Grand Opera House’s Summer Youth Project

This summer, for the first time, the Grand Opera House will present not one but two large-scale productions – Bugsy Malone and Miss Saigon® School Edition

Over 1,700 young people have taken part in the Grand Opera House’s Summer Youth Project since it began in 2011.  This summer, for the first time, the Grand Opera House will present not one but two large-scale productions – Bugsy Malone, starring 150 local 10-18 year olds, and Miss Saigon® School Edition, with a cast of 80 talented young people aged 16-18, supported by Phoenix Natural Gas and National Lottery funding through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Now in its ninth year, the Grand Opera House Summer Youth Production gives young aspiring singers, actors, and dancers the opportunity to perform in front of thousands of people on the iconic Grand Opera House stage, following in the footsteps of stars including Laurel and Hardy, Luciano Pavarotti and Darcey Bussell.

Ian Wilson, Chief Executive of the Grand Opera House, added, “Everyone at the Grand Opera House is extremely proud of the Summer Youth Productions. We look forward to staging the biggest and most ambitious productions ever in July and August.”

For tickets visit

John Hewitt International Summer School exhibition

Writer, broadcaster and photographer Malachi O’Doherty’s exhibition ‘India: Faces and Scenes’ features at this year’s John Hewitt International Summer School.

Writer, broadcaster and photographer Malachi O’Doherty’s exhibition ‘India: Faces and Scenes’ features at this year’s John Hewitt International Summer School which starts at Armagh’s Market Place Theatre & Arts Centre on Monday 22nd July 2019. This year’s week-long programme features up to 40 new events for thinkers of all ages in its biggest international focus yet.

Dr Malachi O’Doherty is a writer, broadcaster and photographer living in Belfast. He is a current recipient of a Major Artist award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland which funded his trip to India for research for another book and the photographs featured in this exhibition are a by-product of that research.

For times and tickets to all events, including a one-week pass, visit or phone 028 3752 1821.  For more information on all events and activities in Armagh this summer, visit

Hillsborough Castle and Gardens

It’s set to be a spectacular summer at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, County Down, with a series of exciting events and activities that will keep all the family entertained throughout July and August.

From hunting for mini-beasts in the stunning 100-acre gardens to family tours of the majestic State Rooms, there’s something for everyone!

Hillsborough Castle and Gardens has been completely transformed by independent charity Historic Royal Palaces after five years and a £24 million investment – supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and other generous donors. Greeting visitors upon arrival is a new visitor centre complete with café and shop. Meanwhile new access and learning facilities will host schools and community programmes reaching out to the widest possible audience.

Family tickets are available. Certain activities run on selected days. To book tickets and for more information on Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, visit Hillsborough Castle.

Mount Stewart Conversations Festival

The National Trust Mount Stewart team is announcing a partnership with Open House Festival, which will see Mount Stewart Conversations Festival 2019 headlined by Sky News Presenter, Mark Austin, on one of the two days of the Festival.

Mark will regale audiences with tales from his 35-year career, spanning warzones  and major sporting events including four Olympic Games and four World Cups.

Access to Mount Stewart will be free. The two day festival will take place 7 and 8 September 2019, which last year attracted over 6,000 attendees, and is supported by both Ards and North Down Borough Council and Tourism NI.

Visit to find out more.

As a conservation charity, the National Trust is bolstered by the support of volunteers. If you would like to volunteer, visit

Still Worlds Turning: New Short Fiction

‘Still Worlds Turning: New Short Fiction’ edited by Emma Warnock with an introduction by June Caldwell and published by No Alibis Press and the book was launched recently at No Alibis bookstore on Belfast’s Botanic Avenue. The publication gathers original stories from twenty award-winning and emerging writers from the UK, Ireland and beyond. This is not an anthology tied to one place, nor does it claim to be representative of a generation or define the contemporary moment. And yet, despite the plurality of voices collected here, recurring themes, explored in differing ways, suggest shared preoccupations of writers pushing the boundaries of the form.

‘Williams is a writer for whom one struggles to find comparison, because she has arrived in a class of her own.’ (The Guardian)

‘Here is a new writer working out what he can do, and realising that he can do anything.’ (Daily Telegraph on Sam Thompson’s Booker Longlisted Communion Town)

For more coverage have a look at our August issue, out soon.


The Great Belfast Tee Off

Belfast is putting itself on a par with The Open as City Hall gets on course to host The Great Belfast Tee Off.

Belfast City Council has teamed up with Belfast One and Tourism NI to transform the lawns of the city’s most iconic building into a putting green to celebrate the golf competition being hosted in Northern Ireland.

The Great Belfast Tee Off will get the ball rolling on Sunday 14 July and activities will run from 11am to 6pm daily, until the closing day of the major championship on Sunday 21 July.

The nine-hole crazy golf course will challenge people of all ages to navigate their way around some of the city’s most famous landmarks, including the Albert Clock, the famous H&W cranes, and Titanic Belfast.

During the week-long celebration, City Hall will be dressed to impress with golf banners and the building will be lit in blue and yellow on Sunday 21 July to mark the final day of the 148th Open.

For more information visit

Belfast Music Summer Season

Belfast is set to come alive with the sounds of summer thanks to a programme of live music performances in the heart of the city centre.

The Belfast Music Summer Season was officially launched by the city’s Deputy Lord Mayor Councillor Peter McReynolds today at Bank Square, at a new pop-up performance space that will host a number of events over the next two months.

Councillor McReynolds said: “Most of the performances are free and every musical taste will be catered for, as well as all ages, to reflect our vibrant and varied local music scene – so all you have to do is turn up and enjoy.”

The Summer Season will come to an end with an impressive Mix The City Live event at City Hall on September 20, as part of Belfast’s annual Culture Night.

Kwa Daniels, Belfast Music project manager, added: “All of the artists and performers are really excited about taking part, and it’s shaping up to be a great summer for music in Belfast.”

To find out more visit

‘Summer Rose Fair’ in Belfast

‘Summer Rose Fair’ comes to Belfast! Visit Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park this weekend and enjoy the beautiful roses on display as well as fabulous food, family fun and fashion.

The ‘Summer Rose Fair’ will take place on Friday 19, Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 July in the International Rose Garden with a panel of judges from around the world completing the judging of the prized blooms on display from rose breeders.

Event activities (yoga, crazy golf, a photography workshop, tea dance, market stalls, face-painting, puppet shows, bouncy castle fun, etc.) run on all days, but there will also be a Fashion Show of local designers and businesses with upcycled material creations, as well as music on Friday evening and to Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

Admission is free and there will be a free shuttle bus from City Hall grounds direct to Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park operating daily at 20 minute intervals from 12 noon until 5pm.

More information on ‘Summer Rose Fair’ is available at News-108023.aspx.

DergFest 2019 Line-up Unveiled

Chesney Hawkes

The countdown is now on to this year’s DergFest.

Excitement is building for the annual event which transforms the sleepy village of Castle Derg into a festival fit for royalty as thousands of people descend upon the castle grounds from Friday 26 – Sunday 28, July.

The festival, now in its sixth year, offers something for all musical tastes with an eclectic mix of acts over the three nights.

Back by overwhelming demand, following their sensational set last year, Australian DJ duo Teddy Cream will headline the opening night with its theme of Melbourne Bounce. The dynamic dance duo are joined on the bill by fellow Aussie DJs Rave Radio, a critically acclaimed electronic dance act who can count the likes of Martin Garrix, David Guetta and Hardwell as supporters and Sydney producers, Sunset Bros who have released a slew of remixes for acts including the Black Eyed Peas, Fedde Le Grand, Bob Sinclair and Cascada.

Mike Denver

Saturday night is Country Night with Irish singers Mike Denver and Johnny Brady at the wheel. Johnny Brady is one of the most distinctive voices in modern country music and always guarantees a good show having spent the last few years touring the UK and Ireland. Galway legend, Mike Denver has previously recorded with American music giant, George Jones, has a number one selling album under his belt and an Entertainer of the Year accolade.

For the finale on July 28 the one and only Chesney Hawkes will be taking to the stage to delight the crowd with a selection of songs from his six UK albums.


Joining the lineup for the Back to the 90s Night is multi-platinum selling band, Toploader. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the band’s hit album Onka’s Big Moka, featuring Dancing in the Moonlight and to celebrate the Eastbourne collective will release a new EP, Be Right Here later this year. Rock group Rough Justice will also be there with their collection of classic covers and originals while homegrown talent

Dave Doherty from the DergFest committee said: “This year’s DergFest is set to be bigger and better than ever. Each year more than 10,000 visitors descend to Castle Derg for the festival in what is a great boost to village morale and the local economy.

“We have a host of world-class acts joining us across the three nights and from pop, to dance, rock and country there really is something for everyone.”

Tickets are available via Eventbrite priced at £20-£30 or £52.50-£82.50 for a weekend pass, with VIP options available.

Open reception at Royal Portrush

The night of the 15th of July a reception was hosted by Royal Portrush Golf Club at The Open. For more coverage look into our August issue.

Lunn’s Opens New Rolex Store in Belfast

Lunn’s has opened a new Rolex store in Queen’s Arcade, Belfast.  The new store represents a major investment by Lunn’s, who last year completed work on a Rolex accredited workshop.  In addition to creating four new jobs the opening of the Rolex store is part of a wider £2.5m project by Lunn’s to restore Queen’s Arcade, Belfast’s last remaining Victorian shopping arcade.

The 70 square metre store which fronts onto Donegall Place, was designed to an exacting specification by the Rolex Design Team in Geneva.  It features marble flooring, striated limestone walls, walnut wood panelling and bespoke Rolex furniture.

The opening of the new store was planned to coincide with The 148th Open Championship being held this week at Royal Portrush.  Rolex is Patron and Official Timekeeper to The Open.

Richard de Leyser, Managing Director, Rolex UK, said: “We are proud to partner with Lunn’s which will further enhance the unrivalled service to our customers in Northern Ireland.”

Ideas on Belfast’s cultural future

A group of young bright sparks have been sharing their thoughts on Belfast City Council’s plans to develop a cultural strategy.

The Little Inventors took over the #BelfastImagining hub at the weekend as part of a series of events at the pop-up venue to bring people together to get creative on how to improve and harness the potential of Belfast’s vibrant and growing cultural scene.

Lord Mayor of Belfast Councillor John Finucane said: “We’ve been having conversations with the public on the development of the city’s cultural and creative offering since 2017 as part of an ongoing engagement programme, and those conversations helped to shape the draft cultural strategy.”

The weekend workshop was facilitated by Nerve Belfast and Urban Scale Interventions and saw the young people create their own unique digital designs before transforming them into physical artwork and stickers to be displayed inside the hub.

Find out more at