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Published on March 19th, 2012 | by Laura

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Titanic Festival Belfast

A horrific disaster that took the lives of over 1500 souls isn’t exactly the ideal inspiration for a festival of events. To many, the treatment of the RMS Titanic can often make the teeth itch, particularly if you are from Belfast, the city in which it was built. Belfast may not be the only city to take a connection to the ship, however loose, and milk it dry (see Southampton, Liverpool and Cork for reference) but it may be the only one to permit itself to be defined by it.

Personally I would have hyped up our excellent soda bread but sadly I’m not in charge. Yet.

14th April 2012 marks the 100th Anniversary of the Titanic disaster and so to mark the occasion, Belfast is hosting the Titanic Festival – a series of events across the city.

Think what you want about the ship, the politics and the hype surrounding it; the Titanic is the symbol of an era in which Belfast was the centre of the world’s shipbuilding industry – the jewel in the industrial crown. The shipyard was the lifeblood of the majority of families on both sides of the community for decades. One would assume that even if there wasn’t a Leonardo DiCaprio film made about it; Belfast City Council would still boast about building White Star Line’s most famous ship because to us, it represents a glory age of industry that just isn’t there anymore.

SO if you are a bit of an anorak, someone with a morbid curiosity or you have nothing better to do with your time here is a series of events lined up should you find yourself up North.

TITANIC BELFAST

On the 31st March 2012 the Titanic Belfast exhibition opens its pointy doors to the public. With over nine galleries full of interactive exhibits (including a restaurant, café and the all -important gift shop if disaster themed mementos are your thing) it charts the story of Titanic from conception to…well you know the rest. For more information please see www.titanticbelfast.com. Tickets are prices at £13.50 for adults with a 5% online discount. If you don’t want to go inside, dander down to the building itself and marvel at how nice and shiny it is [Sunglasses recommended].

S.S. NOMADIC

The SS Nomadic docks just outside the Titanic Belfast building. Nomadic is the last surviving ship of the White Star Line company and has been lovingly restored to its former glory as the ship that took passengers to the Titanic and her sister ships (Olympic and Britannic). There was a lot of time, effort and money invested in getting this little ship back to Belfast so it would be a sin not to have a look at it.

MTV PRESENTS: TITANIC SOUNDS – 13th April, The Slipways

I don’t know what classifies as a ‘Titanic Sound’ but according to MTV that’s Olly Murs, Rizzle Kicks, Sean Paul and a yet to be announced final act. If any of those acts float your boat (pardon the pun), tickets are available via http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/titanic/. The first batch are currently sold out so keep an eye out for the second lot in the next few days/weeks.

TITANIC LIGHT SHOW – 7-11 April, The Slipways

This is an audio-visual performance using “cutting edge architectural projection, intense 3D motion graphics, pyrotechnics and bespoke sound design”. That jargon probably translates to ‘pretty lights and music’.

TITANIC 100 PHOTOGRAPHIC EXHIBITION – 31st March-22nd April, Belfast City Hall

This is a photographic exhibition celebrating the construction of the ship from inception to launch which also provides an insight into shipyard life. The exhibition is free and it’s not strictly for nerds and history buffs.

THE MAN WHO LEFT TITANIC – 20th April, Linen Hall Library

‘The Man Who Left Titanic’ is a new play which tells the story of J Bruce Ismay, Chairman of White Star Line (and owner of the ship) who survived the tragedy by stepping onto a lifeboat with women and children. This play asks if he was a coward or merely human. Tickets are available at www.linenhall.com

TITANIC THE MUSICAL – 10th-14th April, Grand Opera House

The Belfast Operatic Company return to present Titanic The Musical to mark the anniversary. Tickets are available via the Grand Opera House website www.goh.co.uk

CRANE VIEW KITCHENS – Monday to Saturday, T13, Titanic Quarter

This is an interesting one if you like food as much as I do. Crane View Kitchens are offering visitors a chance to eat like a Docker. You can enjoy Titanic themed live theatre whilst eating the traditional Docker lunch of Belfast blend tea (imagine all the tea in the world condensed into one teapot and brewed to the consistently of tarmac), milk and Stew in a Belfast Bap. If you are not from Belfast you will more than likely never experienced the sheer brilliance of a simple Stew in a Belfast Bap and for this I pity you. Sort it out lads. Booking is recommended www.t13.tv

For all other events, films, shows, tours, talks, walks, drama, music, exhibitions and…and I seem to have run out of things… go to http://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/titanic/ or here.

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