Creative Bursaries 2023 winners

The Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival is delighted to announce the winners of its three Creative Bursaries. These were set up in response to Covid-19 and the devastating impact it has had on the arts in Northern Ireland.  The three bursaries – for Theatre, Writing and Music – will support and encourage new work by writers, musicians and theatre practitioners based in Northern Ireland. The Winners will get to showcase their new work at the 21st Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival.

After an agonising  process of elimination and dozens of excellent submissions for each category, the judges selected Alice Malseed – Theatre (£3000), Shannon Yee – Writing (£2,000) and Junk Drawer – Music (£2,000) as recipients of the CQAF Creative Bursaries in their respective fields.

Festival Director Sean Kelly said: “This has been a tough time for the arts sector, and artists in particular. We’ve always put supporting and championing our artists and home grown talent at the forefront of the festival’s ethos, and we’re delighted that these bursaries will go some way to helping three very different but equally amazing projects. As  expected, the standard of submissions was exceptionally high. In the end though, we felt that these three artists/ groups represented the best of the best. Congratulations to the winners and a big thanks to everyone who applied. It was a reminder of the extraordinary wealth of talent we have here, that we ought to cherish and nurture more than we perhaps do. Hopefully that will change when we eventually emerge from this pandemic.”


Alice is a writer/performer and theatre maker based in Belfast. In 2019 she was awarded a Jerwood New Work Fund Award. Her work has appeared across the UK, Ireland and in Sri Lanka and New York.

Alice’s monologue ‘Haven’ was part of 1st Origins Irish Festival in New York, and then recorded by the Lyric Theatre for their ‘Listen at the Lyric’ series in Autumn 2020. Her show ‘Jade City’ was at Bunker Theatre in London for 3 weeks in September 2019. She was part of BBC Writersroom Belfast Voices group 2018-2019 and Lyric New Playwrights Programme 2018.

Alice studied at Goldsmiths, University of London, achieving BA Drama and Theatre Arts, and MA Theatre; Drama in Community, Education and Social Settings.

Junk Drawer were the first DIY act to win best single at the NI Music Prize in 2019 for Year of the Sofa, and organised all 3 volumes of sold-out underground Irish compilation A Litany of Failures.

In April 2020, they released debut album Ready For The House on Art For Blind Records, which received universally positive coverage in Ireland and beyond and made the 2020 NI Music Prize shortlist. It gained 8/10 reviews on The Line of Best Fit, Pop Matters, made The Quietus’ top 100 albums of the first half of 2020. During this difficult time, the band have continued to write when possible and managed to release a couple of singles in 2020. Their new single, which will be premiered at this year’s CQAF “strikes a midpoint between accessibility and memorability, and experimental nuance” will be recorded with Chris Ryan (Just Mustard, Robocobra Quartet), who produced their debut album at Start Together Studios, Belfast.

Shannon is a writer/ creative producer, who moved to Northern Ireland from New York City in 2004. Her perspectives as an immigrant, biracial ethnic minority (Chinese/Caucasian), queer artist-mother with a disability (brain injury) living in Northern Ireland are deeply embedded in her work.

Shannon is passionate about highlighting marginalized stories and their intersections to broaden the narratives being told and has a strong track record of artistic practice, having produced theatre in NI since 2007 and securing numerous Arts Council grants (including the Major Individual Artist Award 2017), as well as accolades and awards.

Her track record for the past decade has been in theatre; most notably, the award-winning Reassembled, Slightly Askew which sonically immerses audiences in her autobiographical experience of acquired brain injury. Reassembled… premiered in 2015 and has toured locally, nationally and internationally ever since in arts festivals and medical training settings.

Shannon is in the process of rediverting her writing career into short fiction. Her first short story, The Brightening Up Side, published in Belfast Stories (Doire Press, 2019) addresses new motherhood, racism and tenacity in North Belfast. This December, she was published in Queer Love: An Irish Anthology (Southward Editions, 2020), alongside Colm Toíbin, Emma Donaghue, and John Boyne.

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The Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival and Out To Lunch are annual festivals of music, comedy, theatre, art and literature which take place in January and May in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

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