Go BackNews

Portico livestreams shortlisted for two awards

Image of lady in black dress with blonde hair and five ladies leaning over a wooden structure

Date: Friday 21 May 2021   

Like venues everywhere, the Portico of Ards in Portaferry has been closed to in situ audiences for 15 months. Behind the closed doors though, the Portico team has been hard at work delivering its Portico Live! series of streamed concerts. Their endless efforts to keep musicians in work and audiences entertained have not gone unnoticed by the industry. This week Portico has been shortlisted for not one but two prestigious Arts & Business Awards.

Portico Chair Neil McClure is shortlisted for his work as an ‘Inspirational Trustee’ and the team at Portico are shortlisted for the Forestside Choice Award which “recognises the work of a stand-out arts organisation and includes a financial investment of £1,000 for the category winner”.

Over the last 8 months, the team at Portico have delivered 15 streamed concerts, all live. Forget tinny sound and back bedroom studios, these high quality streams have showcased the stunning heritage venue and the grade A listed architecture to worldwide as well as local audiences.

The impressive production values are somewhat astonishing for a small rural venue. Manager Dr Verity Peet said, “Although my background is television production has proven rather helpful in the last few months, the real stars of these shows are our volunteers. In particular, I’d like to thank Adrian, Barbara, Fiona, Gillian, Kathy, Neil, Sara and Shirley who have all spent hours and hours learning how to light, shoot and vision-mix to create these livestreams. I’m really proud of what our team has accomplished here.”

While Portico is hoping to open to audiences before the summer ends, the live streamed shows go on with three internationally-acclaimed acts in the next few weeks:  ‘Nuns and Roses’ is the punning title given to the concert by the stunning a cappella sound of female choral group Papagena, reflecting their diverse programme ranging from 12th century abbess Hildegard of Bingen to their cover of Guns and Roses ‘Sweet Child of Mine’. Thrilling audiences everywhere, their performances have been described as ‘bewitching’, ‘exhilarating’, ‘impeccable’ and the ‘creme de la creme’. Papagena play live on Sat 19 June at 7.30pm.

Mezzo-soprano superstar Kathryn Rudge returns to Portico on Sun 13 June accompanied by pianist Chrisptopher Glynn. Known for her ‘breathtaking sensitivity’ (Gramophone), their delightful programme combines a selection from Elgar's Sea Pictures as well as repertoire from Harty & Coates including favourites ‘My Lagan Love’ and ‘Birdsong at Eventide’. The afternoon recital is live at 3pm. 

First though is a classical trio from the Ficino Ensemble on Sat 29 May at 7.30pm. Following their highly successful series of concerts at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, this much in demand ensemble returns to Portico with a delicious programme of Schubert’s ‘String Trio in B Flat’ followed by Bach’s ever popular ‘Goldberg Variations’.

All classical concerts are supported by Lottery Project Funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Live streams are available to ticket holders for one week following the live broadcast. For more information on any of these concerts please visit the Portico of Ards website

Caption: Kathryn Rudge (photo credit Sussie Ahlburg) Papagena Church