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
Los Pacaminos fronted by Paul Young – top night after a slightly shaky start.
After work and a torrid getaway, we headed out Friday night, to the lovely Voewood, a beautiful Arts & Crafts house on the outskirts of Holt. If you haven’t been there, it is worth going to the Festival just to see the house and gardens. Although of course, there are plenty of other reasons to get your Festival tix.
Simon Finch, the guy who owns Voewood is also an antiquarian book-seller, well, he’s not that old but his books are, and as he hails from Notting Hill Gate, he has lots of well-known friends and connections. So he manages to attract some great names from music – some of them a bit of a blast from the past – out to deepest Norfolk for fun and funk.
Voewood Festival has become rapidly established as a premier literary and music festival, with, it has to be said, a bit of a quirky reputation. Set in the grounds and gardens of Voewood it has been different each of the years I have been – sometimes more ambitious and sometimes less.
Going out there on the first night, I wasn’t sure what to expect – hopefully crowds of people buzzing about the place chatting, drinking Pimms and gin cocktails, with literary types performing at odd moments and tents full of activity.
In the event, I was somewhat disappointed. When we arrived it all had a bit of an unready feel and there were few people about. The wet weather may have put people off, or maybe the £30 evening ticket price, or maybe they were all saving themselves for the proper weekend but they were scarce. No-one at all in the drinks and food tents. However, when we got to the main performance tent it was full of people hiding from the glum weather, with a proper stage and lights and everything at one end and a couple of hundred peoples at in chairs. So that is where they all were.
Taking a seat with a warmish bottle of white wine from sponsors Adnams between us, my friends and I settled down. The first act, Sacha Luffman was pretty ropey. But it was her first festival live performance. She is just starting out on her music career and as a debut she did very well, supported by her enthusiastic family in the audience. And she had a lovely stage manner too.
Sacha was followed by The Rebelles who were old enough to do better – it definitely wasn’t their first gig – three women backed by four guys – through the first couple of numbers I began to seriously regret coming. To be fair, they did warm up and get going but I still thought they were pretty weak. They worked so hard to get the crowd going but they weren’t having any, they were firmly stuck in their seats, arms folded. Till Simon called bass player Guy Pratt up on stage who he had seen in the audience, and he pretty much changed the pace and upped the game single-handed. With a row of musicians onstage, Pratt got things going at last.
So, I was chatting to a friend in the interval and thinking that it was a bit of a sad Friday when I heard the sound of horses’ hooves from the direction of the stage. The whole evening pivoted on that point. The stage was filled by 6 guys, all wearing white Stetsons and cowboy gear as they crashed into the first number and just kept going. They kept up the pace, song after song of TexMex, Americana, a bit of Ry Cooder, cowboy classics. Apart from the Stetson’s, no hats or homes to be seen. And for a set of guys in their late 50s/60s (pardon to those that aren’t) they had lost nothing of what had made them famous. Famous because Paul Young was a big name in the 80s and so was their ‘stand-in’ guitar Hamish Stuart from Average White Band. He was brilliant and so cool, confident and sure of what he was doing. Paul Young was trim and tanned, sporting a small goatee, far from past it, and his fellow band members had their own style, all easy in their cowboy skins it seemed.
We were immediately up at the front, spellbound. They had it all – the drama, command of the stage, the musicianship and the easy confidence of knowing what they do and doing it well, looking fit and healthy and as though they know how to live, they were a real pleasure. And they were playing for pleasure - they evidently enjoyed their music too. We danced – although it has to be said that most of the audience didn’t till the last number - and felt totally revived.
Which about sums up the Voewood Festival – it’s a bit odd and the organisation is strange but it can turn on a ha'penny. It is all there, and more – you never know what it will hold and what’s just around the corner. It’s trogging along and suddenly something sublime happens to change the picture and wow your socks off. It's worth taking the risk of going, even if you are not quite sure what is going to be there or how it all works.
I couldn’t stay for the rest of the weekend unfortunately though we did the boost the local economy by staying in a hotel in Holt but I hoped that the Festival-goers of the weekend had a great time, There was lots in store from John Hurt to Eimear McBride, Glen Matlock to Owen Sheers – and hopefully they got the wine chilled by Saturday morning and found some Pimms!
Good luck Voewood. Thank you Paul Young and Los Pacaminos
ps keep an eye out for their new album A Fistful of Statins
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
Souvenir by The Voice Project at Holkham Hall on Saturday was one of the best surprises I have had for a long time. I booked tickets for the 5.30pm performance thinking that we could make a night of a trio to the north Norfolk coast, and, to be honest, I didn't read that much about it. I am familiar with the Voice Project's work, I knew that it was a promenade performance and I heeded the warning to take sturdy footwear but still I was not prepared.
I wasn't prepared for something that was so visual, so dramatic, so polished, so goddam impressive. It was as excellent as anything I have seen at the Festival this year and was completely home-grown in Norwich, with locally-based skills.
For a start, the weather was glorious and we took the opportunity to drive up in a classic Citroen DS, which set us in the right frame of mind. By 5.30pm, the light was perfect - it was warm but the heat had dropped. Just right. Even then I wasn't quite ready for what followed.
An introduction read by Simon Floyd, in a Harris tweed suit, a poem. I couldn't quite see or hear at this point but suddenly appeared a long line of men, dressed in vintage 40s style clothing and each carrying a black umbrella over their head (it wasn't raining) peeled off and headed off trough the trees. My interest started to rise and I wished I had brought my camera and charged my phone. We were instructed to follow Simon who was carrying a blue umbrella (others followed a person carrying a red umbrella) and in this way they divided the audience and the choir. From then on I was hooked.
Following Simon into a courtyard, with half of the choir assembled, mostly women this time, dressed in 40s style clothing, looking slightly ghostly, staring ahead at the audience opposite. As they sang, the birds swooped and chirruped overhead as though they liked this harmonic invasion of their territory. Next stop was the chapel in the house, so we were led through the kitchens and landings into a grand marble-clad space with the other half of the choir assembled on the stairs, conducted by Jon Baker who was sporting a rather fab orange and brown striped suit somehow reminiscent of marmalade.
A brass quartet were by this time an integral part of the sound, complementing the wide range of voices from soprano to baritone - an impressive array of volunteer singers all recruited from Norwich and surrounds. This time we had a close-up view of their somewhat dowdy clothes and wan faces - underfed servant workers or pale ghosts, or both, it was hard to tell but they were certainly stoney-faced and unresponsive to the audience making them all the more spooky - it was as though we weren't there.
Following the brass players, we were led outside and into the sunshine, facing a huge expanse of Holkham Hall grounds, with a tall monument column n the distance. We set off across the grass, led by singers, umbrellas and dark clothes framed against the green (I wish I had photos but Richard Shashamane has some great ones here).
As we walked through copses and across the open grass, we were passing through standing voices, stopping in a variety of spaces until we reached the monument. Here there were log seats, a piano and a music stand. Here, Simon read a poem celebrating Great Yarmouth, apparently written by someone in the town's hey-day of the herring industry - to the backdrop of the odd bit of gunfire and an overhead helicopter.
On through more woodland, passing little scenarios or tableaus of memories, perfect little set pieces tucked in amongst the bushes. More stops, though walking through a passage of sound is most prominent in my mind, a corridor of changing notes.
All the time, the aesthetic of the visual and the rhythm of the choreography was taking my breath away, and I kept thinking 'we are so privileged to be experiencing this'. I couldn't imagine how Sian Croose and Jon Baker had conceived and executed all of this with 150 non-professional performers, even with the help of their fellow team, brought together for the Festival. Everyone I spoke to was so impressed. As we headed back to the house, we were accompanied by a lone violinist being rowed down the lake in a small wooden boat, and a host of singers cycled past us with baskets full of flowers, looking rather like the cast of 'Fetch the Midwife' and ringing their bells - no opportunity to use the site had been missed. The last pieces saw the whole choir assembled in front of the houses singing about lost memories before walking towards us with a postcard showing the very same image we had just witnessed. It was all so clever and thought through, no details was missed, or if it was, it didn't matter.
I think that everyone that was there will remember 'Souvenir' for ever, which is a testament in itself and it has since been all over Facebook and Twitter. We all drove away, bumping into the people arriving for the next performance - knowing that they had a real treat in store. Absolutely well done to all involved - I am proud of Norwich talent this weekend
The world premiere of Pioneer by Norfolk-based theatre company Curious Directive was one of the shows I was determined to see this year. One of their previous productions which I saw at The Garage in Norwich, After the Rainfall, was excellent and I missed last year's Festival show The Kindness of Strangers – it took place in a moving ambulance with an audience of 8 per performance so you had to be quick to get a ticket. This year's production Pioneer, is at the lovely Norwich Playhouse so there is plenty of capacity this time and three days of performance - 12/13/14 May.
Curious Directive specialises in material that investigates the issues and interests of science and progress, and Pioneer is a sci-fi play about humankind's efforts to land on and inhabit Mars. It follows the story of the pioneers of the space industry through history, the present and what happens in the future and interwoven with the personal experiences and sacrifices of astronauts and scientists, and their families, who all have to make difficult choices for the greater good.
As with After the Rainfall, Pioneer is very multi-layered, following several story strands at the same time, which is complicated and ambitious. The play is staged in a very cinematic way with cuts and scene changes where you would expect them on screen more than on stage, and more than once, I thought that this would very easily translate to a TV drama series.
The stage set, multimedia, sound effects and props were ingeniously designed to enable complicated scene changes and stage management with a very versatile set of three huge plywood boxes on castors which were, in turn, a space station, car driving across the desert, underwater simulation module and much more. In fact, castors were used on most solid objects, which enabled the use of more cinematic effects such as slow motion movement and panning across a space.
Director Jack Lowe and the company devised the show and although devised work sometimes results in chaos, this was the reverse. Tightly choreographed and very complex, every cast member knew exactly where each role and scene change should be, in spite of having had a major hiccup with their sound technician's equipment which delayed the start of the show by half an hour. This must have jarred their nerves and confidence on the first night ever of this production but you would never have known (the sound tech had to live edit the sound with emergency replacement equipment), such is the accomplished and professional approach of this company.
Of course, there is room for polish and practice as the run gets underway - the first night of anything is always rather nerve-wracking, but they should be very pleased with their work.
So, highly recommended and there are tickets for tonight (Tuesday 13 May) and Wednesday 14th, with an after show discussion with Jack Lowe and Festival director William Galinsky, Curious Directive are definitely a company to watch out for in the future.
www.curiousdirective.com twitter @c_directive
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.
As autumn comes briskly in, there is still yet more to do in Norwich. There's a host of art exhibitions at the moment and also a little rush of theatre performances
Tonight, there is a play written by local writer Tony Ramsay about John Clare for Eastern Angles and directed by Ivan Cutting, which has been touring and is showing at Norwich Arts centre. It promises to be excellent so why not have a mid-week outing and support both the Arts Centre and also a lot of local talent, whilst finding out about John Clare. More details and tickets from the Arts Centre website
I have come across a couple of useful links recently, and I really like this one for Huge City.
In spite of being based in the US, it gathers up info about events posted on Facebook that are happening locally and emails them in a handy list. It's a more efficient way of getting an insight into what is going on as it uses quite powerful web development skills, although it doesn't have the personal touch of Culture Shift ;-) but nevertheless, I think it is very useful , so sign up and give it a try - I think it still works if you don't have a Facebook account but not sure as I have one!
Masterpieces book wins East Anglian Book Awards
Congratulations are due to the team at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, masterpieces curator Ian Collins, and EAST Publishing for their work in the Masterpieces book. More than a catalogue for the show, the book accompanies the blockbuster exhibition which has drawn masses of people to see this extraordinary collection of work spanning centuries of creativity in East Anglia.
In a ceremony last week hosted by Jarrolds, the Writers' Centre Norwich and Archant who jointly run the awards competition, a number of locally connected publications vied to win their category (children's, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, history & tradition, biography & memoir) with an overall winner taking a £1000 cash prize. Now in its 4th year, it's a great recognition of much local writing and publishing talent. The prizes were presented by the grand dame of publishing, Liz Calder, founder of Bloomsbury Press. Congratulations to all those who won and were shortlisted.
There is a special concert coming up at UEA Friday 15 November
UEA Symphony Orchestra are performing a special memorial concert .
If you are free on Friday and fancy hearing some lovely music, please come along and support UEA Symphony Orchestra on Friday 15 November at St Andrew’s Hall.
Under the direction of UEA Director of Music, Sharon Andrea Choa, will perform a special memorial concert, Sir Colin Davis Memorial concert ‘The English Connection’, at St Andrew’s Hall, Norwich. Tickets for the concert cost £4-£12 and are available to buy now from UEA Box Office (01603 508050 or www.ueaticketbookings.co.uk/events), Prelude Records (01603 628319) and St George's Music Shop (01603 626414). Please see below for further information about the concert.
Happy Birthday Benjamin Britten 22 November
I hope it hasn't escaped your attention but this year is the centenary of the birth of Benjamin Britten, world famous composer and musician who lived and worked in Aldeburgh and Lowestoft in Suffolk. There has been a long build of of Britten-themed events over the last year but they are now coming thick and fast, known under the collective heading of Familiar Fields, a line from one of his works.
There are a number of concerts and events in and around Norwich and here is a link to an article and round up of concerts in the next few weeks. There is also the official and comprehensive website with all details, information and music if you want to find out more about this local treasure of a man
For more music info please have a look at www.musicinnorwich.org.uk for a roundup of concerts up until April
write2screen Christmas meetup
The write2screen network connecting writers and film-makers is having an open, informal meetup in Appleyard in Exchange Street from around 6pm on Thursday 5th December. All welcome, come and meet other people interested in writing, and producing work for the screen - there will also be food available to buy – if you wish to eat, drop me an email and I will forward the menu. www.write2screen.org.uk
Talking about food, Paola Columbo has started a series of regional Italian dinner parties, cooking her way round Italy at the rate of 1 region a month. She is on number 2, which is Basilicata and it is on Saturday 23 November. The cost is a suggested 'donation' of £25 for a four course meal and some samples of wine. You take your own bottle too (for serious drinking) and join 12-15 friendly strangers (you can always take a friend or two of your own) to dine and find out about that particular region's food and traditions. It's a great idea and there may be a couple of places for this month but email Paola to find out, and for a look at the menu. If not for this month, maybe next?
Tony Hill exhibition at NUA Gallery, St George's Street
On Monday, I went to the preview of an interesting new show See Things Differently at the NUA Gallery by video artists Tony Hill. Now, video art can often be quite difficult to present but in particular his piece 'Doors' is fascinating. I won't give away too much but try and get down to see the show. You don't need to set aside much more than half an hour but it is well worth it. It is on until 23 November in St George's Street, Norwich. www.nua.ac.uk
The Norfolk Contemporary Craft Society
Exhibition and sale by best quality contemporary craft by local makers.
Friday 22nd – Sunday 1st December 2013
The Hostry, Norwich Cathedral NR1 4DH
Monday – Saturday 9.30 – 4.30pm Sunday 12– 3pm
For further information 01603 259991
Norwich Film Festival is coming...
Would you like the chance for your script to be read by an industry professional??? if so, submit your script to the Norwich Film Festival. For more information follow the link:http://www.norwichfilmfestival.co.uk/submit-your-film
There is also a call for designers and writers so go over and have a cruise round their website to see what is going on www.norwichfilmfestival.co.uk
WORDS AND WOMEN PIONEER A NEW PRIZE FOR WRITING WOMEN IN THE EAST OF ENGLAND.
£600 first prize. Winner and runners-up to feature in Words And Women's flagship anthology.
The judges are looking for distinctive work, finely crafted, strong, creative and adventurous. This is your competition, open to all women over the age of 16 - short fiction, memoir, life writing, and creative non-fiction, up to 3,000 words. Send in your best and boldest before the 30th November!
See the Words And Women blog for more details: www.wordsandwomennorwich.blogspot.co.uk
The winners will be announced in January 2014 and the launch of the first anthology of women's writing in the East will be held on March 8th, 2014, International Women's Day.
For a buzzing night out on Friday try
BRAZIL 3 - Friday 15
November in the Club at Open
Entrance 28 Castle Meadow
It's the launch of a new and exciting Latin fusion party night!
off with BRAZIL 3 - featuring talented Norwich based group Rabo de Foguete (RdF) & Lambazouk dance star Patricia Rezende.
Rabo de Foguete (RdF) are a Norwich based band who play Brazilian music inspired by the wonderful group from Rio, Monobloco. RdF combine a bateria (or extended drum section) with voices, guitar, keyboards, bass guitar and brass, playing a range of material drawn from the Brazilian music scene and other tunes that fit the carnival vibe. They will be starting the night with a laid back, 'pagode-style' set before the full band takes to the stage to get you dancing. From Jorge Ben and Lenine to Cat Empire, its a night not to be missed - and there might even be a Caipirinha or two to be had!
Patricia Rezende will be teaching Lambazouk with her dance partner Arthur Gontijo and later performing in a show. Patricia has been teaching in the UK and Brazil for over twenty years and is widely considered as one of the world's leading proponents of Lamabazouk. She wrote the "Lambazouk Technique Book" approved by UKA and IDO (International Dance Organisation) and is a qualified dance teacher. She founded the Beija-Flor Dance Group in 1997 in London, with the intention of promoting Brazilian culture through dance, music and costumes. The Group has successfully performed in many countries abroad.
DJ Chilli will be fuelling the night with a Brazilian/Latin mix to keep the dance floor full.
Doors open 7pm.
Join us for a Labazouk dance class from 7.30pm.
And the music kicks off at 8.30pm.
Brazil 3 is a collaboration between NORCA and Chilli Con Salsa, bringing NORCA's series of Brazilian themed parties back after a 2 year absence.
Tickets available at The Open (20 Bank Plain) and UEA.
£7 (Students £5)
And for those that love a high quality craft masterclass/workshop, here are some beauties, including digital ceramics!
A chance to learn new skills and unleash your creativity at the
Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts Celebrity Makers Masterclasses
The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, at the University of East Anglia Norwich has
announced a series of Masterclasses giving budding and experienced artists the chance to
learn and develop new skills with internationally renowned artists.
Jonathan Keep, Freddie Robins, and Tracey Rowledge will share their expertise and skills in a
series of three Masterclasses covering a range of media including cutting edge 3D printing and
ceramics, textiles and bookbinding.
The first Masterclass on 30 November – 1 December will be given by Suffolk based potter Jonathan Keep. A feature of Keep’s work has been to consider new ways of working in ceramics using digital techniques. Jonathan’s work has been exhibited widely and has been seen recently at Collect in the Victoria and Albert Museum, Network Europe at the Museum of International Ceramic Art, Denmark, Unexpected Too at Sotheby's in New York, the Carlin gallery, Paris, Puls gallery, Brussels and Sarah Myerscough Fine Art, London.
This workshop is set to be fascinating, involving hands on experience with readily available 3D computer software and 3D printing in clay.
The second Masterclass is on 18-19 January and will be led by internationally renowned artist, and Senior Tutor on the Textiles programme at the Royal College of Art, London, Freddie Robins. Her work is in many public and private collections including Victoria and Albert Museum, Crafts Council, Nottingham Castle Museum and Aberdeen Art Gallery.
Freddie’s approach to textiles pushes traditional boundaries of craft, art and design, creating exquisite, playful knitted sculptures. The experimental weekend will unpick ideas surrounding ‘masterpiece’ whilst investigating combinations of materials and tensions between media, thinking outside traditional practices and pushing conventional ideas of textiles, sculpture and craft.
The third Celebrity Makers: Masterclass on 8-9 February with Tracey Rowledge looks at bookbinding as a creative medium making two non-adhesive paper-covered book structures. Whilst learning these book structures participants will explore how best to learn their craft, harness their creativity and push the quality of their work.
Tracey’s work has been shown internationally and is held in various private and public collections including The British Library, London, The National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, and The National Art Library (Victoria and Albert Museum), London.
Dates and booking details:
Jonathan Keep: Digital Ceramics - Saturday 30 November - Sunday 1 December
Freddie Robins: Textiles - Saturday 18 - Sunday 19 December
Tracey Rowledge: Bookbinding - Saturday 8 - Sunday 9 February
All workshops take place over a weekend from 10.30am-4.30pm in the Education Studio at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts.
Each workshop costs £120, £100 concessions; includes materials.
Booking is essential can be done by
ringing the Gallery Reception on 01603 593 199
For further information or photographs please contact
Penelope Lucas, Marketing & Communications Officer, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts
T 01603 593649 E email@example.com
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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