For six weeks in 2016, Suffolk spilled into London, as The Suffolk Punch brought the finest Suffolk food and drink to VAULT Festival.
A country pub in the heart of London, open to the public whenever the VAULT Festival is open. Great people, great provenance. VAULT FESTIVAL 2016 and the Suffolk Young Producers welcomed visitors to a brand new restaurant, bringing the best of East Anglian food to subterranean London.
The food of Suffolk is shaped by the landscape, from the sea to the rivers with their fertile valleys leading to the rich arable soil of the Suffolk uplands. Over the centuries Suffolk has traditionally been a larder for London, and at the Suffolk Punch you have the opportunity to discover the very special foods in that larder and the very special young people who make it. It is a rare county where you can find small family companies of the highest quality, specialising in all areas of food production.
Every year, Norwich Puppet Theatre and Puppet Animation Scotland’s Manipulate Festival comes to Norwich. The festival began in 2011, and is now an innovative international festival of visual theatre and film. The programme in Norwich includes a vibrant mix of puppetry and animation.
2016’s festival boasted a programme full of life and variety. Kwaidan (pictured here) by Rouge28 Theatre was just one of the performances to take the stage. Rogue28 were supported by Norwich Puppet Theatre in 2014-15 to develop the show via their Platform programme. Cinematic and atmospheric, Kwaidan is inspired by Japanese ghost stories and horror movies combining life-sized puppets, acting and video projections.
As part of DanceEast’s One Night Stands series in early 2016, Sweetshop Revolution presented this captivating story, between dance, theatre and song. I Loved You And I Loved You explores the life of Welsh composer Morfydd Owen.
Owen died at just twenty six and many questions still surround her death. It was said she might have become the Elgar of her time. She was certainly considered to be one of Wales’ most talented musicians and composers, yet little is known about her outside Wales and there are relatively few recordings of her work.
Set to Owen’s own compositions, this performance explored her relationships with her husband (British psychoanalyst Ernest Jones) and her intense friendship with Elliot Crawshay-Williams (parliamentary private secretary to Winston Churchill).
To book a ticket to an innovative, ground-breaking performance like this one, visit DanceEast.
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In January 2016, as the centenary of the Battle of Somme approached, Writers’ Centre Norwich, 14-18 NOW and Norfolk & Norwich Festival co-commissioned a major new project, Fierce Light.
Poetry is commended for capturing the terror of the First World War, and this major commission invited a collection of international poets and visual artists to explore the war and its legacy in the 21st Century.
The opening night of Fierce Light (and the opening night of Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2016) saw Simon Armitage (pictured), Paul Muldoon, Daljit Nagra and Jo Shapcott read their own poetry, alongside excerpts from a series of specially commissioned short films.
This opening night event was supported by an exhibition of films, poems and images at Norwich University of the Arts’ East Gallery.
Published in 1983, Graham Swift’s Waterland is set on the Norfolk Fens, and tells the story of a man named Tom Crick alongside the history of the Fens.
The novel focuses on Crick’s childhood, and his mother’s family, the Atkinsons, who were Norfolk brewers.
Whilst many elements of the narrative are recognisable as Norfolk, certain aspects of the Fens are fictionalised throughout the novel. Crick lives in a cottage on the banks of the (fictional) River Leem, which most readers consider is similar to the (actual) River Ouse.
The Fens have inspired huge amounts of culture, including The Goob and 45 Years.
In January 2016, Norwich Arts Centre welcomed Broken Brass Ensemble for a very special gig.
Broken Brass Ensemble combines the traditional New Orleans brass with hiphop, balkan, funk, fanfare (and much more) into a blazing mixture of energy. The eight BBE members are all very young and talented musicians who combine swinging brass with tight percussion. All their work are originals, though the band isn’t ashamed to rock the audience with a surprising cover every now and then.
Celebrated choreographer Arthur Pita’s The Little Match Girl returned to Jerwood DanceHouse in January 2016.
The Little Match Girl had its world premiere at the DanceHouse in 2013, and had since been to the Sadler’s Wells, and had international tour.
Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s tale, this show tells the story of an impoverished street girl, and her hopes and dreams, told through dance, song and original live music.
A snowy stage sets the scene for an icy cold Christmas Eve, where the Little Match Girl paces the emptying streets, shivering and desperate, trying to sell her matches. Cold, hungry and with just one final match flame to keep her warm, she sees a vision of her beloved grandmother. From here, an exciting piece of dance theatre unfolds.
January 2016 saw the world-premiere of Tilted Productions’ Belonging(s) Film on show at Ipswich Film Theatre.
We’ve featured both Belonging(s) and Tilted’s recent photographic exhibition in other Culture365 posts, but this event was a very special chance to see the first screening of the company’s new film.
The Belonging(s) film offers a thought-provoking perspective on the notion of belonging and migration. The film features an intergenerational cast of international performers, joined by participants from the local community. The film shows the work in unusual angles and intimate close-ups, and stands as a work of art in its own right.
The East is filled with stories, from ancient myth and legend to tales of modern day heroes. Back in 2011, Ipswich-based Pacitti Company collected stories from people across the region, and identified 205 common symbols that appeared multiple times. This compendium of stories was titled A People’s Peculiar, and was a part of the company’s On Landguard Point project, part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
British jewellery-designer Victoria Johnson transformed these 205 symbols into individual silver-clay charms. The full collection of charms, plus real-life from the Museum of East Anglian Life’s permanent collection are currently on display in Abbot’s Hall in Stowmarket – there’s also the opportunity to add your own story to the ever-growing compendium.
Newfoundland was an exhibition of work by contemporary jeweller Romilly Saumarez Smith at Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts from December 2015 until April 2016.
The pieces on display reference the East’s ancient heritage. They all contain Roman, Anglo-Saxon or Medieval metalwork, dropped or discarded hundreds of years ago, and found by Romilly.
Romilly’s work transforms these items, which would have been commonplace domestic objects in their time, into marvellous celebrations of the region’s unique heritage. A small belt buckle becomes a delicate ring; a garment bin becomes a brooch.
Romilly adds contemporary detail, through tiny pearls, gold and diamonds, which amplifies each piece.
Alongside the collection, photographer Verdi Yahooda made some exceptional photographic prints of the original metal finds, which accompanied every piece.