Festivals Are Not Just For Music

There are theatre and arts festivals too!

Crickey, is it really May already? I guess it’s time to dig out both the wellies and sunnies, seeing as it’s the start of the festival season! You may think festivals are all about live music playing out to a crowded muddy field, but there’s a rich and eclectic mix of theatre and arts festivals too.

Kicking off proceedings is the Norfolk & Norwich Festival (10-26th May). Highlights include a world premiere at the Norwich Playhouse, of News News News – a television news show made by children for adults, recorded in front of a studio audience and broadcast live on the internet. At a time when there is more news than there has ever been and yet our trust in journalists is at an all-time low, what is the purpose of news and how does it shape the way we see the world around us? User Not Found is a pioneering and intimate new play. You’re given a smartphone and a pair of headphones to be immersed in one man’s story as he’s faced with keeping or erasing his partner’s online existence. To celebrate award-winning Hoipolloi’s 25th anniversary there will be a trilogy of story-telling shows as Hugh Hughes presents Shôn Dale-Jones in The Duke, Me & Robin Hood and The Ladder. And there’s plenty more events running across the festival.

Ipswich’s famed fringe festival, Pulse Festival returns 30th May – 8th June. Opening the festival is Status – a globe-spanning journey of attempted escape, with songs along the way. This year’s event also includes an intimate and exhilarating play about space science, mental health, and communication called Lights! Planets! People!, and features the return of multi award-winning comedy blockbuster Police Cops to name but a few. Plus, the infamous Scratch Days and Suitcase Day are back, and new this year is the Funny Women Awards.

Bury Festival (16-26th May) are offering a day of free Street Theatre (18th May) in the Abbey Gardens, meanwhile the National Youth Music Theatre return to the Theatre Royal with a new work called Growl (19th May), written by best-selling children’s author Timothy Knapman and with music by Laurence Mark Wythe.

The East Anglian Storytelling Festival (14-16th June) moves to Elmswell with Nationally Renowned Storytellers such as Liz Weir MBE, Taffy Thomas MBE, Sef Townsend, Hugh Lupton, Paul Jackson and Baden Prince. Holt Festival (21-27th July) has an eclectic line-up including Poet Luke Wright and musical comedy sisters Flo & Joan.
Later in the season, the Out There International Festival of Street Arts & Circus will be in Great Yarmouth, 14-15th September. Most of the events are free, and promise some weird and wonderful acts that will entertain all the family.

Other festivals that are bound to give some great theatre, comedy, dance and spoken word offerings would be Southwold Arts Festival (22-29th June), Latitude (18-21st July) and the new for 2019 First Light Festival (22-23rd June) in Lowestoft – a festival celebrating the first light of midsummer’s weekend at Britain’s most easterly point with arts and science.

There really is a festival for everyone and everything these days, but they are a perfect way to connect with likeminded people and enjoy the British Summertime, as unpredictable as the weather may be – so get out there and choose a festival or two and get inspired by the arts!