When I hear the word ‘festival’ my eyes light up like a kid at Christmas. At 24, I’m already a bit of a festival veteran; music, books, art, beer, food, you name it, I’ll most likely be in the thick of it. Unsurprisingly, I’ve been really looking forward to this year’s Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival which opened on Thursday night and continues on to Sunday 11th May. Starting small and now in its 15th year, the festival has grown from strength to strength and judging by this year’s line up is set to be bigger and better than ever. From music to comedy to literature and theatre, it provides a cultural platform in Belfast for local, global and future talent to dazzle in the city’s bustling yet most intimate spaces.
In an unusual stroke of luck, I managed to score some last minute tickets last night to one of CQAF’s events through entering a competition on their Facebook page. (Thanks for the free entry, guys!)
The Tale of the Ancient Lights is described as a 45 minute performance piece by RIUCHI which “combines circus, dance and magic on a modern journey through an ancient Asian legend”. I know, you’re thinking what on earth does that mean? Well, so was I to be honest, but as it was being held in one of my favourite new spaces in Belfast (The MAC) and I had free tickets and it was a bank holiday weekend, intrigue got the better of me and I thought, why not?!
No photography was allowed during the performance, but here’s a short taster of what I experienced:
RUICHI’s performance was completely as advertised: magical, mesmerizing and inspiring, as evident from the sea of smiling faces flooding out of the dark room after the show. It’s difficult to explain what exactly I saw, but it seemed that the point of the performance was more about inspiring feelings and imagination than about ‘entertaining’. The clever use of fluid movement, lights and sound (rather than words) worked impressively to tell this mythical story through a less conventional medium, and had the entire audience captivated from beginning to end. Being an English graduate, using perception and attempting to read between the lines is somewhat of a knee-jerk reaction to me, and the performance sent my imagination into delightful overdrive, providing a lot of interesting conversation for some post-show drinks in The Dirty Onion… which then led on to some beers and beats in The Parlour Bar.
I’m planning to attend some more events at this year’s Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival (see here for the list of events/venues) but for now here’s to another random yet crazy good evening back in Belfast – and to Mondays off work!
Lots of Love, K.