Belfast’s festival of ideas and politics: 23–29 March 2020



Belfast’s festival of ideas and politics
23–29 March 2020


Statement from the Imagine! Festival

We are sorry to inform you that due to concerns associated with Covid-19, we have withdrawn all our audience events taking place during 23-29 March. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. Having spent months planning this festival, we can assure you that we have not taken this decision lightly. However, in an imaginative response to the Coronavirus pandemic, we will shortly release a revamped programme featuring many of our speakers and performers as we reboot Imagine as Northern Ireland’s first virtual festival.

We realise the current advice of the UK government is to continue with public events; however further changes in advice and public sentiment are likely in the run up to our festival. We also recognise that many of our audience members appreciate certainty and are anxious about attending our events. Having taken advice from various quarters, we believe, in the interests of the health of our attendees, speakers, performers and volunteers, that this is the safest course of action. We will refund paid tickets as a matter of course and cover all of our contractual commitments. Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to postpone and rearrange the festival later in the year due to the costs involved.

Instead, we intend to offer a full programme of live and recorded webcasts, delivered for free, as part of a new online festival, details of which will be released later this week. This streaming solution will be augmented by selected broadcasts on NVTV/Northern Visions. We are grateful to our speakers and artists for their participation in this new offering and for the technical help provided by partners such as RV, Accidental Theatre, and Alan in Belfast.

We know this is a difficult situation for everyone concerned with our festival, but it pales into insignificance when considering the threats to life presented by Covid-19. Suffice to say, we are gutted to find ourselves in this predicament, but we believe by organising NI’s first virtual festival we can salvage something from this crisis and keep culture alive during what is likely to be an extremely anxious and life-threatening period.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at As you can ‘imagine’ we have suffered a major loss of ticket income and will incur additional costs in moving events to an online platform, so if you have the resources please feel free to make a donation, no matter how small, via our charity giving page.

Stay safe and join us online at for big ideas on culture and politics.

Best wishes from the Imagine! team. WATCH THIS SPACE.