EastSide Arts Festival is getting ready to bring 11 days of inspiring events to the east of the city and beyond from August 10-21.

This year the festival programme, delivered by EastSide Arts, is packed with 100 events which will be taking place in more than 40 venues across east Belfast as well as in the city centre.

From music, comedy, movies, theatre, talks, workshops, visual art, exhibitions, poetry, events for the young and old, community events and heritage tours plus over 50 free events – there really is something to inspire everyone this year.

Here’s 13 events that tickled our fancy…


St Patrick’s Church, Ballymacarrett, Friday August 19, 8pm, £21.50


From the chants of medieval monks to the words of the great modern poets, an Anúna concert is a uniquely beautiful experience that combines atmospheric costumes, candles and movement into a haunting sonic tapestry.

Pintsized Surprise

Dundonald Ice Bowl & Short Strand Community Centre, Sunday August 14 & Monday August 15, 8pm, £6

Pintsized Productions, one of the hits of EastSide Arts Festival 2015, returns this year with a new Pintsized Surprise – an exciting hour-long surprise performance.  You, the audience, won’t know what the show is, who the cast are, or exactly where you might end up.  You will know that you’ll see a fantastic, thought provoking play about power and language. A claustrophobic look at big themes, sexual politics and ideas about power and responsibility, played out in a pressure cooker environment.  Pintsized Productions bring together emerging professionals with established artists to create amazing experiences in alternative venues.

Murder She Got Wrote Off

Maple Leaf Club, Friday August 12, 8pm, £9

If you’ve ever been unemployed, studying a humanities degree, or sick, you’ve played Murder She Got Wrote Off – that is, watching Murder She Wrote while drinking. Now you can recreate that experience with friends and family, as The Cabot Cove Players recreate a classic episode of the greatest amateur sleuth show ever written. It’s a live drinking game, so it’s handy that there’s a bar.  Props, costumes, scripts… all the trappings of legitimate theatre, plus professional actors doing what they do best: drinking on the job. Well, it worked for Tom Bosley.

Audience fancy dress is encouraged.

Play It Again Jam

Strand Church, Sunday August 14, 7pm, £5

Join local singer/ songwriters Hannah McPhillimy and Rory Nellis and the wonderful Belfast Ukelele Jam for an evening of tunes from the 60s and 70s, performed with a modern twist. Retro-themed refreshments will be provided by baker extraordinaire Hilary Copeland and short readings from local writer, Jan Carson, will round off the programme. The evening will end in style with a good old-fashioned sing-along.

Glitter & Twisted

Maple Leaf Club, Saturday August 13, 8pm, £10.50

Ladies and Gentlemen (that applies to some of you at least) come join your host, Barry Vinegarstroke, the compere without compare, for a night of proper 70’s entertainment.  WIN yourself some quality tat, I mean, prizes, in our FREE Bingo.  Grab yourself a meaty handful in the fabulous free MEAT RAFFLE! Dance to the sexy and stomping stylings of our house band, The Great Bunch O Lads, then shake your bingo wings to the discotheque DJ skills of Barry and his Twisted Roadshow. Expect surprise guests and acts. Remember, if it’s entertaining, then it must be ENTERTAINMENT. From the creator of Palookaville and Auntie’s Social Club

The Big Lebowski Fest

Strand Arts Centre, Thursday August 18, 8pm, £6


A special tribute to a cinematic cult classic with your host for the evening, Joe Lindsay. Come and enjoy a beverage from our White Russian bar and take er’ easy.

The Other Lebowski wants money. The nihilists want money and willing to gives toes for it. Walter doesn’t want to roll on shabbas. The Dude just wanted his rug back. Dressing up encouraged, with prizes for the best outfit. White Russian bar supplied by Horatio Todd’s. Part of The Strand’s ’30 films to see before you’re 30′.

Kaz Hawkins Band

Park Avenue Hotel, Thursday August 18, 8pm, £15

East Belfast’s multi-award-winning Kaz Hawkins is Northern Ireland’s very own blues and soul darling. Her high energy, original shows, great style and ability to closely connect with her audience, contribute to make Kaz one of the most popular blues artists playing in the UK and Ireland today.

Off the back of winning a British Blues Award and Pure M Award in 2015 Kaz focused on playing as a band rather than a solo artist and the Kaz Hawkins Band released a new album, Feelin’ Good in May 2016.  Expect to hear new songs with Kaz’s unique take on the blues she loves so much.

Heretics’ and Head the Balls

Welders Social Club, Friday August 12, 8pm, £10.50

Belfast man and UK comedy circuit stalwart Neil Dougan attempts to compress over five hundred years of protestant culture into his new one man show. Packed with tales of head the balls and heretics, his subjects range from revolutionary reformists to bonfire builders, the Four Musketeers, a tribe of Native American Orangemen, The Scots Irish, 17th Century Calvinist orgies in Essex and Saint Patrick.  Even Rasputin gets a mention.

Finding Dory Claycrazy Workshop

Strand Arts Centre, Saturday August 20, 2.15pm, £9.50 child / £4 adult

This creative afternoon starts with a screening of Finding Dory, followed by an hour-long Clayrazy workshop.  The friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish reunites with her loved ones, and everyone learns a few things about the real meaning of family along the way.

Clayrazy is perfect for all ages and abilities, sparking imagination and creativity in everyone who uses this clay.

Heritage Tour of Strand Arts Centre

Strand Arts Centre, Saturday August 20, 12.30pm, 4pm

80 Years On… 9 Things You Could Be Missing At The Strand

Come hear about the Strand’s history, its unique Art Deco architecture and traditional movie theatres with expert projectionist and film enthusiast Alan McClurg. Get behind the scenes to see the workings of both our original 35mm film projector and the new digital projectors. Watch selected footage from the Northern Ireland Screen Digital Archive.

Eastside Emerging Community Showcase

St Patrick’s, Ballymacarrett, Sunday August 21, 5-7pm, £3.50/ £10 Family of 4

EastSide Arts is proud to present an afternoon packed with some of east Belfast’s most promising emerging talent.

With a mixed bag of performances ranging from rock bands to musical performers, dancers to singers we promise to give you a hip- swinging, toe-tapping extravaganza of music and dance that will energise and inspire!

This event is suitable for all ages so bring the whole family along to get a tast of the wonderful talent emerging from EastSide.

Writing The East

Holywood Arches Library, Saturday August 13, 11am- 1pm, £8

Join local writer Jan Carson for a structured writing workshop looking at the stories and heritage of East Belfast. This short two hour session will help you to look at how to incorporate place and setting into your work. Suitable for both experienced and beginner writers. Please bring a notebook and pen along to the workshop.

Jan Carson is a prose writer based in East Belfast. Her first novel, Malcolm Orange Disappears was published by Liberties Press in 2014, followed by her short story collection, Children’s Children in 2016.

Horatio Todd’s 1st Annual NI Craft Beer & Cider Festival

Horatio Todd’s Car Park, Saturday August 20, 12noon-8pm, Free


Horatio Todd’s will be hosting a number of local craft beer brewers and cider makers to showcase a selection of fantastic brews. This is a truly unique opportunity to meet and speak to the master brewers whilst tasting the dozens of different brews on offer. All accompanied by great street food and BBQ as well as live music throughout the day.

For full festival programme including tickets visit www.eastsidearts.net or Facebook/EastSideArtsBel and twitter @EastSideArtsBel  #ESAFest16.

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