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We are all familiar with the post-festivities slump – all that excitement in the weeks leading up to the end of December comes to a sudden end in a flurry of wrapping paper and fireworks. Before you know it, the balding Christmas tree has been relegated to the garden, it’s back to work, long dark afternoons and nothing to look forward to until Spring. It can all feel a bit… blue.
Well this year, the perfect antidote to the dreaded January Blues can be found in the form of Norwich’s inaugural Love Light Norwich festival. Based around the theme of love and belonging, this cultural festival comprises specially commissioned and internationally renowned light artworks, interactive installations and live music, light and fire performance for three nights of fun for all the family.
“Valentine’s can be a time when people feel isolated, as well as in love. We want to create an event that will welcome everyone and speak to Norwich’s unique heritage and unparalleled architectural richness” – Alex Rinsler, Artistic Director, Love Light Norwich.
The festival is brought to the city by Norwich Business Improvement District (BID) and supported with public funding from Arts Council England. Running from 13 – 15 February, it is expected to draw people from around the UK to come and experience Norwich in a new light and to drive out the January blues.
A Valentine’s celebration – but not as you know it
Due to become a biennial event in Norwich, a highlight of the festival will be the Valentine’s Parade from Norwich Cathedral to the Forum on Valentine’s Day featuring the highly acclaimed French street theatre company Picto Facto and curated by Tin House.
Joining them as they make their way through the city streets will be LumiDogs; expect Crufts meets Cabaret! What could be better than a celebration of those who love us unconditionally – our canine friends. And let’s be honest, a box of chocolates rather pales in comparison to a parade of light up dogs. And where do these dogs and their glorious glowing costumes spring from? Well, that’s part of the fun. From YOU.
LumiDogs are holding three workshops in the lead-up to Love Light Norwich, come along and get busy decorating a fabulous jacket for your furry friend. Each pop-up workshop is FREE and open to everyone of all ages and abilities. All dogs are welcome regardless of breed, size or age however they must be friendly and confident around other dogs and humans. All decorated doggies are invited to be part of the Valentine’s Parade on 14 February from 6pm at Norwich Cathedral. At the workshops there’ll be an expert seamstress and marvellous materials and illuminations provided for you.
The workshops take place (each lasting around an hour) in three different city centre locations and must be booked in advance.
26 Jan – The Playroom, Norwich Playhouse, 12pm – 2pm & 2pm – 4pm – Eventbrite 26/01/2020
2 Feb – Eaton Park Café, 12pm – 2pm & 2pm – 4pm – Eventbrite 02/02/2020
9 Feb – The Makers Festival at The Forum, 10am – 4pm – Eventbrite 09/02/2020
Let’s get together
Love and belonging (not necessarily of the romantic type, in a refreshing break from most Valentine’s events) is a very important theme throughout the festival with a symposium called ‘Love Light Labs’ opening the festival (13 February) and hosted by Norwich BID and powered by Aviva encouraging the local community to come together and talk about how we can tackle loneliness.
Central to the festival is a three-day, free art trail across the city which includes UK premieres, large-scale projections, extraordinary installations, spectacular live fire performances and captivating interventions, accessible to all. The light trail opens at 5.30pm and closes at 10.30pm each night. Other events include Lamps of Love at Norwich Cathedral, the proceeds of which go to Norwich Street Aid. The Light House Experience at intu Chapelfield and a Jack Valentine pop-up shadow show at the Museum of Norwich.
Norwich Market, was named (2019) ‘best large outdoor market in Britain’ in the Great British Market Awards, is set to join in the fun too. On the evening of 13 February, it will transform into a night market, offering people a chance to explore this renowned landmark and be entertained by Deejay Earl Harlem and friends in celebrating the once thought lost Norwich Market Pleasure Gardens. With fantastic music from the 30s to the 00s in his paradise park of dancing pleasure, all are welcome.
On 13 and 14 February, French company Bilbobasso will light things up with their performance of Amor, the story of a relationship played out with fire and Argentinian Tango. And if you’re after music, The Neutrinos – Norwich’s own maverick art-rockers – end the festival with their newly created show. The avant-garde quartet are teaming up with artist Sal Pittman and new men’s choir The Vital Spark to present Floodlight. Audience numbers are limited so you need to book your free ticket. Performances take place at The Crypt in The Halls on 15 February at: 7pm, 8pm and 9pm.
Pick up a trail map, put on your coat and head out to explore Norwich as you’ve never seen it before.