick Johnston
President and Vice-Chancellor, Queen’s University Belfast