27/02/2002

Top personalities to host 'Imaginative' Belfast debate

Imagine Belfast 2008, the company responsible for delivering Belfast's bid to become European Capital of Culture in 2008, are to host the ‘Belfast Forum’ where representatives from the sporting and arts communities in Northern Ireland will come together to discuss and debate the cultural life and future of society.

The Belfast Forum will take place in Belfast City Hall on Saturday March 9 from 6-9pm and will take the form of 'Question Time' style debate. The event, which is supported by The Sports Council and Arts Council of Northern Ireland, will feature a celebrated panel of some of Northern Ireland's highest achievers.

Chaired by Mark Carruthers of BBC Northern Ireland, the panel will include: Brian Keenan, author of 'An Evil Cradling', 'Turlough', and, with John McCarthy, 'Between Extremes'; Marie Jones, celebrated actress and writer whose work includes 'Stones in His Pockets' and who is also the recipient of the John Hewitt award for her contribution to the cultural tradition debate; Tim Loane, writer, actor and director of the Oscar-nominated short film 'Dance Lexie Dance'; David Humphreys, captain of the Ulster Rugby Team and Ireland's most prolific goal scorer and Gareth Turnabull, Northern Ireland's number one young athlete. Turnbull recently took silver in the 1500 metres at the World University Games in Beijing.

Shona McCarthy, Chief Executive of Imagine Belfast 2008, said: "The Belfast Forum is a truly groundbreaking event, offering an arena for discussion and debate between two of the major cultural sectors in Northern Ireland. This event is designed to let people air their opinions in relation to the bid for European Capital of Culture and the present and future cultural infrastructure of Northern Ireland.

“We are delighted to have such a fantastic selection of our finest talent coming together for this prestigious evening. The recommendations which come out of the Belfast Forum will be a vital consideration in shaping the Belfast of the future."

The invited audience will include representatives from all areas of the sports and arts communities and ministers from the relevant government bodies. There are a limited number of tickets available to members of the public – early booking is advisable.

For further information contact: +44 (0) 28 9032 2008

(GB)

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