After ten years of planning, Belfast’s new Metropolitan Arts Centre has opened.
The MAC, in the heart of Belfast, will be a 21st century building that will compete with other arts centre on a global stage.
The building features cutting-edge design and includes features two theatres and three art galleries. It cost £18 million to build and is the jewel in the crown of the development of the historic cobbled streets around St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter.
The MAC is one of several tourist attractions opening in Northern Ireland this year, other exciting attractions include the Titanic Belfast building and the new look Giant’s Causeway visitor’s centre which will open in June.
The MAC’s Chief executive, Anne McReynolds, said: “Today is a momentous occasion, not just for the MAC but for the arts in Northern Ireland. We have all worked extremely hard to create a world-class facility in the heart of this city.
“We have created a programme which will appeal to audiences of all ages and interests from the international art and live shows to our family workshops and our cafe/bar. We can’t wait to start welcoming visitors to the MAC from today to really see the building come to life.
“This project has been 10 years in the making and we would like to thank our many public and private sector funders and all our supporters who have helped us get to this stage. We are confident that the MAC will add another layer to the cultural offering in Belfast and Northern Ireland to help put this region on the worldwide stage.”
The opening of the centre was attended by Democratic Unionist Minister for Social Development Nelson McCausland and Sinn Fein Minister for Culture Caral Ni Chuilin.
Councillor Niall O Donnghaile, the Lord Mayor of Belfast, , said: “I’m delighted to see the opening of the MAC, which is not only Belfast’s brand new creative arts venue but one that will put the city on the international map in terms of its unique and rich cultural offering. Coming so soon after the opening of the iconic Titanic Belfast building, it once again conveys that Belfast in 2012 can compete with cities across the globe for world-class visitor attractions.”