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Norfolk & Norwich Festival

Norfolk & Norwich Festival, the largest arts festival in the East of England and one of the four largest in the UK, has today announced the full programme for its 2017 Festival (12-28 May). The programme, which spans performance, theatre, music, visual arts, literature and events for children, includes world premieres, unique concerts and one-off events, including a number of free outdoor events across the festival. For the full festival programme, please visit

Festival highlights include: an extraordinary choral sleepover from The Voice Project in The Arms of Sleep which will give 40 audience members per night a bed and invite them to spend the night at the beautiful Assembly House, Norwich for a brand new, specially written 10 hour choral piece; a new partnership with BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists, allowing festival-goers to hear some of the most exciting new classical talent from around the world; Luke Jerram’s latest large-scale public artwork, a giant inflatable moon featuring detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface, complete with deckchairs underneath allowing audiences to bathe in the moonlight; the return of multi-award-winning performance poet Luke Wright with the premiere of his second verse play Frankie Vah, set against a backdrop of indie venues and 80s politics, after the sell-out success of What I Learned from Johnny Bevan; Thrill Laboratory’s brand new VR playground, which will see sets of swings around the city, allowing audiences to don virtual reality headsets jump on a swing and enter a range of experiences from riding on the back of a mechanical jellyfish to sitting atop a giant robot; Stormy: The Life of Lena Horne a world premiere production written by and  starring Camilla Beeput under the creative direction of Clarke Peters, that celebrates the dancer, singer and activist in her centenary year; fiddler and singer Maarja Nuut; a rare public performance from the Basement Jaxx singers and LaDonna Harley Peters, LaSharVu; Spring. Summer. Autumn. Winter, an epic quartet about the human life cycle comprising of live performance and film from internationally renowned theatre company Quarantine; Adnams Spiegeltent headliners Casus Circus bring incredible acrobalance in Driftwood; Rear View, a world premiere on the streets of Norwich from IOU who will take audiences on their custom made double decker bus in a quickly moving adventure led by poets Cecilia Knapp and Jemima Foxtrot; Akram Khan Company take audiences from Britain to Bangladesh in the cross-cultural dance production Chotto Desh; a City of Literature programme featuring Will Self, Eimear McBride and Caroline Criado-Perez amongst others; and a major new exhibition by internationally celebrated Turner Prize-winning British Landscape artist Richard Long.


In England’s first UNESCO City of Literature, Norfolk & Norwich Festival and the Writers’ Centre Norwich will once again present a world class literature programme, and this year for the first time ever the City of Literature Weekend will take place over three full days. The 2017 programme will explore revolutions in art, sexuality, technology and identity with writers including Will Self on his new work Phone examining the influence of 20th century technologies, new work form Siddhartha Bose marking the 70th anniversary of Indian Independence, Robert Service on the impact of the Russian Revolution, the fifth Harriet Martineau Lecture on campaigning journalism around the wold featuring two of Mexico’s finest journalists Lydia Cacho and Anabel Hernàndez, Caroline Criado-Perez on the gender data gap and Eimear McBride on art and sexuality as well as personal moments of radical change from Max Porter, Madeline Thien and a retrospective on revolutionary thinker John Berger. Following its debut in 2016 The Story Machine is also set to return with a new selection of world renowned writers, this year taking place at Shoe Factory Social Club.


The 2017 Festival will see three world premiere performance pieces: a brand new verse play from multi-award-winning What I Learnt from Johnny Bevan writer and performance poet Luke Wright which will be set against a backdrop of scuzzy indie venues and 80s politics; Stormy: The Life of Lena Horne, a celebration of the centenary year of one of the greatest African-American figures in 20th century entertainment by Camilla Beeput with Creative Direction from Clarke Peters; IOU by Rear View which sees audiences take to the streets of Norwich on a moving adventure in a custom built bus with performances from poets Cecelia Knapp and Jemima Foxtrot.

Performance highlights also include leading UK disabled artists Claire Cunningham and Jess Curtis’ The Way You Look (at me) Tonight exploring our habits and practices of perceiving each other, Quarantine’s quartet about the human life cycle Spring. Summer. Autumn. Winter, 2016 Festival success Race Horse Company’s latest show Super Sunday and Akram Khan Company’s Chotto Desh.


The Arms of Sleep is set to be a major world premiere for the Festival this year. Presented by The Voice Project, the brand new 10 hour choral work will see forty audience members join the choir to travel into the space of sleep. Guests will each be given a bed and spend the night drifting between sleep and wakefulness, to be woken in the morning by a dawn chorus. The piece will feature specially written music from Helen Chadwick, Orlando Gough, Jonathan Baker and Jon Hopkins.

Highlights of this year’s contemporary music programme, co-curated by EFG London Jazz Festival producers Serious include jazz star Dee Dee Bridgewater, a cappella group and social media sensation Naturally 7, the only date outside London where audiences can see Philip Glass and Laurie Anderson, Portuguese singer Lula Pena, Brad Mehldau Trio, a rare UK appearance from Totó La Momposina and one of the most exciting new jazz groups Ezra Collective amongst many more.

The Festival’s classical music programme is co-curated for the first time in 2017 by Britten Sinfonia and includes Britten Sinfonia’s Beethoven with Thomas Ades, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra with Karen Gomyo, conducted by Karina Canellaskis, Steven Isserlis performing Bach’s Cello Suites with Kurtag’s cello miniatures, internationally leading pianist Paul Lewis, Vox Luminis and Freiburg Baroque Consort, Carolyn Sampson and Joseph Middleton exploring the idea of madness, and a new partnership with BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists, giving audiences the opportunity to hear some of the most promising new talent from around the world including Kathryn Rudge and James Baillieu, Annelien Van Wauwe and Amatis Trio and Calidore Quartet


The Adnams Spiegeltent will be back at the Festival with a characteristically vibrant programme which includes headline show Driftwood from Australian company Casus Circus, a discussion on Art and Sexuality with esteemed authors Eimear McBride, Sarah Hall and Megan Bradbury and a cabaret of magical delights and Victorian era vaudeville from Hocus Pocus Theatre and Gossamer Thread’s Vaudeville Co.

Favourites such as the Rag Roof Tea Dances and the programme of late night gigs co-curated by Serious also return, gigs this year will feature music from Columbia, Portugal, Angola and more.


The Tarmac Outdoor Programme at the Festival will once again bring world class performances from across Europe to Norwich’s parks and open spaces completely free of charge. The programme this year includes Luke Jerram’s latest large-scale public artwork, a giant inflatable moon ‘Museum of the Moon’ complete with deckchairs underneath allowing audiences to bathe in the moonlight alongside a programme of lunar-inspired live music, dance and performance.  Thrill Laboratory’s VR playground, will see eight sets of swings around the city, allowing audiences to don virtual reality headsets and take experimental trips influenced by the pace at which audience members choose to swing. TheatreFragile will bring a narrative masked theatre piece and, having met with local refugees and support groups, will bring their voices to the centre of an interactive performance.  The Garden Party will also return to the Festival for the middle weekend showcasing sound installations, circus, live music, dance, real life arcade games, giant origami and a roaming cottage on chicken legs. Norfolk & Norwich Festival is thrilled to be continuing its membership of the Creative Europe In Situ network and the UK based Without Walls, bringing to the festival the very best outdoor work from the UK and all over Europe. Both networks are supporting NNF’s own commissions.


The 2017 visual art programme includes a major new exhibition from Turner Prize-winning artist Richard Long, who will present site-responsive pieces at historic house and gardens Houghton Hall, in the biggest exhibition of his work since his retrospective at Tate Britain in 2009. Ground-breaking German artist Hans-Peter Feldmann will present ‘Art Exhibition’ at East Gallery at NUA and Rana Begum will transform the Mezzanine Gallery at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts with an immersive installation and wall-mounted reliefs, taking advantage of the architecture. This will be her first museum show anywhere in the world.


For the fourth year running the Festival will hold their Meet Me At the Spiegeltent programme during the daytime to present a programme of free events include Bounce and Rhyme sessions for 0-5 year olds, Mamasupials baby sling dancing fun, Hartbeeps Taster creative play and music sessions and The Afternoon Social for all ages to come together in an afternoon of socialising and intergenerational activities.


Alongside multiple events for families in the Tarmac Free Outdoor Programme and the Meet Me at the Spiegeltent programme, Singer Juliet Kelly will present Jazz Family All-Stars, a family-fun tribute to jazz singers past and present Ireland’s hilarious Lords of Strut present return to the Festival with The Family Show.

The flagship arts organisation for the East of England, Norfolk & Norwich Festival showcases some of the world’s most renowned international artists alongside regional talent, drawing audiences from across the UK.

Norfolk & Norwich is dedicated to making Festival events accessible for all. There are a variety of initiatives in place to enable as many people as possible to enjoy the work.

The Festival runs 12 – 28 May 2017, for full information on all Norfolk & Norwich Festival and all events at


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