On several occasions during the summer, the grand grounds of Somerleyton Hall are filled with the sound of a string quartet, as part of Strings on the Lawn.
Somerleyton Hall and Gardens is located on the Norfolk Suffolk border, just a stone’s throw from the coast and home to Lord and Lady Somerleyton who open their doors to the public from Easter to October.
Find out more about Strings on the Lawn and what else is on at Somerleyton Hall.
This Gainsborough, Peasant and Donkeys outside a Barn, was produced in the mid-1750s, arguably in Gainsborough’s Suffolk heyday. During this period, his art was increasingly influenced by a deep personal and emotional connection with the county and its people. In this imagined scene, he imbues the distinctive Suffolk agricultural landscape with a moral dimension; the painting stands as a powerful testament to the spirit of the county’s rural population in the eighteenth century.
The painting originally belonged to Jervoise Clarke, a Whig Member of Parliament, and remained in his family until it was offered to the nation through Arts Council England’s Cultural Gifts Scheme.
Easton Farm Park is an assembly of restored Victorian farm buildings set in 35 acres of rolling pasture land, normally populated by Suffolk Punches, one of the rarest breeds of horses on the planet; bred at Easton.
Every year, Easton Farm Park is home to Maverick Festival, which celebrates North American roots music from both sides of the Atlantic featuring many artists from Canada and the US, as well as homegrown UK talent. Past headliners have included names such as Billy Bragg, Andrew Duhon and Hannah Aldridge.
To find out more about Maverick Festival, visit their website.
BELONGING(s) was a site-specific promenade performance by Tilted Productions, which took place along the Ipswich Waterfront in early July 2015.
This preview was shown exclusively in Ipswich in summer 2015 as part of Ip-art before touring nationally and internationally in 2016. The show provokes thoughts on the notion of belonging, and invites the viewer to see the familiar in new ways. With a cast of seven professional dancers and three main scenes, the piece was set in different waterfront locations in Ipswich. As audiences walked between these scenes, they came across pop up performances involving members of the local community.
Led by Artistic Director and choreographer Maresa von Stockert, Tilted’s work combines contemporary dance, physical theatre and performance art, and an unusual use of objects.
Up a small sandy lane in Aldeburgh you will be plunged into the 1960s: Benjamin Britten’s house is presented just as it was when he and Peter Pears lived there. At the heart of this welcoming and informal site is Britten’s studio, where he composed masterpieces including his War Requiem.
Stand for a while, and let the sounds of the Suffolk Coast come to you. The cry of the gulls, the ever present thrum of the sea: this is Britten’s own soundscape.
Other features of The Red House include an interactive exhibition, guided tours – including Britten and Pears’ enviable art collection – and a newly constructed archive. Open by appointment only.
To book a tour or find out more visit the Britten-Pears website.
To immerse yourself in Britten’s Suffolk Coast for longer, explore The Suffolk Coast.
This spectacular show in the North Norfolk countryside has grown from just another festive event to the biggest Christmas show in the country.
It’s a three-hour extravaganza that harks back to the best days of variety, with song, dance, music, comedy and other entertainment delivered by a cast of around 130 professional performers, many of whom are West End performers. Thousands of people attend every year, and organisers estimate they have around 50 coaches a day arriving from all over the country.
The Thursford Collection is the world’s largest steam collection and has dozens of engines to admire, as well as a fairground carousel and a gondola ride. At its heart is the Mighty Wurlitzer, a huge steam organ that is played with incredible dexterity by Robert Wolfe twice daily.
To plan your visit to Thursford – for Christmas or the rest of the year – visit their website. And you can discover all about the wider region at Visit Norfolk.
Norwich Cathedral has over 1,000 bosses, more than any other cathedral in the world. These miniature sculptures cover a wide variety of subjects, from parables to Mystery Plays. They reward close inspection and offer a real insight into the medieval psyche.
You can also find mysterious Green Men peeping out of gilded foliage (pictured here) and fearsome grotesques. Here strange creatures, half beast half human, lurk with intent.
Dragon Hall is named after the intricately carved 15th century dragon in one of the hall’s spandrels. Originally there would have been fourteen dragon carvings. Medieval Norwich was full of dragons and they can still be found all over the city in stone archways, wooden pews and painted on walls.
In 2015, Writers’ Centre Norwich moved into Dragon Hall ahead of the launch of a National Centre for Writing in early 2018. This will be an inspirational venue for locals and visitors alike and a major new cultural space in the city. www.writerscentrenorwich.org.uk
To celebrate 50 years of the Landmark Trust, this Antony Gormley sculpture stared defiantly out to sea from the Martello Tower in Slaughden, Aldeburgh for twelve months from June 2015.
The tower was built in the early 1800s as a coastal defence and the Gormley figure echoes its purpose Gormley said “The sculpture’s attitude is one of defiance and indifference to any potential invader from across the sea.”
This sculpture is one of five across the country, as part of the Landmark Trust’s ‘Land’ project.
In June 2015, at the Pacitti Company Think Tank in Ipswich, Dead Rat Orchestra performed a live score to the Tyburnia, a 16mm experimental documentary film exploring the enduring influence that public execution has had on the UK’s socio-political, historical and cultural identity.
The soundtrack included interpretations of ballads performed in ‘Thieves Cant’ – a secret language of the 17th Century underworld.