'It feels extraordinary' - Norfolk and Norwich Festival opens for 2021

Festival director Daniel Brine, right, and Oozing Gloop, from the opening show Don't Touch Duckie.

Festival director Daniel Brine, right, and Oozing Gloop from the opening show Don't Touch Duckie with cardboard cut-outs of themselves, which fill the gaps in the socially distanced audience, at the launch of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2021. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

The Norfolk and Norwich Festival has opened for its 2021 season, promising an eclectic mix of live music, art, theatre and everything in between. 

The festival, which was cancelled last year due to the pandemic, opened on the day indoor and outdoor performances could return under the government's roadmap out of lockdown. 

This year's event is running until May 30 and is a one-off adaptation so it can go ahead with social distancing in place, opening with drag cabaret show Don't Touch Duckie in St Andrew's Hall in Norwich and also broadcast online.  

Oozing Gloop, from the opening show Don't Touch Duckie, at the launch of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2021.

Oozing Gloop, from the opening show Don't Touch Duckie, at the launch of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2021. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Alongside indoor performances, there is an extensive outdoor programme and also a digital strand, with online shows and experience packs.

Festival director Daniel Brine was determined to put on a Norfolk and Norwich Festival this year and the whole programme is pay what you want. 

Mr Brine said: "I didn't think we'd get here and I'm so nervous but also so excited that we are bringing the festival to Norwich - it feels extraordinary. 

Festival director Daniel Brine with a cardboard cut-out of himself.

Festival director Daniel Brine with a cardboard cut-out of himself from the opening show Don't Touch Duckie, at the launch of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2021. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

"We have made it pay what you want as we want as many people as possible to come to the festival and it has been a tough year for everyone."

This has also been made possible by funding from Arts Council England, Norwich City Council and it also received £77,250 from the government's Culture Recovery Fund.

For the duration of the event, Chapelfield Gardens will become Festival Gardens, with a jam-packed programme planned, including the Garden Party on the middle weekend (May 22 to 23) and Garden Sessions, in collaboration with city music festival Wild Paths, on the final one (May 29 to 30).

Also in Chapelfield Gardens until May 23 will be the world premiere of Kaleider's Robot Selfie, where people can send in selfies and a wall-drawing robot will turn them into a giant digital mural.

Kaleider's Robot Selfie will create a giant mural in Chapelfield Gardens for the Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2021.

Kaleider's Robot Selfie will create a giant mural in Chapelfield Gardens for the Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2021. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

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Seth Honnor, founder and artistic director of Kaleider, said: "At a time when we have been distanced from each other in so many ways, we really hope that Robot Selfie brings us together.

"It is a really joyous project, reminding us of humanity, community and fun."

Submit a selfie for free at robotselfie.live/norwich.

See the full 2021 programme and book at nnfestival.org.uk

Our Summer in the City campaign encourages people to make the most of all Norwich has to offer this summer.

Our Summer in the City campaign encourages people to make the most of all Norwich has to offer this summer. - Credit: Archant

Our Summer in the City campaign encourages people to get out and about in Norwich this summer, and to make the most of its shops, pubs and restaurants and events.

Summer in the City is sponsored by Chantry Place and Norwich BID.

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