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Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2024 highlights

Entertainment

Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2024 highlights

A look at the full programme for this year’s Norfolk & Norwich Festival…

This year’s programme features a range of international acts rubbing shoulders with national and local artists. The programme features a number of ‘stories’ providing guided routes through the Festival and bringing together shows and events that share common themes.

Whisper and Shout focuses on how artists communicate – from small, intimate moments of contemplation, to bold, in-your-face brashness. Our East Voices shares the work of some exciting artists from the East of England, while A Greener World explores how artists tackle our concerns for the natural world.

A giant puppet will parade through the streets of Norwich as French company L’Homme Debout bring their playful and poetic story of Mo and The Red Ribbon as part of the opening Welcome Weekend on the city’s streets. Columbian circus troupe Circolombia presents the world premiere of Corazón as the centrepiece to the Adnams Spiegeltent programme.

One of two resident artists at this year’s Festival, harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani performs a trio of shows, including an all-Bach programme with the Britten Sinfonia. Chamber Choir Ireland will perform a programme featuring the best contemporary choral music.

This year also sees Norfolk & Norwich Festival and Norwich Theatre collaborating on an international celebration of dance and physical theatre in a programme of work curated by both organisations. It features Tess by circus company Ockham’s Razor – a new adaptation of the Thomas Hardy classic, a short film by Dan Canham – Fenland Elegy, the UK premiere of Rachel Ní Bhraonáin’s high-octane dance theatre, MOSH, Xenia Aidonopoulou’s playful children’s dance show Skydiver and the new collaboration between Marc Brew and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui – an Accident / a Life.

The ‘stories’ woven through this year’s programme sees Our East Voices bring together a diverse and impressive collection of local artists. Laura Cannell, who as part of the second artistic residency, will perform her album Antiphony of The Trees live in Norwich Cathedral and, amongst her other Festival performances, shares music and conversation in Dark Tales from The Guildhall. Master of Music at Norwich Cathedral Ashley Grote, will perform Olivier Messaien on the newly refurbished cathedral organ and Molly Naylor presents Make Me – a work in progress, devised with local young people.

Local poetry collective Toast will curate this year’s Speak Easy – a performance poetry tent in Festival Gardens. Spill Festival director Robin Deacon performs his own work Through The Round Window and poet Luke Wright celebrates his 25th anniversary as a performer with a show in the Adnams Spiegeltent.

A Greener World explores issues surrounding the environment and features the world premiere of Steve Waters’ three short plays entitled Phoenix Dodo Butterfly.

On Our Doorsteps is an installation exploring the relationships between urban communities and the green spaces in their neighbourhood – created by We Live Here, Zakiya Mackenzie and Tiitu Takalo, in collaboration with local people and Norfolk Wildlife Trust. Art for the Environment, at GroundWork gallery in King’s Lynn showcases some of the most exciting artists from the University of the Arts London, drawing attention to our fragile planet.

​Lucy McCormick’s Lucy and Friends is an anarchic cry for help, which subverts the normal dynamic between audience and performer. It sits in the Whisper and Shout section of the programme that examines the many different ways artists speak to an audience. Contrastingly, Memory of Birds by Lebanese artist Tania El Khoury is a lulling contemplation about political violence. ​

Presented in partnership with the National Centre for Writing, the City of Literature Weekend explores questions of communication and representation with numerous events and writers including Carys Davies, Jon McGregor, Val McDermid and Marchelle Farrell.

Other Festival highlights include the world premiere of a new eight-hour epic organ composition 268 years of reverb, composed by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood, and at Houghton Hall, Antony Gormley’s spectacular large-scale installation Time Horizon and a series of sculptures by Magdalene Odundo. The launch of The Book of Thetford, created by 8-11 year old children from Thetford schools, in collaboration with artists Andy Field and Beckie Darlington, showcases one of several projects with the community run by the Festival.

Festival Director Daniel Brine:

“We are excited by the depth, democracy and diversity of this year’s programme. There’s an exciting blend of international acts including premieres and new commissions. I’m particularly looking forward to presenting Rachel Ní Bhraonáin’s MOSH and thrilled we’ve been able to commission a new circus show from Circolombia – the first time we’ve done so in a number of years. Importantly though for us, there’s a strong flavour of the East about the Festival with artists like Laura Cannell, Molly Naylor and Luke Wright but also, with our new community collaborations, we’re bringing to the fore the voices of many, many local people.”   

More details and tickets: www.nnfestival.org.uk.

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