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BELMONT ROAD UNVEILS NEW MARKETING APPROACH AND WEBSITE

BELMONT ROAD UNVEILS NEW MARKETING APPROACH AND WEBSITE

The Strandtown Traders Association has launched a brand new website (www.belmontroadbelfast.com) for the Belmont Road Village area, along with a new proactive marketing approach aimed at promoting the area. This initiative, part-funded by Belfast City Council, is also geared towards increasing visitor numbers and its overall profile.

Coordinated by The Strandtown Traders Association, the new website puts the spotlight on Belmont Road as an area for everything from shopping, services, leisure, community and food. It allows for the group to showcase both the community feel and the quality and number of interesting independent shops. The group will also be more proactive with its marketing through creating new community-focused events and advertising; ensuring everyone keeps up to date with what is going on and ultimately get involved.

Kieran Hill, independent retailer and Strandtown Traders Association representative, said:

www.belmontroadbelfast.com
(L-R) Barry Heaton Head Chef Canteen Kitchen Cafe; Kieran Hill, Strandtown Traders Assoc. (STA); STA Acting Treasurer David McCrea &Lynsey Bennett, The Secret Day Spaill, independent retailer and Strandtown Traders Association representative, said:

“Belmont Road is strong in independent shops, cafes and restaurants.  Visitors love this and the new brand puts the focus on our variety shops and services.  A lot of cities would envy the Belmont Road Village’s community feel, that its high street isn’t a cookie-cutter row of the same shops, and that it’s a modern area with a lot of history mixed in.

“Our new website and marketing approach for the area is all about letting the rest of the Belfast and further afield know, clearly and confidently, that there’s nowhere like the Belmont Road.

“Too many people miss the Belmont Road on their way to somewhere else.  Or they’re just passing through.  This new identity is for them.  We want them to stop, to know where we are on the map and to head here first.  We want to show them what a special place this is.”

For the past number of years, Belfast City Council has funded the delivery of area-based activities aimed at supporting local neighbourhood-based retail hubs.  Activities to date have primarily focused upon increasing footfall within targeted areas and have been developed by business associations with a specific geographical focus. Strandtown Traders Association was one of seven associations that took part in this most recent project to provide mentoring support in the development of marketing and promotional plans, with the aim to increase awareness and business development for the local area.

Councillor Aileen Graham, Chair of Belfast City Council’s City Growth and Regeneration Committee, said: “The Council is committed to supporting our independent retailers and traders associations which are the backbone of our local economy.

“Indeed neighbourhood-based retail plays a vital role in sustaining and creating jobs while also providing valuable local services which improve community cohesion and wellbeing.

“A number of business associations from across Belfast including Strandtown Traders Association have received funding support from Council for a range of promotional and marketing activities this year aimed at increasing footfall and sales within their catchment areas. These include the Christmas period and other seasonal events.

“This new website by Strandtown Traders Association is another key project now which will put the Belmont Road on the map by showcasing the area as a fantastic place to shop, eat-out or simply visit!”

The Belmont Road is also gearing up to showcase its very first fashion show in September, followed by its first ever food tour of the area in October to mark Belfast Restaurant Week. More information on these events can be found of the new website and via their social media channels.

To check out the new website please log on to www.belmontroadbelfast.com. For more information on Belfast City Council’s support for local businesses, visit the council website at www.belfastcity.gov.uk/businessinfo

MICHAEL COLLINS BROUGHT TO LIFE AT THE MAC

MICHAEL COLLINS BROUGHT TO LIFE AT THE MAC

actor-dominic-mchale-as-michael-collins-on-stage-in-the-great-arrangement-pic-2From the 22-24 September, the MAC will transport audiences to pre-treaty Ireland as the forging of a nation is retold from the perspective of Michael Collins, as his romance blossoms with the woman who became his fiancé, Kitty Kiernan.

In a post-Brexit Northern Ireland, where the question of borders is ever-more prevalent, this is certainly a play for today.  The action takes place in a country in turmoil, as Collins and the Irish delegation negotiate what would become the Anglo Ireland Treaty of 1921, a treaty that would shape the future of 20th century Ireland.

Patrick Talbot’s play, A Great Arrangement, which he also directs, opened this week in Dublin, and comes to the MAC in Belfast for just three nights.  The show has been celebrated for its historical accuracy, while drawing on the illuminating love letters between Collins and Kiernan, alongside Collins’ inspirational speeches, and newspaper reports from the time. It is packed full of drama and judging by the audience response so far, Belfast audiences will not be disappointed.

Actor Dominic McHale rises to the challenge of reprising the formidable Michael Collins, bringing to the stage an impassioned performance with intensity, vigour and power. While Irene Kelleher portrays the love of his life, Kitty, in a show full of drama, rich history and emotion.

Writer and Director Patrick Talbot says: “I was interested in presenting a fresh perspective on Collins. Traditionally he is presented as the soldier and the man of action but in this play I focus on Collins the political leader and budding statesman, but also the young man falling very much in love and imagining what it might be like to have a somewhat normal settled existence, something that eluded him for all of his short adult life.’   

In preparation for bringing these characters to life on the stage, the cast visited Béal na Bláth, the site of the ambush where Michael Collins was killed by anti-Treaty forces.

“That was an incredibly powerful and poignant visit. It really helped us both to establish a connection with the lives of both Michael (Collins) and Kitty (Kiernan),” explained Dominic McHale who plays the lead role.

“What I find particularly moving about the Kiernan-Collins relationship is that amid incredible pressure, essentially carrying the weight of a nation, both found the time to write these endearing and revealing letters to one another providing comfort and support to the other.

“While obviously it was a very testing time, there are moments of humour and light too, like Kitty reminding Collins to go to Mass.  They could perhaps be described as Ireland’s first power couple,” added Kelleher.

Witness Collins as you’ve never seen him portrayed before – with words of uncertainty, fear for the future and talk of daily life and love.

A Great Arrangement is playing the MAC in Belfast from 22-24 September, the only dates in Northern Ireland. For more information or to book your tickets, visit themaclive.com or call the MAC on (028) 9023 5053.

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

  • Writer/Director – Patrick Talbot: Patrick Talbot is the adaptor / director of the critically acclaimed ‘God Bless the Child”, based on stories by Frank O’Connor, which toured Ireland in 2015 and 2016, including visits to the Gaiety Theatre Dublin, the Cork Opera House and the Lyric Theatre Belfast. He was Artistic Director/CEO of The Everyman Cork between 2001 and 2011.