Queen's Festival 'Banking On Success'

It's time for the curtain to rise on the 49th Ulster Bank-sponsored Belfast Festival at Queen's.

The city is once again set to be immersed in over a fortnight of international dance, drama, music and art.

Supported by Ulster Bank - the organisers were 'banking on a successful event' - with artists including Dervish, dancers from Wayne McGregor's production of FAR, a dragon from the Enchanted Garden and the cast from Big Telly's Live Ad all hosted this morning at Belfast's Ulster Hall.

They were alongside representatives from the Arts Council and title sponsors of the festival, Ulster Bank, to celebrate the start of 17 days and nights of festival fever across the city.

The Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen's is publicly funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, with Roisin McDonough, Arts Council Chief Executive, commenting: "The sense of anticipation is building around what is certain to be an outstanding year for the Festival.

"Over the coming weeks, local audiences of all ages and backgrounds will have an unparalleled opportunity to take in a wide range of arts and cultural events. The many thousands of tourists and visitors drawn to the biggest annual arts festival on this island will experience Northern Ireland at its most vibrant and creative."

From today until 30 October, events will unfold with over 100 events in over 36 venues, galleries, spaces and places right across the city.

For over 1,500 people the generosity of Ulster Bank through its Community Ticket and A Night For Belfast initiatives means they will experience some of the most impressive international and local performances for free.

Richard Donnan, Managing Director, Ulster Bank Retail Markets said: "As we embark on the 49th Festival, Ulster Bank is proud to be the title sponsor of what promises to be a thrilling fortnight.

"As the city of Belfast braces itself for 100 comedy, dance, drama, visual arts, music acts and exhibitions, we are delighted that both locals and visitors will have the opportunity to experience culture and arts of the highest standard."

New man at the Festival helm, Mark Prescott - fresh from his role as a leading cultural and arts figure in London - has arrived ready to embrace all the Festival has to offer.

Speaking at the Ulster Hall this morning Mark said: "It's very exciting for me, as the incoming festival director, to be able to watch the internationally acclaimed Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen's unfold.

"From drama to dance, music to visual arts, this promises to be another outstanding year in the history of the Festival."

For a full festival programme and to book tickets, go to www.belfastfestival.com or contact the festival box office Mon-Fri 9am-6pm and Sat 10am-2pm on 9097 1197.


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