Another busy period is on the go and we have lots of Christmas events this week running up to the big day, mostly at the theatres in Norwich. I have been trying to get a greeting out to everyone and have written over a hundred Sistema Christmas cards (www.sistemanorwich.org.uk) but now I have run out of time (and cards) so if I haven't sent one to you, I would have liked to have done, especially those I have worked with this year. So I have attached a digital version here instead. And I do want to say a big thank you to all of the people I work with throughout the year, many of whom work really hard to bring the cultural life of the city to the fore.
If you appreciate Culture Shift emails throughout the year, please consider donating to Sistema Norwich which is this year's Civic Charity which I am also supporting, and if you buy some of the cards for next year, it is worth realising that thanks to sponsors Art Angels, all off the money you pay for the cards will go directly to Sistema. I must admit that as I spend money at this time of the year I feel that the least I can do is give away at least a proportion of the extra, fairly gratuitous spending that we do for the sake of those that can't afford to do so - so if not Sistema, please support something this year if you are able to.
So, what is going on to keep you entertained and distracted from last-minute Christmas preparations?
First, the pantomime at Theatre Royal which is Snow White this year. It runs from Tuesday 15th December 2015 - Sunday 17th January 2016. It includes puppets (the Seven Dwarves) from Norwich Puppet Theatre and has received rave reviews - here is one from The Stage. There are tickets still so you can book for an after Christmas treat. There is also an exhibition about the history of panto at the Forum till 9 January to add to all of the fun.
Then Rumpelstiltskin is the Christmas show at Norwich Puppet Theatre. Again, it is selling fast with sold out shows this week so book as soon as you can. I am taking my grand-daughter and friends on 30 January as I missed the gala opening night - it is suitable for all ages, adults as well as children. If you have never been to Norwich Puppet theatre, now is your chance. There is also a range of gift mugs available now decorated with images of puppets made for the Norwich Puppet Celebrity Auction - with puppets decorated by Cleo Laine, John Hegley, George Szirtes, Michael Rosen, Suzie Hanna, Tom and Ben Youngs and more, depicted on the range of dishwasherproof mugs - see www.puppettheatre.co.uk
Maddermarket Theatre is showing The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe until 2nd January. Directed by Peter Beck, and starring the Norwich Players, this show is for age 6 and up (apparently it has a scary bit) and I am going to try and go after Christmas as I loved the Narnia books as a child (still do). There is also a Santa Grotto but that finishes today so you will have to be quick to catch that.
Norwich Playhouse doesn't have a specific Christmas show but has lots coming up in January including comedy to brighten up the dull month of January, so have a look at their programme.
It is also the last opportunity to see the Build Your Own exhibition at Norwich Castle. It is there over Christmas (closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day) and finishes on 3 January. Make sure you go and see the 3D printers in operation. Norwich Hackspace have been printing snowflake Christmas decorations, having printed and assembled hands for four children without fingers who received their hands in early December and are now working on four more for children who saw the publicity on Look East and local media
Norwich Hackspace is also taking part in an exhibition at The Forum in February. They are hosting aMakers' Month in February where they are offering weekly themed activities. The last week is Paper and Print and our great friends Print to the People will be setting up a screen printing workshop in the Forum.
Norwich Hackspace will be installing a 3D printer for the week so that you can watch it printing and on Saturday 27 February we will have Hackspace team members there to talk to you about projects and tell you about the Hackspace group which meets at the Men's Shed in Pitt Street. If you are interested in membership of the hackspace (it's a place where people get together to make things), join the Meetup group which is free and then come along and meet some of the members in the new year. The hackspace opens again on Monday 4 January and the first session is free (thereafter membership is minimum £10 a month donation for weekly meetings). It's a very friendly and growing group of curious people who help each other with 'projects'.
New Year's Eve also promises lots of fun.
First on my list is Bonanafana Social Club at The Talk - as a family we have seen the New Year in at the Talk on a number of occasions and it is always great with music and cabaret in this somewhat retro space. Tickets are £25 and people get dressed up to a loose theme (this year it is Alabama and Elvis, Deep South and the Bible Belt - this is from their website and gives you all the details:
Let us all congregate for a wicked New Year’s Eve of divine temptation and unearthly delights.
Enter “The Limbo Lounge“, where Heaven and Hell collide; where everyone’s a saint and we’re all original sinners.
Open your hearts and minds to THE Ministers of the First Presleyterian Church of Elvis the Divine, ALABAMA 3who’ll be playing country/gospel/delta blues with a rhythm you’ve got to dance to – “soul music with a gun against your head” Manna from the Gods
There’s a whole other world of acts to announce from the pulpit so keep your eyes raised and your ears open.
Bible belts and dirty habits, Heaven and Hell, dirty devils and righteous dudes. Blazin’ red and virginal white
The Talk, Oak Street, Norwich NR3 3BP
Tickets are £25 – online from Eventbrite – and in the flesh from The Rock Collection next Wednesday (18th)
The Maddermarket Theatre also has a Night at the Musicals with Sound Company £30 tickets include a glass of fizz and buffet, and dancing until 2am.
The newly refurbished Black Horse in Earlham Road has now been taken over by Rose Hanison, from that dynasty of Norwich pub and restaurant owners and I went there the other night for Veronica Sekules' leaving do after-party (Veroncia has left the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts after 36 years of assistant directorship, education and research to set up a new gallery in King's Lynn). Anyway, the food at thr Black Horse was very nice and I noticed that they have the Vagaband playing at New Year, tickets £7 with cocktails and canapes on arrival 7.30pm-till late - that sounds like a bargain (although I am not sure if the cocktails are included in the ticket price) and the Vagaband can alway be relied on to get people dancing.
I am sure that there are lots of other New Year opportunities but those are all in the running for me at the moment so I thought I would share!
Looking forward to January, there is a Norwich Pops Orchestra New Year's Day concert on 1st January 3pm at St Andrews' Hall, with a light programme suited to everyone in the family including Waltzes, Overtures and traditional Viennese favourites, so it will be a nice relaxing way to blow off the cobwebs.
There is also an organ recital at Norwich Cathedral on New Year's Day at 11am. They also have a variety of Christmas services and the Affinity and Kindred exhibition of photographs by Richard Denyer in the Hostry
A bit further on, Norfolk and Norwich Chamber Music have their annual weekend of chamber music on 16th and 17th January and Britten Sinfonia have a lunchtime concert at 1pm on 15th January. The wonderful Voice Project choir have a Winter performance at the end of their Winter project at St Andrew's Hall so maybe it won't be a dull month after all. You can find out about all of these concerts atwww.musicinnorwich.org.uk.
Arts Development UK conference comes to Norwich
I am proud to say that as regional coordinator of Arts Development UK in the East, I have managed to secure the annual AD:UK conference to coem to Norwich in February (23/24 February). This is a great opportunity to showcase the culture of the city as around 170 specialists in arts and cultural development will come to the city. The conference will be held at St Andrew's Hall and there will be study tours to NUA, Norwich Castle, Sainsbury Centre, The Garage, Future Projects and Great Yarmouth and there will be many case studies and speakers from other parts of the country. I have been to conferences in York, Birmingham, Cardiff and Blackpool and it is always a buzzy, packed and exciting programme which buoys us up for another year of the social impact that the arts can bring to people's lives.
I will email more about this in 2016 when full details will be available but please mark the date 23/24 February 2016 - if you work in the arts you should come
Finally, if you fancy a change in direction in 2016, here is a fantastic job opportunity
NORWICH THEATRE ROYAL
Learning & Participation Manager
To lead the Learning & Participation team in developing and delivering innovative work. This is a key role in the theatre’s Stage Two project – a new £3m education and training centre, due to open on site in summer 2016.
You will be an inspiring, strategic leader passionate about engaging a wide range of people in theatre arts. You will have experience of planning, developing and delivering learning and participation programmes, and knowledge of best practice in the sector.
Job description and application form: http://bit.ly/LearningParticipationManager
Closing date: Friday 29th January 2016
Right, I had better go and get some wrapping done. I hope that you are all looking forward to Christmas as it is a lovely time for family and friends to get together and I look forward to sending you updates in the New Year!