Annual arts feast for The East brings international stars, community engagement and unmatched cultural diversity to Norfolk

Norfolk & Norwich Festival enjoys an ever-growing reputation for innovative and inspirational events and is one of the UK’s big four arts festivals – and probably the oldest, tracing its roots to 1772. The 2014 Festival runs from 9 – 25 May and its geographical reach has expanded to take in more of the county. With free outdoor spectaculars, the best contemporary and classical music, theatre, circus and dance, engaging children’s shows, thought-provoking visual arts, literary events, the ever popular Adnams Spiegeltent and lots of opportunities to get involved there is truly something for everyone.


International Stars and Surprises
For this year’s Festival the creative team have scoured the world to bring the finest international performers to the county. During the 17 days of the Festival performers from 6 continents and almost 30 countries will gather to present shows for audiences of all ages – starting from those just a few months old.

There are lots of events and performers ripe for discovery alongside more familiar names at the Theatre Royal and world famous orchestras at St Andrew’s Hall. These include special Festival collaborations from award-winning record producers Joe Boyd, Dave Okumu and Javier Limón, a Norman church constructed from giant cardboard bricks, Cathedral Close transformed into an open-air art gallery and the sports hall at UEA converted into an intimate theatre for the extraordinary Russian theatrical experience Opus No 7.

Supporting regional talent
The excitement of bringing international artists and performers to Norfolk is matched by the privilege of providing a significant platform for artists and performers from closer to home. ‘We are passionate about nurturing and developing talent from the region, giving our own artists the opportunity to learn and grow and push their talents to new heights’ confirmed Artistic Director William Galinsky ‘I’m especially pleased that brilliant young theatre company curious directive will premiere a new work with us for the second year, and the unstoppable Voice Project continue to excite me with the boldness of their vision for what a community choir can be’.

Destination Norfolk
The Festival plays an important role in attracting visitors to Norfolk as well as enhancing the quality of life for those living here. And with events stretching from King’s Lynn to Diss, via Holkham, Loddon, Great Yarmouth and Wymondham, there are more reasons than ever to explore the county. The regular train services run by Festival Travel Partner Abellio Greater Anglia provide a great way to get around this beautiful county.

For full programme details go to www.nnfestival.org.uk


Norfolk & Norwich Festival continues its strong tradition of inspirational world class outdoor performances and events from across Europe; all completely FREE thanks to new outdoor event sponsor Lafarge Tarmac.

The People’s Tower will bring people of all ages together to create a huge replica of St Peter Mancroft’s iconic tower out of cardboard blocks under the supervision of French artist Olivier Grosstête. Construction will begin in the morning, reach completion by mid afternoon then, after a few short hours viewing time, it will be spectacularly demolished at 6pm.

A fun-filled weekend of family entertainment opens with Diss Family Day on Friday 16 May. A host of exciting and exhilarating performances will transform the town into a feast of festivity, with acrobatics, comedy, storytelling and spectacle. The fun then moves to Norwich’s Chapelfield Gardens and Outside The Forum on Saturday 17 and Sunday and 18 May for The Garden Party. Umpteen performers and troupes will make sure these 3 days are packed with thrills, entertainment and family fun. Highlights include absurdist comedy and gravity defying acrobatics from Lords of Strut; a series of strange characters and passing moments inside The Lift; a modern day soap opera featuring puppetry, dance and live music from Ramshacklicious; acrobatics and dance-theatre from young circus company Acrojou; classic cartoons in The Adnams Spiegeltent and the chance to travel through space and time in The Astronauts Caravan! And the best news of all is that this is all FREE – so what’s not to like!

Children’s shows include Unicorn Theatre’s magical staging of David McKee’s Not Now, Bernard and Monski Mouse’s wonderful Baby Disco Dance Hall for the under 5s returns to The Adnams Spiegeltent on 24 May.

This year’s Festival Finale is Safe House, a breathtaking and spectacular outdoor event taking place in central Norwich. A mysterious house appears and gradually unfolds its story, taking the audience on an emotionally-charged surreal and poetic journey through the lives of the people who have lived within it. Aerialists scale the walls and pound the streets while the house dramatically transforms into a variety of stunning visual backdrops.


One of Norfolk’s most exciting young theatre ensembles curious directive present the world premiere of Pioneer, a life affirming multi media exploration of the first manned mission to Mars. A new intimate theatre space will be created at UEA Sportspark for one of only four UK appearances of Opus No 7 an extraordinary, visually majestic theatrical experience exploring the relationship between the artist and the autocratic state from Russia’s most influential director Dmitry Krymov.

David Leddy’s dynamic, uplifting and boisterous play Long Live The Little Knife takes a micro tour of the county popping up in Diss, Norwich, Loddon, Great Yarmouth and Wymondham.

Festival favourites Circa follow their 2013 sell outs How Like An Angel and Beyond with the UK Premiere of their newest, award-winning circus show S. To the intoxicating music of the Kronos Quartet, seven brilliant acrobats bend, fly, contort and hang in a piece infused with raw immediacy and beauty.

Dance is represented by Michael Clark Company’s latest show animal / vegetable / mineral set to the music of Sex Pistols, Relaxed Muscle and Scritti Politti. International hip-hop festival Breakin’ Convention comes to King’s Lynn Corn Exchange for a non-stop celebration of hip-hop culture featuring DJs, dancers, demonstrations and workshops. Local performers will be on stage alongside the likes of Olivier Award-nominated international b-boy company ILL-Abilities who challenge misconceptions about people with disabilities.

[Live] Art Club at Norwich Arts Centre is the late night Festival club with a distinct difference. Unexpected, often unplanned and sometimes uncontrollable moments of wild artistic abandon mix with carefully selected headline acts from around the eastern region and beyond.


With a selection ranging from big names of the classical world, Royal Academy of Music stars for the future, world music of the highest calibre and a legendary musician celebrating his 75th birthday to Norwich noisenik’s The Neutrinos, this is perhaps the most varied music line up the Festival has seen in over 240 years.

The much-loved Philharmonia Orchestra, with guest superstar violinist Tasmin Little, provide a thrilling fanfare on the opening night at St Andrews Hall. Norwich Cathedral hosts one of the world’s finest early music ensembles The Sixteen, performing a stunning programme of Tudor music and a candlelit concert by the Norwich Cathedral Choir. Norwich’s award winning Voice Project Choir take their new commission Souvenir out of the city to the Palladian splendour of Holkham Hall.
Louis Lortie, one of the world’s greatest pianists, fills Wymondham Abbey with beautiful music, Mahogany Opera Group present contemporary comic ‘cabaret opera’Gloria – A Pigtale at the Playhouse and a celebration of the magnificent music of Sir John Tavener reintroduces Norwich’s Octagon Chapel as a Festival venue. Widely seen as one of the top orchestra’s in the UK, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra are joined by a stunning line-up of soloists to perform Elgar’s Enigma Variations and other pieces in a programme that reflects the legacy of The Great War, one hundred years on.

Jazz pianist, composer and bandleader Mike Westbrook brings a rare chance to hear his settings of William Blake’s poetry to the brilliant acoustic of St Peter Mancroft, also the venue for Dutch harpist Lavinia Meijer’s interpretations of Glass and Einaudi. Spanish record producer Javier Limón (Mariza, Paco de Lucia) appears with Mexican singer Magos Herrera, Scandanavian/UK jazz heroes Phronesis take their propulsive groove-driven sound to Diss Corn Hall while USA’s Snarky Puppy will fill Open with high energy raw funk and soul. Legendary producer Joe Boyd (Nick Drake, Pink Floyd, REM, John Martyn) talks about his book, Jessie Ware/ Paloma Faith producer Dave Okumu and The Invisible team up with Noisettes singer Shingai Shoniwa for the world premiere of Stars Align. Toumani Diabaté from Mali is the world’s most celebrated kora exponent and a real Festival coup is the very first visit to the city of South African trumpet maestro Hugh Masekela celebrating his 75th birthday year. His exuberant music acknowledges no barriers and encompasses jazz, funk, hip-hop and the urban township jive of his birthplace.

The Adnams Spiegeltent (14 – 25 May)
The brilliant art-nouveau splendour of The Adnams Spiegeltent returns for ten days of glamour, thrills and entertainment taking the Festival late into the night. Sequined satirists Bourgeois & Maurice celebrate their 7th birthday, The Ragroof Players return for two tremendous themed tea dance events and watch out for dangerous, seductive comedy monster Red Bastard. There’s a special screening of Wim Wenders classic Wings of Desire and music from the fiery Molotov Jukebox, fronted in flamboyant style by actor/singer Natalia Tena (Harry Potter, Game of Thrones), the multinational Family Atlantica and sultry Irish chanteuse Camille O’SullivanRiot Jazz Brass Band – from Manchester via New Orleans, and the explosive Edinburgh 9-piece Orkestra del Sol provide instant party vibes.

City of Literature
In association with Writer’s Centre Norwich the UNESCO City of Literature Festival programme combines words, ideas, discussion, debate, performance, books and celebration. Celebrated author Kate Mosse delivers The Harriet Martineau Lecture, Kinks leader Ray Davies discusses his latest memoire and novelists Darren Shan and Norwich’s own Alexander Gordon Smith discuss their hugely popular books for young adults. Norwegian literary sensation Karl Ove Knausgaard introduces the six books in his My Struggle series of novels. Norwich Arts Centre plays host to The Shroud featuring Siddhartha Bose and Avaes Mohammad, UEA graduate Ross Sutherland’s Stand-By For Tape Back-Up and Norwich poet/playwright Molly Naylor’s autobiographical If Destroyed Still True (with music from Bearsuit’s Iain Ross). AL Kennedy is one of the judges at The Adnams Spiegeltent’s Literary Death Match while the same venue hosts The Salon, a showcase of local literary talent. The Lives Of Great Women Writers is a literary festival in a day featuring renowned biographer Dame Hermione Lee, the Costa Prize winning team behind Dotter of Her Father’s EyesSamantha Ellisand bestselling novelists Diane Setterfield and Raffaella Barker.

Visual Art
There’s a real feast for the eyes too with three projects commissioned especially for the Festival. Throughout the Festival Stephen Brandes’ The Last Travelogue Of Albert Sitzfleisch uses multiple billboards, with reports from this fictional traveller’s journey through Europe, to create a trail through Upper Cathedral Close. Tim Davis’ Withinat The Gallery, Norwich University Of The Arts includes a new film made in response to Norwich – reflecting the city’s historic context and its cultural and architectural specificity. Tipping Point is the world premiere of a kinetic sound sculpture from Bristol based artist Kathy Hinde. In the Undercroft beneath Norwich’s War Memorial a series of suspended glass vessels are filled with differing levels of water tipping and tilting to alter their tones as vibrating motors and tappers cause them to ring, creating an immersive sonic experience enhanced by LED lights responding to the shifts in water levels.

It’s Your Festival
Norfolk & Norwich Festival has always prided itself in providing ample opportunity for local people to get involved and this year, thanks to generous sponsorship from Norwich BID, it goes a step further with It’s Your Festival an extra day that will showcase the talented people of Norfolk. Performers can apply to appear in a variety of Festival venues, both indoor and outdoor (including the Adnams Spiegeltent) at www.nnfestival.org.uk/takepart.

To sum up William Galinsky added ‘This Festival is my most inclusive and diverse yet and one I am immensely proud of – the Festival looks to bring many different communities and organisations together from all over the city and region. Our partnerships with local arts organisations, artists, travel partner Abellio Greater Anglia celebrating 24 years of support from the region’s railways, first time sponsors Lafarge Tarmac and East of England Co-op alongside all our funders, sponsors and supporters are squarely aimed to strengthen Norfolk and Norwich’s position as a world-class cultural destination. I also want to give a special shout this year to an extraordinary partnership without which Norfolk would not have the resilient, world class arts offer that it does. Our principal funders Arts Council England, Norwich City Council and Norfolk County Council have worked together over the last 15 years to forge a vision for this region – a vision whose spirit and strength makes it possible for organisations like the Festival to continue to flourish despite huge cuts to public spending nationally.’

Hedley Swain, Area Director, South East, Arts Council England, said: ‘Norfolk & Norwich Festival is one of the UK’s big four arts festivals and we are delighted to count it among the organisations that we support in the East of England. It offers a great platform for some of the East’s most talented new artists and organisations to be showcased alongside some of the world’s most established stars. The Festival is a beacon of cultural inspiration and excellence to entertain and inspire audiences; it is also of significant economic value to the county, the region and beyond.’

Cllr Brenda Arthur, leader Norwich City Council commented ‘Norwich City Council is proud to support the Festival. Not only does it provide a real economic and artistic boost to our fine city of culture, its also brings enjoyment to the thousands of residents and visitors who take part each year. This year we have lent our special support to making sure there are free events so that as many residents as possible can have an opportunity to take part in the Festival.’

Cllr Margaret Wilkinson, Cabinet Member for Culture at Norfolk County Council said ‘Norfolk County Council is proud to support the 2014 Norfolk & Norwich Festival. This year’s Festival programme will bring a range of high-quality artistic performances and events to the widest range of audiences, including many free outdoor events for families.  The Norfolk & Norwich Festival is one of the largest and most respected arts festivals in the UK, attracting national and international audiences and raising the profile of both the County and the City as a culturally vibrant place to live and to visit. Norfolk & Norwich Festival’s role as an Arts Council England Bridge organisation also helps to promote the engagement of young people with the arts all year round’.

Jonathan Denby, Head of Corporate Affairs for Abellio Greater Anglia said ‘Abellio Greater Anglia is delighted to be the Travel Partner for the 2014 Norfolk & Norwich Festival, extending a highly successful partnership between the Festival and the region’s railways which now extends back 24 years. We are passionate about playing our part in supporting the region that we serve, so we’re very glad to be helping to promote the Festival again, providing tickets for artists and taking a proactive role in this year’s event.  With regular trains between Norwich and Cambridge, Ipswich, Lowestoft, Great Yarmouth and Sheringham, we hope many people will travel to Festival events by train.’

Rick Green
, Maintenance Business Director, Lafarge Tarmac, said ‘Lafarge Tarmac is committed to supporting the communities in which we operate and we are delighted to be the 2014 sponsor for the Norfolk & Norwich Festival’s free outdoor programme. It provides access to a range of innovative and exciting performances and events for the thousands of people across the county and it’s great that we are able to help children, young people and all members of the community to access the very best that the Festival has to offer.’

Andy Wood CEO of Adnams said, ‘At Adnams, we want to partner with organisations who share our values and outlook, who are creative, original, world class, good value with real integrity. We continue to support the Festival because it sets a standard in creative entertainment and it really helps build Norwich and Norfolk as a creative destination.’

Nick Champion from the East of England Co-op said: ‘We are thrilled to be able to support the Norfolk & Norwich Festival’s volunteer programme.  Co-operative working for the benefit of the community lays at the heart of who we are. Local and independent for over 140 years, we believe in supporting communities to help themselves. Our Society aims to benefit East Anglia’s society and as such, value the contributions that volunteers make to others.’

Stefan Gurney, Executive Director, Norwich Business Improvement District (BID) said ‘Norwich BID are excited to be supporting, It’s Your Festival, a new addition to this year’s Norfolk & Norwich Festival which brings an exciting and varied dimension to the programme for 2014. Showcasing the talents of the people of Norfolk, It’s Your Festival is a family and community orientated event, and we encourage everyone to get involved and be a part of this nationally recognised Festival in May. One of the largest festivals of its kind in the UK, it enhances the cultural offering of Norwich whilst adding to the city’s creative vibrancy. It is great to see the Festival grow and extend for one day, allowing individuals and community groups to take centre stage and be showcased in four city centre spaces in Its Your Festival. We very much look forward to seeing exciting and new talented acts in a fabulous one off Norwich event.

Full information on all Norfolk & Norwich Festival events is at www.nnfestival.org.uk

Box Office 01603 766400, online www.nnfestival.org.uk or in person at Norwich Theatre Royal Box Office.


We can promote your business every week on the Iceni Post!