Girls jumping in air; large orange Y, giant character & large buildings in background.
On the back of a 2-year hiatus for live events, Belfast Children’s Festival 2022 is returning with a line up of gigantic proportions.

From contemporary dance ‘MORF’, creating the magical out of the everyday, to theatre performances of ‘A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings’,  incorporating magical realism, and ‘Birdboy’, celebrating the power of imagination, offering a vision of hope and connection.  A newly commissioned opera ‘Nobody, Somebody’ will focus on real issues of homelessness and mental health and ‘Touch’ a new exhibition created by local children will explore the impact of social distancing during lockdown, reflecting on and creatively responding to the pandemic impact.  International performances will return to this year’s festival with ‘Do As I Say’ from Sweden, a dance performance exploring issues of bullying and authority, and ‘No Man is an Island’ from the Netherlands which brings connection, cooperation, communication and creativity together, collectively making sure that the line-up for Belfast Children’s Festival 2022 is combining reality with the magic of escapism.

Welcoming the return of the festival face-to-face, Young at Art Director, Eibhlín De Barra said:

We are delighted to be back! 2 years after our last live and ‘in person’ festival, it is really exciting to be welcoming young audiences back to Belfast for this year’s Festival, one of the largest in Ireland.  We’ve missed seeing everyone ‘in person’ so much and are so excited by the prospect of giggles of delight, gasps of surprise and seeing smiley faces at our shows again!

This year’s Belfast Children’s Festival aims to inspire GIANT IMAGINATIONS, young and old, with many BCF22 events having a GIANT theme, reflecting the desire to have GINORMOUS fun together again! We very much hope restrictions allow us to gather again in a GIANT way, and we will make sure everyone is safe, but if we can’t gather in a way that’s as giant as we would like, be assured that the Festival remains packed with fun-filled performances, events and experiences for all the family, including a digital programme of performances for everyone to enjoy at home!

 
In addition, the 2022 programme will feature a new production from Replay Theatre Company ‘Harbour’ An enchanting multi-sensory baby opera, where parents and little ones can discover this strange new world together.   Festival favourites will return including the ‘Giant Family Day Out’ at Cathedral Quarter, ‘Acoustic Picnic’ and ‘Baby Rave’, for all of the little dancers and big dancers too! Belfast Children’s Festival 2022 is supported by Tourism Northern Ireland.

Eibhlín continued:

The Belfast Children’s Festival is not just for the young, but also the young at heart. At Young at Art, we strongly believe great arts experiences are for everyone, so whether you’re 8 weeks old or 108 years old, this years event will provide an opportunity for you to have gigantic festival fun!”

Roisín McDonough, Chief Executive, Arts Council of Northern Ireland said:

The Belfast Children’s Festival is always one of the highlights of the arts year for young people and their families. People trust it to provide them with the very best arts experiences available home and abroad, and the festival’s international standing ensures that this is indeed the case, year after year. The acts and the performers are hand-picked, carefully selected to ensure that you, the young audiences, will come away inspired, motivated, hopefully even a little awed, by what you have seen. This is so important, because, for many, this may be your first real opportunity to engage with professional arts. The experience should be exceptional, it should be memorable, it should be fun – and it will be!

As principal funder, through our National Lottery funds, the Arts Council is proud to support Young at Art and the Belfast Children’s Festival as it continues to create opportunities for children and young people of all abilities, from all backgrounds and circumstances, to access and participate in great art. This is an investment in our children’s creative potential and in their fundamental right, as children, to enjoy fulfilling creative lives.”

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Kate Nicholl welcomed the launch of the Festival, adding;

We’re delighted to continue our support for Young at Art’s annual Belfast Children’s Festival - one of the four major annual events funded by our Cultural Multi-Annual grants and one that plays a vital role in delivering our 10-year cultural strategy, A City Imagining.” said Councillor Nicholl.

Children’s wellbeing and mental health is one of my areas of key focus for my year in office, so I really appreciate this festival, which highlights the positive impact that arts and cultural activities can have on children’s and families’ wellbeing. This year’s wonderfully eclectic programme incorporates dance, art, film, music, visual art, literature, workshops and industry talks and it has the benefit of being wide-reaching, so it can touch the lives of young people both near and far.”

View our brochure at BCF22.