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 60, 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 2013 edition of the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s.

This year’s programme expands the possibilities of presenting great works of art from home and abroad throughout the city and bringing audiences something that they cannot see elsewhere. This is an increasingly challenging goal in a city that continues to reinvent itself with a diverse and rich cultural offering throughout the year. Our response is to provide the people of and visitors to our city with new ways to experience, engage and participate in a unique menu of artistic works that seeks to both enlighten
and entertain.

Inside these pages you will find a range of exciting and innovative events, performances, concerts, exhibitions, talks and debates and panels covering the major themes for this year’s Festival: cultural identity, civic responsibility and trust. Audiences will be able to look into the face of the new Belfast, participate in parliamentary theatre experiences, debate the legacies of past leaders, celebrate emerging and established masterworks from across Europe, or simply share a drink with friends whilst listening to the best of new music from around the globe in our Music Club.

As ever, the scale and diversity of this annual Festival programme would not be possible without the continuing and generous financial support of our various public and private sponsors, including the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Ulster Bank, Belfast City Council, Northern Ireland Tourist Board, the EU and the British Council. So, please do join us in Belfast this October for the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s  – your passport to the arts.

Richard Wakely
Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s

Professor James McElnay

‌Queen’s plays a hugely important role in the educational, social, cultural and economic life of Northern Ireland and the Ulster Bank Festival at Queen’s delivers on all these fronts.

Last year we delivered Festival 50, our most successful to date and one which served as a showcase for the best of Queen’s and Northern Ireland.

This year, we welcome our new Festival Director, Richard Wakely. His creativity, extensive knowledge and significant experience with international arts, will bring a further rich dimension to one of Northern Ireland’s premier Festivals.  

In this 51st edition, Richard offers us a glimpse of how the Festival will evolve and grow with a diverse and rich programme of contemporary events featuring international and local artists and an emphasis on taking work right across the city in partnership with a range of like-minded community organisations.

I hope you can join me at this year’s Festival.

Professor James McElnay
Acting President and Vice-Chancellor