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Norfolk & Norwich Festival, 10-26 May

Each year, Norfolk & Norwich Festival brings to the county 17 days of spectacular events, ground-breaking artists and special experiences. We’ve pulled out 10 highlights from their packed programme.

Mo and the Red Ribbon will open the Festival in spectacular style

1. Welcome Weekend
The Festival starts with a true spectacle on Friday 10 May with Mo and the Red Ribbon – a beautifully crafted giant puppet winds through the city streets, in a show that explores migration from a child’s perspective. For the following two days, the streets of Norwich will be filled with free street performances featuring dance and circus – plus an exciting visit to the city by Great Yarmouth’s iconic Joyland Snails.

2. 268 Years of Reverb
Octagon Chapel is one of Norwich’s most iconic spaces, with spectacular natural lighting as the sun winds round the building through the day. This eight-sided unitarian chapel has been filled with voices and music for 268 years – and now these sounds are being celebrated in a World Premiere composition by Radiohead’s Johnny Greenwood. Performed on the chapel’s pipe organ by James McVinnie and Eliza McCarthy, this eight-hour durational piece can be enjoyed in a single sitting, or in two-hour installments.

Tania El Khoury’s sound installation Memory of Birds at the Sainsbury Centre Sculpture Park

3. Memory of Birds
An intimate sound installation, experienced individually in a hammock amongst the trees at the Sainsbury Centre’s Sculpture Park. Artist Tania El Khoury uses the migration and survival of birds to explore the impact of political conflict on contested lands. El Khoury’s work centres on audience experience and interaction, often with a political focus; This will be the European Premiere of Memory of Birds.

4. Make Me
This is an exciting chance to see the newest piece of work by acclaimed playwright Molly Taylor. So new, that this work-in-progress showing will be performed script in hand. Set in a struggling school in Ipswich, Make Me is the story of Emily – a teacher with a saviour complex – and the pupils she is desperate to save. Produced by the Festival in partnership with High Tide Productions, the script was developed in collaboration with GCSE students.

MOSH celebrates the communal joy of the mosh pit

Dancer and choreographer Rachel Ní Bhraonáin’s award-winning show explores the subculture, visceral energy and unadulterated communal joy of the mosh pit. Featuring dance and live music, interspersed with filmed interviews with moshers, this show is full of heart and humour.

6. Whispered Spells
Festival resident artist Mahan Esfahani’s specially-curated ten minute recitals to tiny audiences in a secret location. Esfahani performs these intimate shows on the quiet, yet seductive European keyboard instrument the clavichord.

Nubyian Twist are one of the bands playing at the Adnams Spiegeltent

7. Nubiyan Twist
Nubiyan Twist’s latest album seamlessly weaves together global grooves, soul and jazz with electronic elements and horn-led melodies; and its packed with impressive collaborations – including the mighty Nile Rogers. The 10-strong band bring exuberant energy and skilful musicianship to the Adnams Spiegeltent. Look out for other late-night gigs in the spiegeltent throughout the Festival.

8. Cathedral Choir Ireland
The Festival is rooted in classical music, and today this is still a key part of the programme. Amongst the classical treats in 2024 is this concert by Ireland’s national chamber choir, directed by Grammy Award winning conductor Paul Hillier. Sixteen dazzling voices perform a contemporary choral programme including work by Arvo Pärt, Cassandra Miller and Caroline Shaw.

Page against the machine is a communal reading experience

9. City of Literature Weekend
Continuing the Festival’s annual partnership with the National Centre for Writing, in celebration of Norwich’s status as a Unesco City of Literature. Hear from leading authors and writers, explore the literary history of the city, enjoy late night performance poetry, or simply take a book and read uninterrupted in the beautiful surroundings of Plantation Gardens.

10. On Our Doorsteps
Explore a wilderness in the city. Created in collaboration with local people and the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Bristol based writer Zakiya Mackenzie and Finnish graphic novelist Tiitu Takalo create 6 impressive billboard-sized artworks in Sweet Briar Marshes, as part of a nationwide project exploring the relationship between urban communities and the green spaces around us.

See the full programme at