A look ahead to some of Norwich’s cultural highlights for 2015

PUBLISHED: 09:48 02 January 2015 | UPDATED: 09:48 02 January 2015

NNF2015: Wolf's Child. Photo: Steve Tanner.

NNF2015: Wolf's Child. Photo: Steve Tanner.

The Christmas and New Year festivities may be drawing to a close for another year, but there is lots of entertainment to look forward to in Norwich in the coming months. Arts correspondent Emma Knights scans Norwich’s 2015 cultural calendar.

Five of the GoGoDragons. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYFive of the GoGoDragons. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY


A theatrical journey through the dark woods of a Norfolk country estate and the return of circus spectacle to the Adnams Spiegeltent are among the highlights at the 2015 Norfolk and Norwich Festival in May.

One of the headline shows will be Wolf’s Child, an outdoor spectacle by WildWorks, which will see the grounds of Felbrigg Hall transformed into a world of shape-shifting animals and humans as day turns to dusk.

Australian circus troupe Circa will also be returning to the Adnams Spiegeltent with a new show called What Will Have Been.

Shrek The Musical. Pictured: Dean Chisnall (Shrek) and Faye Brookes (Princess Fiona). Image by Helen Maybanks. Picture: Helen MaybanksShrek The Musical. Pictured: Dean Chisnall (Shrek) and Faye Brookes (Princess Fiona). Image by Helen Maybanks. Picture: Helen Maybanks

Other festival events already announced include:

• An exhibition by American artist Jeff Koons at Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery.

• The Festival Chorus will be joined by Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Sir John Tomlinson in a performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah at St Andrew’s Hall.

The festival is from May 8 to 24. More acts to be announced closer to the time. Visit

The Garage shows for spring 2015: I Need A Doctor: The Whosical.The Garage shows for spring 2015: I Need A Doctor: The Whosical.


Norfolk is set to be transformed into a giant art gallery for the annual Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios event from May 23 to June 7.

Dirty DancingDirty Dancing

For 16 days artists will be opening their homes and studios to the public, giving people a chance to watch Norfolk’s artists at work and find out more about their art.

NNOS is one of the most successful events of its kind. In 2014 more than 550 artists took part across 272 venues and 16 schools were involved.


Autumn comes in June to the Norwich cathedral cloister for the final day of filming Tulip Fever. Photo: Bill SmithAutumn comes in June to the Norwich cathedral cloister for the final day of filming Tulip Fever. Photo: Bill Smith


Norwich Theatre Royal’s pantomime Peter Pan continues until January 18, and the venue’s year carries on with a vast array of shows.

One of the highlights will see the world’s friendliest ogre heading to Norwich from the West End in June, when Shrek the Musical takes to the stage.

Reality Exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre. Pictured: My parents 1977 by David Hockney. Picture: David Hockney/ Tate ImagesReality Exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre. Pictured: My parents 1977 by David Hockney. Picture: David Hockney/ Tate Images

Other treats for musical fans include the return of Dirty Dancing in August, with Annie also coming to Norwich in the same month. The Norfolk and Norwich Operatic Society is also presenting Sister Act towards the end of January.

Matthew Bourne’s dance adaptation of Tim Burton’s film Edward Scissorhands is at the theatre in February, followed by chilling drama The Woman In Black later the same month.

Legendary entertainer Bruce Forsyth will be at the theatre on May 4 prior to appearing at the London Palladium, and Derren Brown, master of psychological illusion, will be in Norwich in June.

The Theatre Royal’s 2015 pantomime is set to be Snow White.

Sir Bruce Forsyth. Photo: Ian West/PA WireSir Bruce Forsyth. Photo: Ian West/PA Wire



The Garage shows for spring 2015: A Strange Wild Song.The Garage shows for spring 2015: A Strange Wild Song.

Norwich Playhouse is offering audiences a host of comedy, jazz, drama and family shows.

Comedy duo The Nimmo Twins are returning this month with their show Norfolk 12: Fritton’s Got Talent, while in April, Karl Minns, one half of the Nimmos, will present his solo show Raining Diamonds.

There’s lots of comedy acts, and the music programme includes The Pasadena Roof Orchestra this month and Kenny Ball Junior and His Jazzmen in February.

• See tomorrow’s paper for more on Norwich Playhouse’s new season. Visit


Norwich will become a dragons’ lair later this year when about 80 sculptures of these mythological beasts will fly onto the city’s streets.

Organised by children’s charity Break and Wild in Art, the GoGoDragons! charity art trail is following on from the success of the GoGoGorillas! project.



The Puppet Theatre will host its annual Manipulate Festival from January 31 to February 7.

The festival, produced in partnership with Puppet Animation Scotland, celebrates innovative international visual theatre and animated film and is designed to entertain, inspire and intrigue.



New Year-New Maddermarket Theatre is the theme at the St John’s Alley theatre which is relaunching with a brand new look.

Much of the project has been completed – including a revamped bar and art gallery – and work in 2015 will include the creation of a studio theatre and an improved box office.

There is also lots in store on the Maddermarket stage. Next week vocalist Jacqui Dankworth will be performing on Thursday, comedy club Jongleurs is on stage on the Friday, while jive and swing band The Jive Aces are at the theatre on the Saturday.

The Maddermarket Theatre’s first 2015 production will be classic farce Boeing Boeing later this month.



New writing, theatre, dance and more is part of the programme at The Garage.

The venue’s spring season begins this month with new works by Strawberry Blonde Curls and Rhiannon Faith:dancingtheatre. There are also performances fresh from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, including comic musical I Need a Doctor: The Whosical, dark comedy Fleabag, and the uplifting Every Brilliant Thing.

Shows for children and families include The Feather Catcher, a playful story of friendship, and A Strange Wild Song, a story of childhood and imagination.



The Lord Mayor’s Celebrations including the traditional street procession will be in July, and the Young Norfolk Arts Festival will once again celebrate young Norfolk performers and artists from June 26 to July 5.

The Hostry Festival will bring theatre, music, dance and film to the city in the autumn, at about the same time as the music and media extravaganza Norwich Sound and Vision presents an array of established and emerging music acts and hosts a packed conference programme provoking debate and discussion about the creative industries.


REALITY: Modern and Contemporary British Painting is at the Sainsbury Centre until March 1.

Bringing together more than 50 works, it celebrates the strength of British painting and includes work by artists including Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud and David Hockney.

From April 18 until July 26 the centre will present a major exhibition - called Francis Bacon and the Masters - which brings together more than 25 major works by Francis Bacon with old and modern masters.


Norwich could become a star of the big screen this year with two movies filmed partly in the city due for release.

Avengers: Age of Ultron is set to hit cinemas in late spring and part of the filming took place last summer at the Sainsbury Centre For Visuals Arts at the University of East Anglia.

Robert Downey Jr – who plays Iron Man in the superhero blockbusters – flew in by helicopter for the filming, and the campus was awash with apparent sightings of stars such as Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Chris Evans (Captain America).

Norwich Cathedral was also a location for the movie Tulip Fever which is due to be released this year.

• Do you have a Norwich arts story? Email arts correspondent Emma Knights at

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