Welcome back chaps!
As we collectively gaze into the box of Celebrations to find only the Bounties are left, thoughts turn to the year ahead and what else there is to look forward to in brand new 2018.
Well, aside from eating novelty Christmas cheeses until April, and the annual gymnastics of Putting The Decorations Back In The Attic, there is loads of stuff going on this year that will keep you entertained, amused, and quite frankly rather busy. Norwich’s calendar for the coming year is already bursting with ground breaking festivals, major exhibitions, anniversaries, trails, parades, concerts and celebrations, and we’re invited to all of them!
It really is going to be a busy year, and we’re so excited to be welcoming a host of new events to the city. Here are the dates you need for your diary, in a delicious gallery of pictures:
Title Image: 'Wayfaring' - original art works by And Now; Photographic imagery by Nick Read
This looks set to be amazing, different and very special. As one of only a handful of Puppet Theatres in the country, this year Norwich's beautiful Puppet Theatre will be hosting Manipulate Festival, in partnership with Puppet Animation Scotland. This celebration of visual theatre and animated film will bring grown-up puppetry to the stage like you've never seen it before - the line up looks fascinating.
To mark their 25th year, the UEA Spring Literary Festival have got a cracking line up of thrilling, innovative writers. It all begins with beloved wise man from the East, Stephen Fry, on Valentines day, who will be talking about his new book, Mythos; a retelling of Greek myths for a contemporary audience. Following that is a glittering assortment of literary stars from all over: Sarah Hall, Margret Drabble and Jon McGregor to name a few. Go online to book your places now, or search 'literary festival' on the VisitNorwich website to view events for all the speakers.
From Tuesday the 20thto Saturday the 24th of February 2018, the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) will be taking over the magnificent Halls in Norwich with an enormous variety of light, ruby, and dark real ales, foreign beers, ciders and perries. As well as your general beer-related buzz, you’ll be able to catch live music, entertainment and food throughout the week, plus local pubs in the area will also be hosting a number of fringe events during your stay, which include everything from meet the brewer evenings to quiz nights and live music. Click here to find out how you can win yourself some free tickets, too!
This British Library exhibition - generously supported by Quentin Blake and Arts Council England - will be comprised of 10 portraits of Roald Dahl characters, painted in watercolour by Quentin Blake. Commissioned as part of the Roald Dahl centenary last year, Blake invited 10 of the author’s famous characters back to ‘sit’ for a portrait, resulting in a special series of unique - yet very familiar - illustrations.
Possibly one of the most controversial and recognised artists of our time, Damien Hirst, will be publicly premiering a new series of paintings at Houghton Hall this year. The magnificent gilded interior of Houghton's state rooms will be transformed for the exhibition, which will also feature sculptures by the artist: Virgin Mother and Saint Bartholomew, Exquisite Pain. As part of the Norfolk and Norwich festival programme - and Hirst's ONLY UK exhibition planned for 2018, as this blog goes live - this is an event to really get excited about this year.
As part of a huge international festival celebrating women and girls, WOW festival comes to Norwich this spring. The global event - made up of talks, debates, music, activism, mentoring and performance - has been held in 15 cities across 5 continents, looking at the obstacles faced by women that stops them from reaching their full potential. Open to everyone - boys, girls, men and women - this is a groundbreaking event not just for Norfolk but for the UK.
One of the undisputed highlights of Norwich's Calendar, the Norfolk and Norwich Festival draws crowds from around the country every year. The largest arts festival in the East of England has already announced 9 acts, with the full programme to be released sometime in February. N&N Festival is always an electric time in Norwich, with theatre, music, dance, performances and large scale outdoor work covering the entire city, and beyond. There's a varied programme of events for everyone to look forward to no matter what you're interested in, plus there's no better way to spend the early summer evenings than sat outside the iconic Speigeltent, drink in hand.
Norwich Castle, in collaboration with Yale Center for British Art, is staging a major exhibition which takes this extraordinary painting, The Paston Treasure (c. l663-5), as its starting point. Gathering together some of the depicted treasures in this mysterious painting for the first time in three centuries, the exhibition explores the world of the Paston family and their magnificent collections once held at Oxnead Hall in Norfolk. For those interested in local or social history, this is unmissable.
In 1768, on an abandoned patch of land near London’s Waterloo, showman, entrepreneur and equestrian rider Philip Astley drew out a circle in the ground and filled it with astounding physical acts. Circus was born.
This year Britain celebrates 250 years of the art form. Norwich has roots firmly in circus (it was the birthplace of 19th Century Circus proprietor Pablo Fanque), and has been named as one of only 6 cities of Circus in the country. All year the city will be host to spectacular array of circus themed events and activities, in collaboration with SeaChange Arts, Norwich Arts Centre, Lost in Translation Circus and Norwich City Council. Watch this space for exciting announcements coming soon...
The iconic Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts turns 40 this year! This was Norman Foster’s first commercial building and today it is as much of a draw for its design and style, as it is the priceless world art collection encompassed within. You might even recognise the Sainsbury Centre from the big screen; it recently featured as Avengers HQ in the 'Age of Ultron'. The anniversary celebrations will coincide with touring exhibition: Superstructures: the New Architecture 1960 - 1990, which will present the first ever fully comprehensive study of the High-Tech movement within architecture and design from the 1970s to the 1990s.
Did you know there are seven different collective nouns for a group of hares? I do because I just googled it.
To pick just one, Norwich will be home to a husk of Hares throughout the summer, each one designed and painted by a different artist, and sponsored by local businesses. Follow the trail to discover these magestic creatures throughout Norwich and Norfolk.
Four days of celebrations including a street procession on the Saturday, entertainers, fireworks, outdoor stages with music, dance and theatre, a funfair, craft and food markets, street fayre, duck races and lots more. The city's biggest community celebration, which as part of Circus250 this year will feature a circus-themed parade with life-sized elephant puppets winding through the streets!
This will be Pride's tenth year celebrating the LGBT+ community - throwing its arms out to everyone to celebrate in style, turn the city into a rainbow and ensure Norwich is a place where everyone is safe to be themselves. The whole day is a party, but the parade starts at 1pm outside City Hall, heading towards Chapelfield Gardens where the main stage show will start at 2pm. They still need volunteers to check out the website if you want to get involved in this special, very important event.
This is a big one. In July, 'Writers’ Centre Norwich' becomes 'The National Centre for Writing' located at Dragon Hall, a unique 15th century trading hall and much-loved city building. It will be major venue for public events, a flexible teaching and meeting space, plus the onsite cottage will be refurbished as a residence for writers and translators visiting from the UK and around the world, with a particular focus on writers at risk within the ICORN network, reflecting Norwich’s status as England’s only International City of Refuge. This will be one of the most significant developments for literature in the UK this century, and we're very excited indeed.
Running over October half term, Norwich Science festival is your chance to to explore the wonders of the universe, meet the scientists whose research has changed our world and debate some big questions with some big-thinkers. This is a big event for all ages, with engaging events, talks, exhibitions, live experiments and lectures put on all around the city throughout the week.
Greater Anglia has Advance fares from £10 one way between London Liverpool Street and Norwich. Trains run every 30 minutes. Greater Anglia also serves Colchester, Ipswich and Diss on the Norwich line. Direct trains also run from Cambridge.
East Midlands Trains runs services from Liverpool, Manchester and Nottingham.
Flights into Norwich served from Edinburgh, Manchester, Exeter, Aberdeen, Jersey*, Guernsey* and Amsterdam.
To plan a trip to Norwich check out our website www.visitnorwich.co.uk