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.
Ballet Theatre UK came to the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds to perform Pinnochio in May 2016.
Follow Pinocchio, the cheeky marionette puppet with an unruly nose, on his epic quest as he overcomes obstacles, faces consequences and even ends up in the belly of a whale yet proves to all that dreams really do come true.
Pinocchio, joined with iconic characters such as Gepetto, The Blue Fairy and Jiminy Cricket, take audiences on a heartfelt journey of discovery.
Set to a stunning classical score this original production delights ballet audiences and families alike and promises to carve a new love for the score through the magic of classical dance.
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.
In 2016, the University of East Anglia took part in the UK Green Film Festival. Taking place each year over a single week, up and down the country, the festival screens some of the very best films from around the world, exploring today’s big environmental issues.
The UEA programme featured three films, including Noah Hutton’s Deep Time (pictured) which explores the geological concept of deep time, and Oscar-winning director Louie Psihoyos’ Racing Extinction, which examines the world’s most dangerous black markets.
For more information about the extensive calendar of events at UEA, visit UEA Events.
Explore the rest of Norwich while you’re at it with Visit Norwich.
In our second post about Storm of Stories, we’re taking a closer look at family events taking place over the bank holiday weekend.
There’s a number of different opportunities for families (with children of all ages) to get involved in the festival and see something unexpected on the Suffolk coast.
Today’s highlights include a series of Shakespeare for Children workshops, looking at some of The Bard’s most famous works, through a child-friendly lens, and tomorrow features a musical performance of Orla and the Sun, a multi-sensory, interactive experience that transforms the space into a wonderland filled with singing, dance and play.
On the final weekend in April 2016, DanceEast in Ipswich was host to the world premiere of Avant Garde Dance’s Fagin’s Twist.
Fagin’s Twist is the untold story of a notorious, complex and perhaps misunderstood villain. It imagines the story of Fagin’s youth, corrupted by greed and worn down by poverty. The streets are a place of little comfort and no easy redemption, and there is no fairy tale ending.
Avant Garde Dance have a long history with DanceEast, after selling-out the venue with their previous show The Black Album. The relationship continues to go from strength to strength, and the company regularly develops new work at the Jerwood DanceHouse.
Planning a trip to see a future performance at DanceEast? Let All About Ipswich help!
On 29th April 2016, a wonderful evening of music was held at St Michael’s Church, Framlingham. Dark Disputes and Artful Teasing featured soloist James Gilchrist alongside a selection of other skilled musicians.
“Julian Marshall’s setting for unaccompanied voices perfectly captures the atmosphere of Blake’s words, re-contextualising their consideration of what it is to be human in a diverse range of modern musical styles.” George Jackson, conductor.
A maestro accomplished beyond his years leads this intimate eight-piece vocal ensemble in an atmospheric church acoustic. The youthful Rubythroat, a group of wonderfully skilled singers, display a fabulously nuanced approach to interpretation. They are joined in concert by the world-famous lyric tenor, James Gilchrist, who appears as a special guest and for whom the solo part was written.
Following a successful career in the pop industry, Julian turned his hand to writing classical music – and recent works have received critical acclaim (“…heading into the limelight of the Classic FM Hall of Fame.” Maddox, The Observer). This composition in fourteen parts, based on the Songs of Innocence and Experience, took the listener on a colourful journey through a variety of landscapes, moods and flavours – reflecting Blake’s amazing ability to create a multiplicity of experience, from social commentary to deeply felt awe and mystery.
Blake’s voice is more relevant today than ever, and following his commitment to social reform, all profits raised were donated to the very worthy charity Place 2 Be, whose work with vulnerable young people suffering mental health crises is invaluable.
Every two years in Spring, the Suffolk Coast is hit by a Storm of Stories!
Storm of Stories is a unique storytelling and fairy tale festival for all ages in Leiston and Aldeburgh. Opening up a number of different venues across the two towns, the festival explores both familiar and seldom heard tales.
2016’s highlights included The Nightingale, a community opera featuring the Aldeburgh Young Musicians, students from local primary schools, and The Wonderful Beast Singers.
Throughout the weekend there are free art workshops, impromptu music and readings of favourite tales in Story Corner, all washed down with scrummy food and drink from local suppliers.