Norfolk and Norwich Festival to host arts events in unusual places

In an old office block, on a city-centre car park, and up trees in a woodland area may seem like unlikely settings for theatrical performances and works of art - but they are just some of the unusual venues picked for this year's Norfolk and Norwich Festival.

For when the 16-day festival opens next month it will not just be the theatres, galleries and concert venues that will be buzzing with artistic activity.

The festival aims to incorporate a sense of place in the arts extravaganza, highlighting its roots in the city and county, and using unusual spaces to create unique experiences.

Festival producer Molly Rigg said: 'It is to try and make what we are doing really unique, really thinking about what Norwich and Norfolk has got and using spaces unique to our city and county.

'William Galinsky - the festival's artistic director - is really keen to use the city and county's landscape and scenery for the festival.

'We want to develop opportunities for artists to do something a bit different rather than just in the traditional spaces.

'It also gives the audiences the opportunity to see something different they would not normally see and it can be quite challenging.'

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Examples of some of the more unusual venues for Norfolk and Norwich Festival events include:

• Mythical prehistoric beasts descend upon the city in the festival's opening show Invasion by Close Act on Friday, May 11. Starts at Gentleman's Walk.

• City park Chapelfield Gardens will be a hive of artistic activity throughout the festival. It will be home to the Spiegeltent throughout the 16 day extravaganza, and also the venue a weekend-long garden party on May 12 and 13, and the Festival Feast on Saturday, May 26.

• The Opera Group will be performing Bow Down, a re-imagined ancient murder ballad, in a secret woodland location. The audience will catch a bus to the show from Norwich Theatre Royal, in Theatre Street on May 20 and 21.

• The Voice Project will be performing Singing in the City throughout the city's streets on May 12. Starting at Sunrise at Norwich Cathderal The Voice Project will move through Norwich's medieval streets, crypts and alleys, dark corners and cloisters, courtyards and rooftops with tales of past and present and thrilling new music.

• Time Circus will be inviting people to stay at AirHotel, a boutique treetop hotel with an inventive and artistic twist that is being created at Holt Hall, Kelling Road, Holt from May 11 until June 2.

• Norwich University College of the Art's Student Union Bar will be the venue for the National Theatre of Scotland's The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart from May 11 until 13.

• St James Place Development Site will be the venue for Requardt and Rosenberg's Motor Show - described as a show where motoring meets dance in a head-on collision - from May 19 until 23.

• Erth Visual and Physical Inc will be bringing the Dinosaur Petting Zoo to schools' playgrounds as well as doing public shows in Chapelfield Gardens and Millennium Plain in Norwich, Swanton Morley Village Hall and The Walks, Tennyson Road, King's Lynn.

• The festival's headline exhibition - Bill Viola's Submerged Spaces - will be in many places across the city including The Undercroft, below the war memorial in St Peters Street, The Crypt in the Carnary Chapel at Norwich School in The Close, and the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art.

• Visual art will be on display in the disused offices of Westlegate House, Westlegate. German-born painter Gregor Hylla and Russian artist Yelena Popova will be putting on the show Twofold - an ambitious investigation into contemporary modes of painting.

• The Festival Jazz Boat will bring Jazz to the Norfolk Broads. Dixiemix Jazz Band will be performing on May 13 and Red Shadow Quartet will be performing on May 26. Boat departs from Horning.

• The festival is from May 11 until 26. Some of the events are free while others require tickets to be bought. For more information including how to book tickets visit or call 01603 766400.

• Are you involved in a new arts project in Norwich? Call reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email

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