Norfolk & Norwich Festival Returns for 2023!

7 March 2023

 An Exciting Norfolk & Norwich Festival Programme Returns for 2023!

Move over Reading & Leeds, better luck next time Glastonbury, out the way Latitude, the Norfolk & Norwich Festival is back with a bang this year!

Watch our city and county transform for 17 marvellously magical days across Friday, May 12 – Sunday, May 28. From public spaces to city streets, our favourite venues to open parks, this Festival is all about bringing people together to experience something truly unique. From a mix of free and paid events, here’s all you need to know about the Norfolk & Norwich Festival…

What happened last year?

Last year’s Norfolk & Norwich Festival was special. Over 100 acts took part over the course of 2022’s festival, with none alike in their brilliance.

We were lucky enough to witness the world premiere from Britten Sinfonia, with local young musicians playing open-air concerts across Norfolk alongside these world-class players throughout the day.

We got goosebumps and had our hair raised when we saw Cirque Alfonse’s 19th century circus act, Barbu. These high-octane performances got the adrenaline pumping with dangerous stunts and beautiful scenes – some right above our heads.

And finally, who can forget seeing 7,500 giant dominoes topple throughout the streets of Norwich? Starting in Anglia Square and making its way to The Forum, over 10,000 people came to see this audacious spectacle. There was no better way to mark the Festival’s 250th anniversary!

What can we expect to see this year?

This year’s iteration is bound to be just as exhilarating as any previously. With plenty more inspiring acts we’ve never seen before, there’s excitement to be found for everyone in this programme.

This year will also see the return of the Adnams Spiegeltent in Chapelfield Gardens! This pop-up tent is a rare sight from the 19th century, historically providing for town fairs in areas that didn’t have a dancehall. Now, it will showcase some of the incredible acts coming to Norwich this May.

Here’s just a few of the amazing events you can see at the Norfolk & Norwich Festival this year…

Welcome Weekend

No need to book, just turn up! | Various locations throughout Norwich city centre | Saturday, May 13 – Sunday, May 14

Kick the Festival off with a huge array of pop-up performances across the city centre, all for free! From theatre and dance to circus and comedy, there’s a bit of fun around every corner in Norwich.

Visit your favourite café or restaurant and grab your favourite food and drink to-go before watching all there is on offer. This really is a great day out for the whole family, and the perfect preview of what else you can find on during the Festival!

The Welcome Weekend is sure to be an exciting one! How many acts will you see?

Le Coup

Ticket prices: £7.50 – £24.00 | Booking essential | Adnams Spiegeltent | Wednesday, May 17 – Sunday, May 28

Chelsea McGuffin & Co, legendary creator of circus shows ‘Scotch & Soda’ and ‘Cantina’ hits Norwich for the very first time with their newest international hit, ‘Le Coup’!

If you missed Barbu last year, you can’t miss Le Coup. Join this ragtag troupe of travelling misfits as they compete with amazing circus skills in the Adnams Spiegeltent . Expect fire breathing, sword swallowing, stunning aerial acts, tap dancing, and, unsurprisingly, plenty of acrobatics!

There’ll be plenty of chances to catch these daring acts from Wednesday, May 17 – Sunday, May 28. Book your tickets here.

Le Coup’s exhilarating but dangerous stunts will have you up and out of your seat!

12 Ensemble & GBSR Duo

Ticket prices: £7.50 – £24.00 | Booking essential | St Andrew’s & Blackfriars’ Hall | Friday, May 19

What’s better than one exciting young group of musicians? Combining two together, of course! Pioneering string collective, 12 Ensemble, and ambitious percussion/piano pair, GBSR Duo, combine to bring Norwich one of the most inventive collaborations you’ll find in music.

Together, they will explore music’s obsession with death, in a programme of visions by five composers with a medium of classical and non-classical genres.

With just one showing in St Andrew’s & Blackfriars’ Hall, tickets are bound to sell out quickly for this exciting and rare opportunity. Be sure to seal your spot soon, tickets can be bought here!

Don’t miss out on tickets for 12 Ensemble and GBSR Duo!

Harriet Martineau Lecture

Ticket prices: £10 | Booking essential | Adnams Spiegeltent | Saturday, May 27

Born in Norwich, Harriet Martineau was a world-changing and highly regarded woman, often seen as the first female sociologist. Named after her and celebrating the legacy she left behind, The Harriet Martineau Lecture invites globally renowned speakers to respond to her life and work.

The first lecture was held in 2013, exploring her internationalism, inspiration for feminism, and role in the abolition of slavery.

These lectures are truly special – being held in the very city Martineau was born in. Taking place in the Adnams Spiegeltent, Charlotte Higgins, award-winning author and The Guardian’s chief culture writer, will be delivering her talk on the power of art during difficult times.

Come along and find inspiration from both Higgins and the incredible legacy of Martineau, book your tickets here.

What will you learn from Charlotte Higgin’s powerful lecture?

Where can I find the entire NNF programme?

There’s so much going on for this year’s festival. We couldn’t possibly fit it all in one blog! Instead, you can find the full Norfolk & Norwich Festival programme here, where you can also find out more information, and book your tickets.