Taking place annually, Norfolk & Norwich Open Studios has established itself as one of the largest and most successful open studios schemes in the country. It gives visitors the opportunity to see new art, meet artists, and – with many of the works on display being for sale – to buy original artworks directly from their creators.
For Open Studios 2016 over 250 artists opened the doors of their studios to visitors interested in exploring the Norfolk art scene. With no need to book, visitors explored to their heart’s content.
The year was 1892. Flamboyant playwright Oscar Wilde had already made a name for himself in London, Paris and the US, but he decided to shun the bright lights of the cities for a time and chose to travel to the North Norfolk coast for a time of rest and recuperation.
He arrived in Cromer and chose to stay at the Hotel de Paris, and in a cottage at nearby Felbrigg. While staying at the Hotel de Paris (which is still open today), popular opinion is that he was working on A Woman of No Importance – which had its theatre debut in 1893.
The words of Wilde are set into concrete rings on the promenade, alongside other literary luminaries with connections to the town such as Gaskell and Swinburne.
In May 2016, the Moving Gallery came to the Ipswich Waterfront!
A unique collaboration between DanceEast and photography students from UCS, the Moving Gallery was a choreographed gallery of specially-commissioned photographs representing the Festival theme ”Of Time and Place”. Ipswich’s first Moving Gallery journeyed from Jerwood DanceHouse along the Waterfront to UCS Plaza.
For more information about the festival, visit PhotoEast.
One of the few sculptors who casts his own work, Laurence Edwards is fascinated by human anatomy and the metamorphosis of form and matter that governs the lost-wax process. The driving force behind his work is bronze, an alloy that physically and metaphorically illustrates entropy, the natural tendency of any system in time to tend towards disorder and chaos. His sculptures express the raw liquid power of bronze, its versatility, mass and evolution, and the variety of process marks he retains tell the story of how and why each work came to be.
In May 2016 his newest work, A Thousand Tides, was at his Suffolk studio, Butley Mills. You can find out more about the process behind its creation in this video.
Christopher Le Brun PRA praised Edwards specifically for his ability to blur the boundaries between man and nature. And organic forms continue to literally influence his work, be it Suffolk grasses mixed into the process clay, or cast into elements that transform his figures into something allegorical or mythic.
Taking place annually, Pulse is a part curated, part open application ten-day festival focusing on new and innovative approaches to theatre, offering bright and inspiring snapshots of contemporary theatre.
2016’s festival included new work from internationally-celebrated Gecko Theatre, and the Suitcase Prize, where performers were challenged to bring an entire show to the festival on public transport in one suitcase. The festival opened with Mmm Hmmm, a new piece of a cappella song theatre. Mmm Hmmm is a playful, poignant musical journey shaped by three exceptional female voices jumping between sound worlds and lyrical styles.
Using intricate vocal techniques and rich harmony, Mmm Hmmm holds a magnifying glass up to snapshots of everyday life. One moment a fragile apology, the next a perilous trip to the First Great Western buffet car…Verity Standen’s original a cappella songs evoke the awkward, heartrending and hilarious moments that characterise what it means to be human.
To find out more, and book tickets for the next Pulse Festival, visit the New Wolsey Theatre.
2016 saw the launch of the first ever PhotoEast Festival. Set to take place over five days every year, the festival boasts a huge programme of free events, including a jam-packed lineup of talks and workshops. The PhotoEast talks are all free, but booking is recommended.
At the inaugural festival, visitors attended talks from professional photographers on a variety of subjects, including what makes an iconic news photo (from Guardian Picture Editor Fiona Shields), and how to photograph urban landscapes (from photographer George Georgiou).
The Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds is a popular place for people to enjoy. There are open spaces and well tended flowerbeds, as well as tennis courts, a play area, bowling green and museum. Interspersed between all these are the ruins of the Abbey that once stood here and ruled the surrounding area.
They vary from small mounds of rock to complete archways, but the most astonishing thing is the overall size of the Abbey. It measured more than 500 feet long and 246 wide. (To give that some context of scale, Westminster Abbey, including Lady Chapel, is 530 feet long with a nave that is 85 feet wide.)
The story of the Abbey’s rise and fall is a long and bloody one, and you can find out more here.
After the success of beautiful video portrait Margarete at Norfolk & Norwich Festival in 2015, Polish artists Janek Turkowski & Iwona Nowacka returned in 2016 with a World Premiere commission. It’s Happening in Norwich was an intimate video-storytelling performance presented in a medieval merchant’s house on Elm Hill.
Every place has its own biography, it carries a story that wants to be told. It’s Happening in Norwich explored the collection of amateur films made by Charles Scott from the 1930s to the 1970s. For over 40 years Scott chronicled the city with the two film reels he could afford a year. In the performance, Turkowski and Nowacka created a homely environment as they recounted the stories of Scott’s films and their own experiences carrying on his work in a performance about observing everyday life.
Writers’ Centre Norwich at Dragon Hall opened its doors in May 2016 for the City of Literature Weekend as part of Norfolk & Norwich Festival.
The weekend invited audiences to join some of the most original thinkers, activists and writers of our time, and explore ideas ranging from the cutting edge of neuroscience to unimaginable stories of human perseverance. The series of events promised to leave audiences with a deeper understanding of pressing political, economic and social questions and an idea of how change might be possible.
Throughout the weekend a live drawing performance, capturing key ideas, took place in the Great Hall. On the Saturday, this was performed by Dr. Ian Williams, whose weekly cartoon in The Guardian, Sick Notes, captures the trials and tribulations of working in the NHS.