GoGoDragons! are set to celebrate historic buildings in Norwich

The Puppet Theatre in Norwich.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

The Puppet Theatre in Norwich.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

The legends of dragons are part of Norwich's heritage, and next year some of these mythological beasts are set to shine a spotlight on seven of our fine city's historic venues.

The Wharf Academy

The Wharf Academy

The GoGoDragons! art trail –organised by children's charity Break and Wild in Art – is bringing a clan of 80 dragon sculptures to Norwich's streets in summer 2015, and a small group of these fire-breathing creatures are planned to be part of a special community heritage project.

These seven dragons will be linked to seven historic locations, and local groups have been busy working with artists on their designs.

Two of the dragons – those linked to Norwich Puppet Theatre and St Lawrence's Church – have already been sponsored but businesses and organisations still have the chance to sponsor the five other heritage dragons.

They are due to take up residence at The Guildhall, St Michael Coslany, The Wharf Academy, Country and Eastern, and St Gregory's throughout next summer's GoGoDragons! trail.

The Church of St Lawrence, in St Benedicts Street, Norwich.

The Church of St Lawrence, in St Benedicts Street, Norwich.


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Tim Edwards, from Eastern Region Media Community Interest Company (ERM CIC) which is managing the heritage project, said: 'The heritage dragons are all about involving local communities in the creation of the dragons, and also about encouraging people to explore parts of Norwich they may not otherwise go to, and encouraging people to discover the rich treasures these lesser known heritage venues have.

'The community groups and artists have already been working on the designs and they have designed a really brilliant and diverse bunch of dragons which are unique and very different.'

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He also said there was more of an interactive element planned for the heritage dragons and that the hope was there would be a number of events, such as storytelling and performances, linked to each of the heritage dragons during the GoGoDragons! trail.

Organisations interested in sponsoring a heritage dragon should email contact@ermcic.com

Country and Eastern in Norwich. Photo: SONYA BROWN.

Country and Eastern in Norwich. Photo: SONYA BROWN. - Credit: Archant

For more on GoGoDragons! visit www.gogodragons.co.uk

Do you have a Norwich arts story? Email arts correspondent Emma Knights at emma.knights@archant.co.uk

• Norwich Puppet Theatre

St Michael at Coslany. Photo: Bill Smith.

St Michael at Coslany. Photo: Bill Smith. - Credit: Archant © 2010

Norwich-based Tin House, a community and participatory arts organisation, is working on the Norwich Puppet Theatre dragon project known as The Belly of the Beast.

Originally St James Pockthorpe church, Norwich Puppet Theatre is one of only a couple of theatres in England dedicated to creating, presenting and supporting innovation in puppetry and related art forms.

The theatre was first founded in 1979 by puppeteers Ray and Joan DaSilva as a permanent base for their touring company and it first opened to the public on December 1 1980 with a performance of a show called Humbug Humbug.

The Norwich Puppet Theatre dragon is set to be inspired by the Pockthorpe Dragon as well as the architecture of the centuries-old converted church, with flint walls and stained glass potentially being incorporated into the design.

The Guildhall

The Guildhall - Credit: Archant

The art of puppetry is also set to be referenced in the design by the dragon's belly housing a mini puppet theatre.

A weekend of dragon craft workshops for families may also be incorporated in this project during the GoGoDragons! trail.

• The Wharf Academy

Music and sound will be the theme of the dragon that is set to take up residence at The Wharf Academy, in Oak Street.

The music academy moved into the converted medieval church, St Martin's at Oak, in May 2012 and is open to people of all ages and abilities. Artist Jim Goreham is designing the venue's dragon with Wharf Academy musicians who plan to create a soundscape for the dragon.

The dragon is also set to use images to tell the story of the church alongside the evolution of classical music.

As part of the activities related to the dragon, there could be a concert showcasing music inspired by dragons and their mythology.

• St Lawrence's Church

The Common Room cooperative has transformed St Lawrence's Church, in St Benedict's Street, into a new type of shared space.

The community group has been working with artists Tim Edwards and Fiona Muller, from ERM CIC, on St Lawrence's dragon.

The 15th century building's stained glass and the process of making stained glass are set to be the idea behind the sculpture which could be decorated in actual glass or the suggestion of glass via mosaic patterning.

The building is known to house exquisite Edwardian paintings of saints and angels on panels near the altar.

• Country and Eastern

The Country and Eastern building in Bethel Street was previously a Victorian skating rink but today it is a showcase venue and shop.

One of Country and Eastern's main objectives is the promotion of the arts, crafts and cultures of countries extending from Turkey through the Indian subcontinent to east of Java.

The building is also home to the South Asian Decorative Arts and Crafts Collection Trust.

Artists Tim Edwards and Fiona Muller, from ERM CIC, are working with the UEA Pakistani Society on the building's dragon which will feature a design based on Pakistani truck art. The plan is to spray the dragon silver and embellish it with bright colours and patterns.

• St Michael Coslany

St Michael Coslany, in Oak Street, is described by the Norfolk Churches website as 'perhaps the most elegant and beautiful of the Norwich city centre churches.'

Coslany, where this centuries-old church is situated, was once the heart of industrial inner-city Norwich, home to the city's biggest brewery and some of the world's largest shoe factories.

More recently St Michael Coslany housed the Inspire Discovery Centre.

The St Michael Coslany dragon is being created by artist Rosamund Orton and the Norfolk and Norwich Medieval Association. It is set to be inspired by medieval calligraphy and illuminated pages.

During the GoGoDragons! trail the Norfolk and Norwich Medieval Association also hope to do re-enactments and exhibitions of medieval life.

• The Guildhall

Norwich's Guildhall, in Gaol Hill, was the centre of the city's government from the early 15th century until its replacement by City Hall in 1938.

The elaborate design and size of the Guildhall reflects Norwich's status as one of the wealthiest provincial cities in England in medieval times, and the building's exterior is an example of the flint work that the city was so famous for.

The Guildhall dragon will be created by artist Kate Munro with Colin Howey and the Community History Group along with volunteers from Norwich HEART.

It will incorporate features of the Guildhall's flint work and there are plans for a drawing workshop open to the public where people can study and draw the flint work. There are also plans to have a flint knapper in residence for a weekend to celebrate this traditional craft.

• St Gregory's Church

St Gregory's Church, in Pottergate, is known for its fine 15th century wall paintings, including a depiction of St George and the dragon.

Artist Maz Jackson is working on the dragon for this venue with HART (Hope, Art and Recovering Together), a group of people who are in recovery from alcohol and substance misuse.

The sculpture's design will use as its starting point the medieval wall painting of England's patron saint which can be found in the church's north aisle.

The dragon is planned to be created using the ancient art of egg tempera painting techniques.

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