I saw Belfast in a new light last night.

And it was all thanks to this http://www.primecutproductions.co.uk/

It was clear, and admittedly cold, but up above the night sky was a deep velvet blue. In contrast, at ground level the streets were glittering with light and life. The shops were relatively busy, there were plenty of people, and the new art in the city centre seemed to come to life – the pennants and lights in Royal Avenue, the multi-coloured flood-lighting on one of the domes of the city hall. And I saw newly opened shops and cafes. It may have been that the dark obscured the pound shops, but the whole city centre suddenly looked vibrant and cool again.

And why did I suddenly see all this anew? Well because I was walking the streets listening to a unique broadcast, featuring the voices and experiences of more than sixty people – every-day people, not actors – all of whom talked about their feelings about the city. The result was a mesmerising mix of music and speech, providing a snapshot of the city at this moment in time, a Kaleidoscope.

The ‘audience’ listened to the piece on MP3 players as we walked around the city centre, and every so often we were given instructions – ‘walk this way’; ‘smile at other people wearing headphones’; ‘just sit and watch’. So the whole experience meant I had time to sit on a bench, in the centre of the city that has been my home now and off now for more than a decade, and just look around.

I have been feeling so depressed about the future of Belfast, about the politics that isn’t working, about the seemingly unstoppable destruction of the built heritage, that when the voice asked me to ‘make a wish for the city’, I almost felt like crying. But as I sat on Arthur Street, looking up into the night sky, another part of the performance appeared. From the top of one building, a series of glowing wish lanterns were released, their flaming hearts fluttering as they sailed higher and higher on the night breeze.

It was magical.