When: 12th – 28th May 2017
Where: Norwich, Norfolk
£: Ticket prices vary, depending on the event. Some events are free
What is it?
Norfolk & Norwich Festival, the largest arts festival in the East of England, will take place from Friday 12th to Sunday 28th May. The festival programme, which spans performance, theatre, music, visual arts, and literature; and includes world premieres, unique concerts, one-off events, and free outdoor events.
Festival highlights will include an extraordinary choral sleepover from The Voice Project, The Arms of Sleep, which will give audience members a bed and invite them to spend the night at the Assembly House in Norwich, for a specially written ten-hour choral piece. Audiences will drift between sleep and wakefulness, to be woken in the morning by a dawn chorus. The piece will feature specially written music from Helen Chadwick, Orlando Gough, Jonathan Baker and Jon Hopkins.
Other highlights will include the return of multi-award-winning performance poet Luke Wright, with the premiere of his second verse play Frankie Vah, set against a backdrop of indie venues and 80s politics.
The Tarmac Outdoor Programme at the festival will bring world-class performances from across Europe to Norwich’s parks and open spaces, completely free of charge. The programme includes Luke Jerram’s latest large-scale public artwork, a giant inflatable moon, Museum of the Moon, complete with deckchairs underneath; allowing audiences to bathe in the moonlight alongside a programme of lunar-inspired live music, dance and performance.
Thrill Laboratory’s VR Playground, will allow audiences to jump on sets of swings around the city and don virtual reality headsets. Audiences will be able to take experimental trips influenced by the pace at which they choose to swing, and enter a range of experiences, from riding on the back of a mechanical jellyfish to sitting atop a giant robot.
Rear View, a world premiere on the streets of Norwich, will take audiences on their custom-made double-decker bus, in a quickly moving adventure led by poets Cecilia Knapp and Jemima Foxtrot.
Performance highlights also include leading UK disabled artists Claire Cunningham and Jess Curtis’ The Way You Look (at me) Tonight, exploring our habits and practices of perceiving each other.
The Adnams Spiegeltent will be back at the festival with a characteristically vibrant programme which will include headline show Driftwood from Australian company Casus Circus, a discussion on Art and Sexuality with esteemed authors Eimear McBride, Sarah Hall and Megan Bradbury, and a cabaret of magical delights and Victorian era vaudeville from Hocus Pocus Theatre and Gossamer Thread’s Vaudeville Co. Favourites such as the Rag Roof Tea Dances and the programme of late night gigs, co-curated by Serious also return. Gigs this year will feature music from Columbia, Portugal, and Angola.
TheatreFragile will bring a narrative masked theatre piece and, having met with local refugees and support groups, will bring their voices to the centre of an interactive performance. The Garden Party will also return to the festival for the middle weekend, showcasing sound installations, circus, live music, dance, real life arcade games, giant origami and a roaming cottage on chicken legs.
The visual art programme will include a new exhibition from Turner Prize-winning artist Richard Long, who will present site-responsive pieces at historic house and gardens Houghton Hall. Rana Begum will transform the Mezzanine Gallery at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, with an immersive installation and wall-mounted reliefs, taking advantage of the architecture. This will be her first museum show anywhere in the world.
In England’s first UNESCO City of Literature, Norfolk & Norwich Festival and the Writers’ Centre Norwich will present a world-class literature programme, over three full days. The programme will explore revolutions in art, sexuality, technology and identity with writers including Will Self. The Story Machine is also set to return with a new selection of world-renowned writers, taking place at Shoe Factory Social Club.
Highlights of this year’s contemporary music programme, co-curated by EFG London Jazz Festival producers Serious, include jazz star Dee Dee Bridgewater, a cappella group and social media sensation Naturally 7, Philip Glass and Laurie Anderson, Portuguese singer Lula Pena, and a rare UK appearance from Totó La Momposina.
The festival will hold their Meet Me At the Spiegeltent programme during the daytime to present a programme of free events. This will include Bounce and Rhyme sessions for 0-5 year olds, Mamasupials baby sling dancing fun, Hartbeeps Taster creative play and music sessions, and The Afternoon Social for all ages to come together in an afternoon of socialising and intergenerational activities.
More info: www.nnfestival.org.uk