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28 May 2012, 09:11 | Updated: 28 May 2012, 09:46
Heart is being told that the Norfolk & Norwich Festival is celebrating a record number of ticket sales and sell out performances – 75 performances were sold out and tickets sales increased by 15% on last year from 26,000 to 30,000.
The festival kicked off on Friday 11th May with Close Act’s Invasion, which drew an estimated 10,000 people into the city centre. More than 16,000 people attended the opening weekend’s Garden Party which featured the hugely popular Dinosaur Petting Zoo’s life size dinosaur Australovenator. A further 2,000 school children got the chance to pet and feed the family of puppet dinosaurs in schools across the county and in the children’s ward at Norfolk & Norwich Hospital.
Artistic Director William Galinsky has been thrilled with the success of the Festival: “We have seen more people buying tickets for an increasingly diverse programme and the Festival being taken out to more of Norfolk than ever before with performances in King’s Lynn, Swanton Morley, Great Yarmouth and Holt.”
“We are really thrilled with how enthusiastically the audience has responded to the new and adventurous innovations in the programme. We’ve had a boutique tree top B&B with people weathering the elements in the name of new experience, Harrison Birtwistle in a secret woodland location and we are thrilled with the response to our first Norfolk & Norwich Festival productions - 100% Norfolk was a huge smash hit and we’ve been working on that for a long time and we’re really proud of it. The Voice Project was something very special this year and it really showed off the city’s architecture.”
Festival organisers are saying that audiences flocked to the classical music programme productions including Julian Lloyd Webber at St Andrew’s Hall, Ballake Sissoko and Vincent Segal in a candlelit St Peter Mancroft Church, Nigel Kennedy at Norwich Theatre Royal and The Opera Group’s Bow Down by Harrison Birtwistle in Felthorpe.
Some of the sell out performance pieces included the UK premiere Mirror, Time Circus’ Air Hotel, which attracted coverage by Russia’s Department of Information Channel 1 with its 90 million viewers as well as The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart by National Theatre of Scotland.
This year has also seen the introduction of the BETA programme, which has offered a platform for emerging producers and performers at Norwich Puppet Theatre. William Galinsky introduced the programme for artists to discuss and develop new productions through the BETA Festival. “We have been showing new work from artists from Norwich, Newmarket and as far afield as Berlin and there has been a great vibe going through the city and I look forward to the BETA Festival becoming a fixture of the Festival in future years.”
And Heart is being told that the Spiegeltent has proved a popular hang out again this year and artists such as the Wau Wau Sisters, Bourgeois and Maurice, Lau, Bob Log III and the Vagabands have kept audiences entertained.
The War Memorial’s Undercroft and Carnary Chapel at Norwich School as well as The Sainsbury Centre of Visual Arts will continue to host Bill Viola’s Submerged Spaces exhibition until 29 July.
And the Festival’s productions continue into the summer with two London 2012 Festival supported commissions How Like an Angel which will tour to Norwich and Ely cathedrals at the end of June and beginning of July before going onto Gloucester and Ripon as well as American artist Robert Wilson’s Walking in north Norfolk from 20 August to 2 September.
To buy tickets for How Like an Angel or Walking go online at www.nnfestival.org.uk, by phone on 01603 766400 or in person at Norwich Theatre Royal Box Office.