Festival director invites us to “Enjoy the art and see Norwich in a different light”
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018
Today is the day – the latest outing of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival launches tonight at Norwich Market, as a daring tightrope walker scales the city on high-wire above crowds of spectators.
Today is the day - the latest outing of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival launches tonight at Norwich Market, as a daring tightrope walker scales the city on high-wire above crowds of spectators.
Without a harness, Chris Bullzini will make his 40 minute journey from Jarrold to The Forum, accompanied by a captivating soundtrack featuring the voices of the people of Norwich.
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The annual arts festival will take over the city and beyond for 17 days, with 100 events spanning music, theatre, performance, art and much more. This is Daniel Brine's second festival as director, though it's the first he's overseen from the start.
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This year's festival sees more events taking place in the streets - from sonic walking tour Congregation to Stopgap Dance Company's The Seafarers, a spectacle featuring local dancers and folk band Moulettes, that celebrates Norfolk's relationship with the sea. "It's about encouraging people to enjoy the art but also look at the city in a different light." Daniel explains.
Speaking of the challenges of the festival, Daniel says it can be tricky to create a programme that everybody will love, but he's confident that this year's festival programme has achieved just that.
To help you decide which dates to put in your diary, Daniel shares his top picks of the must-see shows, from family-friendly weekend fun via magical theatre and a hot ticket emerging musician to see before anybody else.
The Garden Party, Saturday 18 - Sunday 19 May 2019, Chapelfield Gardens
For families, Daniel recommends The Garden Party, a free fun-filled weekender that brings outdoor theatre, circus, music and more to Chapelfield Gardens. It combines "some of the best outdoors arts from across the UK," and is "really good for drifting in and out" he explains, name-checking theatre company Upswing's dance and acrobatics, and The Tide, a show about hopes, dreams and migration. There's also a Time Machine Disco, for those wishing to take a dazzling daytime clubbing journey through the ages, and puppet-making for craft-minded kids.
The Garden Party is FREE. For more information: https://nnfestival.org.uk/whats-on/the-garden-party-2/Bells and Spells, Friday 17 May 2019, Norwich Theatre Royal
Optical illusion, performance and ethereal dance collide in this show about a kleptomaniac at the mercy of the objects she has pinched. Directed by Victoria Chaplin Thierrée - daughter of Charlie Chaplin - and starring her daughter Aurelia Thierrée, it's a family affair. Neither of them like to "push the Chaplin connection," Daniel says, "but there's something about the physical comedy and magic of making work with the body, which is really brilliant."
Tickets start from £10. For more information: https://www.nnfestival.org.uk/whats-on/bells-and-spells/Reverse, Thursday 16 - Saturday 18 May 2019, Chapelfield Gardens
One of many walking tours with a difference at this year's festival, Reverse asks participants to journey, quite literally, backwards. Artist Johannes Bellinkx believes that by moving in reverse, we come to see our surroundings and the way we experience them in a refreshingly new way.
Tickets, £5. For more information: https://www.nnfestival.org.uk/whats-on/reverse/Nakhane, Saturday 18 May 2019, The Adnams Spiegeltent
For younger music fans, Nakhane is Daniel's hot tip. The South African singer-songwriter is one to watch, and has already been compared to Perfume Genius. Nakhane was booked based on feedback from friends at Sydney Festival, who described him as the festival's surprise hit. "Nobody will really know about him, but word on the street is that this is a fantastic thing to go and see," Daniel predicts.
Tickets £15. For more information: https://www.nnfestival.org.uk/whats-on/nakhane/Kit Downes, Wednesday 22 May 2019, St Peter Mancroft
It's always exciting to welcome back an artist with a local connection, Daniel explains, which is why having Norwich organist Kit Downes play at the newly-renovated St Peter Mancroft church feels so special. "It'll be a really good experience for people," Daniel says, and though it's not the 'easiest' of music, he cites Kit's 'generosity' as an artist is what makes him such a wonderful performer.
Tickets £15. For more information: https://www.nnfestival.org.uk/whats-on/kit-downes/