Love Local and support Norwich’s arts venues

From comedy and drama to gigs and musicals – Norwich's arts venues offer a huge range of entertainment and a lot more besides.

The venues help the city have a thriving arts scene, boost the local economy, and give great opportunities on-stage and off to local people – that is why it is so important we support them.

Norwich Theatre Royal hosts a huge range of shows from West End musicals to serious drama and opera. It is has a great education programme, and each Christmas entertains people young and old with its in-house pantomime.

Chief executive Peter Wilson said: 'What we are is a home for great shows and great audiences. Our aim is that in each five to eight week period people should be able to see an example of every performance art form.' He said the theatre aimed to offer tickets at cheaper prices than people would pay in London's West End.

He said the theatre, along with all of Norfolk's other theatrical venues big and small, was a community venture and the job of all of them was to help their local communities.

'We help restaurants, we help taxi firms, we help hotels and bed and breakfasts – the arts venues are responsible for a lot of economic churn,' he said, adding the theatre also had an important education role. 'Last year we sold over 31,000 tickets to young people, we had 57 work experience placements and we entertained 480 school parties.'

The Maddermarket Theatre puts on 12 of its own shows annually and has an education department for adults and children. Michael Lyas, from the theatre, said it gave local people the chance to gain experience to further their theatrical ambitions on and off stage or just enjoy being involved as a hobby.

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'The Maddermarket has been described as a jewel in Norwich's crown. We believe it is a jewel and we want to encourage other people to enjoy it too,' he said.

Norwich Puppet Theatre, in Whitefriars, is one of only two puppet theatres in the country.

Ian Woods said it has given many puppeteers experience to further their careers, and as well as putting on shows the theatre runs adults and children's workshops.

'People should come to Norwich Puppet Theatre because they will be entertained, intrigued and have a good time, and they will be supporting a local institution that really needs their support,' he said.

Norwich Arts Centre is the place to watch emerging bands and comedians. Director Stuart Hobday said Coldplay performed there four times before becoming famous. 'We are always supporting new talent and a lot of the talent is local,' he said. He added the centre played a big role in the community through charity events and projects like Shop Art and the NORWICHRISTMAS Tree Art Trail.

At Norwich Playhouse general manager Caroline Richardson said the venue put on a wide range of shows, did a lot of education work, and had a very popular bar. She said its intimate setting was one of the things that made it special.

'The Playhouse is a really friendly local venue. It is a really warm, exciting, intimate space with a programme full of dance, drama, music and comedy,' she said.

• Are you involved in a new arts project? Call reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email

What's on at some of the city's theatres and arts venues:

• Sleeping Beauty is at Norwich Theatre Royal from December 14 until January 15.

Former Emmerdale star and Dancing on Ice winner Hayley Tamaddon is playing Sleeping Beauty and other stars include Kevin Sacre (Jake Dean in Hollyoaks) and Helen Fraser ('Bodybag' Sylvia Hollamby in Bad Girls).

Ticket range from �5-�19. To book call 01603 630000 or visit

• A Christmas Carol is at the Maddermarket Theatre from December 17 until January 3.

Tickets cost �8-�12. To book call 01603 620917 or visit

• Red Riding Hood is at Norwich Puppet Theatre from December 17 until December 31. Tickets cost �3-�20. To book call 01603 629921 or visit

• The Very Snowy Christmas is at Norwich Arts Centre on December 20 at 11.30am and 2.30pm. For more information on performances at Norwich Arts Centre call 01603 660352 or visit

• The Tiger Lillies will be at the Norwich Playhouse on Monday and TuesdayDec 12 and 13. Tickets cost �16.50. For more details on Norwich Playhouse shows call 01603 598598 or visit