Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2018

Norfolk & Norwich Festival has today announced the full programme for its 2018 Festival (11 - 27 May). The programme, which spans performance, theatre, music, visual arts, literature, circus, outdoor and family events, includes world and UK premieres, one-off spectaculars, and a host of free events across the Festival. The Festival will showcase renowned international artists from across the globe and countries as widespread as Syria, Australia and India, alongside the best local Norfolk and UK talent presented across the county, from Norwich city centre and Great Yarmouth to Wells-next-the-Sea.

Daniel Brine, Norfolk & Norwich Festival Director said: “The Festival is a wonderful time to celebrate our city and county, to bring communities together to experience great art and performance, and to welcome artists and visitors from across the UK and around the world.  Our programme is broad and rich and we’re proud to be presenting world premieres alongside celebrated productions not previously seen in Norfolk. This year the Festival has been put together by all of our team. My predecessor, William Galinsky, laid the foundations with major commissions and partnerships and the team, along with our principal programming partners Britten Sinfonia, Serious and Writers’ Centre Norwich has given flesh and life to the programme. I’ve joined as we put the finishing touches in place and I have quickly immersed myself in the excitement and challenge of delivering one of the UK’s most dynamic arts festivals.”

World premieres include: Mercury Music Prize winner and pioneer of Asian Underground music Talvin Singh at Norwich Cathedral; Norwich, Ely and Peterborough Cathedral Choirs combining for a concert to perform the premiere of BBC Young Composer Of The Year Alex Woolf’s new piece; a durational choral piece from The Voice Project; Kathryn Tickell & The Darkening bring the oldest Northumbrian folk songs to life again; the internationally acclaimed circus company, Barely Methodical Troupe headline the Adnams Spiegeltent with Shift; Improbable present The Paper Man, inspired by the unexplained death of Austrian football star Matthias Sindelar in 1939, who humiliated the Nazi regime by refusing to throw a match;Wayfaring, a large-scale artwork based around the ancient routes of the Icknield Way in Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Wells Beach. The Isle of Brimsker, a new multi-sensory story from specialists in making theatre for audiences with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities Frozen Light; a magical cycle-powered ride-on carousel The Bewonderment Machine by A Bird in the Hand Theatre; Mirror Mirror by Mind The Gap, one of Europe’s leading learning disability theatre companies; Belly of the Whale, the first outdoor show by critically acclaimed Ockham’s Razor and steampunk inspired The Playground of Illusions by Travelling Light Circus.

Further Festival highlights include: an opening spectacular from Transe Express as carnivalesque drummers take over the streets and living dolls on stilts transform the city centre into an open-air opera house; alt-rock icon Amanda Palmer, five-time Grammy Award-winner Mary Chapin Carpenter,Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Ben Folds, West African female super-group Les Amazones d’Afrique, Award-winning jazz singer Barb Jungr singing works from Bob Dylan, MOBO winners Binker & Moses; David McAlmont presenting ‘Billie Holiday at Carnegie Hall’; singers Mark Padmore and Christopher Purves in a programme of music and poetry in Songs of the Sea; London Philharmonic Orchestra in a programme of Mahler and Rachmaninov with pianist Arseny Tarasevich-Nikolaev; a special concert from The Trout Quintet, Europe’s leading violinist from the South Indian Classical tradition Jyotsna Seikanth together with Bollywood Brass Band, a continued partnership with BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists, presenting some of the most promising new talent from around the world; king of crime Jeffery Denver, a community takeover of the Council Chamber in city hall to debate wellbeing, environment and integration with Ben Okri, the return of the City of Literature weekend including Hilary Spurling on Anthony Powell, punk royalty Viv Albertine discussing the follow up to her best-selling memoir; a Writes Back! series covering Autism, disability and D/deafness; Caitlin Davies’ exploration of real-life stories of women prisoners Bad Girls; Processions banner-making workshops to join mass promenade marking 100 years of votes for women; Damien Hirst at Houghton Hall and Britten Sinfonia closing the Festival with Beethoven’s’ Symphony No.5.

PERFORMANCE

The 2018 Norfolk & Norwich Festival will see multiple world premieres in performance.

Improbable will present the world premiere of The Paper Man, exploring what we do when fascism comes to town and inspired by the unexplained death of Austrian football star Matthias Sindelar in 1939, who humiliated the Nazi regime by refusing to throw a match. The production follows middle-aged, white British, Football addict-in-recovery and Improbable co-founder, Lee Simpson in his search for answers.

The internationally acclaimed UK circus company, Barely Methodical Troupe headline the Adnams Spiegeltent with the world premiere of Shift following their previous hits Bromance and Kin. The company have been garnering acclaim since their first show toured for over 18 months worldwide drawing on the company’s background in circus, dance and parkour.

The Isle of Brimsker presented by Frozen Light is a new multi-sensory story from specialists in making theatre for audiences with Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities about a lighthouse keeper and a runaway.

Provisional Figures is a new piece of theatre from award-winning Portuguese film and theatre director Marco Martins, inspired by the 10,000 Portuguese immigrants arriving in Great Yarmouth in the mid-2000s. Presented in Great Yarmouth the show will be accompanied by a celebration of Portuguese culture, food and drink.

Other performance highlights include: cabaret sensation Le Gateau Chocolat’s personal tribute to his musical heroes, Icons; Forced Entertainment’scomical, absurd and acclaimed Real Magic; plus, as part of the City of Literature programme, Rosy Carrick’s mixed media time travel show PassionateMachine; tour de force of the live literature circuit Hannah Silva’s Talk in a Bit; Jack Dean’s protest show Nuketown; Tim Clare and Mark Grist’sVoted Out which uses state-of-the-art voting technology to give the audience the power of choice

The dance programme for 2018 includes the return of world-renowned choreographer Hofesh Shechter with his heart-stopping Grand Finale, animated by six musicians live on stage, Gandini Juggling’s new show Sigma blending juggling and classical Indian dance and multimedia projections and inclusive dance companies Stopgap and Flex who bring two free shows to outdoor spaces. There’s also the return of the ever-popular audience ledRagroof Tea Dances to The Adnams Spiegeltent. 

LITERATURE

In England’s first UNESCO City of Literature, Norfolk & Norwich Festival and the Writers’ Centre Norwich will once again present a world-class literature programme, including the City of Literature Weekend, taking place over three full days.

The 2018 literature line-up includes writers such as punk musician Viv Albertine; Caspar Henderson on natural history and neuroscience, Sarah Perryand special guests marking an important year for women in writing – 80 years of Rebecca, the 100th birthday of Muriel Spark and the 200th anniversary ofFrankenstein, Hilary Spurling will discuss her long awaited portrait of Anthony Powell, Rachel Hewitt will speak on the history of emotional thinking, Fred Pearce on humanity’s nuclear history, Hugh Lupton tells the story of making his new novel The Mabinogion, TED speaker and author of New York Times bestseller Chasing the Scream Johann Hari on his new book Lost Connections, Professor of Psychology Charles Fernyhough and Professor of Disability Research Tom Shakespeare will discuss how books help us understand diversity and Caitlin Davies’ talks about her exploration of real-life stories of women prisoners, Bad Girls. During the Festival there will be 5x15 on the mysteries of human brains and bodies, a Writes Back! mini-series covering Autism, disability and D/deafness, a community takeover of the Council Chamber in city hall to debate wellbeing, environment and integrations with Ben Okri and a live telling of Preti Taneja’s deeply-moving and award-winning novella Kumkum Malhorta set in New Delhi, in the grounds of Norwich Castle.

MUSIC

Highlights of this year’s contemporary music programme, co-curated by EFG London Jazz Festival producers Serious include one of the world’s greatest groups Ladysmith Black Mambazo, five-time Grammy Award winner Mary Chapin Carpenter, Ben Folds performing some of his best-loved songs with just a piano, Mercury Music Prize and South Bank Prize winner Talvin Singh presenting a brand new project featuring beatboxer Jason Singh, David McAlmont presenting ‘Billie Holiday at Carnegie Hall’, a concert inspired by Holiday’s legendary 1956 gig, and containing Almont’s interpretations of her most well known songs. Kathryn Tickell and the Darkening present a brand new concert, Opera North deliver a live scored screening of Battleship Potemkin with music by Jan Bang and Matt Calvert, Grammy Award nominee Deva Mahal, Jyotsna Srikanth & Bollywood Brass Band and Syrian musician Maya Youssef Trio all perform at the Playhouse and alt-rock icon Amanda Palmer, one half of the cult-punk cabaret duo The Dresden Dolls, in a performance kicked off by comedian Andrew O’Neill at OPEN.

The Norfolk & Norwich Festival’s classical music programme is co-curated for the second time this year by Britten Sinfonia who return with Thomas Adès, following their sell-out performance of Beethoven’s Symphonies 1 and 2 in 2017, to continue their journey with Symphonies No 4 and 5 alongside the music of Gerald Barry featuring Nicolas Hodges, as well as presenting their Alice Through the Looking Glass as part of the family programme. Other highlights in the programme include Robert Trevino conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra in a programme of Mahler and Rachmaninov with pianist Arseny Tarasevich-Nikolaev, Norwich, Ely and Peterborough Cathedral Choirs combining for a concert to perform the premiere of BBC Young Composer Of The Year Alex Woolf’s new piece, The Sixteen’s return to the Festival with a programme spanning 500 years of British choral music, The Trout Quintet(Hyeyoon Park, Brett Dean, Kian Soltani, Leon Bosch and Benjamin Grosvenor) with a special concert, singers Mark Padmore and Christopher Purves, joined by Simon Russell-Beale for a programme of music and poetry in Songs of the Sea and the continuation of the partnership with BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists, giving audiences the opportunity to hear some of the most promising new talent from around the world with concerts from Ashley Riches, Mariam Batsashvili, Aleksey Semenenko and Andrei Ionita.

THE ADNAMS SPIELGELTENT

The Adnams Spiegeltent will be back at the Festival with a characteristically vibrant programme which includes headline show Shift from Barely Methodical Troupe, cabaret sensation Le Gateau Chocolat’s personal tribute to his musical heroes, and a host of lively late night gigs curated by Serious including: West African female super-group, Les Amazones d’Afrique; award-winning jazz singer Barb Jungr singing works from Bob Dylan, MOBO winners Binker & Moses; jazz influenced afro-beat band Maisha;  South London Royal Academy graduate Ashley Henry and House of Waterswho bring their melting pot of multiple sounds.

Norfolk & Norwich Festival favourites the Ragroof Tea Dances also return. 

THE FREE OUTDOOR PROGRAMME

The Free Outdoor Programme at the Festival brings world-class performances from across Europe to Norwich’s parks and open spaces completely free of charge. 

This year’s Festival will open with Transe Express as carnivalesque drummers take over the streets of the city and larger than life singing dolls on stilts transform Norwich into a fantastical open air opera house. The parade will move through the streets of the city and culminate in a spectacular aerial finale. 

Other programme highlights this year includes Marco Barotti’s robotic woodpeckers popping up across the city and transforming mobile signals into beats tapped out onto the city’s architecture and Wayfaring, a large scale world premiere from And Now: inspired by the ancient routes of the Icknield Way, taking place on Wells Beach with illumination, music and performance in a huge free celebration.

The Garden Party will also return to the Festival for the middle weekend with breath-taking circus, intriguing illusions, life-like puppets and strange beings from outer space. Norfolk & Norwich Festival is thrilled to be continuing its membership of the Creative Europe In Situ network and the UK-based Without Walls, bringing to the festival the very best outdoor work from the UK and all over Europe. Both networks are supporting NNF’s own commissions.

VISUAL ART

The 2018 visual art programme includes Damien Hirst at Houghton Hall, with new never seen before paintings, Glasgow-based, Turner Prize-shortlisted artist Nathan Coley at the East Gallery and leading British sculptor Lynn Chadwick’s Beasts made up of three striking sculptures at Sainsbury Centre Sculpture Park.

FAMILY

Alongside multiple events for families in the Free Outdoor Programme, Britten Sinfonia will present Alice through the Looking Glass and Kid Carpet and the Noisy Animals will take younger audiences on a silly and lively journey about going on holiday. Plus there are free storytelling, dancing and music events for Early Years in the Spiegeltent.

The Festival runs 11 – 27 May 2018.

The flagship arts organisation for the East of England, Norfolk & Norwich Festival showcases some of the world’s most renowned international artists alongside regional talent, drawing audiences from across the UK. 

Norfolk & Norwich is dedicated to making Festival events accessible for all. There are a variety of initiatives in place to enable as many people as possible to enjoy the work. 

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

Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2018

Event Date: 
Monday, March 5, 2018

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