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The city is set to come alive to the dance and music of a distant culture as the eerily fantastic ‘Nine Nights’ production breathes new life into a story almost as old as time itself.

ArtsEkta, Northern Ireland’s leading ethnic arts organisation and producers of the Belfast Mela, proudly announces that the company is one of out of seven projects chosen for significant funding through the Creative & Cultural Fund Belfast.

Valued at £0.9m over the next three years, the aim of the new ‘Creative and Cultural Belfast’ fund is to support projects delivered jointly by cultural organisations and community groups and which reach out to people who are less likely to participate in culture and arts due to social, economic or other barriers.

In 2015, ArtsEkta will present a large scale multi-artform outdoor arts spectacle to tell stories from age-old Indian folklore. Nine Nights is being artistically produced in partnership with Walk the Plank, an internationally renowned theatre company credited with major cultural events in Northern Ireland such as landmark UK City of Culture event The Return of Colmcille. The free evening show will play out to audiences in Autumn 2015 and light up Belfast City Centre in a way you have never seen before.

At the heart of the project are opportunities from communities across Belfast and beyond to participate, access and enjoy the arts in the spirit of shared celebration and learning. The project will work closely with community organisations such as Shankill Spectrum Centre, Annadale Haywood Residents Association and New Lodge Arts to ensure the widest possible participation on a cross city, cross community basis. There will also be opportunities for local artists to develop their skills and produce artistically for a major outdoor event alongside internationally experienced producers.

Nisha Tandon, Director of ArtsEkta says: “We are delighted to be one of the chosen projects to receive funding from the Creative & Cultural Fund which is an exemplary initiative of joined up thinking by funding agencies in Belfast to target access and participation in the arts. As one of the flagship community arts organisations in Northern Ireland, this funding presents us with an exciting opportunity to bring outstanding artistic product, totally free of charge to Belfast which helps to overcome barriers for people to become involved in high quality arts events. We are extremely grateful to Belfast City Council & Arts Council for putting their faith in our project and giving us the opportunity to enhance our grassroots partnerships across Belfast communities”