Norfolk & Norwich Festival Does Radio Local

Norfolk & Norwich Festival have today announced a new free, hyper-local project running from 8 – 24 May, the 17 days across which the Festival would have taken place this year. Norfolk & Norwich Festival does Radio Local, will be an hour-long live show each day at 3pm on Norwich’s Future Radio and online, hosted by Live Art collaborators and comedy duo Hunt & Darton. The show will celebrate everything about what it means to be local and will be built with, by and for residents of the county.

Radio Local had originally been part of the 2020 Festival line-up, with the pair planning to broadcast from Norwich city centre for 24 hours straight and to work with communities in Great Yarmouth, Kings Lynn and Diss before arriving. Hunt & Darton’s previous work includes their award-winning pop-up installation, the Hunt & Darton Café which has been presented at Tate Britain, Edinburgh Fringe and Latitude Festivals, and 3 cities in China with the British Council.

From the charmingly mundane to the quite extraordinary to the borderline ridiculous, Norfolk & Norwich Festival does Radio Local is a celebration of community. The Festival alongside Hunt and Darton will build a show with local people over the phone, via Zoom workshops and through online networks about the weird and wonderful places they live in how they are living. The show responds to people and place, witnessing this unprecedented time and celebrating people’s boredom. This will be a hyper-local broadcast to the whole world.

Alongside speaking to artists who had been programmed to present work at the Festival, the show will offer survival tactics for isolation, boredom busters, remote food reviews, live reports and audio tours of homes. There will be intergenerational challenges, scavenger hunts and competitions – such as jingle making from household items. The deadpan presenting duo will be joined by their guest presenter Victoria Melody featuring the region’s best amateur stand ups to keep audiences laughing. The show will also feature a legends slot, with the great and good from across the county sharing the tracks of their life, and the Festival with Hunt & Darton have commissioned local artists – Lucia Scazzocchio, Lewis Wickwar and Odd Comic to explore the Norfolk plains remotely. The show will also include a roster of virtual first dates, agony aunting, Twitter based soap operas, phone ins and more.

Daniel Brine Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Norfolk & Norwich Festival said: ‘We were gutted to cancel this year’s Festival but we’re committed to doing our bit for the community and in these difficult times we wanted to make sure we brought the people of Norwich and Norfolk some light cultural relief. Hunt & Darton will broadcast for an hour each day over the duration of our (non)Festival and it’s a great and fun way to celebrate all the good things local to Norfolk. Radio Local is our chance to celebrate the great work of our local key workers, to connect in a time when we’re distancing, and to think about the things which bind our community together. I look forward to joining the people of Norwich and Norfolk as we all drop in to Radio Local at 3pm each day, meet Festival artists and local heroes, take part and celebrate all that is local to us.’

Hunt & Darton said: ‘We feel privileged to have found a way to carry on making work in this adverse time. We are ridiculously excited to still be able make this show with you all, to bring a bit of silliness into our days, show off what Norfolk & Norwich folk have to offer, share our experiences in this bizarre time and to celebrate the amazing work that we all should have been enjoying throughout the Festival. We feel more than ever the need to keep communities connected and to offer some light relief to people stuck at home. We cannot wait to collaborate with you.’

A full programme for Norfolk and Norwich Festival does Radio Local will be announced in due course. The show will stream live at 3pm every day from 8-24 May and can be accessed via the Festival’s homepage at nnfestival.org.uk or on Future Radio. Highlights will be repeated on BBC Radio Norfolk Monday – Friday.

The 2020 Festival, which would have been the 248th edition of annual event, was cancelled in March in line with UK government’s response to the worldwide Covid-19 crisis. It usually attracts more than 85,000 visitors to theatres, venues and galleries around Norwich and across Norfolk, with a wide programme of free and ticketed events. Norfolk & Norwich Festival does Radio Local is led by Festival trainee staff, who work with the Festival on a short term basis to develop and learn new skills, supporting their professional development. Radio Local is one of several online initiatives the Festival is producing from May – June.