Dinosaurs, Icelandic sheep, tea dances and more at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2012

From giant prehistoric beasts to vintage tea dances, to the adventures of Icelandic sheep, there is something for everyone in the weird and wonderful mix of entertainment coming to the city for this year's Norfolk and Norwich Festival.

The full line-up for the festival that runs from May 11 to 26 was launched at Norwich Theatre Royal today.

Now one of the most significant arts festivals in the UK, this year's Norfolk and Norwich Festival has more than 100 events on its programme, ranging from the classical to the quirky and the completely bizarre.

Norfolk and Norwich Festival artistic director William Galinsky said: 'The festival is about people all over Norwich and Norfolk and from anywhere else coming here to have a great time, and to experience the best of arts and culture from across the globe.

'It is about having great fun and seeing some great concerts, shows and art, and having life-changing experiences. It is about taking part and getting your hands dirty. It is about everything from meeting dinosaurs to seeing ordinary people telling their real-life stories, to hearing some fantastic young musicians playing some great music.


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'I am hoping there is something for everyone, or rather seven or eight things for everyone! I hope people will find some old favourites in the programme and that they will also find things they want to try that they have never experienced before.'

The festival will be kicking off at Gentleman's Walk in Norwich on Friday, May 11 with a free spectacular UK premiere in which a mythical world will come alive - Invasion by Close Act, based in The Netherlands, will see giant beasts move through the audience and prehistoric birds fly overhead.

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Erth's Dinosaur Petting Zoo is also travelling to Norwich from Australia to give families the unique chance to meet some of its fabulous beasts in another one of the festival's free events.

Chapelfield Gardens will play host to a huge array of events including The Garden Party, a free weekend of entertainment full of outdoor performances and international street theatre for the whole family, and the Festival Feast on May 26 where people are being invited to bring their own food and also tuck into a great cultural feast of fun.

The Spiegeltent, a regular festival favourite, is back at Chapelfield Gardens and will this year be here for the whole festival, bringing together the best music, cabaret, comedy and theatre in what is described as its most diverse programme to date.

Ragroof Tea Dances, Ida Barr's Artificial Hip Hop and Bingo Extravaganza, Lili La Scala's Songs to Make You Smile, and the Bo Nanafana Family Social are among the array of Spiegeltent treats.

More fun for the whole family includes the multi-media show Kindur: The Adventurous Life of Icelandic Sheep in which families join three sheep on an interactive journey through Iceland's fairytale glacial landscape, and a rock'n'roll adventure called Kid Carpet and the Noisy Animals.

Other festival highlights include AirHotel at Holt Hall, where people are invited to enjoy a stay in a crazy tree-top bed and breakfast, which as well as being a work of art, is also an intriguing place to stay, and Motor Show, from the people who brought Electric Hotel to Norwich in 2010, which will be using a city centre car park for a large-scale outdoor dance performance.

The previously-announced Nigel Kennedy Quintet will also be coming to Norwich as part of the musical line-up, which includes classical and contemporary music from all over the globe ,including Grammy Award-winning American guitarist Duane Eddy, Afrocubism, from Cuba and Mali and Jerry Dammers' Spatial AKA Orchestra.

This year's Festival Chorus and the London Philharmonic Orchestra will perform Elgar's Sea Pictures - a work which actually had its world premiere at the festival in 1899.

The show 100% Norfolk will star a cast of 100 ordinary Norfolk folk who will take part in a live gameshow giving an insight into Norfolk-life, while this year's Voice Project performance, called Singing in the City - From Dawn to Dusk, is a musical mystery tour that will wind its way through Norwich's medieval heritage and finish at Norwich Cathedral as the sun sets.

• Tickets for the Norfolk and Norwich Festival events go on sale tomorrow at 10am. For details of the full line-up of events and to book tickets visit www.nnfestival.org.uk

Tickets can also be booked by calling 01603 766400 or in person at Norwich Theatre Royal.

The festival also includes a range of free and unticketed events.

• Are you organising an arts project? Call reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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