Theatre and Dance NI are delighted to announce the INVEST 2023/24 artists – an initiative supported by Belfast City Council and Arts Council of Northern Ireland. This is the second year of our professional development and mentoring programme designed for artists and freelancers working professionally across theatre and dance in Northern Ireland.

The eight recipients cut across various disciplines of the theatre and dance sector in Northern Ireland, including actor Christopher Grant, ballet dancer and choreographer Ruaidhrí Maguire, theatre-maker and playwright Colm McCready, theatre-maker Caoimhe McGee, casting director and producer Natalie Murphy, writer, researcher and multi-disciplinary artist Sorcha Ní Cheallaigh, dance artist and theatre maker Sean O’Neill and actor and writer Matthew Sharpe.

Speaking about the programme, TDNI Director Niamh Flanagan said:

“As the sole support organisation for theatre and dance in Northern Ireland, TDNI is dedicated to connecting, supporting development, and advocating for artists and the industry. We’re excited to announce the second iteration of INVEST. The programme’s evolution in its second year has been guided by extensive consultation and evaluation, ensuring its continued impact in the sector.

“Our sincere thanks to Belfast City Council and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland for their ongoing support, making it possible to significantly invest in the professional development of local talent.

“INVEST is more than a programme; it is a catalyst for individual and collective growth. This year’s participants, ranging from directors and choreographers to producers and casting directors, represent the rich tapestry of talent shaping Northern Ireland’s cultural landscape. As they delve into their creative practices, the programme not only provides mentoring and financial support to individuals but also nurtures a dynamic peer network, fostering collaboration and connections that are essential for their ongoing success, and the growth of the sector.”

Councillor Clíodhna Nic Bhranair, Chair of Belfast City Council’s City Growth and Regeneration Committee said:

“We’re pleased to support Theatre and Dance NI’s continued investment in local creative professionals for a second year through its INVEST programme.

“The Belfast Agenda makes a commitment to fostering a culturally vibrant city – and to succeed, we need to develop, nurture, and showcase our creative talent. The INVEST programme, which we proudly support, plays an important role by providing mentoring and skills training and empowering creative individuals to grow both professionally and personally.

“INVEST complements Belfast’s cultural strategy, ‘A City Imagining,’ encouraging our creative sector to explore new approaches, take calculated risks, and engage with audiences. Congratulations to the participants and Theatre and Dance NI for their commitment to enriching Belfast’s cultural landscape as we work towards the city’s biggest ever creative and cultural celebration, Belfast 2024, beginning next spring.”

Alison McCrudden, joint Head of Drama and Literature, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented:

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is delighted to support Theatre & Dance NI through our Annual Funding Programme.

“Congratulations to all eight recipients of the INVEST 2023/24 programme, an important initiative funded by Belfast City Council, which cultivates and amplifies the immense talent within the NI theatre and dance community.

“It’s terrific to witness Northern Ireland’s ever-increasing global recognition as a vibrant hub for the Arts and the creative industries and by providing essential support to individual artists, this resource plays a pivotal role in fostering skill enhancement, idea development, and broader opportunities within the sector.”

Over the coming weeks we will be sharing more about the individual participants and their practice, stay tuned to our social media platforms for updates.

INVEST is funded by Belfast City Council and Arts Council of Northern Ireland

Acni Arts Council LogoBelfast City Council 2015 (master)