SYMPHONY by Ella Hickson, Nick Payne and Tom Wells
Theatre meets live gig and stand-up comedy as three of the UK's hottest writers collaborate with Fringe First winning new writing company nabokov to present a hilarious and eclectic mix of stories told through raucous live music and spoken word.
First commissioned by Lyric Hammersmith, Greenwich + Docklands International Festival, Watford Palace Theatre and Latitude
The New Current
"touchingly beautiful and powerfully frank... an unmissable gem"
The Public Reviews
" treads a blurred line between theatre and gig…one of the highlights of the programme"
“Three plays about growing-up, relationships and romance are belted out by an incredibly versatile five piece that not only act their socks off but sing and accompany each other on a variety of instruments.”
"Overflowed with witty heartfelt lyrics and dialogue. A cross between a gig, a musical and a spoken-word event"
"Perfectly pitched, funny and at times strangely emotional, the detail and observational wit is flawless."
This week I have been to see theatre company nabokov perform a warm-up of their show Symphony at the Fat Cat Brewery Tap pub in Sprowston Road - the Fat Cat Tap is a great pub and often has music/bands there but I think this Edinburgh Fringe show was new for them. It was excellent though, sort of story-telling through the medium of a band. Very good musicians as well as actors. And a great pint too! The full Symphony show is at The Garage this Saturday 6th September, 8pm and it kicks off a whole season of contemporary touring theatre, much of it fresh from Edinburgh Fringe
I have also been to see the MA shows at the Norwich University of the Arts. It was also an opportunity to see their remodelled building - last time I was there it was a loading bay, now it is a beautiful access to the Gunton building in St George's Street.
I got there a bit late and didn't see all of the work but did get to see some interesting work by multi-media artist Tracey Tutt using augmented reality and also a guy called Andy who made an interactive particle installation - you have to go and see for yourself, I can't explain it!. The MA shows are open for a week so don't delay.
The Lonely Arts Club also opened an exhibition in the Undercroft at the back of Norwich Market. It's there until the end of September and open 12-5pm each day except Sunday. It's called (Un)Imaginable and there is some lovely work there by a rapidly growing group of artists.
Tonight I am going to see Roger Eno at Norwich Arts Centre. For those of you who don't know him, he is the brother of Brian Eno, made famous through Roxy Music and a well-known career in music and art ever since. Roger is less of a household name but in fact a very accomplished composer and pianist who does a lot of film score work, as well as his own artistic and installation work. Roger lives near Bungay and does a concert at the Arts Centre about once a year. He is a really interesting performer and well worth hearing live. I think there are still tickets so if you are not already booked for something else, please come along. Norwich Arts Centre are also launching a new visual art exhibition in the foyer so come early
Tonight is also Norwich Baroque playing at St Stephen's Church - an Evening in Italy at 7.30pm and they are also playing at Binham Priory tomorrow evening. Details on www.musicinnorwich.org.uk
Noirwich crime-writing festival - excited about the new Hercules Poirot novel event of Thurs 11th
Next week, the new crime-writing festival begins, Noirwich (I am not sure whether that's cheesy or funny) and I am going to make sure I go and see writer Sophie Hannah's event at Norwich Playhouse on Thursday 11th 8pm. Sophie was commissioned to write a new Hercules Poirot novel, given that the great Christie woman herself never will. I love murder mysteries and Poirot in particular and I am keen to meet the woman who is attempting to fill Agatha's shoes. She will be talking with Christie expert John Curran. Again, there are tickets available either via the Writers' Centre Norwich website or at Norwich Playhouse. There are lots of other good events as part of Noirwich including writing workshops, readings and film.
Words and women's short prose competition 'ABOUT' is open for entries: fiction, memoire, creative non-fiction and life-writing
First prize £600 & publication in our anthology Words and Women: 2
20 shortlisted entries will also be published. Judge Sarah Ridgard
DEADLINE: 15th November, 2014.
'ABOUT' is open for entries...
Seachange's OUT THERE Festival - masterclass/workshop weekend
A unique opportunity for artists, street performers and students…
Anarchy in the Streets: Sat 13 - Sun 21 Sep
Discover your inner anarchist!
Anarchy in the Streets brings together three of the world’s leading anarchic street theatre companies to lead a 7 day master class and performance opportunity at this year’s Out There International Festival of Circus & Street Arts in Great Yarmouth.
Members of Cocoloco, Tony Clifton Circus and street arts pioneers, Générik Vapeur take classes covering improvisation, surrealism and characterisation before an epic 2 days of performance at this major international festival.
They are also looking for choir members so if you like to sing please get in touch.
For further information http://www.seachangearts.org.uk/event/-anarchy-in-the-streets
Out There 2014 takes place 17-21 September, features 50 international acts and will this year have around 100 leading circus and street arts professionals attending as part of an international symposium. www.outtherefestival.com
Coming up on Friday 10 October is a great event in St Lawrences Church, part of Norwich Sound & Vision Festival.
It's a screening of the classic silent Gothic film Nosferatu (1922 version) with a live soundtrack by renowned musicians Minima who specialise in making contemporary soundtracks to silent film. Before the screening will be readings by 5 award-winning contemporary writers who work in the Gothic genre, plus a bar with Bloody Marys and other lovelies, all in the atmospheric candlelit church. It might be chilling in more ways than one so dress up warm and book your tickets £10 or £8 in advance book via www.write2screen.org.uk .
That's all for now, have a good weekend and there will be more next week.
Culture Shift updates are a free resource which
I have a good weekend ahead. Weekends in August have to be fun in order to add up to a holiday as I can't seem to get away for proper holiday this year this year. But Norfolk is a good place to have summer adventures...
Friday night we are off to the Voewood Festival at the very gorgeous Arts & Crafts house near Holt known as Voewood. If you are a nosy sort, it is well worth going to the Festival just to see the wonderful house and gardens. But actually there are plenty of other reasons too. Voewood Festival has developed over the years into a fantastic literary and music festival. Director and owner of the house Simon Finch is very well connected and seems to be able to attract some well-known and rare names to deepest Norfolk for lots of fun.
Actor John Hurt is apparently wandering the place undertaking impromptu performances of The Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll, one of my favourites as a lovely friend of mine, Jay used to recite it - he weighed 28 stone with a big red beard and the earth literally quaked when his huge voice boomed out. I am assuming John Hurt will be a bit more subtle!
But I am looking forward to soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying the main acts tonight – Los Pacaminos, The Rebelles and young and funky songstress Sacha Luffman. If the weather is good then it will be lovely just being in the grounds and dipping in and out, there's food and no doubt lots of friends to catch up with. If it is wet? Well, last year they had a fantastic cocktail tent so I think I shall be in there - especially as we have booked a room at The Feathers in Holt - making it a real holiday.
Sadly I can't get out there during the day but the Festival runs till Sunday evening and you can buy tickets for the whole weekend or in sections as you choose. There will be lots of folk there, some you know from Norwich but also people from London and other parts of the country as it has now got quite a literary profile across the country. There are tickets left for today (Friday) and also there's camping nearby as well as onsite 'glamping' but that might be sold out I guess. So if you are not planned up to the eye balls and love a bit of culture in a very different and beautiful setting then the Voewood Festival is a good choice. The website tells you the whole lineup and ticket prices too.
Saturday we are planning a trip to Felbrigg Hall where Norfolk Contemporary Arts Society has a four artists commissioned intervention called The Tourists, which is in situ until October and then down to Aldeburgh for the Snape Proms (30 days of music) where we have tickets to see Penguin Café. Now I booked these ages ago, otherwise would have stayed at Voewood for the weekend but I love Penguin Café so it will be fun. Maybe take our camper van this time and look for somewhere to stay down there.
So that is me for the weekend. Back on Sunday for a bit of allotment action and Norwich Fringe Festival planning. We have just confirmed our main venues and so have extended the submission deadline till the end of the month. If you have an idea of what you would like to do, please let us know via the submission form here. The Fringe dates are 11-25 October and we have the Undercroft booked for whole of October so there is plenty of scope for ideas. We will be choosy though so that we can make best use of our slim resources but please do let us know what you would like to do. If you would like to help out with the Fringe, please get in touch
Happy Birthday to The Garage
The Garage in Chapelfield is celebrating its 10th birthday in September with a new visual identity and logo, a birthday party and a new programme of performances and workshops. You can get a sneak preview of their new logo on their programme - I really like it as It is a bit neon-ish and I love neon. It will launch officially in September.
I have been a fan of their touring theatre programme for sometime as I have seen some great Edinburgh Fringe-style shows there. And in fact, director Darren Grice is off up to Edinburgh this month to find more good stuff for to bring to us here in Norwich. The new season starts in the first week in September with a show by nabokov, who brought BLINK here earlier in the year. The show is called Symphony and is on Saturday 6 September. There are some free warm-up performances in the few days before at The Fat Cat Brewery Tap, St Gregory's Green, The Forum and the Mash Tun but I will let you know more about that soon. Meanwhile check out their website and be ready to come out to a whole series of good new theatre for all ages.
In the Forum on Monday 18 and Tuesday 19 next week, 10am-6pm.
The artists Me and 'Er aka Doo and Alison have been working really hard on this for a while I know, so if you can go and have a look and 'have a go'.
Havago is a celebration of the creative skills that are right here in Norfolk! Illustrators, weavers, fashion designers, hat makers, furniture designers, musicians, dancers etc
The Havago Festival, is a free to the public event giving YOU the chance to join the stall holders and 'havago' at something creative!
For more details please visit www.havagofestival.co.uk
Coming up! Carnival events and workshops
NORCA's Carnival Company Project has a lot of events coming up. It's a mixture of entertainment such as Head Out, Not Home on Thursday evenings in Norwich city centre to workshops in music, dance and carnival costume. There is a full list on the website here but they are running a very special Samba workshop in September which is a real opportunity if you have some Samba drumming experience, because of the experience of the workshop leaders.
Samba percussion workshop
Run by Chris Quade Couto, one of Europe’s leading Sambistas (based in Köln) and Thalita Santos, one of Rio’s few female Directors of Bateria
Saturday 13 / Sunday 14 September 10am to 4pm on both days
£50 full / £30 concessions
South Hall, Hewett School, Gate 4, Hall Road, Norwich NR1 2PL.
£30 a day/£50 for both
Concessions £20 a day/£30 for both
This is for percussionists with some experience. Participants must attend Saturday if they wish to come on Sunday, unless they are very experienced. Please contact Marcus Patteson on 01603 76052 to discuss if necessary.
Chris Quade Couto is a musical director of Bloco X (Köln, Germany), singer and percussionist of the forró trio Capangas, and regular Tamborim player with Rio Samba School, Unidos da Tijuca. He has taught all over Europe.
Thalita Santos founded Bloco Saias na Folia, becoming the first woman Mestra de Bateria and in 2012 founded Bloco Patuá (which mixes traditional Brazilian rhythms with modern music). She has played in several Samba schools, such as Salgueiro, Grande Rio and Vila Isabel.
Creative writing course at Sainsbury Centre
Writer and artist Patricia Mullen www.patriciamullin.com is running a creative writing course at the Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts, linked to the ‘Reality’ exhibition. I recommend booking early as places go quickly, you can telephone the SCVA to book on 01603 593199.
Art in Norwich
There are lots of art exhibitions around at the moment, and a new edition of Art in Norwich booklet is on the streets, plus the website www.artinnorwich.org.uk where I try and keep everything listed. You can download a pdf from there so here is a link.
But specifically coming up is a favourite event for many people, 19th Norwich Print Fair from 8th-20th September at St Margaret's Church in St Benedict's Street www.norwichprintfair.co.uk
And at the Norwich University of the Arts Gallery in St George's Street is AfterYears: Reflections on British Art 1946-1952, an exhibition devised by students of the MA Curation course. I missed the private view but am assured that I mustn't miss the exhibition as it's fab - it's on now and runs till 13 September.
World of Walls
Moosey Art are looking for walls which they can paint. Moosey Art is an online gallery who specialise in the work of street artists and illustrators. They are looking for large outside walls which they can use as a large canvas. Some might call it graffiti but it isn't, it is street art and of very high quality. So if you have a blank and ugly wall, why not let them use it? Get in touch with me if you know of somewhere.
Porkstock 2014 27 September 11am-6pm then a Knees Up till late
Last year we gave you Longitude Festival, and in July the Art Car Boot and coming up at Redwell Brewery on 27 September is Porkstock. It's a food festival but with added music and entertainment with hot street food by the social enterprise Feed which aims to get people back into work, cookery demos and sausage-making classes (which I am going to have a go at). So put that in your diary too with the usual caveats about parking and getting the bus down here to Trowse Millgate. The day is free but there is a party in the evening with live music by Night Train tickets £12.50. Book online here
Sorry if I have forgotten anyone's events. There are lots more in my head, but I have to get on with the next edition of Music in Norwich , a flyer for Cromwell's Head, a project plan for Creative Futures 2015 (on 5th March by the way) and a budget and marketing for the write2screen and Cinema Plus event for Norwich Sound and Vision which is an extravaganza of the Gothic genre - readings from 5 writers and a screening of the 1922 classic Nosferatu with a live film score played by Minima - but I will tell you all about that next time.
See you after the weekend! Have fun and let me know what you get up to
So, the first weekend of the Festival is over. I have already told you about a superb Friday night with Snarky Puppy in a previous post so now I will tell you about the rest of the weekend's experience.
It was a wet Saturday, and I got up late, so my plan to go into the city early was subverted. I wanted to get on the visual art trail, and particularly see what is in the Undercroft in front of City Hall - artist Kathy Hinde with Tipping Point, and audio-visual installation exploring water, a kinetic sound sculpture which sounds interesting. Tim Davies' exhibition Within at NUA Gallery in St George's Street, and the Last Travelogue of Albert Sitzfleisch by Stephen Brande - a series of billboards in Cathedral Close but it was all too cold, wet and windy so I didn't go as they are running throughout the Festival and I will make sure I catch them later.
However, I did want to see the People's Tower being built, guided by French artist Olivier Grosstête - but same story - cold, wet and windy and a pressing list of Saturday tasks to do. I finally made it in to see the final structure though, at around 3pm, just as a fresh downpour started - it looked impressive in front of the Forum and quite accurate, give or take a few details. And some friends were there when it was pulled down which they enjoyed. It was a fun piece - shame about the weather though.
Saturday evening we went to see Long Live the Little Knife at The Garage in Chapelfield. The Garage has a really nice small auditorium and for this show, the racked seating was put away and the entire room was covered in paint spattered dust sheets. The play, by David Leddy, is about a couple who are con artists, trying to make it in the art forgery world. It's a complicated tale of bluffs and double-bluffs, very well acted by its two-person cast (and occasional input from the sound man). The dialogue is fast and complicated with the actors changing accents at the drop of a hat, exciting, hard to follow and with a few radical twists and turns - it's on around the county over the next week or so – try and catch it if you can. The friends who we had dragged along at the last minute really enjoyed it too.
Because we had friends with us, I didn't head off down to Norwich Arts Centre for The Neutrinos' Klang Haus late night Midnight Feast but I must get down to some of the late night Live Art events down there too. Though we never worked out how the title fits the narrative.
Sunday, a more quiet day, but we were at Open this evening for Dave Okumu & The Invisible with Shingai Shoniwa. I have to say that on this occasion I was quite disappointed. After the rave of Friday night with Snarky Puppy, we were expecting great things but somehow, it never quite got off the ground in spite of having some great ingredients.
It was the first time that Okumu and Shoniwa had played together although they have worked together at a distance apparently. And they were evidently excited by the prospect of playing this gig. Shoniwa was stunning (although she was having trouble with her strapless dress and too-high shoes) and engaging. She was almost trying too hard and although the audience was enthusiastic for the most part it seemed as though she didn't quite win them over for all her efforts. Somehow, it was musically a bit flat and lacklustre (my friend blamed the drummer). Shoniwa brought on a choir of about 20 female voices but even that didn't seem to lift it. Don't get me wrong, they were good musicians, but something wasn't right.
The gig ended quite abruptly and without an encore and I have a feeling that it was all a bit too much for her too. Who knows, and maybe also she would have been better in a smaller venue - you have to have a big sound to really get that hugely lofty hall pumping in the way that Snarky Puppy and all their instruments did. But I hope that she will remember Norwich in a good way, and that there weren't any arguments. Plenty of people did seem to be enjoying it, maybe it just wasn't for me. Sorry Dave and Shingai - I hope there weren't any arguments backstage!
So, that's it for now. I didn't get to any of the literary events either, which was a shame but I will be on the Festival trail again tomorrow and will tell you what I find!
I have been doing a bit of work lately for The Garage in Norwich helping to build audience for their Curtain Up! series of professional touring theatre coming to Norwich, funded by the Arts Council. The funding is to support The Garage as a theatre venue. This is a bit of an issue because people have got used to thinking of The Garage only as a place where young people learn dance and performance skills, whereas in fact they also have a very well equipped theatre auditorium which is ideal for small-scale new theatre work.
In fact, although it still has its core values of accessibility to the arts for young people, Curtain Up! is programmed to appeal to a wide audience range, not just young people. The style of work is more adult, not too traditional, a bit edgy and different, the kind of work that would turn up at the Edinburgh Fringe.
So, I have been to a lot of Curtain Up shows recently, and with one exception, they have all been good and interesting. And I was looking forward to this one, Shame by John Berkavitch, as the description sounded as though it was quite an original format, incorporating dance, Hip Hop, spoken word, animation and story-telling.
In fact, it was clear from the beginning that this was a very professionally put together show, with dramatic lighting and extensive use of projection, some of the most successful I have seen. Bold swathes of light, colour and graphic motifs transformed the stage, eliminating the need for clunky scene changes and creating moods and spaces to suit the story and the action.
Berkavitch is a dramatic persona himself with a strong face and dark beard, shaved head and top knot, tall and with stage presence. He started by challenging the audience to think about their own shameful acts, keeping just the right side of participation - just. After a few minutes of 1:2:1 with his public, John launched into a string of tales of his childhood and family life, confessing to moments of regret and shame, things he wished he had either done or not done. Been more honourable, more courageous, less led by his d**k, more loyal, less cowardly. All in all, he didn't seem to have done anything truly terrible, but they were obviously things that had played on his conscience for a long time, and, he says, make him into a better person now.
Berkavitch was supported by three men in cream attire, with umbrellas and other props, who were his friends, shadows and alter egos. Their background in break dance was evident and there were a number of well-choreographed sequences showing off this form of street dance. They travelled the routes of regret along with JB and demonstrated their evident skill and experience in street dance. Sometimes this worked beautifully and sometimes it felt a bit shoe-horned in but hey, it is their speciality!
They kept up the pace of the action and also were conscripted as key parts of the set, the three of them playing an entire Gaggia-style coffee machine as John Berkavitch works as a barista, serving the audience with fictitious beverages as he fields a variety of phone calls. Sometimes it was hard to follow the chronology of the story-telling and occasionally I wished the dancers would stop still for a minute (they usually did!) as the whole show moves along at a pace and the script is pretty snappy, but there is never a dull moment.
Overall, it was well put-together and also well worth catching if you can before the show heads off down to Bristol and Nottingham. It's just over an hour long and so is fine for a week-day outing. It is in Great Yarmouth at The Drill Hall on Thursday 10 April. #shamejb
The next Curtain Up! show at The Garage is Bitchboxer on 20 May but there are a number of guest theatre performances by local theatre companies - try Canada Boys on 9/10 April and Romeo and Juliet on 12 April and a show about the Burston Strike School on 17 April called Bricks of Burston.
See www.thegarage.org.uk for more details
Blink 13/14/ February at The Garage 7.30pm
Blink by Soho Theatre is one of the Curtain Up! shows that has just started its tour at The Crucible in Sheffield yesterday. The Guardian has given it a four star review which you can read here.
Blink is a love story of a kind and fortuitously, it is on Norwich on Valentine's Day - on 13 and 14 February. It's the story of Jonah and Sophie who conduct a wordless relationship using a range of ways of communicating. They are two shy and lonely individuals whose workds collide and as a result, a charming, delicate and darkly funny unfolds.
It's a show that will connect with young audiences but will also interest anyone who enjoys good story-telling and new writing, combined with an intimate performance venue.
Directed by Soho Theatre Artistic Associate and nabokov Artistic Director Joe Murphy, Blink was a sell-out hit at the Soho Theatre andin Edinburgh in 2012. Award-winning writer Phil Porter wrote and developed Blink at Soho Theatre
If you enjoy Blink, you might also enjoy two other Curtain Up! shows Hopelessly Devoted on 26 February and BitchBoxer on 20 May. You can get tickets for all three shows for £20 (£10 concs) under our 3 for 2 offer.
Sign up for blog updates
Marion Catlin, principal creative consultant for The Shift with extensive experience in cultural development and design for the arts, heritage and culture sectors