New Year variety at Auden Theatre in Holt

PUBLISHED: 11:30 24 December 2014 | UPDATED: 11:30 24 December 2014

The launch party for Madhu Choudhry's Ethnic Fusion School of Indian Cookery near Dereham.

The launch party for Madhu Choudhry's Ethnic Fusion School of Indian Cookery near Dereham.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

A 1980s jazz funk band who hit the pop charts join classical music, comedy, drama, and Indian cookery in a varied early 2015 programme at a north Norfolk theatre.

Norfolk Festival of Nature

The Norfolk Festival of Nature will be held at the Auden Theatre in Holt in February.

The event brings together a host of nationally-important writers, conservationists, art historians, poets and musicians.

The festival lecture will be a joint presentation by the nationally renowned nature writer Patrick Barkham and the National Trust’s Matthew Oates who will reflect on the concept of The Spirit of Place.

A festival spokesman said “Norfolk has some of the richest and most distinctive countryside in Britain.

“It is home to thousands of species. It has shaped the economic life of Norfolk people for millennia, but it has also been inspiration to artists and naturalists for centuries.

“The long-term aim of the Norfolk Festival of Nature will be to celebrate the central place of landscape and wildlife in the cultural life of our country.”

It runs from Monday February 23 to Saturday February 28.

Events include:

Tuesday February 24 - Festival director Al Cormack (pictured) and photographer Adam Shawyer chart a journey from Sheringham to Great Yarmouth; poetry reading.

Wednesday February 25 - a talk about contemporary British landscape painting; illustrated talk on how the landscape has inspired artists.

Thursday February 26 - programme of music inspired by nature; a talk on the marsh harrier; audio visual presentations on nature’s sounds

Friday February 27 - an artistic look at the Fen Raft spider (pictured); festival lecture Spirit of Place

Saturday February 28 - Nature Writing workshop; festival launch with nature writer Mark Cocker (pictured); talk on why nature is in decline by David North from Norfolk Wildlife Trust.

More details at 01263 713444.

The Auden Theatre at Gresham’s School in Holt combines school and public events on its varied menu.

Long-running cult band Shakatak visit on May 23 with their mix of jazz funk and pop which saw them reach the chart top 10 twice in 1982 and 84 with Night Birds and Down on the Street.

The foursome - Jill Saward (vocals), Bill Sharpe (keys), George Anderson (bass) and Roger Odell (drums) - continue to tour the UK, Europe and Far East.

Among the early performances is a visit by a globe-trotting classical choral group VOCES8 on Thursday January 15.

It is the first of the venue’s subscription concerts of top notch performers now in their 18th season.

VOCES8 is a multi award-winning vocal group which tours internationally and has sung in the USA, Asia, and Africa.

Other subscription concerts are Peter Donohoe (piano) February 6, the European Union Chamber Orchestra on March 3, and Zelkova Quartet on May 10.

Music offerings also include the North Norfolk Chamber Opera doing The Elixir of Love (and English translation of Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore) from April 16-18.

A taste of exotic cookery will be provided on January 30 by Norfolk-based Indian cookery school boss Madhu Choudhry - who is doing demonstrations of classic recipes followed by a tasting session - with takeaways available if pre-ordered by January 27 by calling 01362 638449 or emailing

Drama offerings include staging of John Godber’s Teechers - a comedy looking at a teacher’s switch form state to private education - on February 2. It is by the visiting professional company Blackeyed Theatre.

Another touring company, Propellor Theatre, visits on February 23 with a pocket version of Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors.

School productions include the Gresham’s prep school’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat from March 18-20.

Auden administroar Wendy Metcalfe said the 300-seater theatre was in daily use by the school but also aimed to provide a varied programme for the public.

Headmaster Douglas Robb said the flourishing arts theme at the theatre was underscored by the diversity of events involving children as well as professional performers.

For more information and tickets visit, or contact the box office on 01263 713444 or It reopens on January 8 and is open Monday to Friday 12.30-2pm in term time. Follow the Auden on Twitter at twitter@audentheatre.

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