The normal Belfast Culture Night extravaganza may not be packing the city’s streets this year but six hours of the best of the arts will be broadcast across multiple channels tomorrow (Friday 18).

Rising to the challenges of these unprecedented times Culture Night Belfast is determined to keep the show on the road.

Streaming across a number of virtual platforms, Culture Night Online 2020 aims to be accessible to those who would attend in-person each year as well as those who have yet to experience the best of Northern Ireland’s arts and culture scene.

Susan Picken, Director of Cathedral Quarter Trust (the charity behind Culture Night Belfast) said that the 2020 programme will be a spectacular online display of talent.

Susan urged those going online on Friday to remember the difficult times the arts are going through.

She said: “Culture Night Belfast was originally started over twelve years ago to support and promote arts and culture in the Cathedral Quarter. Without the talent and dedication of our local arts community, Culture Night Belfast wouldn’t exist and we want to do everything we can to support them at this difficult time.

“Each year tens of thousands of us go out and enjoy, for free, the unique experience that Culture Night Belfast offers. All we are asking is that you enjoy our online programme this year in the comfort of your own home and donate the price of a pint (or maybe two!) to support the amazing artists, performers and venues who have made Culture Night Belfast into one of the best-loved nights of the year.

“A number of cultural and creative charities have been chosen who will be the beneficiaries of all donations made. These include charities who work to support those in the arts, culture and creative sectors as well as key local institutions including St Anne’s Cathedral and The MAC.

“The charities selected are Help Musicians NI and Theatre and Dance NI – Membership Assistance Programme, Music Venues Trust and theTheatre Artists’ Fund.”

This year’s core programme of commissioned pieces will see venues such as Belfast Cathedral, the Black Box, the Oh Yeah Centre and The MAC act as the backdrop to what is set to be an exciting evening of entertainment.

This will also include a specially commissioned piece by filmmaker Will McConnell called We’re Still Here.

The six hours of arts programming will be on: YouTube live; Facebook Live; Twitch; Twitter via Periscope; Instagram Live; and, on NVTV (Freeview 7 (greater Belfast) and Virgin Media 159 (across Northern Ireland), programming also available for download at nvtv.co.uk.

Simon Wood, NVTV Chairperson said the station was committed to supporting the arts in any way it can.

He added: “Northern Visions is delighted to support the many artists, musicians and creators who have come together to ensure that Culture Night 2020 can be celebrated in these challenging times. There will be a dedicated broadcast on NVTV throughout the day and night”.

“Community arts has been at the core of Northern Visions work since it was established in 1986.

“Northern Ireland’s community artists are amazingly resilient, we’ve seen it all, the recession and inflation of the 80s, boom and bust in the 1990s, the financial crisis of 2008 and years of austerity. As we look to recover from the ravages of Covid-19 and how we might build back better, let’s ensure that this time, the most vulnerable in our society, those in our poorer neighbourhoods, are truly able to access the arts and participate in enhancing the innovation and creativity which will drive the recovery”.

This year’s Culture Night Belfast Online programme has been supported by the Arts Council NI, Belfast City Council, Department for Communities and Belfast Harbour.

For more information on this year’s programme or to donate go to culturenightbelfast.com or follow #CNB20 #CNBonline on social media.

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