Following its busiest year ever in 2012 Norfolk & Norwich Festival has unveiled the first highlights of its 2013 programme. It’s already shaping up to be a classic year with an international line up of performers to delight Norfolk audiences – and to draw in visitors for some stunning events.

‘For 2013 we have an outstanding international line up of astonishingly good performers and artists’ said Norfolk & Norwich Festival Artistic Director William Galinsky. ‘The six shows we are announcing now merely touch on the depth and range of this festival, which I hope will be a true treat for Norfolk audiences, as well as attracting visitors to the county. I am especially proud to be welcoming Nature Theater of Oklahoma to perform for the first time in the UK with a World Premiere. We are celebrating Britten’s centenary with a performance of Our Hunting Fathers and I’m excited by the very different genres of music we have with Soul Rebels from New Orleans, Mariza from Portugal and the ultra cool French music wizard Woodkid. And lets not forget that we’re collaborating with UEA to bring National Theatre of Scotland’s Black Watch to Norwich in April just before the festival begins.’

The 2013 Norfolk & Norwich Festival runs from 10 – 26 May 2013.

The Greatest Story never told?

The Festival welcomes the hotly anticipated UK debut of New York based Nature Theater of Oklahoma’s Life & Times – featuring the world premiere of a new episode commissioned for Norfolk & Norwich Festival. Described as ‘the greatest story never told’ this is the epic portrait of an unremarkable life, generated from one single, simple question to a friend: ‘can you tell me your life story?’ The subsequent 16-hour phone conversation was recorded in its rambling entirety and is used verbatim as the text for this moving and witty journey through life.

The New York Times described Nature Theater of Oklahoma as ‘The most buzzed-about new troupe on the New York avant-garde scene’.
Life and Times can be experienced over 4 separate evenings or in the immersive and rewarding twelve hour Saturday Marathon, featuring a barbeque cooked for you by the cast. The 4 distinct episodes are all presented in brilliantly different styles. Episode 1 tells the story from birth to age 8 through charmingly simple songs and dances with music. Episode 2 addresses adolescent concerns of identity with home made 80’s styled electro disco rhythms, heroic gymnastics and vocal extravagance.

Episodes 3 and 4 take in high school years (14-18) and the dramas of teenage experimentation. Rebellion, religion and first love unravel in the manner of a stylised, locked room, mystery murder (think The Mousetrap) play.

The world premiere of Episodes 4.5 and 5 of Life & Times have been specially commissioned for Norfolk & Norwich Festival. Bringing even more unexpected twists and turns 4.5 is a 30 minute animated film, 5 is a hand-drawn, hand-calligraphed illuminated manuscript.

Life and Times is true event theatre that people will be talking about for years to come.

(Norwich Playhouse Tuesday 21-Friday 24 May 7.30pm, Saturday 25 May 1.30pm)


Reprise for 1936 commission

Norfolk & Norwich Festival celebrates the centenary year of Benjamin Britten with a performance of Our Hunting Fathers, presented as originally written by the Lowestoft born composer. First commissioned for the 1936 Norfolk & Norwich Festival and performed in St Andrews Hall this setting of words by WH Auden, for soprano and orchestra, is usually adopted for tenor. However the London based Philharmonia Orchestra under the baton of David Parry will be performing the original version for soprano in the very hall in which its world premiere was given.

The programme is completed by a work by Britten’s teacher Frank Bridge, Britten’s own Sinfonia da Requiem and the Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes. (Monday 13 May, St Andrews Hall Norwich)


The missing link between Public Enemy and Louis Armstrong

If jazz music is the heart of New Orleans, then the Soul Rebels’ music is the blood that pumps through the city’s veins. They embrace the rich jazz traditions of their homeland but add life-affirming vocals and hip shaking grooves aplenty. Couple those elements to funk, ska and hip-hop, with harmony vocals and more catchy horn lines and solos than you can shake a stick at, and you have a goodtime party band like no other, with an infectious energy that’s impossible to resist. A funky ready-made party like you’ve never heard before. ‘the missing link between Public Enemy and Louis Armstrong’Village Voice.

(Sunday 12 May, Theatre Royal, Norwich)


Exhilarating contemporary circus meets exquisite soaring song

How Like An Angel was originally commissioned earlier this year for the London 2012 Festival and performed in Norwich Cathedral before touring to other medieval cathedrals around the country. Now the sell-out success returns for six performances. Fusing exhilarating contemporary circus with exquisite singing, against the backdrop of the stunning architecture of Norwich Cathedral, audiences were left (literally) breathless by feats of astonishing acrobatics and soaring sound.

How Like An Angel combines the surprisingly complementary talents of the six disciplined contemporary circus performers of Australian company Circa with the nine singers of the world-renowned I Fagiolini ensemble.

(Norwich Cathedral Tuesday 14 & Thursday 16 May, 9.30pm, Wednesday 15 May, 7.30pm & 9.30pm, Friday 17 May, 8pm & 10pm)

World divas come no classier

Mariza is more than just the leading Portuguese fado singer of her generation. She is a global icon who has seduced world-wide audiences with her awesome singing, charismatic stage presence and powerful blend of traditional and contemporary song forms. Audiences were disappointed when ill health caused the cancellation of her sold out 2011 Festival date so demand is bound to be high for this return date by the Mozambique born singer of mixed Portugese African parentage.

‘She gets better and better. The voice is even more majestic, the gestures even more dramatic.’ The Times

World Divas come no classier than Mariza‘ The Observer

(Norwich Theatre Royal Tuesday 14 May)


Spectacular show from cult name to drop

Award winning French video director Yoann Lemoine  (Katy Perry, Lana Del Ray, Drake, Taylor Swift etc) has become the cult name to drop in music circles as the richly voiced Woodkid. His song Iron inspired French couture house Dior who also used it in the catwalk show. He staged a spectacular live broadcast from the top of the Eiffel Tower and was recently invited to sing onstage in New York with Lana Del Ray. After selling out the Queen Elizabeth Hall during the London Jazz Festival, he brings his singular brand of chamber pop mixed with avant-garde acoustics to Norfolk and Norwich Festival to celebrate the 2013 release of his first album The Golden Age.

(Norwich Theatre Royal Monday 13 May 8pm)


Full information on all Norfolk & Norwich Festival events at


Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2013 will run from 10 – 26 May.

Box Office 01603 766400, online  or in person at Norwich Theatre Royal Box Office.

The full programme for Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2013 will be unveiled in early March 2013.