Out to Lunch festival 'menu' announced for 2017

Fairport Convention are set to celebrate their 50th anniversary at The Black Box during the Out to Lunch Festival in Belfast this January

THE Out to Lunch festival returns in January for its 12th year of bringing music, comedy, spoken word and literature-based events to Belfast at lunch hour and occasionally later on too.

Running between January 6 and 29, musical moments include Billy Bragg and Joe Henry at The Ulster Hall, Grammy-winning songstress Mary Chapin Carpenter at St Anne's Cathedral and legendary folksters Fairport Convention celebrating their 50th Anniversary at The Black Box, where BBC film critic extraordinaire Mark Kermode and his fellow Dodge Brothers will also be found twangin' and a hollerin' in a retro, rockabilly style.

There are plenty of non-musical attractions too; NHS doctor, BBC broadcaster, Private Eye journalist and whistle-blowing comic Phil Hammond will combine both of his sell-out Edinburgh fringe shows in one evening.

Punters will also be invited to open their minds and say 'Yes to Yes' with spiritual guru/comedy genius Kevin McAleer for a life-changing hour of meditation, mindfulness, deep breathing, tai chi, yoga, bee venom therapy, psychic flower arranging, singing with dolphins and digital photography.

Chortle Best Comic award-winner Zoe Lyons brings her acclaimed Little Misfit show to Out to Lunch, while Michéal MacLiammóir's The Importance of Being Oscar is set to reveal the wit, triumph and tragedy of Oscar Wilde while incorporating excerpts from Wilde's poetry, letters and dramatic writings.

Seamus Heaney's first collection of poems Death of a Naturalist will be brought to life by Painted Bird via live drawing, animation, audio soundscape and live performance, Further Ted offers an evening of hilarity with three of the funniest 'Fathers' from the iconic Channel 4 sitcom, Michael Redmond, Joe Rooney and Patrick McDonnell, The Lords of Strut will present the slapstick mayhem of their Late Night TV Talk Show and Lucy Grace is bringing her CS Lewis/Narnia-inspired Edinburgh hit Lucy, Lucy and Lucy Barfield to town.

New for 2017 is a series of weekend Out to Brunch events tying in with the NI Year of Food and Drink: the 'menu' ranges from Breakfast Stout Club and Early Morning Tales to Mark Kermode talking movies over a muffin.

Festival Director Sean Kelly said: "We hope the people of Belfast, and visitors to the city, will join us getting 2017 off to a creative start and will 'fill their boots' with lots of great comedy, theatre and music."

:: For tickets and full programme information visit

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