Get sprinting to Olympic themed events in Norwich

To coincide with the Olympic Torch passing through Norwich there are a whole host of Games linked events this week — from theatre to comedy based on ancient Greece. SIMON PARKIN previews what to see and where.


Chapelfield Gardens, Norwich, July 4, 5pm-7.30pm, free admission,

Make sure you get to Chapelfield Gardens early for this special Olympic Torch Relay stage show.

The show begins at 5pm with a performance of The Pulse, a feast of rhythm, movement and visuals starring local athletes, dancers, performers and musicians.

Produced by the Garage, people from across Norfolk were invited to take part and selected on the basis of an 'X-Factor' style audition. These have been fashioned into two 10-minute pieces by artistic director Aaron Sillis and musical director Marcus Patteson, bringing together talented people of all ages into performances that will celebrate the Olympic spirit.

That will be followed by up-and-coming band Morning Parade, acrobats and dancers, footage of the Olympic Torch Relay and a digital screen show. The last Torchbearer will light the Olympic cauldron on the stage before musicians and performers end the show. Celebrations then continue in the city centre.

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Norwich Playhouse, July 2, 7.30pm, �10 (�8 cons), �30 family, 01603 598598,

Made famous by the multi award-winning film Chariots of Fire, this brand new dramatisation, by Searchlight Theatre Company, brings to life on stage the incredibly inspiring story of Eric Liddell.

Liddell was so much more than merely one of Scotland's greatest Olympians, as in all areas of his life the gold medallist ran with a purpose, a desire to win for his country and to be honourable to God.

He came to epitomise the amateur sporting ethic. The devout Christian refused to run in the heats for his preferred event, the 100 metres, because they were held on a Sunday.

Set in Paris on July 6, 1924 — the night before he has been asked to run on the Sunday — the production brings to life the struggles Liddell overcome to stay true to his principles and what would await him once the Games were over. Incidentally, the Oscar-winning film is also back in cinemas on July 13.


Norwich Playhouse, July 5, 7.30pm, �10 (�8 cons), �30 family, 01603 598598,

Never mind London 2012, the real Olympic feat this summer is the return of Spike Theatre's riotous Hercuclean homage to the ancient Greeks. The claimed theatre company is engaged in a nationwide tour of the wild and witty show almost as long as the flame itself.

Based on an 'undiscovered' Aristophanes comedy, it revolves around a bet by Zeus, Hercules and Hera who literally play god with the lives of three human no-hopers, making them invincible and sending them off to glory at the Olympics.

The Games incorporates clown, original music, songs and shadow puppetry. Expect tomfoolery, twisting wordplay, physicality, music, puppets... and a lot of near nudity and comedy genitalia.


Various Locations, Norwich City Centre, July 4, 12.30pm-3pm, free admission,

Get your trainers on for a truly musical marathon as the Britten Sinfonia offer a unique series of simultaneous performances to coincide with the Olympic flame visit.

If you dash you will be able to catch the Sinfonia's ensembles and soloists at a series of historic locations in the centre of Norwich during the celebrations surrounding the Torch arrival.

Several ensembles will give short recitals at different locations which are just a few minutes' walk — or even better a sprint — from each other. Each ensemble will perform a range of music including a new piece specially commissioned from Norfolk-based composer Jane Wells. Performances include solo cello at the Guildhall (12.30pm), brass quintet at the Church of St Peter Mancroft (12.30pm/2.30pm), violin and tabla at Country & Eastern in Bethel Street (1pm/2pm/2.30pm), string quartet at the Assembly Rooms (1.30pm/3pm), and brass duo at Strangers' Hall Museum (2pm). Admission is free to all recitals, which last up to 25 minutes.


Norwich Playhouse, July 3, 7.30pm, �16.50, 01603 598598,

Having previously tackled the Bard, the Bible and ancient history, the 'bad boys of abridgement' are back in this Olympic year with a show tackling sport.

In typically compressed and hilarious show the entire history of athletic competition is revisited in a marathon of mayhem that sees the world's great sporting events shrunk down to theatrical size.

Among the many questions answered: is darts really a sport? Which is more boring – baseball or cricket? Who invented curling and synchronised swimming – and why are they in the Olympics?

This UK version follows a highly successful run in New York and a sell-out US tour, but don't worry they know the difference between American and British football.


Norwich Castle, July 4-6, 10.30pm-11.20pm, fee admission,

Spectacular 3D projections of walls tumbling, battles being fought and creatures emerging are being projected onto Norwich Castle over three nights.

The holographic style projections will light up the exterior of the castle between 10.30pm and 11.30pm each night in what is promised to be a 'never seen before event in Norwich'. Anyone who has seen this style of projection will know just what an eye-popping sight it is.

The best vantage point to see the castle come to life will be on the stretch of Castle Meadow between Davey Place and The Bell Hotel.

The projections also coincide with the start of this year's Lord's Mayor's Celebrations, which this year also have an Olympic theme. And on July 7 they will make way for the ever-popular fireworks from the castle to bring the curtain down on the penultimate day of celebrations.



Chapelfield Plain, Norwich, July 4, 12pm-5.30pm, free admission,

Live coverage on the big screen of the Olympic Torch Relay arriving in Norfolk and making its way through Norwich to the celebration in Chapelfield Gardens.


Norwich City Centre, June 4, 5pm-10.15pm, free admission,

Experience a magical journey through streets awash with dazzling acts from the unexpected to the fantastically wacky. Stumble upon the marvellous mechanical boat, roaring dragons, mass drummers, stilt walkers, amazing feats of gymnastics, paparazzi, Olympic buffoons, Morris dancers, all manner of sporty visions.


Pilch Sports, London Street, Norwich, July 4, 12pm-5.30pm, free admission,

City College Norwich students, and local sports clubs, demonstrate, act, dance and sing to show what Olympic activity looked like through the ages — all in the window of Pilch sports shop.


Duke Street, Norwich, July 4, free admission,

A playful visual installation on the old Eastern Electricity building on Duke Street will animate this striking city centre building. Inspired by the game of Tetris, the empty and disused windows will be brought back to life using blocks of colour.