Zandra Rhodes in Conversation

Dame Zandra Rhodes has been a notorious figurehead of the UK fashion industry for five decades, CQAF and Ulster University are delighted she joins us for this special Q and A with with Kathy Clugston on her life and career.

Setting up her own studio in 1969 and crowned Designer of the Year in 1972, Zandra Rhodes is one of the fashion world’s longest and brightest burning stars.

Zandra’s dresses and textiles have adorned some of the world’s most famous people, from Princess Diana and Freddie Mercury to Jackie Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor, Bianca Jagger, Kylie Minogue, Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell. Her vintage pieces are avidly collected by fashion heavyweights Tom Ford and Anna Sui, Zandra Rhodes really is an icon of British popular culture.

An eponymous pioneer of the British and international fashion scene since the late 60’s, Zandra’s career has seen her collaborate with brands such as Valentino, Topshop and Mac Cosmetics.

Continuing to collaborate with brands that inspire her Zandra has recently launched collections with the likes of IKEA of Sweden, Happy Socks, Free People and Fluevog amongst many other exciting partnerships and projects.

Janey Godley – The ‘Not Dead Yet’ Tour

Janey Godley is ‘still alive, by popular demand’ with a brand-new show for 2023 and can’t wait to be back doing what she does best!

A few words from Janey:

‘My past year has been like a giant “Wordle” game that has swept the nation, I went from “cancel to cancer” in 6 weeks. No, I didn’t smack a man live at the Oscars, in front of millions of people, but I have apologised profusely for historic offensive tweets from over 11 years ago and ended up as the torn, worn out pass the parcel for tribal politics in Scotland.  All my own doing, but now it’s time to laugh, live and celebrate after dealing with this dreadful disease.

I suffered severe mental illness during the online onslaught and whilst on my last tour in 2021 found a giant tumour in my ovary giblets and had to FIGHT to stay alive. Never one for the conventional path in life, I am still NOT DEAD YET and bringing my tour back on the road. So many stories of heart-warming love and outpouring of support to the occasional daily messages hoping I might die soon because … well I am a woman who answered back.’

‘A stand-up so personal in approach I wouldn’t be surprised if she breast-fed the front row’  – TIME OUT

‘The type of act you want to catch again and again, year after year.’★★★★★ – ONE4REVIEW

‘The Glasgow comedy queen’  –  THE LIST

‘The most outspoken female stand-up in Britain… The most ribald and refreshing comedy talent to have risen from the slums of Glasgow since Billy Connolly…‘ –DAILY TELEGRAPH

Doors 7.30pm | Unreserved seating

Courtney Barnett – Anonymous Club (NI Film Premiere)

The antithesis of a rock biography, Anonymous Club paints a raw and intimate picture of enigmatic singer-songwriter, Courtney Barnett.

At once an anti-influencer and powerful voice for our times, a recluse acclaimed by audiences the world over and a strong female artist in conflict with herself, this film lays bare the artist, the person and the image that fame creates around them.

With unprecedented, intimate access to the private life of the famously reclusive Barnett, filmmaker Danny Cohen (who also collaborated on many of her award-winning and highly imaginative music videos), Anonymous Club pulls back the curtain and invites us in…

‘Barnett works through creative crises, wrangles doubts and anguish, and the wrung-out exhaustion of giving everything to an audience of hungry strangers night after night. Anonymous Club is unusually candid and open in what it reveals about the cost of the creative process.’ –THE GUARDIAN

Doors 7.30pm | Unreserved seating 


They Live!

“I’ve come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And I’m all out of bubblegum…”

35 years after its release, John Carpenter’s cult sci-fi satire about privilege, inequality and the “one per cent” is more grimly relevant now than ever.

They Live tells the story of Nada (“Rowdy” Roddy Piper), a homeless drifter who uncovers a shocking planet-wide alien conspiracy, with a little help from the most iconic shades in cinema history.

Along the way we get some razor-sharp observations, one of the greatest fight scenes ever filmed and some great one-liners. Initially ridiculed on release, it’s now regarded as a stone-cold classic. Come join is for this timely screening of one of our very favourite films.

Shades optional.

“They Live is one of the forgotten masterpieces of the Hollywood Left. The sunglasses function like a critique of ideology… When you put them on, you see the dictatorship in democracy, the invisible order which sustains your apparent freedom”Slavoj Žižek


The Body & Blood

Written and performed by Carol Murphy, The Body & Blood is a 19th Century Irish Famine Folk Fable told in verse. It is the story of Maggie Murtagh, an Irish country girl who transmogrifies into The Vigilante Cannibal Nun during The Famine, after the death of her family.

She steals from the rich to give to the starving poor. She eats the colonizers; becomes an addict; and destroys her soul on her quest to seek revenge.

The Body & Blood was launched online in January 2022 at The first live performance was at The Black Box. The second performance was at VAULT Festival, London, 2023, where Murphy received rave reviews.

Gripping stage presence has you hooked from start to finish. Theatre and Tonic ****

Murphy is a whirlwind of a performer.Fairy Powered Pro ****

Murphy is a captivating performer, herself transmogrifying into the bardic role with electrifying swagger and aplomb. A Young(ish) Perspective ****

Carol Murphy is an artist, filmmaker, writer, and performer based in Belfast. She has attended numerous European art and film labs including The Atleliers, The Binger and The Turino Filmlab with numerous art and feature projects. She is currently developing the Horror/Sci Fi Feature, The Silent Tide, with Fantastic Films in Dublin, with development funding from NI Screen.

Beautiful Evil Things


What if there was another take on the Trojan War, an untold breathtaking adventure you had never heard before?

Enter Medusa. She was there.

Monstrous gorgon? Snakes for hair? A turn-to-stone glare? Perhaps. But she was there – as a bodiless head strapped to the shield of a goddess.

Her forever-open-eyes saw it all: Epic combat. Mighty swords. Giant horse-sculptures filled with men. But as the war raged on, Medusa’s petrifying gaze focused on three extraordinary women who might just hold the key to her ultimate hope.

Beautiful Evil Things is a new, high-energy, one woman show from Ad Infinitum combining physical storytelling with cut-throat wit. Coming hot on the heels of their multi award-winning hit, Odyssey, join Medusa for a thrilling adventure.

Number 4 in The Guardian’s ‘Best Theatre of 2022’

★★★★ Hair-raising, heart-quickening whirl of myths The Guardian

★★★★ High-intensity performance in Ad Infinitum’s signature style The Stage

★★★★  A Greek epic with startling modern relevance Morning Star

★★★★  A powerhouse performance The Fix Magazine

★★★★★ Up there among the best shows we’ve ever seen Lifestyle Distrct

★★★★★ Never was the story of the classical Greek heroes and villains better told StageTalk Magazine

A tour de force…an outstanding performance British Theatre Guide

★★★★★  Absolute masterpiece Fairy Powered Productions

Fast, furious and energetic…a faultless performance What’s on Bristol

Doors 7.30pm | Unreserved seating

Nuala Kennedy with Tony Byrne and Tara Breen

World renowned traditional singer and flute player Nuala Kennedy grew up playing Irish music in Dundalk, County Louth and now lives in Ennis, County Clare.

Nuala is known for her creative reworking and reimagining of traditional songs and for her unique Irish flute style, formed in Dundalk and honed in her long-time adopted home of Edinburgh, Scotland.

She is a musical adventurer who is recognized world-wide as a superlative performer of traditional music. Day is Come (2022) by The Alt (with John Doyle and Eamon O’Leary) is the latest release on Under the Arch Records, an independent record label Nuala founded in 2014.

Nuala’s roots are first and foremost in Irish music, but she ‘something of a genre bender’ according to Living Tradition magazine.

Outside of traditional music, Nuala trained as a classical pianist and has toured and recorded with Will Oldham/Bonnie Prince BillieNorman Blake (Teenage Fanclub), Euros Childs (Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci) and is a member of Snowflake Trio, with Norwegian musicians Vegar Vårdal and Frode Haltli.

Nuala recently sang with Janis Ian on her release The Light at the End of the Line.

Tony Byrne, Dublin guitarist, has been involved in music from a young age. Following family holidays in West Kerry, Tony developed an Interest in Irish traditional music and has been involved in the performance, recording and teaching of it since 1999. Past performances include concerts with acts such as Danu, Sharon Shannon, Michael McGoldrick, Gerry o Connor, David Munnelly Band, Matt Molloy, Paul Brady, Julie Fowlis, Lunasa and many more.

Tara Breen, a highly talented multi-instrumentalist from Ruan Co. Clare, has achieved All-Ireland titles on fiddle in every age category over the years, culminating with the All-Ireland Senior Fiddle Title in 2012. In 2014, she joined six-time Grammy award winning band, The Chieftains, and also performs with the legendary band, Stockton’s Wing. Tara recorded a wonderful duet album, Nasc, with concertina player Padraig Rynne in 2021.

‘A flute player and composer of remarkable finesse, fearless of the unknown.’ —THE IRISH TIMES

‘Cheeky, dynamic and full of ideas.’ —SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY

Doors 7.30pm | Unreserved seating

Gift to the City, Micah Purnell & Rachel Ho

During the last weekend of Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, 6-7 May,
ceramicist Rachel Ho, artist and designer Micah Purnell and painter Orla Gilkeson
will leave 300 beautiful ‘gifts to the city’ around Cathedral Quarter to find and keep,
to remind us to embrace our stories of loss and self-worth.

Artists will leave 100 Kintsugi pots, 100 You Are Enough oak engravings, and 100 square abstract paintings which the public are invited to find, and keep as gifts. The art will be placed on the streets of Belfast around Cathedral Quarter on the final weekend of CQAF, 6-7 May.

Each gift will be accompanied by an invite to share anonymously how the artworks resonated with those who find them at where you’ll be able to read stories of difficulty and hope as the artworks are found.

Rachel Ho (www is a ceramicist who has exhibited nationally. Her work is inspired by Kintsugi, an ancient Japanese method of mending broken pottery with gold, resulting in more precious pots. Rachel explains: “I deliberately scar the porcelain pots to symbolize the fragility of our lives. These scars are then filled with gold lustre; expressing the mystery of new beginnings and new life even in our deepest pain. Everyone bears a scar, whether physical, mental or emotional. The scarred pots represent all our stories of loss and reflect the beauty of hope, healing and renewal.  Just as ancient pots have told stories for thousands of years, my art continues in that tradition connecting ceramics with some of our deepest stories.”

Micah Purnell (, whose clients include The Guardian, Elbow and the NHS, is a text based artist who has exhibited in group shows alongside Turner prize winner Douglas Gordon and global street artist JR. The award-winning artist and designer, renowned for his typographic work that took over Wembley Park during the Euros works to bring the humanities to public spaces. His well known phrase ‘You are Enough’ has appeared across the city over the last few years as giant banners and billboards. He says:

‘My work is a lot about togetherness and self-worth. The oak reminders are made by Chapel-in-the-fields who use wood as a vehicle to work with people who have mental health vulnerabilities. I hope the phrase You Are Enough will help people to cut themselves some slack from the ever demanding voices in society and recognise the spark of beauty in themselves.”

Accompanying Rachel and Micah will be Orla Gilkeson who will be leaving 100 square abstract paintings.

Orla Gilkeson ( is a contemporary Northern Irish artist whose work explores memory and a sense of place, often through abstracted landscape paintings. This collection of 100 paintings uses salvaged wood as a vehicle to communicate the importance of restoration and hope through the connections we make with what we find around us.

‘I have created 100 abstract paintings on wooden squares salvaged from old pallet boards. Each one bears a unique visual history of layers, marks, and scores with faint, gold lifelines of hope running through. We are replenished when we seek to salvage the lost and forgotten parts of ourselves and our worlds, creating threads of hope through connection.’

‘Gift to the City’ is a Passion Art project. It is dedicated to our late friend and founder Lesley Sutton, who passed away shortly after Gift to the City in Manchester, in the summer of 2022. Lesley founded Passion Art to build bridges between sacred and secular spaces through art. She was as beautiful in dying, as she was in living.

The project aims to help people feel seen and less alone, to recognise we all have our daily battles and to create a sense of hope and healing.  //  #gifttothecity

@PassionArtTrail twitter @passionartuk insta

Rachel Ho  //  //  @rachelhoceramics insta  @rachelhoceramic twitter

Micah Purnell  //  //    @micahpurnell insta
0161 236 5459 or  07990 533 749

Orla Gilkeson   insta

You can anonymously share how the gifts resonate with you:

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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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