New season: Norwich Arts Centre

Norwich Arts Centre has to be the busiest venue of its size in East Anglia. And probably beyond. Event looks at its latest programme.

It might be tucked away down St Benedict's, but there's no denying that, for many, Norwich Arts Centre is slap-bang at the heart of the cultural life of the city and beyond.

With a bold and lively artistic policy, the venue has been expanding its already-legendary music programme to take in exhibitions, film screenings, comedy, drama, live literature readings and performance art.

All of which means there's not only something going on just about every day, there's sometimes two or three things too.

And this summer the venue is celebrating its 30th anniversary with yet another packed line-up.


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Turning to music first, global sounds are represented by Go Lem System's Spanish Latino reggae (June 3, 8.30pm; £10/ £8 concs), via Radik Tulush's throat-singing and sweet melodic songs (June 6, 8pm; £8/ £6 concs) to Papa Noel's eclectic mix of rumba, son, merengue zoukous and soukous son (June 13, 8.30pm, £10/ £8 concs).

Alt-country pop comes from Puerto Muerto (June 7, 8pm, £6 adv/ £7 door) who mix intelligent punk folk, German cabaret sounds and alternative country.

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The Vincent Razorbacks and friends make it to NAC for their rescheduled date on June 9 (8pm; £8 adv/ £9 door/ £7 adv concs). Get ready for a full-on rockabilly rampage with stomping guitar and thumping bass of deranged originals and riotous renditions.

Nina Nastasia and Adem return on June 11 (8pm; £12 adv/ £13 door) with the Homefires tour, also featuring Richard Swift and the Elysian Quartet, providing the best of left-field “quiet” music from these new-folk troubadours.

On the innovative jazz front, NAC hosts Tom Cawley's Curios (July 3; 8pm; £10/ £8 concs) and punk-jazzers Led Bib (August 24; 8.30pm; £10/ £8 concs).

For indie fans, Piney Gir's Country Roadshow provides alt-country tales of woe tinged with edgy humour plus a healthy dose of pedal steel, fiddle and accordion (August 7, 8pm; £6 adv/ £7 door).

Catchy acoustic pop with punk attitude, pop harmonies and quirky drum beats comes from the Woodentops, a cult band from the 80s who were ahead of their time (July 8, £10 adv/ £11 door).

The eclectic NPUC Festival kicks off again on 10 August for three days and nights and features some amazing local performers plus a host of top headliners, including legendary live act Dead Meadow (August 10, 8pm; £6 adv/ £7 door), acerbic indie-rock with Future of the Left (August 11, 8pm; £6 adv/ £7 door) and a special headliner currently being confirmed for the closing night.

Locally-based artists will be heavily featured too, ranging from innovative early music with Horses Brawl (June 22, 8pm; £6/ £4 concs) to lo-fi popsters Bearsuit (August 25, 8pm; £5 / £6 door).

Comedy, too, is well represented with former Perrier Award winner (and Phoenix Nights favourite) Daniel Kitson returning to the venue on June 21 (8.30pm, £10/ £8 concs) with his rather new show It's the Fireworks Talking, dealing with his concerns: swimming in the sea, the courage of kindness, and telling your parents you love them.

The star of Channel 4's award-winning Star Stories and the Russell Brand radio show, Trevor Lock brings his unconventional live comedy to NAC on July 4 (8.30pm; £8/ £6 concs). His absurdist routines are delivered at breakneck speed in his trademark, staccato, stream-of-consciousness delivery.

And, as usual, there'll be a taste of the Edinburgh Fringe too. July 17's show (8.30pm; £6) features award-winning comics Howard Read and Paul Kerensa.

The exhibitions strand is especially strong this time round. There will be a special exhibition of 30 years of the centre, including posters, photographs and press reports.

From screen-printed posters to modern media, signed Oasis posters and Nirvana flyers, renowned incidents in the Arts Centre's history will be relived.

Exhibition posters showing work from the many artists who have exhibited at the Arts Centre will be featured including Fay Godwin, Martin Parr, Karen Reilly, Patrick Sutherland, and Mark Mothersbaugh.

30years@NorwichArtsCentre runs from June 1-29 and is free admission (10am-7pm, Mon-Sat).

Running alongside, the centre is also offering an exhibition dedicated to the growing

movement of Street Art, focusing on the work of Banksy, Anthony Micallef, D-Face and others.

The centre is also running events as part of Contemporary Art Norwich 2007 festival, including a major retrospective of artist Bruce Lacey's work… and his 80th birthday party. He's worked with everyone from the Beatles to the Bonzos, the Goons to Ken Russell and many others. My Life in Therapy runs from July 4 to August 4 - including a

compulsory surreal fancy dress birthday evening on July 21 (7.30pm; £10/ £8 concs) with a performance from Bruce, music and lots more.

Other artists to be featured include Iranian Zory's moving exhibition Waves (August

10-September 10), examining the status of refugees and asylum seekers. Performance artist

Richard Dedomenici has

organised an innovative and explosive evening of live art for the festival on July 20 (7pm; £5/ £4 concs).

There'll be another performance extravaganza from local collective Mooncalf Curios, back with The Throat Garden (July 11, 9pm; £5 adv/ £6 door) and Weitz and Muller present their Blue Screen Concealing Two Artists (1937) on July 25 (7.30pm; £4/ £3 concs), inspired by Picasso's powerful Guernica.

Live literature next, and Generation Txt (June 2, £6/ £4 concs) blends art and theatre in an evening inspired by the virtual world of Blogs, iPods and txt-speak, with six of the UK's most gifted young writers …and lots, lots more.

For full details check out www.norwichartscentre.co.uk and you can also buy tickets from www.ueaticketbookings.co.uk.

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