Norfolk & Norwich Festival celebrates an incredible 250th anniversary this May. The packed programme pays tribute to the Festival’s rich history and looks to the future with exciting young local, national and international talent.
From its origins in 1772 as a fundraiser for the city’s hospital, Norfolk & Norwich Festival grew to be one of the continent’s premier classical music events, attracting visits from the likes of Edward Elgar and Benjamin Britten.
Now presenting a wide-ranging programme of circus, music, performance and visual arts, the Festival begins with a sprawling outdoor spectacular. Dominoes, a 2-kilometre-long moving sculpture will kick off 17 days of celebrations.
Circus highlights include Quebec’s Cirque Alfonse who bring their riotous folk-rock circus show, Barbu to the iconic Adnams Spiegeltent and Gandini Juggling combine 80 oranges, 7 watermelons and 9 amazing performers in the explosive Smashed2.
Those with classical tastes will enjoy Britten Sinfonia revisiting Vaughan Williams’ Five Tudor Portraits – commissioned by the Festival in 1936. One of Britain’s leading pianists, Steven Osbourne brings a programme of Debussy and Schubert and Heinrich Biber’s experimental mind is explored as Daniel Pioro and James McVinnie perform a trio of his Mystery Sonatas over three evenings.
More contemporary musical offerings are provided by Anna Meredith, Arun Ghosh and Grace Petrie, while the acclaimed Lost Dog bring a radical new dance-theatre interpretation of Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. Further afield, Dutch sound artists, Strijbos and Van Rijswijk create an ethereal installation, Signal on Sea, on the beach at Great Yarmouth.
There’s new work from Ryan Gander in a packed Visual Arts programme that reaches across the county and the City of Literature Weekend celebrates ten years of Norwich as a UNESCO City of Literature.
Norfolk & Norwich Festival runs from Friday 13 – Sunday 29 May. Visit the Festival’s website to see the full programme. www.nnfestival.org.uk