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ArtsEkta is calling on hundreds of participants to get involved in the unique theatre experience that is Nine Nights. We want you to tell the story to an audience of thousands!

For one amazing night the skies above Belfast will crackle and blaze with pyrotechnics; its streets will glow with the flickering light of eight hundred torches and vibrate to the pulsating rhythm of fifty-five Indian Dhol drums.

‘Nine Nights’ will be produced by leading ethnic arts group, ArtsEkta, in partnership with the internationally acclaimed Walk the Plank. The event will be one of the most ambitious and spectacular outdoor theatre events ever staged in Belfast City Centre and this week the call has gone out to invite participants to be part of this unique experience on the evening of 24th October 2015.

“The key to the success of this incredibly creative project lies in engaging and involving the community” says Nisha Tandon, Director of ArtsEkta. “This is a great opportunity for everyone to play their part in a huge one-off arts event. No matter what your age, sex, religion, ethnic background, there’s a place for you in this mammoth production and we can promise everyone who joins us a never-to-be-forgotten experience. If you are a talented musician or dancer, that’s fantastic, but, just as important, we are looking for communities across Belfast to help us bring this great story and our own great city to life. If you’re prepared to volunteer, we’ll help you prepare to take centre stage!”

‘Nine Nights’ will combine dance, music, pyrotechnics and other special effects to re-enact the epic and ancient story, inspired by the Indian Festival of Light – Diwali. The venture is supported by the flagship Creative and Cultural Belfast Fund, supporting large-scale arts projects across the city.

Looking forward to the event and encouraging people to come together to make it a success, the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Arder Carson, said, “Belfast City Council has long recognised the importance and value of bringing together cultural and community organisations. Our Creative Belfast venture which is a joint project with the Arts Council of Northern Ireland brings that ethos to life, providing fabulous opportunities to experience world-class culture and arts events.

“The spectacular ‘Nine Nights’ outdoor extravaganza offers the opportunity not simply to watch, but actually to be part of the production. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to work alongside ArtsEkta and the renowned Walk The Plank outdoor performance specialists with a production that celebrates the diversity, talent and vibrant energy that define today’s Belfast. This is your chance, so go for it!”

That’s a message that is being reinforced by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive says; “Over the next three years the Creative Belfast Fund projects aim to engage Belfast’s diverse people and communities in inspirational culture, arts and heritage events , providing everyone in the city with an opportunity to get personally involved in something creative and magnificent. Experienced performers will of course be enthused at the project, but this is also an open door to performance for people who may never have engaged directly with the arts before. This is their moment to be part of something spectacular. The ‘Nine Nights’ event which is being organised by ArtsEkta is a perfect example of a large scale and exciting arts project involving many people and communities from across Belfast.”

The evening will begin with an 800-strong costumed torchlight procession from Custom House Square to Belfast City Hall where the show will delight family audiences. Participation is being invited from individuals, community groups and schools to take part in that procession but, as Nisha Tandon of ArtsEkta explains, the opportunities are boundless.

She says, “We’re hoping to involve a great mix of people in the lively costumed cavalcade which will wend its torch lit way from Custom House Square to City Hall for the start of ‘Nine Nights’. Community organisations, schools, clubs, even groups of friends or individuals are all welcome to join in the fun and we will give them all the support they need to play their part on the night.

“If you think you have a sense of rhythm then you could even become a musician in the largest group of Dhol Drummers ever to have performed in Northern Ireland. In partnership with The Beat Carnival, ArtsEkta will be working with local drummers to introduce newcomers to the North Indian instrument, giving them training and inspiration over the next few months – a great chance to learn a new skill and make some new friends into the bargain!

“All of us are looking forward to the creative vision of ‘Walk the Plank’. The company which is paying a welcome return visit to Belfast is well known throughout Europe for creating powerful artistic events with mass appeal. Their most recent local production, ‘The Return of Colmcille’, was a landmark highlight of the Derry City of Culture Year so we’re expecting big things in Belfast!

“If seeing one of their events is thrilling, then just imagine how exciting it will actually be to work with artistes of this calibre! Forget the X Factor: this is the real thing!”

To find out more or register interest in participating
or telephone 028 9023 1381