Launch of Imagine! Belfast Festival 2022. Road testing new ideas…

The Imagine! Belfast Festival of Ideas & Politics returns for its 8th annual outing next month with another huge range of events involving keynotes such as Michael Ignatieff, Tom Robinson, Kit de Waal, Michael Longley and a host of exciting arts and cultural events.

Taking place during 21-27 March, the strictly non-partisan festival offers up an eclectic week of talks, workshops, theatre, comedy, music, exhibitions, film and tours and with over 150 in-person and live events, there’s bound to be something of interest for everyone.  Most of the events are free, with loads taking place in venues right across the city as the festival returns to live events after two years operating online.

According to Peter O’Neill, Festival Director:

“We are delighted to bring you this unique way of imagining the future of Belfast and Northern Ireland as we approach the Assembly elections. Our festival has gone from strength to strength and we are looking forward to welcoming thousands of people to our biggest offering to date with over 150 events, taking place 21-27 March. We hope to address the big issues of our troubled times and promote debate on diverse opinion and new ideas on politics, culture and activism. Goodness knows, we need a bit of inspiration as we try to make sense of this volatile world!”

The following artists and speakers are available to book now at

Michael Ignatieff

Saturday, 26 March, Free and online

In this interview with William Crawley, the internationally renowned historian of ideas and Booker Prize-finalist Michael Ignatieff will discuss his new book On Consolation and how great figures in history, literature, music, and art searched for solace while facing tragedies and crises.


Tom Robinson

Saturday 26 March 2022,

Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast

The festival delighted to welcome the iconic musician and broadcaster for an evening of songs and stories. During this solo show, expect intimate versions of classics such as War Baby, Glad To Be Gay and 2-4-6-8 Motorway alongside stories from behind the scenes and a sprinkling of fan favourites from his extensive back catalogue. Tom will be supported by Paul Connolly, lead singer of the Wood Burning Savages.

Over The Edge Literary Reading On Poetry & Politics

21 March

Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast

Galway’s legendary Over The Edge literary reading series brings poetry and political conflict to Belfast. Poets Laurence McKeown, Susan Millar DuMars, and Kevin Higgins read some of their poems, discuss the relationship between political conflict and poetry, and take questions from the audience.

Over The Edge literary reading on Poetry and Politics

Paddy Cullivan: The Murder of Michael Collins

21 March

Black Box, Belfast

Historical entertainer Paddy Cullivan brings you the incredible story of the death of Ireland’s first Commander-in-Chief with this audio-visual spectacular featuring hundreds of images, shocking new research and incredible songs.

Nuala McKeever – Is It Over Yet?

22 March

Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast

Join Northern Ireland’s Queen of Comedy, Nuala McKeever, as she brings her stand-up show to The Crescent as part of Imagine Festival 2022, to take a laugh-out-loud look back at how we coped with Life in the Time of Corona.

An evening with Michael Longley in conversation with William Crawley

22 March

Canada Room, Queen’s University Belfast

This interview, interspersed with readings, will examine the thorny relationship between poetry and politics and the artistic challenges of addressing contentious political and cultural issues.

Bill Neely – 40 Years In TV News

24 March

Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast

The celebrated local journalist Bill Neely talks about his amazing career, from Belfast in The Troubles to covering wars, earthquakes and US Presidential elections.


What Do We Do Now? Ece Temelkuran and Jon Alexander

25 March

Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast

These amazing writers will discuss how to keep faith with humanity and what part we can all play in making a different future.

Why We Need More Diversity In Publishing: Kit de Waal and Paul McVeigh

27 March

Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast

In this conversation two of our leading authors who have championed working class writers discuss the lack of diversity in publishing and the importance of promoting a wider range of voices in literature.

Tony Law

27 March

Black Box, Belfast

This award winning comedian makes a triumphant return to Belfast with his surreal take on free speech and all things political.

This Sh*t Happens All The Time

22 March—2 April

Lyric Theatre

This Sh*t Happens All the Time is a powerful new one-woman play from Amanda Verlaque, which uses personal experience to explore misogyny, coercive control, and queer-baiting to ask why the privileges and protections granted to most of society remain disgracefully out of reach for Northern Ireland’s LGBT+ community.

This Sh*t Happens All The Time

Check out the full programme of over 150 events at

The Imagine! Belfast Festival is generously supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland; Belfast City Council; the National Lottery Community Fund; Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Reconciliation Fund; VSB Foundation; Queen’s University Belfast; Community Relations Council; The Open University Northern Ireland; Film Hub NI and Ulster University.

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