I can’t believe it’s been a year since that last launch of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival. I am even more excited about this years festival as now I live back in Norfolk I can attend SO many more of the events than I did last year.
This years launch was held at The Shoe Factory Social Club in Norwich. The Artistic Director William Galinsky was there to tell us all about the exciting programme that is kicking off in May. What with the current political state of the world there was lots of talk of inclusion within the arts and I think this years programme really reflects the NNF’s passion in bringing everyone together from all around the world to celebrate the arts.
You can read the full programme HERE, but below are some of the highlights that I will be definitely checking out!
The Museum Of The Moon by Luke Jerram runs Friday 12 – Sunday 21 May at various times outside The Forum in Norwich and is a part of The Tarmac Free Outdoor Programme.
A giant inflatable moon featuring detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface will be outside The Forum in Norwich for the first week of the festival. During this period there will be live music, dance and theatre as well as the chance to just pull up a deckchair and take a closer look at the thing we are so used to seeing on a daily basis. I will no doubt be paying multiple visits, and best of all – it’s free!
Also part of the free programme is the World Premiere of The VR Playground, presented by Thrill Laboratory. I haven’t had the chance to play on a VR headset yet so am looking forward to this one a lot. You basically sit on a swing set so you are suspended, put on the headset and see where on earth you end up…”You may find yourself riding on the back of a giant mechanical jellyfish or atop a lumbering robot, you’ll find out when you get there!”
It runs Friday 12 – Saturday 27 May and swings will be in various locations in Norwich throughout the Festival,
Two performances that I want to attend – but maybe not in the same day- will total an amazing 17 hours of performance together.
The first one is a production called Summer. Autumn. Winter. Spring. and is performed on Saturday 13 & Sunday 14 May, 2pm – 9pm. This is a quartet about the human life cycle – living, dying, and our relationship with time – created by a theatre company called Quarantine.
“Each piece has a distinct focus: Summer. sees dozens of people on stage responding to this very day; Autumn. unfolds as a two hour interval in history, full of food, conversation and clairvoyance; Winter. meets a woman preparing for death and Spring. is performed by pregnant women and imagines lives as yet unlived.”
This 7 hour performance will feature local people too which is very exciting. The list of people who are needed was read out at the launch and it’s such a varied combination that I know it will create a very interesting piece of work.
The second of the two is a 10 hour overnight choral piece called In The Arms of Sleep by The Voice Project. It takes place Monday 22 – Friday 26 May 9.30pm – 8am.
Yep thats right- over night.
40 people per performance will “join the choir to travel into the space of sleep”. You will be given a bed and spend the night surrounded by music and sound, and will be given breakfast at the end. Sounds perfect! Reading more information about this performance they do explain there will be some time to actually sleep, and a space to spend time should you not be able to so you don’t disturb ones that are. All the music is specially written for this project by from Helen Chadwick, Orlando Gough, Jonathan Baker and Jon Hopkins.
Next up is Rear View created by IOU- (click for performance schedule). They have taken a double decker bus and turned it into a traveling auditorium that will drive you around the streets of Norwich. “Beginning in a life-drawing class, Rear View quickly becomes a moving adventure about a woman’s life led by performance poets Cecilia Knapp and Jemima Foxtrot making reflections, predictions and observations that blur the line between reality and fiction.” I can’t wait to see how this works, I will try and be one of the first people on the bus and report back on this blog!
Race Horse Company return this year with a production called Super Sunday. This will be on at the Norwich Theatre Royal on Monday 15 & Tuesday 16 May at 8pm. Race Horse Company are a Finnish circus troupe with “a reputation for madcap brilliance” and looking at some of their past work I can see why.
Circus troupes make me a little anxious so I may spend a lot of the performance watching from between my fingers, but during the festival I really want to see things that I wouldn’t normally see, so this circus and other dance acts are on my list! ( my rather long list!)
The Adnams Spiegeltent is back in Chapelfield Gardens for another fun filled year, featuring artists such as Totó la Momposina and Kansas Smitty’s House Band as well as Ragroof’s popular Tea Dances, this year featuring a La La Land inspired dance- City of Stars. During the daytime the space is also used for brilliant free activities aimed at parents and toddlers so it is really worth a look at.
The festival is a great chance for audiences to see things locally that they wouldn’t usually go and watch, and to introduce themselves to different genres. It’s super affordable and at the end of the day you are supporting the local economy and building a positive reputation for fantastic arts in rural areas.
NNF also focus on making the whole festival really accessible, which is very important in rural areas. They put on buses that you can book alongside tickets to some events, and with Abellio Greater Anglia being a main sponsor, they have a lot of information readily available to prospective audience members showing just how easily accessible the whole festival is no matter where you are in the UK.
Public and online booking will open at 9.30am on Thursday 2 March. Have you had a look at whats happening this May? What performances have caught your eye?
Let me know and maybe I will see you there!