Video: Festival kicks off with a performance at Norwich station

Mary HamiltonA riotous circus performance at Norwich train station greeted visitors to the city in the final few hours before the Norfolk and Norwich Festival began today.Mary Hamilton

A riotous circus performance at Norwich train station greeted visitors to the city in the final few hours before the Norfolk and Norwich Festival began today.

Canadian duo Les Sept Doigt de la Main showed off a flamboyant combination of diablo, gymnastics and dance to mark yesterday's press launch of the Festival.

Today the Festival, which has already broken its box office records before it has begun, will be launched publicly with haircuts by children, drums at the Forum and a team of decorators firing confetti and streamers around the streets of Norwich.

Chief executive and artistic director Jonathan Holloway said: 'One of the most amazing things this year has been how well and how quickly tickets have sold.

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'By midday on Wednesday we had sold a higher value of tickets than we had managed over the whole event at any previous festival.

'Thirty years ago if you had mentioned carpenters in relation to the Festival people would have thought you meant a rock group. Now we have nine carpenters working to create sets and stages and put on performances.

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'We are in a golden age at the moment for art and for cultural activity in Norwich, with the City of Culture bid to back us up, and it's wonderful to see so many people taking ownership and getting involved in so many ways.

'I'm incredibly excited about the programme this year - and I'm lucky because I get to see a little bit of lots of things.

'Every time I see something that I think is exciting I put it in the Festival, so of course I'm looking forward to it very much, particularly John Cale, Jordi Savall's Jerusalem, the fireworks, and Die Roten Punkte towards the end of the Festival.

'We have some truly world-class performers this year, and we have also been focussing on our community engagement with things like Home Sweet Home and the festival flags project.

'I think that's more important than ever before - giving people the chance to debate and discuss and explore the arts.'

Jonathan Denby, head of corporate affairs at National Express East Anglia, said the company was proud to be principal sponsor and happy to be involved with the Festival.

'It's hugely important for Norwich and Norfolk as it brings so many people here,' he said. 'There is a real buzz about it this year and it has such a positive impact every time.'

Les Sept Doigt de la Main will be premiering their new show La Vie at the Spiegeltent from May 7 to May 17 at 7.30pm.

For more information and to book Festival tickets visit or call 01603 766400.

T View a video of the launch on

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