Norfolk and Norwich Festival Diary: May 12

Ian CollinsIpswich may have waltzed off with Dance House - the regional venue for the art of movement choreographed by Dance East - but our 2010 all-singing-and-dancing festival is whirling and twirling, curling and unfurling, towards a moving record for Norwich.Ian Collins

Ipswich may have waltzed off with Dance House - the regional venue for the art of movement choreographed by Dance East - but our 2010 all-singing-and-dancing festival is whirling and twirling, curling and unfurling, towards a moving record for Norwich.

The dancing bit of the carnival bill has never been bigger - nor better.

A very lively line-up continues this evening as National Dance Network brings Dance 3 - 'a triple bill from the next wave of dance-makers' - to The Garage. The programme mixes physical brilliance, music and film.

Meanwhile Norfolk audiences have clearly warmed to the work of daring dance creator Michael Clark and his cutting-edge company.


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The come, been and gone spectacular which has just wowed us at the Theatre Royal over two successive nights has now been aired in three cities - London, New York and Norwich.

Mr Clark left us with a ringing endorsement - declaring that he liked the last best.

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t And now a word of thanks for our ongoing sponsor. Through its various guises - the latest, but not the last, being National Express East Anglia - the regional rail operator has been ensuring us first-class festive entertainment for the past two decades.The train company has been bringing in the bacon - and the audiences and the performers - for 20 Norfolk and Norwich festivals including this one, and in recent years it has been the primary backer.

Without such stalwart support there would be far less fizz to the spring festival even if the gala could still be held at all.

All of which raises a large and rather alarming question mark over the very near future.

For, as we all know, National Express East Anglia has just lost its franchise. There will be a new operator from March - whose identity will not be known until December.

We have come through such change before, so let's hope we can win through again in these economically challenging times.

If we don't, I for one will be railing. Meanwhile here's a note of fervent gratitude:

Thank you for the music and everything else.

t Karl Perschke (who is squashing a huge inflatable red ball, into various Norwich locations) and Tim Etchells will talk about their work in a Studio to Street event in the Pierce Room of the Assembly House from 2pm on Saturday. Free entry but booking is essential via Katherine Stapley (katherine@nnfestival.org.uk or 01603 877757.

t Hail to Circus Ronaldo! The globally-touring company arrived in Norwich for its three-night stint by three generations of performers in an antique Big Top in our Festival Gardens only to be…liberally pelted with hard white stuff falling from the sky.

A very warm welcome to Norwich. Ha! And ha ha. No turn unstoned…

t There is a club for people by the name of Ian Collins (to which I don't belong) and possibly another for those called John Williams. At least two members of that latter band are musicians who are often mistaken for a single genius.

The one who isn't the guitar supremo who entertained us live at the 2006 and 2008 festivals is on the menu for the latest lunchtime recital at Norwich Assembly House by rising stars from the Royal Academy of Music.

He is the composer of the magnificent soundtrack to Schindler's List - and the main theme of the movie is now to be aired for us in an arrangement for the two violins of Charlotte Boneton and Daniel Pioro.

The duo will also play pieces by JS Bach, Ysaye, Mozart, Monti, Handel and Halvorsen.

t Even those who can't get to Norwich during our May jamboree can still join in the festive fun via mobile phones thanks to neon-sign-maker Tim Etchells' second contribution to the carnival - A Short Message Spectacle (An SMS). This is a virtual performance spilling through an imaginary city over 16 days, with each scene described by a series of text messages each day. To sign up as an audience member for free just text NNF, postcode, age to 60777.

t Normally late entry for an event marked Returns Only is very likely if you turn up 30 minutes before curtain up. Having said that, this evening's and next Wednesday's hugely successful Bo Nanafana Social Club may prove the exception. Both have found huge demand and past sell-outs saw very few tickets surrendered.

This mobile social club, best known for its sensational sessions at The Talk in Norwich, is plotted by and for 'worshippers of damn fine music, dancing, dressing up and divine'.

Tonight that means The Spiegel Swing-Hop - which in turn means swing meets electronic and hip-hop. Dublin-based DJ Kormac will play a scratch dub set mixed with haunting retro samples.

As you guessed, it's all a far cry from the annual Handel oratorios in the cathedral to raise funds for the new Norfolk and Norwich Hospital which launched our festival in the 1770s.

But the audiences are more than slightly similar - in that Bo Nanafana fans have revived the old habit of dressing up to the nines, though in truth they are rather more Moulin Rouge than Norwich Cathedral.

Otherwise, admission to the spectacular Spiegeltent - the festive hub in Festival Gardens - is getting easier and easier. Tickets for the 10.30pm Spiegel Late cabaret next Monday, Thursday and Saturday can now be bought from the ticket booth, booking line and website as well as on the door. No need to worry about ticketing for the late Sunday night caper, however. It's still free.

TODAY

1pm Charlotte Bonneton violin and Dianiel Pioro viola, Assembly House

7.30pm-1am Bo Nanafana Social Club, Spiegeltent RETURNS ONLY

7.45pm Dance 3, The Garage

8pm John McLaughlin, Norwich Theatre Royal

8pm Circus Ronaldo, Festival Gardens

t To book tickets call 01603 766400 (or visit www.nfl10.org.uk). Free copies of the festival programme and the Norfolk Open Studios brochure can be ordered on 01603 877750 (or downloaded from the website).

HOT TICKETS

Today's two-for-one Hot Tickets offer is for the gig by legendary guitarist John McLaughlin at Norwich Theatre Royal. Call the box office - 01603 766400 - by noon today quoting EDP offer. Tickets subject to availability.

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