Northern Ireland

Opera inspired by campaign to persuade politicians, planners to build social housing on Mackies land

A new opera illustrating a real-life campaign led by young people experiencing the housing crisis shown at the Elmwood Hall, Belfast. A collaboration between NI Opera and the Take Back the City campaign group..
A new opera illustrating a real-life campaign led by young people experiencing the housing crisis shown at the Elmwood Hall, Belfast. A collaboration between NI Opera and the Take Back the City campaign group.. A new opera illustrating a real-life campaign led by young people experiencing the housing crisis shown at the Elmwood Hall, Belfast. A collaboration between NI Opera and the Take Back the City campaign group..

AN opera inspired by the ultimately unsuccessful campaign to force politicians to vote to build social housing on the old Mackies site in west Belfast has been staged.

Nobody/Somebody, created by composer Neil Martin and playwright Fionnuala Kennedy, was staged as part of the Belfast Children’s Festival with teens and young adults as the target audience.

The opera, performed by the Ulster Youth Orchestra with other youths working across the creative teams, tells the tale of three young people campaigning for better housing and living conditions.

Each of these teens and young adults is experiencing a different type of housing stress or homelessness, according to the programme notes.

The Take Back The City campaign failed to stop Belfast City councillors voting in favour of rezoning a large part of the site for a cycle lane and urban greenway.