Fancy a night at the opera? Looking to watch a fun musical or play? Here are the top five places to see live theatre in Belfast!
It’s almost Christmas and, for many people, the best time to delve into the exciting world of live performance. What’s better than reuniting with old friends or family, enjoying a festive meal, and then letting yourself be swept away in a colourful array of live drama?
The theatre scene in Belfast is a city institution, but in recent years, exciting new venues have opened their doors in Northern Ireland’s capital, offering more varied options to suit any taste.
Whether you’re fancying some hard-hitting political commentary, an escapist pantomime, or a classic musical, you’re sure to find it here. Check out our list of the top five places to see live theatre in Belfast below.
5. Waterfront Hall – for a landmark entertainment venue
The landmark entertainment venue, Waterfront Hall is a multi-purpose centre that has been graced with the likes of Barack and Michelle Obama and other famous names since its opening in 1997. The annual snooker tournament, the Northern Ireland Open has also been held at the Waterfront since 2017.
However, it remains a bustling hub for live theatre in Belfast, with its 350 seated capacity studio facilitating regular operas, ballets, pantomimes, and musicals. This Christmas, the Waterfront Hall’s line-up includes family-friendly pantomime ‘The Frozen Princess’, sure to get theatre-lovers of all ages into the festive spirit.
Address: 2 Lanyon Pl, Belfast BT1 3WH
4. The MAC – for a range of arts performances
Situated in the beautiful St. Anne’s Square, the MAC (Metropolitan Arts Centre) prides itself in being Belfast’s home of international art exhibitions, but the live theatre here is not to be missed.
Showcasing regular arts performances from comedy to dance, this state-of-the-art theatre also facilitates a wide range of talks and workshops that are open to the general public.
Things are getting particularly festive here this December with the showcasing of local comedy ‘Deck the Falls’ and fun-filled family version of the festive fable, ‘A Christmas Carol’. Make sure to book early to avoid disappointment and guarantee some festive feels.
Address: 10 Exchange St, West, Belfast BT1 2NJ
3. Accidental Theatre – for comedy and improv
The most recent arrival to Belfast’s theatre scene, the Accidental Theatre answered demands for a more alternative and laid back approach to live performance art in the North’s capital. Located in the city’s leafy Queen’s Quarter, this venue offers some of the best comedy around from up-and-coming names, as well as a range of film showings.
A highlight here is the ‘Sunday Improv’, which occurs weekly. Comedic improvisers put together scenes, songs and stories from audience suggestions, making for an interactive and unforgettable evening for all.
Address: 12-13 Shaftesbury Square, Belfast BT2 7DB
2. Lyric Theatre – for an award-winning theatre
The award-winning Lyric Theatre is the only full-time producing theatre in Northern Ireland. The venue was regenerated and re-opened in 2011 with the help of a £1 million donation from a local businessman, the largest donation in Northern Ireland arts history.
The new facility is almost three times bigger than the previous building and holds the title of the largest employer of actors and other theatre professionals in the region. It holds regular pantomimes and classic stage plays all year round, remaining one of the top places to see live theatre in Belfast.
Address: 55 Ridgeway St, Belfast BT9 5FB
1. Grand Opera House – for an architectural beauty
Arguably the city’s most iconic theatre, this Belfast institution first opened its doors on 23rd December 1985. Since then, it has withstood the test of time and remains a favourite for theatre lovers in Belfast and beyond.
Despite being badly damaged by bombs on several occasions during The Troubles, this unique piece of history has been rejuvenated again and again.
Designed by the most prolific theatre architect of the period, Frank Matcham, this venue is a visual treat, and an ornate place to watch all your favourite shows this Christmas.
Whether you’re looking for West End musicals, comedy, family shows, concerts, dance, opera, ballet, or otherwise, you’re sure to find it here.
Please note: The Grand Opera House will close for renovations in early 2020, re-opening in late 2020 for the annual pantomime.
Address: 2-4 Great Victoria St, Belfast BT2 7HR