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Performance artist Taylor Mac among the highlights of Belfast International Arts Festival

Amanda Coogan and cast of the Run to the Rock pictured yesterday at the launch of the Ulster Bank Belfast International Arts Festival. Picture by Hugh Russell

THE first appearance in Northern Ireland of New York performance artist Taylor Mac is one of the highlights of this year's Belfast International Arts Festival.

The actor, playwright, singer and songwriter will bring his show to the festival, with events running from October 11 to 29.

Details of the festival were launched in Belfast on Tuesday with a taster performance given by Irish artist Amanda Coogan.

The festival's opening event this year, In Dreams Begin Responsibilities, is a celebration of reconciliation on the island of Ireland over the last 100 years and on the 18th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

It will will include poetry, music, drama and imagery by Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley and John Hewitt.

Festival director Richard Wakely said: "The Ulster Bank Belfast International Arts Festival is back with a bang for 2016, with 19 days of world class artists and events.

"Taylor Mac and Amanda Coogan are leading artists of our time, showcasing unique new productions and exploring timeless themes. And with a richly packed programme of theatre, dance and music of all kinds, we are continuing to respond to Belfast’s hunger for truly world class arts and cultural entertainment."

:: For further information, please visit www.belfastinternationalartsfestival.com

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