12 cultural treats which Norwich enjoyed during 2015

Radio 1 Big Weekend at Earlham Park, Norwich. Florence and the Machine.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Radio 1 Big Weekend at Earlham Park, Norwich. Florence and the Machine.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

From the colourful clan of GoGoDragons! to the Big Weekend of music at Earlham Park - Norwich enjoyed an eclectic mix of cultural delights in 2015. Arts correspondent Emma Knights looks at some of the highlights.

• Big Weekend

Some of the world's biggest music acts descended upon Norwich in May when Earlham Park became the stage for BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend.About 50,000 music fans flocked to the park over the two days. Among the headline acts were Taylor Swift, Foo Fighters, Florence and the Machine and Muse. Snoop Dogg delighted the crowds when he appeared on stage sporting a Norwich City Football Club shirt, meanwhile other acts included Slaves, Jamie T, Charli XCX, George Ezra, Olly Murs, Catfish and the Bottlemen, and Lower Than Atlantis.

• Norfolk and Norwich Festival

The Norfolk and Norwich Festival brought an array of weird and wonderful acts to the city and county in May. Everything from free outdoor theatre to music from around the globe featured in the programme, and among the highlights was the Adnams Spiegeltent, which provided the stage for Australian circus group Circa's headline show What Will Have Been and the late night Spiegel Music Club. Another highlight was the stage adaptation of A Girl is a Half-formed Thing – based on the award-winning book by Norwich-based writer Eimear McBride – at the Norwich Playhouse.

Meanwhile those who ventured to north Norfolk's Felbrigg Hall were treated to the twilight outdoor spectacle Wolf's Child, an adult fairytale created by WildWorks.

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NNF was one of many great festivals held in the city. Others included Hansells Hostry Festival, Young Norfolk Arts Festival, Norwich Sound and Vision and the Noirwich Crime Writing Festival.

• Jeff Koons at Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery

Norwich Castle was the only place in the UK where art fans could see the work of controversial American artist Jeff Koons in 2015. The exhibition was seen as a major coup and attracted more than 50,000 visitors. Koons' work on display included everything from giant animal-shaped mirrors to basketballs to a cheerful sculpture of bears.

The exhibition inspired a group of young people – called the Koons Collaborative – to create events that ranged from taking over the castle for a Koonsbury Festival to holding a Koons Couture fashion show for the Young Norfolk Arts Festival.

• GoGoDragons!

A clan of 84 colourful GoGoDragons! flew in to Norwich over the summer for an art trail brought to the city by children's charity Break and Wild in Art.

They became the superstars of the summer and it is thought about one million people enjoyed seeking out the winged warriors. Each dragon was designed by a local artist and sponsored by a local organisation, and they were joined by 120 baby dragons created by schools. At auction, 82 of the dragons raised £369,500 for Break.

• Magnificent Obsessions

The magnificent obsessions of some of the biggest art names have been laid bare in an exhibition that opened at the Sainsbury Centre For Visual Arts in September.

Magnificent Obsessions: The Artist As Collector, which runs until January 24, juxtaposes the extraordinary collections of artists such as Damien Hirst and Andy Warhol with their own art work.

• Norfolk County Music Festival

More than 4,000 young musicians took part in Norfolk County Music Festival's 90th anniversary celebrations in March.

The centrepiece was a concert at St Andrew's Hall involving 200 musicians.

Young people also filled various city venues with music. The first week focused largely on piano, string instruments and percussion while the second week focused on performances by school choirs and young and adult singers, with brass, recorders and woodwind instruments.

• Festive fun

Norwich has been treated to an array of festive treats for Christmas 2015.

Snow White is the Theatre Royal's 2015-16 pantomime, with a cast including former Sprowston High School student Amie Howes in the title role, former Brookside star Jennifer Ellison as the wicked queen, and puppets created by the Norwich Puppet Theatre for the seven dwarfs.

Meanwhile, the Norwich Puppet Theatre weaved its own seasonal show in the form of Rumpelstiltskin and the Maddermarket Theatre has invited audiences to take a trip through the wardrobe into Narnia for The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe.

• Shrek

Shrek The Musical was among the biggest shows at Norwich's Theatre Royal.

The production, based on the DreamWorks film, was at the theatre for three weeks and delighted audiences with the story of the ogre Shrek and his friend Donkey who set out to rescue feisty Princess Fiona from the fire-breathing dragon. The ambitious scale of the show – with a cast of 23 in a crew of 70 – was exactly the same as when the show opened at London's Drury Lane and also included an impressive 20ft-long puppet for the dragon.

• Lord Mayor's Celebration

Norwich enjoyed a weekend full of fun for the Lord Mayor's Celebration in July.

The highlight was the Lord Mayor's Street Procession, which saw about 70 groups take part. The return of the Gas Hill Gasp cycle race, fireworks from Norwich Castle, the Norwich Lanes Summer Fayre, and the Great Norwich Duck Race were among the many other events that featured in the celebrations.

• Norwich Fashion Week

Norwich Fashion Week brought a week full of fashion, fun and frolics to the city in March.

The annual event, created in 2010 to celebrate and promote Norwich's vibrant fashion scene, once again brought together Norwich's independent retailers and the city's thriving student fashion design community, plus professional practitioners in fashion and beauty.

• The Avengers: Age of Ultron

Norwich enjoyed a moment of movie stardom in 2015 when the latest Avengers movie was released in April.

Part of Avengers: Age of Ultron was shot at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in June 2014, and the venue features in the closing scenes of the Marvel Comics superhero film starring Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey Jr and Samuel L Jackson.

Maverick filmmaker Richard DeDomenici also made his own 'no budget' version of the film for his venture called The Redux Project and this was screened at the Norwich Arts Centre during the Norfolk and Norwich Festival.

• Paint Out Norwich and Hansells Hostry Festival

Norwich was celebrated in paint when the outdoor art competition Paint Out Norwich took place in October.

More than 40 artists could be seen out and about capturing images of Norwich with their paintbrushes over three days, and on the final day members of the public joined them for a mass paint out on Mousehold Heath.

Richard Bond won the competition with his painting Winged Victory, a watercolour of the Norwich memorial by Castle Meadow which was built to remember those who lost their lives in the Boer War.

Paint Out Norwich was part of Hansells Hostry Festival, which also included the play Mahler's Conversion, the Norfolk Arts Awards and a number of other events.