17 events to see as part of the Dragon Festival
08:00 07 February 2014
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Dragons are the creations of myth and legend - from St George to fantasy novels. But they’ve also had a long association with Norwich’s history, architecture and civic heritage, which the unmissable events below aim to highlight.
There Be Dragons
The Forum, Norwich, February 10-23, free admission, 01603 599570
See the winning and shortlisted entries of HEART’s 5th community photography competition celebrating dragons and other mythological beasts in Norwich’s heritage, and showcases inspiring photography talent from the region. Images have captured the dragons that can be seen across the city on sculptures, wall paintings, stained glass, internal detailing, exhibits in museums and architectural elements.
Dragon Trail and Secret Places
Cathedral of St John, Norwich, February 10-23, 11am-3pm, £2.50 per person, pre-book 01603 724381
The Catholic Cathedral has a whole array of dragons to be seen on this special tour. Hidden in the stained glass or carved in stone, these creatures are longing to be seen and recognised. You can search high and low, both inside the building and out. See what you can find and work out what secret message they have been waiting for you to reveal.
The Dragon’s Spell
Norwich City Centre, February 10-23, free admission, 01603 599570
Can you reveal the secrets hidden within The Dragon’s Spell? Writers’ Centre Norwich have set a challenge. They have commissioned the award-winning poet George Szirtes to write ‘The Dragon’s Spell’, which will weave its way through the city centre along this year’s Dragon Trail. Your challenge is to brave the journey, track down the dragons and uncover the cunningly concealed secret code that they are hiding. Pick up The Dragon’s Spell leaflet and entry form from Chapelfield or the Tourist Information Centre.
Dragon Under the Stairs
The Forum, Norwich, February 10-23, free admission
There’s a big dragon lurking inside the Forum throughout the festival. It has made its den under the stairs inside. Every now and again it will be breathing ‘fire’ on visitors. Beware!
Millennium Library, Norwich, February 11, 6pm, free admission, 01603 774781
Local historian Dr Mary Fewster will at this free talk be exploring the role and importance of dragons in Norwich. It will be held in the Norfolk Heritage Centre on the second floor.
Dragon Hall Tours
Dragon Hall, King Street, Norwich, February 11-21, £5 (£4.50 cons), 01603 663922
Explore Dragon Hall with an expert guide and discover the history of this fascinating medieval trading hall, one of the architectural gems of Norwich. A special family tour of the historic building takes place on Feburary 18 (2pm), suitable for children (7-16) with a family price of £5.
An Introduction to Heraldry
Millennium Library, Norwich, February 12, 12.30pm, free admission, 01603 222599
Part of the regular Wednesday Heritage Hour series, this free drop-in talk is aimed at heraldry beginners and provides an introduction to creating blazons (descriptions) of coats of arms from images (including dragons) – and vice versa.
Red Dragons and Others
Great Hospital, Bishopgate, Norwich, February 13, 12.30pm, free admission, 01603 599570
Dr John Alban discusses the dragon in Great Britain and Europe, from Roman times, through the Middle Ages and into the modern period. Taking as his starting point the impact of the dragon in Welsh culture and its significance to the Tudors, he will touch upon its appearance in the legends of King Arthur and St George and, in respect of the latter, will also consider the significance of the dragon to Norwich and Norfolk.
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
The Guildhall, Norwich, February 13, 6pm, £4 (including glass of mulled wine), pre-book on 01603 599570
Set to the backdrop of Norwich’s stunning medieval Guildhall, the Yarnsmith of Norwich will take you to a time when fairies still haunted bower and barn and dragons still slept soundly in their caves in a telling of the classic tale. Adding to the atmosphere, the stories will be accompanied by enchanting period music.
Dragon Hunter Workshop
Norwich Playhouse, February 15, 12pm/2pm, £5 per person, pre-book 01603 598598
Make your own fossil dragon, dinosaur or monster. Children will be able to sculpt a prehistoric piece of art using custom stamps and tools to create a mould from which the artist Matt Reeve will cast their very own fossil to paint and take home. Meanwhile until February 21, esteemed Victroian collector Colonel Augustus Viper has an free exhibition of dragon sculptures and cryptozoological fossils also at the Playhouse.
George and the Dragon
Norwich Castle Museum, February 15, 1pm/3pm, £2 plus normal admission, pre-book 01603 495897
Garlic Theatre’s award-winning production, a delicious mix of wit, humour and inventiveness combine to create one of the world’s most famous medieval legends of all time. With rod and glove puppetry, masks and live music, this show has been so successful it has toured to 15 countries. Suitable for ages 5+
Feast of the Slain Dragon
St Michael Coslany Church, February 15-16, 10am-3pm, £3 adv/£3.50 door, 01603 627889
A medieval re-enactment presented by Norfolk & Norwich Medieval Association. There will be specially crafted ales and locally sourced artisan breads and cheeses for purchase during the event, along with singing, medieval music and much teaching of the trades and crafts of old, plus hands-on discussion about weapons to use to dispatch an opposing army or even a pesky dragon. There will also be storytelling, bards and minstrels performing.
George Szirtes: The Dragon’s Spell
Assembly House, Norwich, February 18, 7pm, free admission, pre-book at www.writerscentrenorwich.co.uk
George Szirtes, winner of the T S Eliot Prize for Reel and shortlisted again in 2013 for Bad Machine, will launch The Dragon’s Spel’ with this reading from his work. This enchanted evening of poetry and music, curated by one of George’s former students, the singer-songwriter Robyn-Astrid, will also feature readings on the theme of
dragons and monsters by Meghan Purvis (the translator of Beowulf into English) and Keiron Pim (author of the newly published Bumper Book of Dinosaurs).
NORCA, Colegate, Norwich, February 18-19, 9.30am-4pm, two day £8 (£5 cons), £5 children/one day £5 (£3 cons), £3 children, pre-book 01603 760529
Creative workshops to create a dragon puppet or mask, working with artists from Tin House, aimed at anyone aged 10 and over. You will also have the opportunity to become one of the fearsome dragon’s brood and take part in a ‘carnivalesque’ performance being put on by the Carnival Company Project as part of a celebration of Mardi Gras on March 4.
Dotty the Dragon
Norwich Playhouse, February 20-22, 11am/1.30pm, £10, 01603 598598
Blunderbus Theatre return with their popular show about Dotty a baby fire dragon who lives at the top of a mountain with her grumpy dad, Mr Dragon. In the village below, everyone fears for their lives, but Dotty would loves to gaze down and watch the children playing in the orchard – and one day, she decides to pay them a surprise visit. It’s an enchanting fairytale adventure with live music, puppets and high energy storytelling. Suitable for ages 3–7.
Dragons in Japanese Art and Archaeology
Sainsbury Institute, Cathedral Close, Norwich, February 20, 1pm, free admission, pre-book 01603 597507
This talk will introduce images of dragons in Japanese art and archaeology from ancient times to the present, and will be given by Dr Simon Kaner.
Tale of Beowulf and the Dragon
The Guildhall, Norwich, February 21, 3pm, free admission, pre-book on 01603 599570
Go back to the time of the Vikings and Saxons, and hear tell of the bravest and strongest of all warriors and his fight with two terrible creatures – Grendel and a fire breathing dragon. Fantastical storytelling with the Yarnsmith of Norwich.