Interesting given that the arts sector is always being asked to produce evidence. This a way of taking qualitative assessment and turning it into measurable data as developed by Arts Council England, John Knell and a group of arts organisations
Dear friends and colleagues
I hope that you all had a good Easter weekend and that you are appreciating the double bonus of the clocks springing forward this week so we have had lovely bright evening . Today, April 1st it is five years since I left my job at Norwich City Council and set up on my own under the name of Culture Shift Norwich, combing my skills of graphic design and communications and cultural development. Although I feared starvation at that point it has not happened, thankfully, and I have very much enjoyed the projects which I have been involved with. Thank you to all those who have supported and encouraged me, especially at the beginning and here's to the next five years.
I have quite a few news items today so I will crack on
Art in Norwich British Art Show special publication - highlights British Art Show 08 and Giacometti at SCVA
First is that the new edition of Art in Norwich is out and about. The pdf and Issuu publications are available for download from here. Issuu, if you haven't used it, let's you leaf though a booklet onscreen in the way that you would a hard copy - try it out, it is great and dead easy and you can access it here . The hard copies have been delayed at the printers but will be out and about soon.
If you don't know about the British Art Show 08, it is a contemporary visual art show which happens every 5 years and is produced by the Hayward Gallery on the Southbank. Curated this time by two women Anna Colin and Lydia Yee, it includes 42 artists and tours to four cities in the UK. It opened in Leeds in October 2015, is currently in Edinburgh and comes to Norwich 24 June after which it will open in Southampton in October 2016. In Norwich, the two main venues are Norwich Castle and Norwich University of the Arts (East Gallery and St George's Building) and there will also be a sculptural piece at The Forum. It is a great coup for Norwich as it has a following and Leeds recorded over 100,00 extra visitors - which is good for the prosperity of a city generally, and the idea of the Art in Norwich publication is to showcase the rest of the art on show in Norwich at the same time.
As well as the artists and work that will be at each city, there are also city specific events. On Saturday 18 June 2016 in Norwich City Centre there will be a landmark event organised by Great Yarmouth based artist, Alan Kane. The exhibition will be delivered by six horse-drawn carts which will process through the city centre and deliver the exhibition to the three British Art Show venues. In much the same way as the circus would process through the town to announce its arrival, this procession will broadcast the arrival of the British Art Show to thousands of onlookers before its public opening on the Friday 24 June. Artists Jessica Warboys will also be working with Norfolk audiences but details yet to be released. There will be a piece of print which will have more details out in June but keep an eye on www.artinnorwich.org.uk or follow @artinnorwich on Twitter for updates
At the same time as BAS8, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts is hosting two fab exhibitions at the same time which will also be a draw to visitors from the rest of the UK and Europe. Alberto Giacometti : A Line Through Time, opens on Saturday 23 April and runs through till 29 August 2016. This major new exhibition commemorates the 50th anniversary of Alberto Giacometti’s death in 1966. Giacometti is one of the twentieth century’s most significant artists, celebrated as a sculptor, painter and draughtsman. The exhibition will be the most extensive in the UK dedicated to the artist since 2007, focusing on his work and influence during the post-war period on both sides of the Channel. Giacometti was one of the friends and protogées of Robert and Lisa Sainsbury and there are several Giacometti pieces in the permanent collection. Details about the exhibition can be found on the Sainsbury Centre website www.scva.ac.uk
At the same time as Giacometti, (23 April-29 August) there is also an exhibition of photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson, a French photographer who walked the streets of Paris, day and night, from one end to the other, grabbing candid and opportunistic images. The exhibition collects his best photographs of Paris, ancient and recent, well known and never seen before. As always, there will be a series of supporting events, talks and workshops so keep an eye on the Sainsbury Centre site or follow the Art in Norwich blog for deliveries straight to your inbox.
As well as these blockbuster events, there are many, many shows and activities in Norwich. For this special edition, I have also included selected venues and events outside Norwich and around Norfolk such as Cley 16, GroundWorks, a new environmental gallery in Kings Lynn, Great Yarmouth, Salthouse and general guidance about where to find work and enjoy the county. The Waveney Sculpture Trail is a great way of getting out and about in the summer. We live in an amazing county and it is well worth exploring - and a good time to invite friends and relatives to visit too - Art in Norwich can help you to plan so keep a copy handy. And I would also like to say a big thank you to all of the organisations that supported me in achieving this mega-publication it will hopefully be an asset to the city and county.
Music in Norwich is following soon but sign up to follow the blog here. And follow the Art in Norwich blog for notifications of new exhibitions starting - there are too many to list here
Talking about music, there is a mini tour of the Hermitage Ensemble, a choir from St Petersburg
St Petersburg’s finest vocal ensemble will perform a magical, musical evening of Russian sacred and folk music. Don’t miss these two special opportunities to hear a world-class choir singing in a unique style – one in North Norfolk and the other in central Norwich. Details on www.musicinnorwich.org.uk
Salthouse Wednesday 6 April, 7.30pm
Tickets £10 from Holt Computer Services Shop 01263711795 or on the door
Christ Church, Eaton (off Mile End Road Norwich) Friday 8 April 7.30pm
Tickets £13 available from either Prelude Records (01603 628319) or the Eaton Parishes Office (01603 473646) or on the door
Norfolk and Norwich Festival 13-29 May
As you all know, I am a great fan of Norfolk & Norwich Festival and that is coming up fast. There are lots of brilliant events so I am not going to pick any of them out (especially until I have got my own tickets!) so suffice it that I point you in the direction of the Festival website www.nnfestivall.org.uk to have a browse and you can pick up a Festival programme at many, many places
Tomorrow, April 2nd is BBC Get Creative day. Get Creative is an initiative to encourage people to do things - creative in whatever way that floats their boat but just getting active, out there and doing things - digital, dance, pottery, painting knitting, making poms pom, whatever it is - it all counts and the Get Creative campaign champions (people in the East who are offering things to do) are listed here. It is encouraging people to be everyday artists and celebrate the creativity, skills and talents of people across the UK. Getting creative and doing things generally makes people feel happier and that life is worth living so if you are feeling a bit listless and bored, go and find something creative to do, and if you are already being creative and want to let people know what you are doing, check out the Get Creative website for what is happening locally. This is the first year of Get Creative which is going to be an annual day and hopefully next year, more people will have got on board. NORCA are running a free Carnival Inspiration Day - details below and OPEN Youth Trust in Norwich are holding comic drawing workshops and a drawing and doodling workshop
CARNIVAL INSPIRATION DAY Saturday 2 April
A day of talks and presentations to inspire anyone interested in taking part in the Norwich Lord Mayor's Procession or other carnivals.
Saturday 2nd April 10.30am to 4.30pm
Norwich Arts Centre, St Benedicts Street, Norwich
(£3 for lunch-optional)
And Brazil Meet Cuba gig at Norwich Arts Centre
Saturday 2nd April 2016
Doors open 7.30pm
Music starts 8pm
Tickets £8 advance / £10 on door
Rabo de Foguete supported by Jesús Cutiño & Son de Cuba, with DJ Pax Nindi (aka Harare Dread and Dubvision) in the bar
NORCA presents a fantastic night of Brazilian and Cuban music to celebrate all things carnival. Rabo de Foguete bring horns, drums and a bag of vibes born of Brazilian and Brazilian-inspired songs. Jesús Cutiño & Son de Cuba are one of the most exciting Cuban bands in the UK at the moment.
Sistema Supper Club and Sistema Gala Night
As you probably know, Sistema in Norwich has been the Lord Mayor's Civic Charity this year and that is coming to an end in May.There are a couple more events though - one is a Supper Club - two themed evenings 23/24 April at the home of Dawn and David Rees. Dawn is chair of the Sistema steering group and well-known for her cooking prowess. She has offered to cook Spanish and North African style to help raise fiunds. Each evening is limited to 12 guests who will dine in style for a donation to Sistema funds - check the website www.sistemanorwich.org.uk for details
On Friday 29 April, Norwich Playhouse is the venue for a Gala Night of local stars including Karl Minns and many others again, check the website for booking details
61% and Smiling: Bridging the Gap – Norfolk Arts & Wellbeing conference Wednesday 27 April at Open Norwich
61% and Smiling is a conference aimed at arts and health professionals and practitioners, bringing both sectors together to learn more about how they can work together to improve people's health and wellbeing through diverse activities as well as medical interventions. It is about prevention and keeping well as much as it is about offering alternatives to prescription drugs and procedures. This is a rare space to enable people to discuss constraints, barriers and opportunities, hearing from people who are making arts and health work in other areas of the country and locally and gaining insights into some of the issues faced by GPs, commissioners, local authorities and social care when they want to prescribe activity rather than medication.
The conference will also report back on a three-year Norfolk Arts & Wellbeing Programme funded by Norfolk County Council - 5 action research projects around Norfolk which have been evaluated by Arts & Health researcher Anni Raw of Durham University. This evaluation has shown some stirring results with young people, older people and those suffering with dementia and offers some insight into how this kind of work may be developed. There is a lot of interest at the moment about how arts and health/wellbeing can work better together and this conference is another step on the way to bridging the gap that exists between the two sectors.
The conference is £35 for the day and you can book a place via eventbrite here. And more info on the website www.61percent.uk . There are bursaries available if money is a barrier please email email@example.com
Crowdfunding for ASYLUM exhibition
Artist and curator Gennadiy Ivanov is pulling together a new exhibition titled "ASYLUM" that has started to be prepared by around 20 artists to go on show from 12th August to 10th September in the Undercroft. This follows the success of last summer's exhibition "War and Peace" which was a very good and successful exhibition in the same space and involving many artists working to a theme.
The subject of the new exhibition will hopefully reach similar reactions from people as the last one, when many visitors said it makes them think....
These exhibitions are not selling exhibitions and all artists make their contributions in form of materials, works, time, invigilation etc. But there is no financial support from official institutions and we all know such exhibitions are not possible without at least the money to cover basic expenses.
Gennadiy Ivanov is running a crowd funding action with the following link:
Please support this exhibition if you can, every little helps and they have a target of £1500 - I have already donated, if that is any encouragement at all.
The Story Machine
This year's City of Literature programme at Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2016 features a brand new style of event for the literature sector - The Story Machine. Powered by literature and oiled by theatre, this is a unique interactive and immersive experience where stories from world-renowned writers seduce participants at every turn.
As a brand new event with a lot of surprises planned for the day, what can we expect in advance? Sam Ruddock, WCN Programme Manager and the driving force behind The Story Machine, will present a series of blogs over the coming weeks that helps to shed light on how he will bring The Story Machine to life and why it's such a ground breaking literary event.
The Story Machine is the literary festival you have been waiting for: a funhouse jam-packed with interactive, immersive, and brilliant short stories. There will be no lecterns, no audience sat quietly in ordered rows, no discussion about the author’s childhood or where – and on what – they write. Nothing but brilliant stories given the space and time to shine as brightly as they do on the page.
For more about the Story Machine follow Sam Ruddock's blog here - tickets are on sale on the NNFestival website and details are in their programme
Writers' Centre Norwich job opportunities
The Writers' Centre is recruiting so there are some lovely jobs up for grabs and they are also looking for comments on their website as they are planning an update. Take part here
WCN currently have three vacancies, please see their website for more details: http://www.writerscentrenorwich.org.uk/AboutUs/jobvacancies.aspx
Or see below for more details on the roles and the application packs:
Digital Marketing Manager
.80fte (4 days / week)
Fixed Term contract to December 2017
£25,000 - £28,000 (pro rata)
We are looking to recruit an enthusiastic Digital Marketing Manager to become an integral part of the Communications Team and to work across the organisation to develop and implement a range of digital platforms to improve communications with our audiences and stakeholders, to build a diverse audience base for our programmes, to improve brand awareness and raise the profile of Writers’ Centre Norwich. There will be a particular focus, during the period, on the delivery of the International Literature Showcase.
Closing deadline: 9am Monday 18 April
Further Information | Job Pack | Application Form
.60fte (3 days / week) Fixed Term contract to December 2017
£21,868 - £23,770 (pro rata)
We are looking to recruit an enthusiastic Programme Officer to become an integral part of the Programme Team to contribute to the development and delivery of our programme of activity. There will be a particular focus, during the period, on the delivery of the International Literature Showcase. The ILS is a partnership between WCN and the British Council to carry out a programme of work which aims to support and develop the export of UK literary talent to international markets.
Closing deadline: 9am Monday 18 April 2016
Further Information | Job Pack | Application Form
Full time. Permanent £15,525 - £17,428
The role of Programme Assistant will provide high level administrative and organisational support to the Programme Team as it grows and develops its artistic and learning programmes. This role provides an ideal opportunity for someone who is interested in pursuing a career in the arts and literature sector. The adaptability, experience and team working that will be necessary to fulfil this role will enable the post holder to develop valuable skills and work with an exciting range of writers, educationalists, performers and partners.
Closing deadline: 9am Monday 18 April 2016
Further Information | Job Pack | Application Form
I am sorry if you have sent me info and I haven't included it, there is a lot to remember and only so much space to include but leet me know and I will send it out next time. Cheerio till then
Amazingly this is the first Culture Shift of 2016 so Happy New Year to you all. I have been busy with a number of things including planning a bumper edition of Art in Norwich to help promote Norwich culture and the opportunities for visiting out and around Norwich and Norfolk for people who will be coming to the city for the British Art Show 8 which will be hosted by Norwich Castle, NUA and the Forum from June to September this year. It is a great chance for Norwich to profile itself around the country and on the European mainland so I am producing a 96pp booklet which will not only list the various artists groups and organisations in the area but also will contain visitor information, articles and maps to guide people around and enlighten them about the joys of Norfolk and especially its capital city Norwich - it's quite a lot of work so keep an eye out for developments as I will need help getting the publication (both hard copy and pdf) out and about so that people plan a longer stay in Norwich.
I am also working on an arts and wellbeing conference which will take place at Open on 27 April - more about that too but save the date if you are an artist interested in working in the wellbeing sector or someone working with people in the fields of therapy, social care, mental health and wellbeing or health and would like to find out more about about how you can work with the arts sector - the conference will be a report back on the Norfolk Health & Wellbeing programme, and about how we can use the learning to bring these two sectors together, bridging the gap and making it easier for them to work together - more about that too but Save the Date!
Meanwhile there is lots happening:
manipulate Visual Theatre Festival at Norwich Puppet Theatre - Culture Shift special offer!
Now who thought puppetry was just for kids? Well here is something properly for adults. Norwich Puppet Theatre partners with Puppet Animation Scotland to host a programme of special performances and masterclasses for adults as part of manipulate - an annual celebration of innovative international puppetry, visual theatre and animation from 30 January - 7 February. See the full programme at www.puppettheatre.co.uk/whats-on/manipulate
Culture Shift members can get 20% off full price tickets to the opening show 'Kwaidan' by Roug28 Theatre on Saturday 30 January.
Enter promo code Shift16 when you book online at www.puppettheatre.co.uk/whats-on/puppetry/kwaidan or call the Box Office on 01603 629 921.
There are lots of other shows - Light: a night of animation films curated by Prof Suzie Hanna on Wednesday 3 February and Birdheart on Friday 5 February just to pick out a couple. There is also a list of professional masterclasses though a couple have sold out already - Norwich Puppet Theatre has a growing reputation as a centre for the professional development of puppeteers.
In aid of Sistema in Norwich
An Exhibition and illustrated talk by photographer Peter Everard Smith at Flint Hair, St Benedicts
Wednesday 17 February 7.15pm
Internationally-renowned photographer specialising in shots of musicians
Curated by David ReesFlint Hair, 24 St Benedicts Street, Norwich NR2 4AQ
Exhibition launch with illustrated talk given by photographer Pete Smith whose career can be seen to document particular and developing elements of Britain’s culture and arts from the 1960s to the present. He has taken photographs of many well-known stars of the music world
Pete will be selling signed limited edition prints at the exhibition at a special rate of £275 plus VAT, and making a donation to Sistema for each print sold. Prints can also be ordered via firstname.lastname@example.org throughout the exhibition
Tickets £10, including wine and canapés, book online at www.sistemanorwich.org.uk
Proceeds to support Sistema in Norwich
The exhibition will run until 20 March 2016
Only 60 tickets available so early booking essential
www.sistemanorwich.org.uk to find out more about Sistema
Thursday 4 February at the BBC in the Forum, Millennium Plain Norwich at 11am
The national BBC Get Creative team is running a networking event where you can find out more about how you can publicise your arts and creative events and activities via the BBC Get Creative campaign website and become a Champion. BBC Get Creative is a campaign to encourage more people to get involved in creative activity and to broaden people's thinking about what counts as arts and cultural activity - it's not all about the formal arts but all the things that people do for fun and that they enjoy. The event is free but please book via Eventbrite here. And have a look at the website BBC Get Creative
And we also have the Arts Development UK conference coming up in Norwich on 23/24 February, The Halls, Norwich
This is mainly of interest to those of you working in the Arts but Arts Development UK is pretty much what it says on the tin and the conference is an annual event, this time in Norwich.
AD:UK is an association of people who work with the arts to try and improve people's lives in one way or another by working directly with people, such as young people, people with disadvantages, with long-term illness, disability, mental health issues or just to help to inspire people to do more with their lives on an active basis - or with communities to help make places better to live in. They also lobby Government, politicians and influencers to advocate for the value of the arts and to have a say in the development of arts policies - a voice for the arts. For people like me it is the nearest we get to a union, a body to fight for the sector and support for professionals.
Each year, AD:UK runs a two-day conference attracting 150-200 people from around the country and a host of interesting speakers and leaders. There are talks, workshops, study tours, networking and discussion groups - chance to meet colleague from across the UK. This year we have managed to bring it to Norwich at St Andrews Hall. It is a great opportunity to showcase Norwich to the rest of the country but also we will find out about what is happening elsewhere as well as in our own area. Like all good conferences it costs some money but to enable people who live and work in Norwich to attend, there are some special deals. Anyone living and working in Norfolk can attend at the member rate of £285 plus VAT. Additionally, if you are small organisation or individual trading at below £25k, you can attend for £195 plus VAT. Students can come for discounted rates too. If you are self-employed then these fees are tax deductible as professional development so that makes all the difference I reckon. They are also offering annual membership at 2015 prices - if you join now you get an extra two months as the membership runs April to April. There are membership benefits attached.
There are also some joint membership conference packages so you could join as a member of AD:UK. If you are interested to come and receiving this email please get in touch for special offers. www.artsdevelopmentuk.org
Another professional development opportunity for cultural leaders or aspiring
Leading Learning is a well-established and respected leadership development programme run by Sue Isherwood. There are just two places left for this year's cohort which Sue is keen to fill before they start. There is a Culture Shift special offer on this too but you will need to speak with Sue first as costs depend to some extent on circumstances.
The Leading Learning Programme – now in its 8th great year.
Build your leadership abilities, strengthen your resilience and learn to thrive in these straightened times. The Leading Learning Programme is the best quality and value leadership development programme specifically tailored to the public culture and leisure sector. There are still two places at special discount going for the year-long 2016 Programme which is about to start.
Please contact Sue Isherwood in the next few days. She can explain the content, lead you though the application process and sort affordable fees. But please be quick!
New exhibition at EAST Gallery
Last night I went to the opening of a new exhibition at EAST Gallery which is located on the corner of Bridewell Alley and St Andrew's Hill moreorless opposite St Andrew's Brewhouse. This exhibition, the second ever is called Extra Terrestrial : Tess Jaray and Alison Wilding running till 19 March. The gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday 12-5pm and entrance is free. If you haven't been to this new space you must go and have a look and the work in the exhibition is fragile, tempting, interesting especially the sculptural pieces on the floor - ghostly and architectural. This is all good build up for the forthcoming British Art Show, coming to Norwich in June
And while you are in that area, pop in to the Moosey Art Gallery just up the hill where Frazer Bailey has frequently changing exhibitions with a new starting on Thursday 4 February called 'Sun Shines Out of My Arts' - a solo show by Carl Cashman - 22 Bridewell Alley www.mooseyart.co.uk.
British Art Show job opportunity
Contract for City Coordinator for British Art Show 8 in Norwich
Closing Date: Monday 1 February
For a full job description check here or to apply please contact: Caroline Fisher, Gallery Manager,
East Gallery, C.Fisher@nua.ac.uk
Norwich University of the Arts, Cavendish House, St Andrews Hill, Norwich, NR2 4AEC
Artist residencies and commissions - National Trust, Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk
The National Trust in partnership with Norfolk Contemporary Art Society would like to appoint three artists for ‘The Makers’ a contemporary art residency and commission project resulting in an exhibition at Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk during 2016-2017.
Felbrigg is a seventeenth century house that still retains the feeling of a family home while presenting the precious collections of some of its early residents. There are many fascinating paintings, sculptures, furniture and objects, reflecting making in all its forms and also an extensive library of books and manuscripts. The walled garden includes diverse plant species, fruit and vegetables and is rich in wildlife.
The artists appointed will have the opportunity to become inspired by Felbrigg estate, its house and grounds, during a week long residency from 3 to 8 October 2016. The residency will form a period of research and enquiry and each artist will then work up a proposal for work or works inspired by the place. The work will be made and installed as an exhibition, on view to visitors during summer 2017.
The work produced can be in any material though there are limitations on showing digital/ video works in the house. Work may be made for indoor or outdoor areas of the property including the orangery and glasshouses.
Artist residency: a one-week residency from 3 to 8 October 2016, artists to stay rent-free in a National Trust holiday cottage on site.
Proposal submitted and accepted by end of November 2016
Work to be made between December 2016- March 2017
Exhibition opening April 2017
Fees and expenses
Residency fee £750
Commission fee £3000
Total per artist: £6900
Open to professional artists only, no students
Strict deadline for applications: Monday 1 February 2016 at 5pm
Further information can be found here.
February is Makers' Month at The Forum
February is Makers' Month at the Forum and there will be a whole month, in themed weeks, of arts activity. Norwich Hackspace will be there in the last week with our good friends Print to the People as the theme is Print and Paper. We will be bringing our 3D printer to demonstrate plus some other projects we are working on. There are full details here on the Forum website.
Hypnotherapy Weight Loss Group sessions
Bev Bishop (aka by some of you as Tina Bradshaw) has a serious side to her work. As well as being a comic character she has qualifications in NLP and hypnotherapy and is running some group hypnotherapy weightloss classes at the Orange Grove Clinic throughout February.
So if you are curious about hypnotherapy you can find out more and book for the sessions here
That's all for now, I am away to Sheffield for a couple of days, back with more soon
Culture Shift Network is a free communication resource for the arts and cultural community of Norwich. If you would rather not receive email updates please email back asking to unsubscribe. Please feel free to forward on to other networks and contacts, and if you would like to be added to the list for your own copy, please email me at email@example.com or visit www.theshiftnorwich.org.uk. Thank you
The BBC Get Creative Campaign started last year as a collaboration between the BBC, Voluntary Arts and national and local What Next? chapters. Culture Shift was one of the founder champions and any organisation can sign up to be a Get Creative champion. The idea is to encourage people into participation and 'getting creative' and celebrating all the work people do in running classes and workshops to enable people to learn about arts, crafts, performance, dance and activities. The BBC can help to publicise activities and there is a BBC Get Creative website where you can log them. The idea is to highlight the value of arts and culture and the effect it has on our lives, as often people do not think of what they do as 'arts and culture'. As budgets are cut, many of these activities go unsupported or stop altogether. We want to reverse that trend at the same time as giving people a route in to more things to do.
There is a Get Creative Networking Event in Norwich scheduled for Thursday 4th February from 11am - 12.30pm at BBC Voices, BBC East, The Forum, Millennium Plain, Norwich. Free tickets are available here by registration: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/get-creative-networking-event-norwich-tickets-20693174843
What is Get Creative?
Get Creative is a campaign that encourages participation in creative activities and that recognises and celebrates the arts and culture that happen every day across the nation. The campaign encourages arts and cultural organisations of all shapes and sizes to put on free events that enable people to develop their own creativity. Launched in February 2015 by the BBC and What Next? with help from Timothy Spall, Johnny Vegas and Lily Cole, the campaign now has over 1000 Get Creative 'Champions' committed to running inspiring, motivating and free Get Creative events. The campaign is supported by a BBC website which provides inspiration through masterclasses and top tips, stories and events from our Champions and profiles that celebrate our everyday artists.
Get Creative successes and stats so far
Get Creative website
The website is regularly receiving 20k visitors a week and has surpassed well over 1.5 million page views since it's launch. We had one of our busiest days over the New Year with over 50k people visiting the site on one day to look at tips on getting creative this year. Tips fromprofessionals and amateurs alike help to inspire and motivate new audiences.
When we launched Get Creative last year we 'themed' months with different art-forms but decided to stop this to avoid making people feel they had missed out or couldn't be part of GC now that a theme had been and gone. We look at all art-forms and creative activities throughout the year, sometimes with a special focus on big national events such as Heritage Open Days or Fun Palaces, or if something works with a particular time of year such as New Years Resolutions or summer holiday photography.
What do we want Get Creative Champions to do?
Look at the engagement and participation work that you already do. Is there something coming up that you could badge as a Get Creative event or maybe you would like to do something especially for GC? Do you normally run paid workshops for pottery or dance and could you offer a free workshop to try and attract different people? Is there a particular person who attends and stands out and would make a good interview? Is there something different about your event or activity - maybe where it is located, using an undiscovered venue or space that is unusual, maybe you know the only remaining wood-carver in your region and think they need a story written about them! Get in touch with the Get Creative team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and / email@example.com. If you're not already signed up as a GC Champion, it's easy to do right here.
What makes a good story? What are we looking for to put on the Get Creative website?
The Get Creative team are always looking for stories from Champions about their Get Creative events and activities. The best stories need to offer the online audience something unusual, useful and interesting. Think about what you would like to read about. Stories really come alive with great pictures and human interest stories about how a creative pursuit or involvement in an event has transformed them. Audiences have also responded with great interest to stories that offer top-tips / masterclasses - perhaps you have someone that could offer some tips about what they do, whether it's designing a set or beginning a short story. It's a great way in to make people understand the skill and beauty involved in your craft as well as let them know about your events and activities they can join in with.
Yarnbombing in Essex:
Story-telling in the Black Country:
Knitting in London:
Animation masterclass from the Baltic in Gateshead:
Fun Palace in Stoke - the story is all about uncovering the newly discovered Minton tiles hidden in the venue's basement
Fun Palace at the London Met Archives - their event was themed around microscopic art so the GC piece looks at the history of that type of art with lots of lovely pictures to draw the reader in
A nice Heritage Open Days story about the last remaining seaside orchestra in the UK - Scarborough Spa Orchestra,
A fun article about the Wurlitzer organ from the Royalty cinema in Cumbria, including 'Five things you didn't know about the Wurlitzer'
I'd be really happy to be contacted by any of your Norwich Chapter if they have any thoughts they want to run past me. We'd love to get some more content from WN? members up on the website. Please remember that organisations do need to sign up as GC Champions in order to contribute and that GC events need to be either free or cost-recoverable in order to comply with BBC guidelines.
What is Get Creative Day?
On the 2nd April 2016, Get Creative is inviting everyone to come together and celebrate creativity in all its shapes and forms. We are asking Get Creative Champions and any other arts or creative organisations who would like to join in to open their doors and put on a free event - anything that inspires people to get involved and try something new such as a workshop, masterclass or backstage tour. The important thing is to do it together on one day and make it fun.
Get Creative Workshops
In February 2016 the Get Creative team from the BBC and What Next? will host a series of networking events to discuss the Get Creative campaign and Get Creative Day. This will be an opportunity to start thinking about events or activities you could put on for Get Creative Day in April, and it will also be a chance to hear how you can be part of the Get Creative campaign as it continues in 2016. The Get Creative Networking Event in Norwich is scheduled for Thursday 4th February from 11am - 12.30pm at BBC Voices, BBC East, The Forum, Millennium Plain, Norwich. Free tickets are available here by registration: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/get-creative-networking-event-norwich-tickets-20693174843
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!
Here I am again - asking for your help and generosity...
This time it's in my role for Ormiston Families, supporting the children and families of offenders at HMP Norwich. [See brief summary attached if you are unfamiliar with what we do here.)
As some of you will be aware, St Michael's church in Aylsham has been a great supporter of our work with the families for many years. Each year in December they hold a Gift-Giving service in which members of the congregation donate gifts for us to give the children visiting the centre over Christmas; for some children this will be the only present they receive.
We have also, once again, been invited to have a stall at the church Christmas Fair this year and we are looking for donations to be able to sell at the Fair to raise funds for the extra activities that we run for 'our' children and families.
So.....if any of you are keen bakers, picklers, jam or chutney makers and could donate any of your produce (or you know someone else who would be willing), or you are a crafter and make wonderful creations, we would be very grateful to you. Pickles, jams and chutneys could be dropped off to us any time you are in (or passing), but cakes would need to be brought in much nearer the time, ideally one or two days before.
We would also be really grateful for any good quality items that you could donate - eg books, sealed toiletries, unwanted gifts, Christmas decorations, etc etc).
The Fair will be taking place on Monday 30 November. Ormiston staff will be more than happy to receive any donated items at any time up to the 29th - the Centre is staffed every day (including weekends) except for Mondays and Fridays.
If easier for you, please drop them off at my house: 138 Whitehall Road, Norwich NR2 3EW. Or let me know if you need me to collect from you. My mobile number is: 079 414 32374.
If you think you could donate something, it would be helpful to know so that we can have an idea of what we are likely to be able to take.
Thank you so much!
The Visitors' Centre
Norwich NR1 4LU
tel: (01603) 702301
A simple way to raise funds for Ormiston Families. By online shopping through istreet a percentage of your total spend will be donated back to your chosen charity at no extra cost. Find out more at www.istreet.org.uk
Stuff is happening this weekend with a run-up to Christmas in the air and bonfire night and hallowe'en not quite over. There are lots of art exhibitions opening with Polly Cruse and Jocelyn Wickham at Fairhurst Gallery in Bedford Street, Anwar Mirza at Moosey Art in Bridewell Alley opening tonight, Outpost and Anteros Arts exhibitions opened yesterday (Wed 4 November), with Paint in the Undercroft and Alphonse Mucha opening at the Sainsbury Centre of Visual Arts tomorrow Friday 6 November - see www.artinnorwich.org.uk for details
Also, many congratulations to winners of the EDP/Jarrold East Anglian Art Awards, especially my favourite The Adventures of Sir Thomas Browne in the 21st Century by Hugh Aldersey Williams. Overall winner was Threads by Julia Blackburn, a biography of Sheringham fisherman and artist John Craske and our own Joyce Dunbar won the children's section with Pat-a-Cake Baby, illustrated by her daughter Polly. You can see the full list of nominations and award winners here
The awards ceremony galvanised me to have a day of work on the Sir Thomas Browne website as I am on a crusade to make him more popular than Strictly Come Dancing (well, maybe not quite!) but at least better known and appreciated. Did you realise that he coined several words that are now intrinsic to our lives such as 'electricity' and 'computer' in the 17th century! Fascinating man.
And if you haven't sorted your Christmas card out, we will soon have Sistema in Norwich Christmas cards for sale. Kindly sponsored by Art Angels, they will enable you to support this brilliant programme whilst greeting your friends. They are in production now, details will follow next week.
The deadline is looming for Cley 16. The curator Hugh Pilkington is encouraging individual artists, artist groups, galleries, schools and courses to apply. There are also opportunities for live art, performances, organ or other concerts in the church at Cley so if you have an idea, make a submission and get in the conversation - deadline 17 November. Details are on www.cleycontemporaryart.org
Norwich Hackspace is learning lots about 3D printing by supporting the printers at Norwich Castle that are printing pieces for hands for children with no fingers. The Build Your Own exhibition is still running at the Castle where you can see the printers plus all sorts of other gizmos. The Hackspace is open for membership although we had a set-back this week with the very sad news that one of the founder members and cornerstone of Men's Shed and Hackspace, Steve Skoyles had a tragic and fatal accident on Monday - we are all devastated as he was a top chap and will be terribly missed by us all.
And finally, there's a very special Celebrity Puppet Auction at Norwich Puppet Theatre, on Wednesday 25 November with a viewing of the puppets at Mandell's Gallery on Friday 13 November - details are below.
Bound to have forgotten something but there's so much - check www.artinnorwich.org.uk for art things and www.musicinnorwich.org.uk for concerts and Twitter and Facebook for all else. Sorry if something is wrong - let me know and I will amend!
in the Undercroft
Below the War Memorial, City Hall St. Peters Street, Norwich, NR2 1NH
PV Friday 6th November 7 - 9.30pm
7th - 29th November
10 - 5 Wednesday - Saturday, 11 - 4pm Sunday
NEW EXHIBITION at Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts
ALPHONSE MUCHA: IN QUEST OF BEAUTY
7 November 2015 - 20 March 2016
Czech-born Alphonse Mucha (1860 – 1939) is one of the most celebrated artists of the fin-de-siècle. Rising to international fame with his elegant designs for decorative panels, and stunning advertising posters, ‘le style Mucha’ became synonymous with the Art Nouveau movement.
The exhibition explores the work of the artist, around the theme of beauty – the core principle underlying his artistic philosophy. The show includes over 60 works drawn primarily from the collection of the Mucha Trust, focusing on drawings, paintings, photographs and iconic posters, such as Gismonda, Mucha’s first poster designed for the actress Sarah Bernhardt.
Find out more and book tickets>
If you like fireworks,
the Big Boom is kicking off in the city centre, run by the indefatigable City Council events team, it's free - details here. The city centre will be the place to be tomorrow night with the Undercroft opening too
Saturday 7 November
INTRODUCTION TO TAIKO
The Drums of Japan
SATURDAY NOVEMBER 7th at 10.30am - 1.30pm
Adults £25, Aged 14 - 15 £15
VENUE: 47-51 Pitt St, NR3 1DE
WATCH US IN ACTION: www.vimeo.com/taikocentre
Artists' XMAS BAZAAR on SATURDAY 7 NOVEMBER 10am-4pm
The Chapel, Park Lane
Don Oswin - cards and watercolours
Gail Durbin - jewellery
Jennie Durrant - raku pots
Deborah Garland - ceramic decorations and small sculptures
Annie Hall - quirky original gifts and cards
Peter Kent - cards, books and drawings
Vanessa Lubach - small prints and cards
Ray Striker - wooden games etc
Linda McFarlane - jewellery
Coffee, tea and cake in aid of Cancer Research
Wednesday 11 November
NCAS talk by Professor Neil Powell on Wednesday 11th November at 7.30pm.
Debugged and Debunked: Curatorial Myths and Mysteries.
This year Arts Review published its ‘Art World Power 100’, 77 of which were curators and museum directors. Over the past 3 years curation has taken off as a cool line on the CV for artists, would-be gallerists, semioticists and former scientists. So what is all this interest in curation all of a sudden?
Professor Neil Powell, Pro Vice-Chancellor at Norwich University of the Arts takes a provocative look at the practice and theory of curation and talks about contemporary curatorial practice in a range of contexts, from the commercial galleries of London and New York, through to touring show packages, self-curation and the pitfalls of vanity publishing.
The Curve Auditorium, The Forum, Norwich
Members of NCAS £2.50, non-members £4.00. Please pay at the door.
Thursday 12 November
Concert at St John's Cathedral
Lunch time concert performed by the children of Gresham's Prep School Thursday 12 November
Free Admission. All welcome Unthank Road, Norwich NR2 2PA Tel: 01603 724380 www.sjbcathedral.org.uk
Tuesday 17 November
The Spark! business bootcamp for women is being held on 17th November at UEA Sportspark.
See here for more information and to book: sparknorwich.eventbrite.com
Spark! is for women who are starting a business or social enterprise or who are in the early stages of getting a new venture going. Spark! costs just £15 and is free to UEA students. Last year's event won a high impact award as one of the best events held during Global Entrepreneurship Week.
100 women booked on last year's event and 100% of those who attended said that Spark! helped them to move forward with their business or idea. Here's some of their feedback:
"Thank you for an absolutely fantastic event. It was so well organised and the content was incredibly useful and really inspired me."
"I thought I would do this in 10 years and now feel inspired to start next year! Thank you."
"Inspiring people and genuine, understandable information delivered within a relaxed friendly social environment."
Spark! brings together excellent speakers, interactive workshops and the chance to meet other women like you. And we''ll also introduce you to great sources of support and advice to keep you motivated after the day is over. Our 'How the did it' panel includes Marion Catlin (the Shift), Emily Groves (Indigo Swan) and cultural and social entrepreneur Anna Mudeka.
You don’t need any business experience to benefit from the bootcamp. By the end of the day you will:
Wednesday 18 November
Norfolk Arts Forum conference and AGM
Wednesday 18 November at Norwich Castle
This really useful annual conference is themed this year on Fund-raising and Philanthropy. It's a must-attend for anyone working in the arts in Norfolk and its free. You can register and find out more details here here
Wednesday 25 November
Norwich Puppet Theatre Celebrity Puppet Auction
To celebrate our 35th anniversary and to raise vital funds to support our education and outreach programme, we are holding a very special Celebrity Puppet Auction of glove puppets decorated by well-known artists, actors, musicians, writers and sports people. We are thrilled to have received puppets from George Szirtes, Helen Ivory, Michael Rosen, Maureen Lipman, Tom Conti, Toya Wilcox, Colin Self, Jenny Eclair and Ella Goodwin, amongst many others including a number of Norwich-based illustrators.
On Wednesday 25 November at Norwich Puppet Theatre, from 6.30pm is an auction to raise funds for to help so sign up asap for a special evening compered by Stewart White of BBC Norfolk and auctioneered by Elizabeth Talbot of TW Gaze.
Tickets for the auction are £15, including souvenir auction catalogue and welcome drink.
Book now via our website or call the Box Office 01603 629 921.
An exhibition of all the puppets will be on show at Mandell’s Gallery, Elm Hill from 11-17 November, with a private view on Friday 13 November from 6.30pm. A full gallery of the puppets can be found on the NPT website along with details of sealed bids and phone bidding if you are unable to attend the event.
Norwich Puppet Theatre is a much-loved part of Norwich and Norfolk life. Since the creation of the theatre in 1980 by Ray and Joan da Silva, the Theatre has provided generations of children and families with excitement and wonder. Their work has been possible with masses of help from the community, from people like you.
The 2010 auction raised over £7,000, and many people went away with special puppets which they treasure - with your help they will exceed that amount this year!
Plans for a Christmas Fair St Augustines
Rachel is planning a St Augustines Christmas fair for the 12th & 13th December.
She says: 'I have booked Yallops, Nunns Yard & Thirteen A all on St Augustines Street in Norwich. We can also use my studio - 22 St Augustines and see if someone can use the stage, as well as share finns the tailor's space...depending on high response.
The idea is to pack the spaces with all sorts of makers; potters, printers, textiles, bakers, juicers, jewellers etc. We could have a stall that provides luxury gift wrapping, whilst having mulled wine and festive treats in one of the spaces.
I am in touch with the Salvation Army to see if they could come and play in the wider part of the street opposite the church.
Stalls will cost the tiny price of £10 (to help pay for the space and advertisement).
I can provide some tables but please aim to bring your own.
Please let me know asap if you are interested or know of anyone else who might like to take part, it would be wonderful to see the street buzzing with festivity before christmas.
To get in touch: reply to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07747576886. - Please do so by 14th November so I have an idea of what is happening!
22 St Augustines Street.
Potter / Artist
Bridge Administrator (Full-time: permanent)
Norfolk & Norwich Festival is funded by Arts Council England as one of two Bridge Organisations in the East of England (the other being Royal Opera House). Festival Bridge’s central aim is to provide a direct link or ‘bridge’ between those working with children and young people, schools and communities with arts and cultural organisations in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Peterborough and Suffolk.
The Bridge Administrator is an important role providing efficient and effective office and event administration support to the Bridge team which is key to supporting the Bridge work for children and young people. You will bring with you excellent written and verbal communication skills, confidence in dealing with a range of people, high level ICT skills and experience of events administration. Minimum 18 months experience working in an office environment essential.
This is a great opportunity for someone who is looking to develop a career in arts and cultural administration.
Further information about Festival Bridge is available here
A full application pack is available to download here http://www.nnfestival.org.uk/about_us/vacancies
Deadline for receipt of applications 9.30 am Monday 23 November 2015. Interviews will be held in Norwich on Friday 4 December 2015.
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Listen to Darren Henley's first speech as new ceo of Arts Council England. People say he is very approachable and friendly. Link is here, so judge for yourself
Just to say that tonight has been a brilliant Festival night, with any one of three events this evening probably being enough to keep a person going for a week or so, but three in rapid succession was pretty good John Etheridge, Hot Sardines at Theatre Royal and then Chassol in the Spiegeltent.
The gig at Theatre Royal was pretty much billed as Hot Sardines and easy to overlook was the line that said ‘and John Etheridge’ .
Queuing up to take our seats and realising that the evening programme was going to last till 10.25 I twigged that we were also going to see him play. Jazz guitar isn’t really my thing but my partner likes it and has seen John Etheridge whenever he can so I knew that he is an excellent guitarist.
Relaxed on stage, he chatted away, often forgetting that he was not as near the mic as he ought to have been, but he was engaging. Nimble-fingered and with the familiarity of someone who has played in front of audiences for 40 years or so, he noted that the last time he played in Norwich was with Stephane Grapelli some 37 years ago – that’s a lot of guitar experience. Etheridge could have held the audience for the evening on his own – slightly strange (and nice) that he was ‘just the support’ and that the Festival is programming such strong double-bill events.
He played an half hour set which includes some real classics such as Stormy Weather in his own distinctive style, some on a specially strung guitar, which I gather means that he is sort of playing bass and chords at the same time. Also employing a loop pedal to, as he said, ‘make up for the fact that he couldn’t afford to pay a band’ which layered the sound in a rich and complex way behind his melody.
An excellent start to what turned into an excellent evening, putting everyone into a fine mood for what was coming next.
Crisp and crackling, the Hot Sardines came sizzling onto the stage as they (almost) turned the Theatre Royal into an unlikely speakeasy from the early part of the last century.
With a three part horn/wind section, a drummer and double bass plus piano behind her played by fellow leader Bibs Palazzo, front-lady Miz Elizabeth introduced her fellow musicians with disarming modesty and charm. She had evidently done her homework on Norwich and the band seemed to be enjoying their 5 stop tour in the UK which included the Barbican, Bath and Gateshead before they head off to Paris, Berlin and Vienna.
In her warm-up, she said they were much more used to playing in informal New York lofts and encouraged people to take to the aisles and dance, but to no avail as the seat-based audience stuck to their cushions as the band romped through classic after classic from the 1920s-60s – many more than 50 years old but they breathed a whole new lease of life into numbers such as Summertime, The Charleston, and a couple of Fats Waller numbers – Your Feet’s Too Big being a favourite, plus some original songs in the style of the era.
In spite of the lack of dancing off stage, on stage, the band’s tap dancer (yes, they have a tap dancer) hoofed his way through the set, looking a bit as though he’d be more at home selling mobile phones in a Vodafone shop and seeming to join in when he saw fit, mostly using his feet as a percussive music instrument. Every now and then, he would take the floor and dance to the audience, a pretty unique twist and completely right for the early 20th century period of live entertainment. I don’t want to underplay his role though – it was with casual ease that he displayed and contributed his considerable skill - and he even played uke on one number.
Every now and then, Miz Elizabeth would deliver a song in French, her native language, though she shows no trace of a French accent. The audience really took to the band and were evidently having a great time in spite of being glued to their seats, responsive and clapping enthusiastically. This was feel-good entertainment at its best
But really, the most notable thing is that they were all excellent musicians, each taking occasional solos, playing seamlessly (apart from when the trumpet keys stuck mid number) and completely authentically as if they really were from that romantic time of jazz, so old-fashioned that they are fashionable, right up to the minute, bringing those roots of jazz to the 21st century and whole new generation of listeners.
The Hot Sardines are already a success – maybe they have a little further to go in terms of fame and fortune but they have a great story so far and I am sure they will go further. If you get the chance, catch them while they can still play to (relatively) small audiences at an affordable price!
If you are interested in how they came about read more about them here http://hotsardines.com/about/
And Chassol – well, after Hot Sardines, I went hotfoot across to the Spiegeltent where Chassol had started half an hour before, so sadly I missed the first half of the set. I was interested, as he was described as ‘if you liked Woodkid then you will like this’, well not quite I would say but when I read the description I was intrigued by the combination of visual and live music. It was intriguing as he used loops of recorded conversation and video as samples and beats. The visual was also absorbing, with all sections from India in the parts I watched (5 parts in total). It was very mesmeric and I wish I had had the presence of mind to close my eyes and listen to the effect of the sounds as they melded together. As I say, I wish I had seen the whole thing and would definitely go if I get the chance again.
Roll on tomorrow with After the Fall: A Morality Play by Smith Theatre and Panti in the Spiegeltent – I’ll let you know how I get on.
Tonight I went to Norwich Playhouse to see ' A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing' adapted for the stage from the book by Eimear McBride, written and directed by Annie Ryan and performed by Aoife Duffin. This was an amazing, powerful performance which I would recommend anyone to go and see. This is a 'must-not-miss' show.
Presented by The Corn Exchange Theatre Company, it was a sellout hit at the Dublin Theatre Festival in 2014 and now has a run until Saturday 16 May at Norwich Playhouse as part of the Norfolk & Norwich Festival.
I was at the original book launch for Eimear McBride’s first published novel A Girl is a Half Formed Thing at The Bookhive in Norwich back in July 2013 when no-one, least of all Eimear, knew what a runaway success the novel would be. By Christmas, Eimear was winning prize after prize for the book which had been otherwise rejected year after year. Thanks to the foresight and courage of Henry Layte and Sam Jordison who, as Galley Beggar Press, made it their mission to publish the manuscript they had been offered. Less than two years later, this book has really taken the literary world by storm, now published by Faber
It is not a story for everyone – the subject matter is dark, the writing style hard to navigate but as I stood there in the Bookhive listening to Eimear read passages from the pages I just wanted to hear her read it all in her lilting poetic Irish voice with all the expression and rhythm that had evidently been going round in her head for years. I didn’t want her to stop and even then thought that it would make a great performance piece.
Well, tonight I watched that performance, or rather a stage adaptation of the original book, a soliloquy by a single performer on a bare stage with lighting as the set. Minimal yet so powerful. Performing in pyjama bottoms and teeshirt, Aofie Duffin cut a slight figure, picked out in light on a large dark stage. Starting from the blackness as a baby in the womb, she recants the story of a sad and tragic life in Catholic Ireland, beset by poverty, abandonment, abuse and the eventual death of her brother who suffered a long-term brain tumour. I am not going to be guilty of a spoiler, as the story as told is gripping, holding the entire audience in a breath-holding spell for 90 minutes.
90 minutes of learned lines, multiple characters, the passage of many years all eloquently delivered in a beautiful, soft but strong Irish voice. I had been afraid that the stage performance would not live up to my expectation, that the authenticity of Eimear’s first reading when she had no idea about how successful the work would be lost but this was as good and better than I had hoped.
I read the book but this performance really brought it to life – sad and tormented life, gritty and harsh, pulling no punches or indulging in sentimentality, this is no doubt yet another success for ‘A Girl is a Half-formed Thing'.
I am really pleased, proud to have been there from the beginning, proud that it was in Norwich, City of Literature that someone recognised the potential of the original script and happy for the success and recognition for Eimear who has shown her talent to a world audience now. I hope that this stage show goes on to be a classic and that Aoife goes on to get the recognition she deserves.
Don't miss it - book your tickets at http://www.nnfestival.org.uk/festival/performance/a-girl-is-a-half-formed-thing
‘One of the best stage adaptations of a novel you’re likely to see’
***** The Sunday Times
***** The Guardian
*****The Financial Times
“Duffin’s ‘powerhouse performance’ listed in the Top Ten Performances of 2014”
***** The Observer
Performance runs c. 80 mins (no interval)
Visit The Corn Exchange's website here
Buy A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride (ISBN: 9780957185326)
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Marion Catlin, principal creative consultant for The Shift with extensive experience in cultural development and design for the arts, heritage and culture sectors