All systems go for new season at Down Arts Centre

All systems go for new season at Down Arts Centre

11 January 2012

A NEW year means a new season and a new-look Down Arts Centre for theatre and music lovers to enjoy.

The comprehensive extension and refurbishment programme is finally complete and following a number of festive events at last month’s annual Christkindl Festival, the centre is now ready to welcome visitors for a creative and cultural new year.

The Diaries of Adam and Eve, a witty and modern adaptation of Mark Twain’s affectionate satire, starts the live performance ball rolling on Sunday, January 22. This entertaining comedy drama asks how on earth romantic relationships ever work, starting at the very beginning with Adam and Eve meeting in the Garden of Eden.

Productions that follow include the warm but thought-provoking play by Kabosh Theatre Company, Hostel; a new play directed by Martin Lynch, Brothers in Arms, and in the centenary year of the sinking of the unsinkable ship, The Man Who Left the Titanic imagines what may have gone on in the mind of one survivor.

Music highlights include flute and guitar music from The Agnew McAllister Duo on Sunday, February 5, Blues with The Mary Ryan Blues Trio, Opera with The Magic Flute, and, for Saint Patrick’s Day, a performance of traditional Irish music with a twist from the five young sisters who make up Canadian band, Ashelin.

The live performance programme also includes something for comedy-goers. Ian Keable, recent winner of the prestigious Magic Circle Comedy Award, brings his show Funny Tricks to Down Arts Centre on Saturday, March 10, followed by Jake O’Kane’s Tear Gas Comedy Tour on Friday, March 16 — marking the start of the Saint Patrick Festival celebrations.

For visual art lovers, Down Arts Centre, which was supported in its recent £1.4m investment by Down Council, the Arts Council and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, now has a beautifully refurbished ‘white cube’ exhibition space.

The first exhibition of 2012 is About Faces, by Downpatrick-based photographer Bobbie Hanvey, which opens on Friday, January 20. Portraits of familiar faces such as Brian Friel, JP Donleavy and Seamus Heaney will sit beside formidable studies of local characters made day and daily over the decades of Bobbie’s life in Lecale.

Exhibitions by The Ards Arts Collective and painter Charles Walsh will follow.

Down Arts Centre’s busy programme of classes, workshops and talks will provide aspiring artists, dancers and musicians of all ages with the means and inspiration to tap into their creativity. In addition to classes in painting, textiles, woodcarving, guitar, jazz and contemporary dance, music theory and singing, the centre will host traditional music classes that offer participants the chance to play session music.

There will also be a series of one-day workshops in areas such as quilting, willow pea stands, flower arranging and silver jewellery making.

The Diaries of Adam and Eve, by Dyad Productions, starts at 3pm on Sunday, January 22. Tickets are available at £11/£9 concession.

For information about any of the above events, contact the box office on 028 4461 0747, or visit the Down Arts Centre website at