Duncairn Culture and Arts centre opens its doors

By Evan Short

BY Evan Short

The £3.5 million Duncairn Centre for Culture and Arts was officially opened this week on the Antrim Road with four days of events arranged to herald its arrival.

The former Presbyterian Church has been restored to create an arts space for the North Belfast community that has been hailed as one of the most significant developments in the cultural arena across Ireland in the last decade.

With a 170 seat theatre and performance space, conference facilities, artist studios, exhibition area and café, the 174 Trust, that are behind the development, say they are confident it will provide a platform to develop arts and culture for all members of the North Belfast community.

Trust director Rev Bill Shaw said a lot of work had gone into the centre over the last decade but that it had all been worthwhile.

“It has been 13 years in the making and it’s thrilling to see the final result. We have what we believe to be a beautiful and world class venue and we are extremely excited by the prospect of bringing some of the world’s finest artists, musicians and actors here to North Belfast.”

For more than 30 years the 174 Trust has been to the forefront of building community relations across the north of the city and with the opening of the new centre it aims to create a shared cultural hub to encourage and develop community cohesion through creativity and engagement with the arts.

The ribbon was cut by Lord Mayor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir who praised the work of the Trust and said the centre was destined for great things.

“Duncairn Cultural Centre is an outstanding and visionary initiative which could take its place among the great cultural and community hubs of Europe.

“It embodies the best of many traditions, combining the generosity and imagination of the Christian faith with the majesty and wonder of Irish arts, dance and music. Its breathtaking architecture and fabulous rose window will inspire and surprise visitors,” he said.

For more details on the four-day opening festival visit www.theduncairn.com.

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