Cities in action: 'Arrivals', an intercultural theatre project in Belfast

  • culture

In our new case study, we look at the ‘Arrivals’ trilogy, a theatre project in Belfast that highlights the experiences of migrants in the city.

The trilogy is coordinated by Terra Nova Productions and supported by Belfast city council. It brings actors from different backgrounds on stage to explore what happens when people from Northern Ireland interact with those who were not born and raised there.

The project originated from the recognition that Northern Ireland’s main theatre stages did not reflect the diversity of the population. Terra Nova, as a young and relatively new theatre company, felt it was in a good position to change this, and so the ‘Arrivals’ trilogy was born.

The trilogy culminates in ‘Arrivals 3D’, an innovative and interactive piece of theatre, designed for audiences of 20-25 people. The story is acted out in the room with the audience, rather than on stage, and at the end the audience participates in a discussions hosted by an intercultural facilitator.

The other two parts of Arrivals consisted of a series of workshops, and engaging actors and writers to put together a theatre production that went on to tour Northern Ireland. The project has proven to be a success, attracting around 1,200 to the theatre performances and engaging around 400 people in the workshops. So much so, that the theatre company has been allocated a grant by the city council and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland to write and stage an intercultural performance of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

Terra Nova engaged a wide range of partners to make Arrivals a success. They include cultural and community organisations that offered advice and expertise, a children’s charity which helped make childcare arrangements to allow people to take part, and Libraries NI, which provided meeting space, marketing support and research material.

To find out more about Arrivals, please see our new case study here