It’s always a pleasure to welcome a new Belfast Children’s Festival programme. Each year, this remarkable event brings our younger audiences and their families amazing creative experiences that will inspire, delight and live with them long into the future.

As one of the leading children’s arts festivals on these islands, it attracts the best acts from around the world. This year, we look forward to a strong Dutch contingent appearing alongside the best of our homegrown talent, including the always excellent Replay Theatre Company, celebrated dancer Helen Hall and a former Children’s Writing Fellow for Northern Ireland, Máire Zepf. These artists will introduce audiences to the stories of the lives of people from other countries and other cultures, helping to awaken children’s curiosity about the world around themselves.

The Arts Council supports the annual Belfast Children’s Festival, as well as Young at Art’s activities throughout the year, through a mix of Government and National Lottery funding. As the National Lottery celebrates its 25th birthday this year, I would take this opportunity to acknowledge the invaluable role that the Lottery plays in enabling arts organisations throughout Northern Ireland to deliver enriching arts and cultural experiences for everyone to enjoy. 

With the help of this investment, Young at Art continues to achieve great, ambitious things, as it enables young people to enjoy the very best of the arts and explore their creative potential to the full.’

Roisín McDonough, Chief Executive, Arts Council of Northern Ireland