Northern Ireland movie legends Liam Neeson and Ciaran Hinds got their start in the world-class Lyric Theatre. Recently refurbished, the building hosts a state-of-the-art theatre in a cosy setting, with spacious bars overlooking the river. The Black Box is renowned for its eclectic atmosphere and it is a home for Belfast’s emerging local acts. Expect everything from film to cabaret. Looking for alternative cinema? The Queen’s Film Theatre is a small independent theatre at the prestigious Queen's University Belfast, showcasing new and classic films, while the award-winning MAC is Belfast’s newest arts venue, putting on world class theatre, along with art, photography and sculpture.
The Abbey Theatre, founded by WB Yeats and Lady Gregory, is Ireland’s national theatre, putting on everything from classics to cutting-edge. The Gate Theatre, where Orson Welles, Geraldine Fitzgerald and Michael Gambon began their acting careers, offers audiences shows from overseas as well as home-grown plays in an intimate venue. Smock Alley, the first Theatre Royal built in Dublin, opened in 1662 and is now Ireland’s ‘oldest newest theatre’, hosting drama, comedy and more. The Gaiety Theatre is buzzing with musicals, west end hits, pantomimes and plays, while the boutique Theatre Upstairs celebrates new plays and rising talent. The beautiful gallery space by the theatre boasts views overlooking the Liffey.