Making up for lost time: Interlude

7 September 2020

Caroline Richardson, Director of Norwich Playhouse

We spoke to Norwich Theatre Playhouse Director, Caroline Richardson, to give us a flavour of what’s on offer at this unique event.

Why are you excited by INTERLUDE?

Live performance once more! A stage, with six weeks of shows and super, separated, safe participation. The first week started with a wonderful reception. Over 9 performances for Karl Minns as ‘She Go’ and ever since then, there has been such excitement, laughter and togetherness. We’ve got a wonderful huge red tent on the Chapelfield Gardens, with air flowing and all safety regulations being beautifully adhered to, with a stage size comparable to that of the Playhouse. And of course, our technical team are providing brilliant sound and lighting. It has been a complete joy for us to be part of and make happen for everyone.

Tell us about the programme. What kind of acts can we expect?

Do you like theatre? Like what you see at Theatre Royal and the Playhouse? That’s what INTERLUDE is.

Comedy – Really big names you wouldn’t usually see in a space this size! We’ve got Jimmy Carr, Paul Chowdhry, Daniel Sloss, Al Murray, Russell Kane, Simon Evans, Seann Walsh, Simon Brodkin and the marvellous Mark Watson. Wonderful women include Ruby Wax, Suzi Ruffell, Arabella Weir and Rachel Parris. Plus, a line-up of local comedians are joining Norfolk favourite Nelson Gombakomba.

Music – We have the one and only La Voix, Jazz with Joe Ringer, classy strings with Graffiti Classics, musical comedy with the two Jonnies – Jonny Awsum, plus Jonny and The Baptists, as well as the best of local bands presented by Norwich Arts Centre. There is Magic with Ben Hart. Performance poetry with the lovely Luke Wright. Laughter with Round The Horne.

For children and their grown-ups – My First Show: Little Bo Peep and Her Missing Sheep for tinies, George and the Dragon with Norwich Puppet Theatre for the braver over 5s, exciting morning activities and workshops in September. And then there is CIRCUS for all ages – Norwich’s very own Lost in Translation!

Performances will take place in a big top tent. How does the atmosphere differ to a theatre environment?

Lost in Translation have very generously made it possible for INTERLUDE to use their Big Top – called Marybelle – for the season. The tent is outside, with healthy breezes, trees and park in sight. But once inside and sitting in the safe bubbles of seats, all the concentration and pleasure is on the wonderful acts performing. Togetherness, just like the theatre.

There’s something uniquely ‘Norwich’ about the city coming together and making this happen. What has it been like working collaboratively with the other venues?

Brilliant! So lovely and warm and friendly. The arts organisations and venues are so special in Norwich. This tenting time is part of Norwich Theatre’s ‘During the Interval’ programme, while our venues have to be closed and it is not financially viable for performances with so few people allowed indoors. To counteract this, we have teamed up with partners from all over – as well as Lost in Translation, there’s Norwich Arts Centre, Norwich Puppet Theatre, The Garage, National Centre for Writing and the Norfolk & Norwich Festival, who are bringing ‘In Memoriam’ to Chapelfield, an instillation honouring the NHS workers and the past months.

image of The Shackleton Trio band

What does it mean to you to have live performance back in Norwich?

Oh, everything! That all those wonderful performers whose life blood it is to provide us with pleasure, culture, thoughtfulness, challenges, laughter – can be on stage again, hear applause and earn a bit to pay their bills. That we all come together, city and county communities, to rejoice that we can still care about art and pleasure. And of course, to be with each other – even with a bit of distancing!

Check out the INTERLUDE line up here