More entertainment promised in Norwich next year

A summer of free street entertainment in Norwich comes to an end next week – but organisers have promised an encore next year.

Thursday will be the last of 12 weeks of free performances laid on by Norwich Business Improvement District (BID) to encourage more people to spend their evenings in the city.

Stefan Gurney, (pictured), executive director of the BID said the signs were that the live entertainment had had a positive effect on businesses and added vibrancy to the city.

'Anecdotally, from talking to the business community, it seems that we have seen success. For example, talking to businesses on Timberhill, they felt it added real value to those evenings and they had seen an increase in footfall in those areas, and engagement with the community has been stronger,' he said. Mr Gurney said that the Thursday-night entertainment would return next year, albeit with a few tweaks.

'We had up to about 160 people at one event, which shows the level of success you can have – most of the music events in Gentleman's Walk had an average of over 100 people.

'There have been bits that we will learn from and make sure we add even more value to next year. It's a learning curve, so we'll look at the positives and the bits that could be better,' he said. 'Some of the acts worked and some didn't – the live music and Covent Garden-style acts worked better than the smaller interactive pieces.'

Mr Gurney said that the BID team would look at possible new locations for next year, balancing the need to provide entertainment where shoppers are, but also drawing them to new parts of the city. Thursday's entertainment in Norwich included Guinness world record holder Rob Roy Collins, who last year freed himself from a 10-layer wrap of cling film while suspended upside down, in just 27 seconds.

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Next week's finale will include a martial arts workshop on St George's Street (5-8pm), Covent Garden acrobat Lisa Lottie on Timberhill (performances at 5pm, 6.15pm and 7.15pm), and a carnival show from Bloco Foguete on Gentleman's Walk (5pm, 6.15pm and 7.15pm).

The BID was formed in November and is run by businesses working to develop their trading environment.