How immersive theatre is transforming tourism in Mid and East Antrim

MID and East Antrim’s Tourism, Arts and Heritage sectors have been sharing their secrets to success at a special event in Belfast’s iconic Linen Hall Library.

‘Shaped by Industry, Shared with Pride’ launched this year and not only has seen guided tours boost footfall to an array of unique and previously untapped destinations along the world famous Causeway Coastal Route, but the use of interactive historical theatre performances really brings this history to life.

Attendees heard tales of how new audiences, including families and out of borough visitors, have been visiting the likes of Whitehead Railway Museum, Flame! Gasworks, Carnlough Harbour and Glenarm to experience history in a new and innovative way.

UK and Ireland Co-ordinator for the European Route of Industrial Heritage, Jonathan Lloyd, was the keynote speaker. The European Route of Industrial Heritage is a network which boasts over 1,800 sites across Europe giving each site a platform to promote themselves to the ‘culturally curious.’

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Maureen Morrow, said: “It was fantastic to have this platform to share the success of our ‘Shaped by Industry – Shared with Pride’ project and the genuine enthusiasm to get involved in participative theatre as a method to promote heritage businesses.

“We also discussed working with volunteers and the great benefit this can bring to tourism sites. The ‘Performing Better’ seminar also gave us the opportunity to launch our new toolkit, which gives helpful advice to tourism businesses who want to use participative theatre as a marketing tool.

“It was great having Jonathan Lloyd as our keynote speaker whose in-depth knowledge of what industrial heritage has to offer on a tourism front throughout Europe was especially encouraging.”

The Council would like to thank The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Tourism NI and the Department of Communities and its partners at Big Telly Theatre Company and Carrickfergus Enterprise.

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