The Titanic Belfast Festival, running in Northern Ireland’s capital city from March 31 to April 22, features a phenomenal series of ‘spectaculars’ backed up by a stunning programme of over 120 Titanic-related film, theatre and music shows, as well as a massive range of exhibitions, artefacts, tours, fun events, children’s activities, talks and debates all over Titanic Town – many of them free of charge.
The festival will include the opening of the world’s largest Titanic attraction – Titanic Belfast.
This event alone has sparked massive interest around the globe, with 80,000 tickets pre-booked already.
Northern Ireland’s newest visitor attraction is housed in an iconic, six-storey building in the heart of Belfast and at the head of the slipways where Titanic was launched. It is exactly the same height as the Titanic.
Employing interactive technology and special effects over nine viewing galleries, the state-of-the-art visitor experience tells the Titanic story from her conception in Belfast in the early 1900s, through her construction and launch, to her famous maiden voyage and subsequent place in history.
Titanic Belfast will open on March 31 with the Titanic Belfast Festival immediately kicking in.
The festival will include the world´s biggest digital light event, the Titanic Light Show (April 7), that will showcase the iconic new attraction in a creative visual display over the Easter holiday weekend.
It will be followed by three nights (April 9-11) of interactive installations accompanied by reactive visuals that will mutate and transform the incredible Titanic Belfast building into a stunning musical artwork.
The Easter holiday weekend will also welcome the Circuit of Ireland 2012 to the Titanic Quarter. April 6th will see thousands of spectators line the streets for an adrenaline-filled rally just yards from the Titanic Slipways guaranteeing spectacular viewing.
MTV, fresh from bringing Belfast ‘the biggest party in the world’ with the European Music Awards in November 2011, will then return to the city for another blistering night of ‘Titanic Sounds’ on the Titanic Slipways (April 13).
On April 14, 2012, the 100th anniversary of the night Titanic struck the iceberg, Belfast’s Waterfront Hall will host Titanic: A Commemoration in Music and Film.
The BBC will broadcast this event live, and performers include the legendary Bryan Ferry, Grammy award-winning Joss Stone, and acclaimed English tenor Alfie Boe.
A new memorial garden around the existing Titanic Memorial sculpture on the east side of Belfast City Hall will be also unveiled on April 15. This is the only memorial in the world to name all who were lost on Titanic and will include performances from Belfast Youth Orchestra and the Harlandic and Queens Island Victoria Male voice choirs.
April 22 will see the launch of a new and specially-commissioned play by Northern Ireland’s premier playwright Owen McCafferty.
Its stage will be the vibrant and newly opened MAC (Metropolitan Arts Centre) in the city’s Cathedral Quarter. An emotive courtroom drama full of intrigue, bravery and human frailty, Titanic (Scenes from the British Wreck Commissioner’s Inquiry, 1912) is guaranteed to be a sell-out. It will run until May 20.
Elsewhere, Belfast Operatic Company returns to the Grand Opera House with the Tony-award-winning Titanic: the Musical (April 10-14), a unique stage re-creation of the tragic sinking of the Titanic.
Its final gala performance on April 14 sets a theatre precedent by having its curtain up at 11.40pm, exactly 100 years after the ‘unsinkable’ ship hit the iceberg that was to seal its tragic fate.
Belfast`s Lord Mayor, Councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile, has praised the festival for its appeal in attracting visitors from all over the world.
"This is such an exciting time for our city and this festival reflects the incredible interest in Titanic,” he said. “While commemorating the past, we are also ensuring that the legacy of this important part of our history is celebrated as an investment in our future. Belfast has already proven its ability to host world-class events – and this festival will enhance that reputation even further.”
The Titanic Belfast Festival is the high point of the ship’s centenary celebrations in her home city, but there are many, many more Titanic events taking place in Belfast throughout 2012, including the a new play by Martin Lynch in the Grand Opera House in August and Titanic Proms in September.
The Titanic Lockdown Festival, a brand new boutique festival showcasing music, art and urban sports, will take place under the iconic Samson and Goliath cranes in the Harland & Wolff Shipyard in Titanic Quarter from June 1 to 2. U.K. band Happy Mondays have been confirmed as one of the headline acts.
There is even a Belfast Titanic Triathlon (July 1), offering both sprint and standard distance races on closed roads through the heart of Belfast and taking in many of Titanic’s iconic sights.