The Trust was established to promote, maintain, improve and advance the education of the public of Northern Ireland in the arts (including the art of drama, operatic arts, other performing arts and the visual arts) at the Theatre.
The direct benefits to the public in Northern Ireland which flow from the Trust’s purpose include:
- The education of audiences through high quality theatrical performances and participation in the Theatre’s Creative Learning Programme involving schools, community groups and individuals, including workshops, professional classes, talks/seminars and demonstrations.
- The enrichment of lives through increased awareness, improved knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the performing arts across a wide range of genres.
- The development of new skills (creative, performance and technical skills) and personal development e.g. via participation in the Theatre’s community engagement activities.
- Enhanced accessibility to the performing arts for people from disadvantaged areas and requiring assistance to attend the Grand Opera House. As well as its popular series of dementia-friendly cinema screenings, the Trust stages signed, audio described, captioned and relaxed performances.
The public in Northern Ireland benefit from the Trust’s activities through the presentation of a high-quality performance programme, which encompasses the full range of the performing arts, both on the mainstage as well as in smaller productions in the Theatre’s secondary space, The Studio. Alongside the programme of professional touring productions, the Theatre offers amateur and community groups, and local artistes, the opportunity to perform on one of the most historic stages in the UK and Ireland, as well as in The Studio.
The Trust’s prolific Creative Learning Department delivers a busy programme of performance related workshops for all ages and abilities, within the Grand Opera House and beyond, school/educational focussed initiatives, as well as a programme of events with broad appeal to all the communities of Northern Ireland. The Trust’s Creative Learning Programme engages with over 6,000 people each year.
The Trust’s performance programme is created to appeal to the broadest possible range of interests, tastes and ages, and consideration is always given to a range of prices to encourage attendance. The Grand Opera House is an historic listed building and its history, heritage and its key role in the life of Belfast is shared through talks and a number of informative Theatre Tours.
The Trust provides a range of platforms aimed at encouraging the performers of tomorrow as well as delivering initiatives aimed at developing performance skills and confidence, including its annual Summer Youth Production – the largest of its kind in Northern Ireland.
The Trust has created a number of opportunities aimed at appealing to people and communities who would not otherwise engage with the Theatre or the arts, both through the performance programme as well as through its range of creative learning initiatives. To ensure that the Grand Opera House is accessible to people with disabilities the Theatre promotes a hugely successful ‘Access for All’ scheme.