50 things not to miss this autumn

Summer might be slipping away, but autumn won't disappoint. From art to dance, music to theatre, there's a plethora of cultural delights taking over in the coming weeks. SIMON PARKIN offers a guide to this autumn's hottest tickets.


1. Equus

Norwich Playhouse, September 20-21

Inspired by a true story, Peter Shaffer's unique psychological thriller explores the complex relationships between worship, myth and sexuality. A youth who blinds six horses with a metal spike is sent to a secure psychiatric hospital where a child psychiatrist begins to probe his past in an attempt to understand his motives. The London Classic Theatre's production comes hot the heels of the critically-acclaimed West End production that starred Daniel Radcliffe and Richard Griffiths.

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2. Friend or Foe

Norwich Playhouse, October 4-5

Scamp Theatre and Watford Palace Theatre adapt the bestselling novel by Michael Morpurgo for the stage. Set at the height of the Second World War, two boys, embark on a wondrous adventure deep in the Devonshire countryside. Evacuated from London, David and Tucky's new lives are tranquil until a German bomber crashes. The boys feel they should hate the airmen inside, but one of them saves David's life.

3. No Man's Land

Maddermarket Theatre, October 20-29

One of Harold Pinter's most powerful plays, which was instantly acclaimed when it was first performed starring Sir Ralph Richardson and Sir John Gielgud at the Old Vic in 1975, is tackled by the Maddermarket. Set in a luxurious Hampstead house, the main protagonists, Hirst and Spooner, play out a game of words and memories. Do they really know one another, or is their relationship a charade?

4. Top Hat

Norwich Theatre Royal, October 25-November 5

Fred & Ginger's greatest Hollywood dance musical is brought to the stage for the first time in this glitzy production with lavish costumes and sensational dancing. Strictly Come Dancing winner Tom Chambers plays Jerry Travers, the famous American tap dancer who arrives in London where he meets the irresistible Dale Tremont, the girl of his dreams, played by triple Olivier Award nominee Summer Strallen. Irving Berlin's celebrated score features such classics as Cheek to Cheek, Let's Face The Music & Dance and Top Hat, White Tie & Tails.

5. David Walliams' Mr Stink

Norwich Theatre Royal, October 27-30

David Walliams has written the smelliest book of all time, which now breaks new ground in this scratch 'n' sniff production bringing Mr Stinkpongingly to life. Walliams may not be in the show, but his trademark Little Britain humour is well to the fore in this story of uncool Chloe who doesn't like school very much and who meets Mr Stink — the local tramp who has more to him than meets the nose.

6. Grease

Norwich Theatre Royal, November 22-December 3

The ever-popular musical — which is basically the original High School musical — returns for what's sure to be another hit run with Danny Bayne, winner of ITV's Grease Is The Word, starring as Danny and Carina Gillespie as Sandy. The musical features all the unforgettable songs from the hit movie including You're The One That I Want, Grease Is The Word, Summer Nights,

Hopelessly Devoted To You, Sandy and Greased Lightnin'.


7. The Black Umfolosi

Norwich Playhouse, October 22

Zimbabwe's greatest ambassadors, perform music inspired by the traditional song and dance of their native southern Africa, with a beauty and enthusiasm that is unrivalled. Black Umfolosi were formed in 1982 by school friends in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, who named themselves after the Umfolozi Omnyama River in South Africa to where their ancestors can be traced. Their latest show mixes their trademark harmonies with intricate rhythms, clicking and clapping during their brilliantly exuberant choreographed shows.

8. Norfolk Dance Triple

Norwich Playhouse, November 4

Norfolk Dance presents another three-part show featuring the work from local dancers and choreographers. Palimpsest, choreographed by Laura McGill, explorez the notion that the body is a Palimpsest – an instrument to be rewritten on leaving a code to be deciphered. 30 Cecil Street, by Dan Canham, uses film from a dilapidated theatre in Limerick, Ireland, while Chairs, choreographed by Sarah Lewis and Steve Johnstone, fantasy blurs into reality for a couple as they prepare for expected guests.

9. Mar�a, Pasi�n

Norwich Playhouse, November 5

Noelia Sabarea is one of the premier flamenco exponents in Spain today and has worked with many famous names including Merche Esmeralda, Antonio Canales, Eva 'Yerbabuena' and Manolo Mar�n, as well as appearing at festivals and competitions throughout Europe. This spectacular new show from her exciting company will feature a fusion of colourful costumes, mesmerising dancing and music that will transport you instantly to sundrenched Spain. Flamenco with a flourish.

10. Rambert Dance Company

Norwich Theatre Royal, November 10-11

This year celebrating its 85th year, the Rambert returns to the Theatre Royal with a new programme that includes the world premiere of artistic director Mark Baldwin's magical and playful new work, Seven For A Secret, Never To Be Told, inspired by the music of Ravel. The programme also features Rain Forest by American dance icon Merce Cunningham, a heady and hypnotic piece from the late 1960s. And there will be a welcome reprising of Itzik Galili's multi-coloured and sensational samba-inspired A Linha Curva.


11. Rugs! Rugs! Rugs!

Norwich Arts Centre, from September 24

Mark Mothersbaugh is the creative force behind legendary band DEVO. He has always also created visual art and this UK exclusive exhibition features his latest work, rugs featuring his trademark themes of human devolution and macabre humour.

12. Mary Webb: Journeys in Colour

Sainsbury Centre, from September 27

Suffolk-based Mary Webb is an artist with a passion for colour and the landscape. Journeys in Colour features art from 1968 to the present day and is the largest ever exhibition of her work. On display will be striking abstract paintings, screen prints, drawings and collages.

13. Griff Rhys Jones' Ghanaian 'Fantasy Coffin'

Sainsbury Centre, from September 27

Anyone who saw the BBC series Hidden Treasures of Africa may remember the remarkably realistic TV camera coffin specially created for presenter Griff Rhys Jones. Now there is a chance to see it up close as well as getting an insight into Ga religious beliefs and associated rites and rituals.

14. Family Matters: The Family in British Art

Norwich Castle Museum, from October 15

This ambitious touring exhibition shows how the subject of the family has been and continues to be a challenging yet enduring subject for artists. Divided thematically, it showcases the best of British art with works by David Hockney, Anthony van Dyck, William Hogarth and Tracey Emin.


15. I Don't Know How She Does It

September 16

Sarah Jessica Parker, Greg Kinnear and Pierce Brosnan star in this Hollywood rom-com of Allison Pearson's bestselling novel about a working mother juggling nine different currencies in five different time zones and getting two children washed and dressed and out of the house inside half an hour.

16. Tyrannosaur

October 7

Fans of Shane Meadows will rejoice at this brawny social drama from actor turned first-time writer/director Paddy Considine. It follows the story of two lonely, damaged people brought together by circumstance. Peter Mullan's Joseph is an unemployed violent alcoholic. Olivia Colman's Hannah is a Christian worker at a charity shop.

17. The Debt

October 14

Helen Mirren and Sam Worthington star in this powerful story of a former Mossad agent who endeavours to capture and bring to trial a notorious Nazi war criminal – the Surgeon of Birkenau – in a secret Israeli mission that ended with his death on the streets of East Berlin.

18. We Need To Talk About Kevin

October 21

British director Lynne Ramsey is one of the most exciting around so it should be fascinating to see what she has done with Lionel Shriver's bestselling book about a middle-aged mother shell shocked her son is heading to prison for a Columbine-style atrocity. Tilda Swinton stars.

19. The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn

October 26

Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson team up for this much-anticipated big screen adaptation of the adventurers of the young reporter. The cream of British acting talent star, including Jamie Bell as Tintin and Andy Serkis as Captain Haddock, plus Daniel Craig and Simon Pegg. It combines the plots of three Tintin tales and uses motion capture for what looks like groundbreaking visuals.

20. Tabloid

November 11

The latest film from documentary master Errol Morris, a look a Britain's popular press, could hardly be more timely given the fuss over 'hack-gate'. He uses the case of an American beauty queen who in 1977 was lured into sex games and found herself all over the press, as his starting point.


21. Lee Nelson

Norwich Arts Centre, September 25

Comedian Simon Brodkin — the man who inhabits Lee Nelson — returns fresh from his hit BBC3 show. The show seems to divide opinion but, but even its critics admit it has its moments and his many other characters, such as Jason Bent the prancing footballer, are pretty funny too. See what the fuss is about here as he dons his 'tracky-bottoms' and gold-chains for a whole evening of comic characterisation.

22. Adam Hills

Norwich Playhouse, October 8-9

After sold-out seasons at the Edinburgh Fringe, and in London's West End, Australia comic Adam Hills, who has appeared on Live At The Apollo, is a regular guest on Mock The Week, returns to the Playhouse for two nights with an adlibbing extravaganza. Mess Around showcases his penchant for spontaneity as he bases almost an entire show around the audience. No script, no plan, but, hopefully not, no idea.

23. Russell Kane

Norwich Playhouse, October 14

A major comedy name who needs no introduction to Norwich audiences. Having made it third time lucky when he scooped the Fosters Comedy Award Winner at Edinburgh in 2010, Russell Kane has since starred of loads of stuff on telly. His latest show Manscaping sees him mercilessly exploring the ridiculous state of masculinity in the modern world.

24. Reginald D Hunter

Norwich Theatre Royal, October 16

In just over a decade since he began performing, Reginald D Hunter has become one of the UK comedy industry's best-known and most distinctive performers, a regular on the likes of QI and Have I Got News For You. Live his stand-up is often brutally honest, frequently controversial but always meticulously measured and thought out. He is one of the few performers to have been nominated for the highly coveted Perrier Award in three consecutive years.

25. Tommy Tiernan

Norwich Playhouse, October 29

Irish comic Tommy Tiernan mastery of stand-up allows him to take risks other comedians dare not. Through hi-larious storytelling and a high energy, non-apologetic delivery he continually challenging his audience. To see him live is a rare treat, as his stories unfold and themes are elaborated his performance mesmerises as his lyrical way with words make you laugh harder than you'd ever believe possible.

26. Mitch Benn

Norwich Arts Centre, November 9

From BBC Radio 4's Now Show and BBC1's One Show, Mitch Benn is one of the country's best musical satirists and he is making his first solo appearance in 12 years. The multi-award winner and his band will offer a two hour show packed with new songs and old favourites.

27. Daniel Sloss

Norwich Arts Centre, November 17

Scotland's half-man-half-Xbox, hormone-ridden comic prodigy started doing stand-up aged 16 and has already appeared on Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow, 8/10 Cats, Jason Manford's Comedy Rocks, Rob Brydon Show and numerous others, though he's yet to quite get the name recognition. That could well change with his latest show The Joker.


28. Hard-Fi

Waterfront, September 21

Fresh from releasing Killer Sounds, their first album in four years, Hard-Fi pay a surprisingly low key visit to the city. Expect plenty of catchy, instant and anthemic tunes such as Living for the Weekend. Last time they were headlining arenas, so this date at the intimate Waterfront will be a real treat.

29. Emmy the Great

Norwich Arts Centre, September 27

Emmy The Great's new album Virtue, which began as a series of stories after the disintegration of her engagement — her fianc� left her for the church, picked up outstanding reviews. Musically her palette includes strange, ambi-ent, twisted and atmospheric sounds — the ghosts of the Cocteau Twins and Suzanne Vega are present.

30. Enter Shikari

UEA, October 5

Having toured mercilessly since forming in 2003, Enter Shikari are now well known for powerful live perform-ances with energetic breaks and interludes during sets. It has been nearly two years since they last undertook a full UK headline tour, so expectations for this are high.

31. Bombay Bicycle Club

UEA, October 10

No strangers to the city — they headlined Norwich Puppet Theatre on one memorable occasion — Bombay Bicy-cle Club return to Norwich in support of their third album, A Different Kind Of Fix. The quartet have made steady progress and developed musically and look on the brink of a major breakthrough.

32. The Horrors

Waterfront, October 11

Having bridged the unseen gap between a number of musical genres in the past including punk, garage rock, goth and indie, The Horrors moved on again for their third album Skying, which contains huge nods towards 1980s new wave and even, shock horror, stadium anthems.

33. The Pierces

Waterfront, October 16

New York-based sisters Catherine and Allison blend enchanting folk riffs with sultry, smokey voices. With ele-ments of folk in their close, keening pop harmonies, their songs draw the sort of beauty that a classic Stevie Nicks song always had.

34. Noah & The Whale

UEA, October 19

Aftre the lovelorn moping of their second album The First Days of Spring, Noah & The Whale have moved on, releasing an excellent third album, Last Night On Earth, that builds on their nu-folk roots and adds gleaming cho-ruses, buzzing synths and infectious melodies. It seems to have won them more fans too, as this date is already sold-out too.

35. Ed Sheeran

UEA, October 23

The East Anglian singer/songwriter celebrates the release of his eagerly-anticipated major label debut album '+' and major singles chart success with a triumphant return to Norwich, after three sold out nights at the Watrefront earlier in the year, this time headlining the UEA.

36. Wretch 32

Waterfront, October 30

Everybody's talking about Jermaine Scott — aka Wretch 32. Adele and Jessie J have penned excited tweets about him, and P Diddy and Mark Ronson have asked him to jump up on stage with them. He is the new don of UK hip hop – 'the metaphor man', as fellow Brit rapper Devlin calls him.


37. Atongo Zimba

Norwich Arts Centre, October 6

Atongo Zimba was born in the savannahs of northern Ghana and was taught by his grandfather to play the koliko– a two stringed calabash lute. Following the nomination of his third European release, Barefoot in the Sand, as Af-rican album of the year, he returns to promote his latest, Sankuune, which marks a return to his acoustic roots.

38. Sarah Ellen Hughes Quartet

Greeen Man, Rackheath, October 18

Award-winning former National Youth Jazz Orchestra vocalist Sarah Ellen Hughes won the Jazz Voices competi-tion last year and is a rising star. Her album, Darning The Dream, featuring Jim Hart, Dave O'Higgins and Ian Shaw, received much critical acclaim. For this date she will be joined by her quartet.

39. Laura Marling

Norwich Cathedral, October 19

For what promises to be perhaps the gig of the autumn, as folk's new golden girl, having just released her hugely anticipated new album, A Creature I Don't Know, brings her band to the unusual surroundings of Norwich Cathe-dral as part of a run of shows in some of each country's oldest, sometimes eeriest, and often beautiful buildings.

40. The Ukulele Orchestra Of Great Britain

Norwich Theatre Royal, December 5

Having sixteen-handedly turned the world on to the ukulele, the Ukes will appear on the Theatre Royal stage with one ukulele each, no gimmicks, no tricks, no vocal enhancers or overproduced wizardry. You'll never think about music in the same way again.


41. Death and the Maiden

Norwich Theatre Royal, October 2

Norwegian violinist Henning Kraggerud is renowned for gripping audiences with his effortless virtuosity. In the first Theatre Royal concert of the Britten Sinfonia's new season he directs Mahler's orchestration of Schubert's fiercely intense Death and the Maiden. He will also performs one of Mozart's most delightful Violin Concertos and Kreisler l'entre deux guerres, a new work from young composer Piers Tattersall.

42. The Vienna Proms

St Andrew's Hall, November 12

The National Concert Orchestra Of Great Britain, conducted by Greg Francis and featuring The Strauss Waltzers perform an evening recreating the wonderful summer night concerts given in Vienna. The concert will feature the ever popular Die Fledermaus and a host of Strauss waltzes and polkas including The Blue Danube, Vienna Blood, The Merry Widow and Tritsh-Tratsh Polka.

43. Tak�cs String Quartet

John Innes Centre, October 15/16

The Norfolk & Norwich Music continue to celebrate their 60th anniversary year of international classical music chamber concerts with artists who are leaders in their fields with the Tak�cs String Quartet, founded in Hungary in 1975, but now based in Boulder, Colorado. They'll play over two days music for which they are justly renowned, Bart�k's complete cycle of six string quartets.

44. Glynebourne on Tour

Norwich Theatre Royal, November 15-19

Three operas in one week as Glynebourne returns to the Theatre Royal. There will be performances of David McVicar's much-loved take on La Boh�me, which adds a worldly realism to Puccini's heartbreaking score. Robert Carsen, director of 2010's praised The Coronation of Poppea, creates a new production of Handel's Rinaldo, while acclaimed director Mariame Cl�ment tackles Donizetti's Don Pasquale.


45. The Verb

Norwich Arts Centre, October 6

The Bard of Barnsley Ian McMillan brings his BBC Radio 3 programme to the Arts Centre for a specially recorded edition of this unique showcase of the best new writing, poetry and cutting-edge performance. His guests will in-clude local writers Deborah Stevenson and John Osborne, who will premiere a new piece, and Philip Langeskov reads a new piece inspired by landscape of the Suffolk coast.

46. Richard Dawkins

UEA, October 26

The scientist and author of bestsellers including The Selfish Gene and The God Delusion, which has sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide, is never one to mince his words, so this talk about his latest book, The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True, which sees him teamed up with renowned illustrator Dave McKean, is sure to be fascinating.

47. Jeffrey Eugenides

UEA, November 3

American author Jeffrey Eugenides, whose previous novels have included The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex, pays a visit to the UEA as part of the autumn literary festival to talk about his latest novel The Marriage Plot, which is picking up good reviews.

48. Scroobius Pip

Waterfront, November 6

Distinctively attired in trucker cap, charity shop suit and that beard, Scroobius Pip is a leading light and unmistak-able face of the UK's spoken word scene. He will be proffering more of his everyman polemics.

49. Luke Wright

Norwich Arts Centre, November 16

Norwich poet-in-chief Luke Wright returns with a new show that presents eight caustic tales from 'broken Britain'. Between each poem, he will be offering a pithy crash course in the history of balladry, from broadsides to Chris-tina Aguilera.

50. John Cooper Clarke

Norwich Arts Centre, November 24

The legendary John Cooper Clarke returns. Since the punk days, he has been recognised as one of England's most important poets and performers with biting, satirical, political and very funny verse delivered in a rapid-fire per-formance style.