Theatre News

Programme announced for 2021 Norfolk & Norwich Festival

The line-up includes an emphasis on outdoor and digital performances

Gravity and Levity
Gravity and Levity
© Mark Morreau

The programme has been announced for the 2021 Norfolk and Norwich Festival, which runs from 17 to 30 May. It marks a return for the festival after last year's had to be cancelled due to the pandemic.

This year's event is being specially adapted to include free outdoor and socially distanced performance, art and music as well as a digital strand. The programme, curated by festival director Daniel Brine, has been designed to be "as adaptable as possible" in case of changes to government guidelines.

The opening event on 17 May – currently due to be the first legal date for live performances to resume – is titled Don't Touch Duckie!, which will see South London cabaret act Duckie present a "drag showbiz speakeasy" to a socially distanced audience, with a virtual audience on Zoom and 150 "special guest life size cardboard cut outs".

Other highlights include a show for families inside the historic prison cells
below Norwich Guildhall; sci-fi dance showFuture Cargo from artists Requardt and Rosenberg; and The Band Wagon, taking work on the back of a truck to communities who can't reach the Festival.

Among the outdoor offerings is Kaleider's Robot Selfie – a huge portrait of the public by a robot that draws on walls; Emergency Exit Arts (EEA) brings Recovery Poems, an installation by artists Robert Montgomery and Deanna Roger; sound artist Ray Lee shows his kinetic sound sculptures Ring Out; and artist duo YARA DAVINA present their interactive installation about birth, death and the journey in between Arrivals Departures.

Work takes place across the city and county, and the middle weekend will see the return of the Garden Party bringing "two days of magical outdoor arts in the park". Festival Gardens and St Andrew's Hall will be the focus of much of the music programme, which ranges from jazz to classical. There are also packed literary and visual art strands, featuring the likes of Cristina Iglesias, Tony Cragg and Grayson Perry.

A section of the festival is designed to be enjoyed "come what may", with an emphasis on digital performance. This includes Javaad Alipoor's online Rich Kids, Blast Theory's games-based Rider Spoke and The Group, a three-part play told live via WhatsApp.