MAC Set For Official Opening Tonight

Another symbol of progress and an important asset to our cultural infrastructure is ready to open its doors to the public.

When the state of the art MAC (Metropolitan Arts Centre) officially opens this evening (19 April 2012), local people will be treated to a world class programme ranging from blockbuster events and exhibitions to challenging, experimental new works as well as the very best in home-grown arts and culture.

The Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure, Carál Ní Chuilín, the Minister for Social Development, Nelson McCausland and the Chairman of the Arts Council, Bob Collins will attend the official opening.

Carál Ní Chuilin said: "This is an impressive venue and a focal point for the arts in the Cathedral Quarter which stands proud among the north’s cultural offering.

"Our arts infrastructure has enjoyed unprecedented investment over the last number of years and The MAC will complement recent flagship projects such as Titanic Belfast, the Lyric Theatre and the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast and The Playhouse and Waterside Theatres in Derry.

"Investment in the arts is a key economic driver which makes an important contribution to our society and leaves a legacy for generations.

"What we see here in The MAC is a tremendous achievement and a culmination of a lot of hard work. It is another prime example of how the Executive is building a better future for all of us. Congratulations to all concerned."

Nelson McCausland MLA, Social Development Minister said: "This exemplar building for the performing and visual arts will I believe grow into one of the jewels in the Cathedral Quarter. The MAC is a hallmark example of a successful regeneration project delivered by a comprehensive and integrated approach by government and the arts and culture sectors working together in partnership.

"Flagship projects such as The MAC can act as an inspiration and a catalyst to all our people to embrace Cathedral Quarter as a location to reflect the rich and varied cultural diversity of all sections of our community."

Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development at the Arts Council said: "The MAC is a stunning new building with a world-class range of facilities – fabulous theatres, an international-quality arts gallery and inspiring performance spaces. It is a wonderful new home for the arts in the heart of Belfast and its opening programme will be a major attraction to locals, visitors and tourists alike; bringing great art within the reach of all.

"Without doubt, this amazing venue will help drive the night time economy and add value to the cultural tourism offering so important to Belfast at this time. The Arts council is delighted to have played its part as a significant investor. Indeed The MAC is a testament to the ability that public funding has to transform our economy and impart positive, creative energy within our society".

Len O'Hagan, Chair of The MAC Board of Directors said: "The MAC is an excellent example of devolved Government working in partnership with the private sector. A world class venue in the heart of our city which makes visual art, theatre, dance and cultural activities accessible to all can act as a catalyst for our economic regeneration, tourism and will be a hub to nurture creativity.

"We have an exciting opportunity ahead putting Belfast and Northern Ireland very clearly on the worldwide agenda for 2012 and beyond.

"The MAC brings a unique offering to the table and will without doubt deliver real, quantifiable economic benefits for Northern Ireland on an international stage."


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