Blog : Arts

MAC TAKES THE REINS OF THE CAFÉ/BAR  MARKING A NEW CHAPTER

MAC TAKES THE REINS OF THE CAFÉ/BAR MARKING A NEW CHAPTER

This month marks a new chapter for the MAC, Belfast’s leading cultural venue, as it officially opens its all-new café/bar to be operated independently, as part of its current four-step corporate strategy. This latest development has also enabled the creation of 19 additional hospitality roles within the business.

Previously managed by third-party contractors, this is the first time since the MAC’s inception in 2012 that the café/bar area will provide a direct revenue stream for the organisation and will be managed by its newly appointed hospitality team, including Head Chef, Terry Quinn and Owen Ferguson as Café/Bar and Hospitality Manager.

Bringing years of culinary experience to the MAC, Head Chef Terry will be launching a completely new menu to refresh the café bar offer. From the introduction of breakfast serving from 8.30am, to a new children’s menu and pre-theatre sharing platters, there will be something for the broad range of visitors that the MAC attracts. Plus, the MAC has launched a new wine list supplied by Direct Wine Shipments and launched a new smartphone interval drinks order system so that theatre goers can place their interval order with the greatest of ease, avoiding the usual queue.

The new café/bar also complements the MAC’s other commercial activities, such as the roll out of its innovative Luminaire Club, that transforms the theatre space into an intimate jazz-club experience complete with table service. This new experience gives the MAC the added flexibility to create event-specific promotions such as a Mother’s Day Brunch on the 31st March. Owen is confident that the he can build upon the visitor experience by further moving the MAC’s hospitality offering beyond the traditional theatre-style service.

Anne McReynolds, MAC Chief Executive said: “Taking our café bar in-house is a big move for us, not least in doubling the size of our current staff team, but it presents a huge opportunity for the organisation.  From a customer care point of view, we want to get closer to our customers – offering them eating and drinking experiences that better complement their whole MAC experience – whilst also making sure that the first person you meet in the MAC is a welcoming and informed member of our team, which is very important to us.

“Some people might ask, why now? Not many people may know that the MAC is a charity and just like every other charity, we must work hard to raise the money needed to survive and grow in the long term. This is a very positive and significant step for the MAC, as we are acutely aware that we need to keep making strides towards a sustainable model that not only involves public funding but continues to maximise the ways in which we can increase self-generated income.”

The MAC’s café/bar is open daily from 8.30am until late. Breakfast is served from 8:30am – 12 noon, and last orders for lunch are at 4pm. The bar is open late on show nights and from 30 March, the MAC will also be serving its new pre-theatre sharing plates to enjoy before the show.

For more information and to view the new menus please visit: https://themaclive.com/your-visit

‘BOUNCERS’ IS THE RAUCOUS NEW COMEDY AT THE MAC… JUST DON’T WEAR TRAINERS!

‘BOUNCERS’ IS THE RAUCOUS NEW COMEDY AT THE MAC… JUST DON’T WEAR TRAINERS!

This season’s offering at the MAC is already getting people talking, as John Godber’s hit play Bouncers comes to town for a three-week extended run. The show is a co-production between the MAC and Big Telly; starting on Saturday 30 March.

Set over the course of one night in a 1980s Belfast nightclub, giving it a distinctive Northern Irish flavour, Bouncers is a darkly funny play about the characters and shenanigans of an 80’s Belfast disco, as seen through the eyes of the club’s doormen.

Quick-witted and at times close to the bone, this rollercoaster of a play features four of Belfast’s finest comedic actors – Ciaran Nolan, Conor Grimes, Martin Maguire and Chris Robinson – who play all the parts. All the familiar characters from a typical night on the tiles make an appearance, from the cheesy DJ, to the kebab-shop proprietor and, of course, the foul-mouthed bouncers themselves.

As always with the MAC, you can expect something a little different, as all the action takes place within the exclusive Luminaire Club, transforming the theatre space into an intimate jazz-club experience complete with table service.

The MAC’s Creative Director, Simon Magill said: “Bouncers has been described as one of the funniest plays written in the last 40 years, but with the creative direction of Big Telly’s Zoe Seaton and experienced cast members like Conor Grimes, Ciaran Nolan, Marty Maguire and Chris Robinson, this promises to be a no-holds barred theatre experience.

It’s a play that is unapologetically provocative, remaining true to John Godber’s original script. However, we’ve relocated the action to a Belfast nightclub, with an evocative 80’s soundtrack that many people will relate to.

You’ll be immersed in the 80s vibe and enjoy the extra special experience of our Luminaire Club, where we’ve played with the flexibility of our theatre space creating something very special for audiences. With this intimate club setting serving as a backdrop, this fast-paced, rollercoaster of a show will have you laughing one minute, then questioning if attitudes have really changed since 80s Belfast.

The show will run from Saturday 30th March until Saturday 20th April, but with tickets set to sell out fast, book now to avoid disappointment! Avail of discount prices of up to 25% when you book multiple events in advance. This also applies to premium cabaret tickets which will allow for the full nightclub experience!

FESTIVE MISCHIEF AT THE MAC WITH ITS CHRISTMAS SHOW ‘THE ELVES AND THE SHOEMAKER’

FESTIVE MISCHIEF AT THE MAC WITH ITS CHRISTMAS SHOW ‘THE ELVES AND THE SHOEMAKER’

This Christmas, the MAC is delighted to announce it will once again be collaborating with award-winning children’s theatre company Cahoots NI for a magical production of the classic fairytale, The Elves and The Shoemaker.Treat the whole family by picking up the most flexible Family Saver ticket in town, valid Monday – Friday, save 10% when you purchase 4 or more tickets.

Based on the much-loved story by the Brothers Grimm, The Elves and The Shoemaker is the uplifting story of a kind-hearted tradesman who has fallen on hard times and is assisted by a mischievous band of nocturnal fairy folk. Suitable for all ages, audiences will need to keep their eyes peeled for some of the fairyland’s best-known characters who just might pop up to make it Belfast’s funniest, festive family show.

As ever with the MAC’s Christmas shows, expect a unique twist on the traditional fairytale format with a funny script co-written by Simon Magill and Stephen Beggs, under the direction of Paul Bosco Mc Eneaney, and an enchanting festive score from Garth McConaghie.

Simon Magill, Creative Director at the MAC has said, “Simply put, this year’s Christmas show promises to be absolutely spectacular. With the inimitable Sean Kearns as our eponymous shoemaker and some stellar performances from the likes of Clare Barrett and Jolene O’Hara, we’re really excited to revive this classic story for a modern family audience.”

Paul Bosco McEneaney adds: “We are very excited to be back at the MAC this Christmas after the huge success of Under the Hawthorn Tree in September. The Elves and the Shoemaker is packed with Cahoots NI’s signature magical touch and we cannot wait to welcome audiences into the Elfin world we have created!”

Local Newry man and former shining star of the Newpoint Players, Sean Kearns, will be in the lead as Stan, the kindly shoemaker. Over the years, Sean has appeared in big film productions like Angela’s Ashes and The Boxer, and has acted on London’s West End in crowd-pulling favourites like Billy Elliott and Wicked.

Rising talent, Emer McDaid from Warrenpoint, will also appear in the role of Stan’s landlady, Ms. Perkins. Having appeared in hit HBO fantasy drama, Game of Thrones, as well as on stage under the direction of Martin Lynch in We’ll Walk Hand in Hand, Emer is sure to shine this Christmas at the MAC’s heartwarming show.

The show will run from Tuesday 27th November until Saturday 6th January, but with tickets selling out fast, book now to avoid disappointment! Avail of discount prices when you purchase a Family Saver ticket, valid Monday to Friday, which will save you 10% when you purchase 4 tickets or more.

This has been the busiest year for school bookings, with schools making a visit to the MAC an annual Christmas tradition. MACtile Tours, the MAC’s award-winning initiative to make the theatre a more relaxing experience for children with Autism Sensory Disorders, continues to bring the magic of theatre to more and more audiences.

For more information about the show or to book tickets for your festive family trip to the MAC, visit themaclive.com

IRISH CHILDREN’S NOVEL UNDER THE HAWTHORN TREE ADAPTED ON STAGE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN IRELAND

IRISH CHILDREN’S NOVEL UNDER THE HAWTHORN TREE ADAPTED ON STAGE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN IRELAND

This Autumn, award-winning children’s theatre company Cahoots NI and the MAC present a new stage dramatisation of Under the Hawthorn Tree in association with National Museums Northern Ireland.

Based on the best-loved children’s book by award-winning author Marita Conlon-McKenna, published by The O’Brien Press, Dublin, the story follows the journey of the three O’Driscoll siblings. They set out on a journey during the Irish Potato Famine in Ireland, 1845. Eily, Michael and Peggy, try to find their aunts who they have only heard about in their mother’s stories.  Starving and faced with life in the workhouse, they fight for survival.

This remarkable story of endurance, in a defining moment of Irish history, is told like never before in a new play by Charles Way, directed by Paul Bosco McEneaney with a stirring live original score from Garth McConaghie.

Author Marita Conlon-McKenna said of the production, “I’m very excited about it being adapted for stage. I’m dying to see what Cahoots NI and the MAC do and I’m dying to see how children and adults react to it. I’m looking forward to seeing Eily, Michael and Peggy and my family on stage and all the different things they go through.  It’ll be very emotional.”

A modern classic for young readers, Under the Hawthorn Tree it is followed by sequels Wildflower Girl and Fields of Home.  Winner of numerous national and international awards, Under the Hawthorn Tree has sold into over a dozen different territories and languages all over the world and continues to be as popular as ever, 27 years after it was first published.

This much-loved Irish tale set to elicit nostalgia is perfect for all the family and suitable for children age 7+.

Marita Conlon-McKenna will visit local school children in Strabane on 19th June sharing exacts of the book.  St. Catherine’s Nursey and Primary School, where Martina was once a pupil, will host an afternoon of storytelling to children from various schools in the area including Bready Jubilee Primary School, St. Mary’s Primary School, Strabane Primary School and Strabane Academy.

This Autumn, award-winning children’s theatre company Cahoots NI and the MAC present a new stage adaptation of Under the Hawthorn Tree.

Based on the internationally acclaimed book by award-winning author Marita Conlon-McKenna and published by The O’Brien Press, Under the Hawthorn Tree follows the journey of three brave siblings as they fight for survival during the Potato Famine in Ireland, 1845.

When their father goes to find work and their mother leaves to find him, Eily, Michael and Peggy, starving and faced with the workhouse, embark on a treacherous journey to find the great aunts they have heard of only in stories.

This remarkable story of endurance, in a defining moment of Irish experience, is told like never before in a new play by Charles Way, directed by Paul Bosco McEneaney with a stirring live original score from Garth McConaghie.

Under the Hawthorn Tree will be at The MAC from 27th September – 7th October.

 

You can book early to receive the best prices or avail of great prices from the flexible Family Saver ticket, valid Monday to Friday, saving 10% when you purchase 4 or more tickets.

 

School Bookings

MAC school tickets are priced at only £8 per pupil. A special for every 10 tickets booked, the MAC give away the 11th ticket for free, making it even more affordable to bring a whole class. Under The Hawthorn Tree is perfect for families and children age 7+

Treat the whole family by picking up the most flexible Family Saver ticket in town, valid Monday – Friday, save 10% when you purchase 4 or more tickets.

School Bookings 
MAC school tickets are very good value, at only £8 per pupil. Plus, for every 10 tickets booked, we’ll give you an 11th free – making it more affordable to bring a whole class. To make an enquiry, simply email Melissa McMinn at the MAC

 Under The Hawthorn Tree is perfect for families and children age 7+

Treat the whole family by picking up the most flexible Family Saver ticket in town, valid Monday – Friday, save 10% when you purchase 4 or more tickets.

School Bookings 
MAC school tickets are very good value, at only £8 per pupil. Plus, for every 10 tickets booked, we’ll give you an 11th free – making it more affordable to bring a whole class. To make an enquiry, simply email Melissa McMinn at the MAC

 Under The Hawthorn Tree is perfect for families and children age 7+

Treat the whole family by picking up the most flexible Family Saver ticket in town, valid Monday – Friday, save 10% when you purchase 4 or more tickets.

School Bookings 
MAC school tickets are very good value, at only £8 per pupil. Plus, for every 10 tickets booked, we’ll give you an 11th free – making it more affordable to bring a whole class. To make an enquiry, simply email Melissa McMinn at the MAC

Under The Hawthorn Tree is perfect for families and children age 7+

Treat the whole family by picking up the most flexible Family Saver ticket in town, valid Monday – Friday, save 10% when you purchase 4 or more tickets.

School Bookings
MAC school tickets are very good value, at only £8 per pupil. Plus, for every 10 tickets booked, we’ll give you an 11th free – making it more affordable to bring a whole class. To make an enquiry, simply email Melissa McMinn at the MAC

For more information about the show or to book, visit themaclive.com.  Supported by National Lottery funding through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

To book tickets for the show please visit www.themaclive.com

THE ‘NATURE OF FORGETTING ‘ COMING TO THE MAC

THE ‘NATURE OF FORGETTING ‘ COMING TO THE MAC

Produced by Theatre Re, The Nature of Forgetting comes to the MAC Belfast for a limited run from 31 May – 3 June following a sell-out run at the 2017 London International Mime Festival.

The Nature of Forgetting is a powerful, explosive and joyous piece about what is left when memory and recollection are gone.  Featuring a multi-talented ensemble of actors, this show examines the fragile human condition of dementia, in a compelling, physical style embracing mime, theatre and live music.

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INVITATIONS ARE OUT FOR ABIGAIL’S PARTY AT THE MAC

INVITATIONS ARE OUT FOR ABIGAIL’S PARTY AT THE MAC

A revival of Mike Leigh’s acclaimed play, Abigail’s Party takes to the stage in the MAC Belfast in April. A biting, hilarious, disco-infused satire of British suburbia in the 70’s, this is one of the most iconic stage plays of the 20th century.

A new MAC production starring Belfast actress Roisin Gallagher as Beverly, Abigail’s Party will open for a three-week run from 14 April until 5 May 2018.

From a time when the height of urban sophistication was cheese and pineapple on a stick, served nonchalantly on a Lazy Susan, comes a tragi-comedy about social climbing, prejudice and fear of not doing ‘the done thing’.

The production is directed by Richard Croxford with an ensemble cast featuring Brigid Shine, Will Irvine, Craig Miller and Imogen Slaughter during a cocktail party which Beverly and her husband Laurence are hosting for their neighbours. The evening is fuelled by plenty of alcohol, an array of savoury bites and olives, and Donna Summer on the record player. But as prejudices are unmasked and tempers flare, Beverly’s perfectly planned evening unravels before her eyes.

The award-winning writer and director Mike Leigh called his play “both a celebration and a lamentation of how we are”, because this isn’t just a play about 1970s Britain, it’s a peek into the frustrations and struggles endured by everyone who has ever floundered and grasped their way through life.

Commenting on the production Simon Magill, Creative Director at the MAC, said: “We’re delighted to be producing Mike Leigh’s bitingly acerbic play at the MAC this spring, perhaps introducing to many that which is familiar to a whole generation of us, thanks, partly, to its legendary 1977 ‘Play for Today’ production on BBC1.”

Tickets for Abigail’s Party are now on-sale.

PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER SET TO PLAY WITH THE MINDS OF BELFAST AUDIENCES

PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER SET TO PLAY WITH THE MINDS OF BELFAST AUDIENCES

Up and coming theatre company, Vile Bodies, is bringing, ‘After the End’ by Dennis Kelly to the Lyric Theatre this February. This fast-paced thriller will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions, as you follow Mark and Louise, two colleagues who are sheltering from the fallout of a nuclear attack. Forced to spend two-weeks together in Mark’s bunker, tensions rise as they pick at each other’s insecurities in a fight for dominance.

Running from the 1st – 3rd February, the Vile Bodies production is a captivating two-hander, which has been brought up to date, tapping into the psyche of modern audiences. It simply demands to be seen.

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MAKE SOMEONE’S NEW YEAR SWEETER

MAKE SOMEONE’S NEW YEAR SWEETER

The Phoenix Sweetie Shop at the MAC, Belfast is now open and Phoenix Natural Gas has launched its Christmas competition that promises to help one little visitor say thank you to that someone special in their life that’s helped make it a little bit sweeter. 

As part of its sponsorship of the MAC’s Christmas show, Hansel & Gretel, the Phoenix Sweetie Shop will take centre stage on the ground floor of the arts venue. Over the next six weeks, the Phoenix Sweetie Shop is expected to attract close to 500 families who will interact, take photos and of course make lots of nominations.

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HANSEL AND GRETEL SET TO SWEETEN AUDIENCES  AT THE MAC THIS CHRISTMAS

HANSEL AND GRETEL SET TO SWEETEN AUDIENCES AT THE MAC THIS CHRISTMAS

Belfast’s award-winning arts venue, the MAC, is thrilled to announce that its 2017 Christmas show is Hansel & Gretel.

Running from 28 November to 7 January, this year’s festive show, proudly sponsored by Phoenix Natural Gas, is a modern take on the classic fairy tale.

Performed with enchanting staging, a local cast and an original acoustic score, the MAC’s own production of Hansel & Gretel will take audiences on a fun adventure where they will discover why friendship, laughter and family are essential for the perfect Christmas. Written by the MAC’s Creative Director Simon Magill and Author Stephen Beggs, audiences can expect many jokes, big songs and an all-important sweetie trail.

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UNCOVER THE SECRETS OF ADRIAN MOLE AT THE MAC

UNCOVER THE SECRETS OF ADRIAN MOLE AT THE MAC

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole (Aged 13 ¾), Sue Townsend’s best-selling novel, will take to the MAC stage in Belfast this September. Chronicling the life of Adrian Mole and his adolescent years in the 1980’s, this classic comedy is a nostalgic blast from the past jam-packed with fun and laughter.

The MAC is the first stop for the touring adaptation of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole (Aged 13 ¾) which is brought to life by Bruiser Theatre Company in their signature boisterous style at the MAC from 22 Sep – 7 Oct 2017, celebrating their 20th anniversary production.

Hilariously captured in Adrian’s secret diary the show charts the highs and lows of being a teenager during the Thatcher period including dealing with dysfunctional parents, the school bully and teenage crushes. Adrian’s troubles with spots, height and clothes still hold their relevance and will resonate with teenagers today.

Made up of an entirely local cast, Belfast actor Adam Dougal will take on the role as the infamous Adrian Mole and Colette Lennon, also from Belfast, portraying Adrian’s love interest Pandora. In fact, Adam and Colette will be celebrating the successful run of the production by getting married a week after the tour ends. The NI-based cast gives this much-loved story a new lease of life for today’s generation, making it a fun night out for those familiar with and new to Adrian Mole.

Simon Magill, Creative Director at the MAC, said: “Following the success of The Importance of Being Earnest earlier this year, we are delighted to host another vibrant production by Bruiser Theatre Company and to be the first stop on its tour. With an infectious musical score arranged by Musical Director Matthew Reeve, this hilarious adaptation by Bruiser in their signature style will bring Adrian’s story to life once more.”

Lisa May, Director at Bruiser Theatre Company, said: “As our 20th anniversary production, we’ll be giving Adrian the typical Bruiser treatment. We will be bringing our fast paced, and physical style to The MAC and beyond, throwing in an extra helping of 80s nostalgia on the way. Sue Townsend’s story perfectly encapsulates adolescent life in the 1980’s, encompassing all its ups and downs, with hilarious situations and issues that teens today will absolutely relate to.

Our fantastic all local cast will retell the hilarity of this cult classic to audiences that are familiar with Adrian, and to those who are meeting him for the first time.”

Tickets for The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole (Aged 13 ¾) are now on-sale at themaclive.com.

Supported by National Lottery funding through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.