Norfolk & Norwich Festival, one of the biggest arts festivals in the UK, has announced the programme for the 2016 event (13 – 29 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.

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, including brand new commissions commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme from Simon Armitage, Paul Muldoon and Jackie Kay and events with Irvine Welsh, graphic novelist Una, former Bank of England Governor Mervyn King and Linton Kwesi Johnson. The Writers’ Centre itself, at Dragon Hall, will be transformed into The Story Machine in an immersive literary experience through hallways, hideaways, gardens and cellars of Dragon Hall with live performances and pop up street food and bar.

Highlights of this year’s music programme include the Sun Ra Arkestra who will join the festival to celebrate their 60th anniversary year, Dutch band The Analogues presenting a completely authentic version of The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour reproduced with the same instruments used to record at Abbey Road Studios, the first ever solo concert from Twenty Feet from Stardom star Lisa Fischer, an audio-visual spectacle from Tindersticks, a special one-off gig from Billy Bragg, the UK premiere of Nikolai Galen’s interpretations of Jacque Brel in brand new translations and a cappella arrangements and Tin Men and The Telephone delivering their modern jazz sound alongside their revolutionary app allowing audience members to contribute to the show in real time.

Festival Associate Artist David Parry will lead two nights of this year’s classical music programme, including a major new commission, Cain, for the Festival Chorus by Kemal Yusuf. The Norwich Philharmonic will present an epic staging of Mahler’s Symphony of a Thousand to celebrate their 175th anniversary and Aurora Orchestra take Beethoven’s Symphony No 5 onto the streets as part of the Free Outdoor Programme.

Live Art Club will return to the fringe of the festival with an exciting programme peppered with Norwich’s finest homegrown talent as well as artists from further afield. Events range from award-winning performance poet Luke Wright’s first ever play to Odd Comic’s live stream exchange with a residential home for older people, the latest production from Made in China and The Voice Project’s weekend of vocal activities including workshops, collaborations and surprise pop-ups in the city.

The Adnams Spiegeltent will be back at the Festival once again with a characteristically vibrant programme which includes former Andy Warhol factory superstar Penny Arcade’s award-winning stand up Longing Lasts Longer, singer songwriter and star of HBO’s critically acclaimed True Detective Lera Lynn, Moh! Kouyaté, one of Africa’s hottest young guitar players and the return of Ragroof Tea Dance’s classes and dance displays.

The Garden Party will return to the Festival for the middle weekend showcasing sound installations, circus, live music, dance and a scrap-metal fire breathing dragon. 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.

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The Festival runs 13 – 29 May 2016.

Full information on all Norfolk & Norwich Festival events at: