Vocal Invention was a one-off packed weekend of vocal adventures celebrating the creativity and inventiveness of the human voice held as part of Norfolk & Norwich Festival in May 2016.
Poets, singers, improvisers, composers, talkers and thinkers came together for performances, workshops, talks and surprise pop-up performances in the city. From exquisite song to experimental vocal installations, 8-part harmony and performance poetry, the weekend was a chance to see and take part in a huge range of vocal events.
On the Friday night, Helen Chadwick took to the Norwich Arts Centre stage with her latest solo show that investigated the need to be out of one’s comfort zone in order to create and lead, using over-dubbed sung improvisations on fragments of Greek poetry.
19th May 2016 saw the world premiere of Wild Life come to Norfolk & Norwich Festival. Wild Life was an extraordinary collaboration between Pol Heyvaert of Belgian arts centre CAMPO, Kim Noble and ten young singer songwriters aged 15-22 from across Norfolk.
The stories that were shared are all real, organically developed from the lives of the performers, the songs that they write, and what science tells us about how teenagers’ brains work.
Funny, beautiful, angry and honest, Wild Life explored the lives of young people and the universal experience of how music makes you feel.
After 2015’s phenomenally successful Wolf’s Child, Norfolk & Norwich Festival returned to Felbrigg Hall in 2016 for Walk With Me.
Visitors were invited to wander through woods and fields creating their own cinematic experience. With the landscape as their screen, headphones provided a soundtrack of music, words and sound effects. Moving through the grounds, moods changed, time flitted from past to present and an intriguing narrative by novelist Megan Bradbury recollected the past of Felbrigg Hall and reframed the estate as a place of stories and wonder.
Strijbos & Van Rijswijk’s walkscapes are present across the world, in locations including Paris, Istanbul, New York and Glasgow. Using GPS technology to superimpose site-specific compositions, natural sounds and narrative onto the surroundings, they invite audiences to choose their own path and tempo to create their own soundtrack.
Walk With Me ran from May-October 2016 at Felbrigg.
Step into the Story Machine is an immersive literary event like nothing experienced before. Powered by literature and oiled by theatre, it’s a truly immersive experience where stories from world-renowned writers seduce at every turn.
Having appeared as part of Norfolk & Norwich Festival’s City of Literature programme in both 2016 and 2017, in collaboration with Writers’ Centre Norwich, the event sees the historic Dragon Hall transformed into the Story Machine. Visitors can pick and choose a path through 18 stories, including live performance, video installations and soundscapes.
Stories from Jon McGregor, Claudia Rankine and Etgar Keret were among the offering in 2016, while in 2017 the theme was ‘Under Surveillance’, using the power of words to take festival-goers behind the North Korean iron curtain, to the wild frontiers of everyman-for-himself America, and to the early years of the printing press.
There is a strong bond between internationally-celebrated Turner Prize-winning British Landscape artist, Richard Long, and this eighteenth century Palladian house in North Norfolk.
The relationship started in 2003, when Long was commissioned by Lord Cholmondley to create a piece of land art in the grounds of Houghton. This led to Full Moon Circle, a permanent sculpture created from local slate. Fourteen years later Long returned to Houghton for Earth Sky, his largest show in five years, creating new site-specific work from local materials.
You can learn more of Houghton, including the Long work and their other art collections by visiting the official site here.
In May every year, North Norfolk Stories Festival opens for four days of fun.
The festival, which began in 2015, provides over 20 free events for all ages to enjoy at cultural, heritage and wildlife sites across 11 locations in North Norfolk.
The events provide amazing variety; in 2016 visitors came across pirates, ghosts, Einstein, 1940s fashion, 1950s music and much more as venues threw open their doors and invited attendees of all ages to enjoy performances, family activities, exhibitions, music, talks, walks and more!
This festival is part of the Museums at Night initiative, so many events take place at twilight when the venues are normally shut, creating a unique opportunity and atmosphere for you to explore, learn something new and have fun.
In May 2016, one of the East’s most iconic venues was taken by storm when Norfolk & Norwich Festival commission The Tempest opened at the Great Yarmouth Hippodrome.
Inspired by the magic of the Hippodrome, Norfolk & Norwich Festival Artistic Director William Galinsky, working with theatre-makers including designer Laura Hopkins, created a production full of wonder and surprises. Tony Guilfoyle, long-term Robert LePage collaborator, led the cast as Prospero in a production that brought The Tempest to life for a modern day audience.
With family fun, live music, cookery demonstrations and PLENTY of food and drink, Porkstock is held on the Royal Norfolk Showground every October to raise money for local charity Nelson’s Journey.
The daytime event is completely free (even the car parking), with plenty to entertain the whole family. Top local chefs will be giving demonstrations, live bands will be playing all day, and local food and drink producers will be there selling their wares and giving tasters. Children can enjoy all sorts of games, and most areas are undercover so the fun doesn’t need to stop should the weather turn nasty.
The evening event is one long knees up. After the hard work of the day it’s a chance for everyone to let their hair down, dancing to fantastic live music and enjoying tasty pork treats, a range of local beers and ciders, plus prosecco and gin and tonics. This all ticketed event sells out every year, and again all proceeds go to Nelson’s Journey.
A brand new opera from Mark Simpson, Pleasure, came to Snape Maltings in May 2016.
Pleasure, a hedonistic gay club in the north of England, is presided over by the Baccanalian drag queen, Anna Fewmore. Val, the much-loved toilet attendant, confidante and shoulder to cry on, remains an enigma.
When Nathan, a beautiful and unpredictable young man, arrives as Pleasure and leaves a gift for Val, it marks the beginning of an emotional and violent night.
In Mark Simpson and Melanie Challenger’s first opera collaboration, Lesley Garrett as Val led the cast, and Tim Albery and Leslie Travers resumed their creative pairing for the first time at Aldeburgh since Grimes on the Beach.
In Here, a trio of inspiring performance and theatre, came to Great Yarmouth for three nights in May 2016.
On the first night, Until You Hear That Bell told the story of a young man’s quest for life-purpose, amidst family responsibilities and a passion for boxing.
The following evening, Grass came to Great Yarmouth Market Square. This dance show for young children asked the audience to explore the world beneath their feet, featuring puppetry, projection and performance to look closely at the world around them, to get mucky, and to get stuck in and play!
The trio ended with Touretteshero’s Backstage in Biscuitland. Jess Thom has Tourettes, a condition that makes her say ‘biscuit’ 16,000 times a day. Her unusual neurology gives her a unique perspective on life; one she’s unleashed on the world. Jess had recently appeared on the BBC’s Live from Television Centre, alongside the East’s very own Gecko Theatre.