Thursdays Come First in the Cathedral Quarter
Photos: BERNADETTE MCALLISTER
Weekends start even earlier in the Cathedral Quarter! The first Thursday of every month in Belfast’s celebrated cultural core is set to become the essential date in the city’s social calendar.
First Thursdays – which kicks off on Thursday 03 August – is a colourful initiative designed to showcase the very best of the city’s most famous quarter and what it has to offer for all. Over thirty organisations, venues, galleries, bars and businesses will be offering up something a little bit special throughout the day and evening.
Organisers promise locals and visitors alike the full exhilarating Cathedral Quarter experience, all in one day, with establishments opening a little longer, putting on something a little extra, showing something a little different.
There will be a street market, live music, street performers, exhibitions, area tours, children’s workshops and storytelling, free activities and special offers on food and drink around every corner, inside and out.
Paul McErlean, Chair of the Destination CQ BID behind First Thursdays says,
“This area is home to many of the city’s leading cultural venues, organisations and festivals as well as a vibrant mix of hospitality, business and public organisations. First Thursdays is an opportunity to see just how many fantastic activities are on offer here in just one day. It’s about moving from one place to another, from work to a restaurant, bar, gallery or gig, and all the characters you meet along the way.”
Appropriately, Inside Out is the name given to a terrific temporary window gallery project which will be launched on the day. Paul McErlean says,
“Artists have really shaped this part of the city and Inside Out will see artists collaborate with over twenty local businesses across the area to proudly display their work to the public in the windows of premises as varied as offices, shops and restaurants.”
Benen Dillon, artist and coordinator of Inside Out will give special guided tours as part of First Thursdays on 03 August.
“Not everyone may think to enter a gallery exhibition space during their normal day, so with Inside Out, the gallery comes to them, surprising the public with wonderful artworks in unusual venues. On the tour you can meet some of the artists and business owners who make the Cathedral Quarter what it is today and help us celebrate their continued contribution with an exhibition that lets you get to know the place, inside and out.”
First Thursday highlights for 03 August include (deep breath) the launch of Inside Out, interactive storytelling by Young at Art in venues across the quarter, an Outdoor Ceili, live music in every bar, great food and drink offers in top CQ restaurants and bars including bubbly in Malmaison, and gin night in Bullitt Hotel, there’s also a series of live performances across the Cathedral Quarter presented by Belfast Trad Summer School, exhilarating performance from Belfast Circus School, exhibitions with a difference in The MAC, Arts and Disability Forum, PS2 Gallery, Belfast Exposed, Cotton Court Studios and Ink Monkey Art, Artcetera and Fenderesky Galleries, special openings of Cathedral Quarter cultural organisations such of Discover Ulster Scots and NI War Memorial, tours of Belfast Street Art and St Anne’s Cathedral, a Kids Space in St Anne’s Square (adults beware), not to mention street performance and animation to illuminate and entertain in the spaces between.
First Thursdays kicks off at noon on Thursday 03 August in the Cathedral Quarter Belfast. For full programme details go to: firstthursdaysbelfast.com