One of Belfast’s newest arts venues played host today to a significant moment in the process of peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland, when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth met with First Minister, Peter Robinson, deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, Irish President, Michael D Higgins, and representatives from the arts.
Chief Executive of the Arts Council, Roisin McDonough, also an invited guest at the special reception, said:
“The Lyric Theatre has long been at the heart of creative life in Belfast, and its newly-built £18.1 million home is an inspiring symbol of the new Northern Ireland. It is fitting that this historic meeting should take place in the shared space of an arts venue because this acknowledges the central importance of arts and culture to the process of building bridges between our communities and building respect, co-operation and understanding across borders and divides.”
Pianist Barry Douglas, poet Michael Longley and actors Adrian Dunbar and Conleth Hill were present at the event at the Lyric Theatre, which was organised by charity Co-Operation Ireland, which works to bring divided communities together.
The Lyric Theatre has won 16 awards since it opened its new international-standard theatre last May, including, ‘Building of the Year’, ‘Outstanding Contribution to Tourism’ and two Irish Times Theatre Awards.