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New director reflects on highlights of the 2018 Norfolk & Norwich Festival

PUBLISHED: 14:33 29 May 2018 | UPDATED: 14:33 29 May 2018

A spectacular parade through the streets of Norwich to celebrate the launch of the 2018 Norfolk and Norwich Festival.
Picture: Nick Butcher

A spectacular parade through the streets of Norwich to celebrate the launch of the 2018 Norfolk and Norwich Festival. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

Norfolk & Norwich Festival's director has spoken of his delight at the adventurous nature and warmth of the audiences at this year's May arts extravaganza and how he is already looking ahead to planning next year's event.

A spectacular parade through the streets of Norwich to celebrate the launch of the 2018 Norfolk and Norwich Festival.
Picture: Nick ButcherA spectacular parade through the streets of Norwich to celebrate the launch of the 2018 Norfolk and Norwich Festival. Picture: Nick Butcher

The festival drew to a close on Sunday after 17 days packed full of cultural delights which kicked off with a big free outdoor spectacle in Norwich that saw giant opera singing dolls entertain the crowds in the streets and drummers take to the sky above.

Reflecting on his first festival, new director Daniel Brine, who took over from previous artistic director William Galinsky earlier this year, said: “The thing I have really loved is watching people enjoy themselves...This is my first festival and I have been amazed by the warmth of the audiences – whether they are on a cold beach in Wells or in the theatres people have been enjoying themselves and opening themselves up to new experiences and the festival spirit and that’s been fantastic.

“It’s one of the nice things about Norwich, Norwich has an independent spirit and I think the festival celebrates that.”

On some of his highlights from the 2018 programme, he said: “I loved the opening spectacle with Transe Express, I thought it was great to have people out on the streets of Norwich. I also enjoyed Provisional Figures in Great Yarmouth - it was amazing to hear the stories of these local people. I enjoyed Hofesh Shecter, I thought that was a class performance and really good quality dance, and I enjoyed Belly of the Whale, I thought it was really nice to see top quality international work premiering in Norwich.”

The new Norfolk and Norwich Festival director, Daniel Brine with the 2018 brochure. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYThe new Norfolk and Norwich Festival director, Daniel Brine with the 2018 brochure. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Plans are already being formed for next year and beyond, but Mr Brine is keeping the exact details a closely guarded secret.

“I’ve lots of thoughts about next year’s festival but I’m not telling you them yet!” he said.

“We will look at the successes of this year’s festival, we will look at an opening outdoor celebration and see if we can do that again. It’s an expensive thing to do and we would love a headline sponsor.”

He added: “The message for next year’s festival is that the thing I take from this year’s festival is the community spirit and how we channel that through the festival. There is a real sense of doing something different, something exceptional, and having a good time, and we want to channel that festival spirit.”

A spectacular parade through the streets of Norwich to celebrate the launch of the 2018 Norfolk and Norwich Festival.
Picture: Nick ButcherA spectacular parade through the streets of Norwich to celebrate the launch of the 2018 Norfolk and Norwich Festival. Picture: Nick Butcher

Mr Brine also paid tribute to the sponsors who have supported festival events - from Tarmac who sponsored the free outdoor events to Adnams who sponsored the spiegeltent - and to all the festival staff and volunteers.

“While I am always the one up the front talking, the festival has been a fantastic team effort, and that included the 120 volunteers and the 20 staff who have done a great job,” he said.

The 2019 festival will run from May 10 to 26. Visit www.nnfestival.org.uk

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