Norwich Theatre is delighted to announce the return of its outdoor season of live performances and creative activities, INTERLUDE in the CLOSE. The season will take place in the iconic and historic Norwich Cathedral Close in a big-top circus tent, from 14 July to 30 August 2021, in partnership with Lost in Translation Circus, Norwich Cathedral and Norwich School. Norwich Theatre will also be supporting with events and activities as the National History Museum’s Dippy on Tour arrives in Norwich from 13 July, set to be one of the major cultural events in the East of England.
INTERLUDE in the CLOSE will feature multi-artform performances and creative experiences for all ages, bridging the gap until Norwich Theatre’s indoor venues fully re-open in Autumn 2021. The season will include The Wind in the Willows musical created by the multi-award winning team Julian Fellowes and Stiles & Drewe, Out of Chaos’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the ever-popular cycling theatre company The Handlebards’ The Importance of Being Earnest, major names from the world of comedy including Rhod Gilbert, Russell Kane and Henning Wehn, culminating with a week of circus performances from Norwich’s own Lost in Translation Circus alongside other international companies.
INTERLUDE in the CLOSE‘s packed programme of events and activities will support and compliment the National History Museum’s Dippy on Tour as the museum’s much-loved Diplodocus cast comes to Norwich Cathedral from 13 July to 30 October 2021. Dippy’s much-anticipated visit to Norwich has long been set to be one of the major cultural events in the East of England. INTERLUDE in the CLOSE will support its opening and run in tandem for six weeks, providing an holistic cultural experience for visitors to Norwich and elevating the city’s already fast-growing reputation as a top UK tourist destination. This will begin with an opening Circus Spectacular on Tuesday 13 July, the day of Dippy’s first opening to the public and will kick-off an animal theme that will run throughout the INTERLUDE in the CLOSE programme.
Opening on Wednesday 14 July, The Wind in the Willows is a beautiful and enchanting musical production written by Academy Award winning Julian Fellowes with music by the award-winning Stiles & Drewe. Launching the season thanks to Norwich Theatre’s ongoing relationship with the Turbine Theatre, London, the production was last seen at the London Palladium in 2018. The Wind in the Willows has been specially adapted for a more intimate outdoor performance and for families and people of all ages.
Later in the season, CBeebies fans are also in for a treat as Sarah & Duck bring their adventures to Norwich and, especially for Dippy’s opening in Norwich, University of East Anglia Professor of Evolutionary Biology and Science Engagement Ben Garrod will bring evolution to life with his fun and informative show based on his popular books, So You Think You Know About Dinosaurs.
INTERLUDE in the CLOSE will culminate with a week of circus performances from Norwich’s own Lost in Translation Circus alongside other international companies. The final day on Bank Holiday Monday 30 August will be a circus-based celebration of community and togetherness in the city.
Alongside top comedians transferring from Norwich Theatre Playhouse, including Richard Herring, Tom Stade and Rhys James, the season will include a further line-up of major comedy names including Rhod Gilbert, Russell Kane, Henning Wehn, Daniel Sloss and Gary Delaney with further names to be announced soon.
Two exciting theatre companies will re-imagine a much-loved play for this iconic outdoor setting with Out of Chaos bringing Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream to the big-top and the ever-popular cycling theatre company, The Handlebards, staging Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.
A very important new addition this year is a programme of educational and engagement activities for school-age children and community groups. Developed in response to the challenges posed by COVID and the impact the pandemic has had on learning and mental health and wellbeing, these sessions will take place during day times within the big-top and be delivered in partnership between Norwich Theatre, Norwich Cathedral and Norwich School.
INTERLUDE first ran in 2020 as part of Norwich Theatre’s During the Interval programme, becoming one of the first arts organisations nationwide to stage live performances last year. The season is designed to be not only COVID-safe but COVID-resilient, ensuring all events can be delivered even if Stage 4 of the Government’s roadmap is delayed, and if levels of social distancing for outdoor performances remain in place through the summer.
Stephen Crocker, Chief Executive & Creative Director of Norwich Theatre, said: “INTERLUDE was originally conceived as a hugely creative, boldly ambitious and proudly resilient response to bringing back live performance to Norwich in a safe way and that remains at the heart of INTERLUDE in the CLOSE. We were bowled over by how much both performers and audiences alike loved the original concept. It also had important and demonstrable impact in terms of re-energising the creative ecology, supporting our city centre economy and generating a much needed sense of togetherness for communities after such a long time apart. I am thrilled that we’ve developed a unique third edition for 2021 with fantastic new partners in Norwich Cathedral and Norwich School and supporting Dippy’s much anticipated visit to Norwich. For me, INTERLUDE embodies how working in true partnership under-pinned by equality of objectives and shared values, can make extraordinary things happen whatever the challenges might be.”
Steffan Griffiths, Headmaster of Norwich School, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Norwich Theatre and the Cathedral with this exciting initiative to sustain and reinvigorate the Arts during a summer of reconnection. The Close is at the heart of this vibrant city and we are sure that the whole community will enjoy the opportunities enabled by this unique collaboration.”
The Very Revd Jane Hedges, Dean of Norwich, said: “We are delighted that INTERLUDE is coming to the Close this summer. As a partner in this project we hope in some small way to be playing our part in encouraging the recovery of cultural activity in the heart of our city. The arts play an absolutely essential part our well-being and we trust that the wonderful variety of performances being planned will bring a huge amount of pleasure to both children and adults from our local community as well as from further afield.”
Massimiliano Rossetti, Artistic Director of Lost in Translation Circus, said: “I’m thrilled to be working with Norwich Theatre for a second year on the amazing event that is INTERLUDE, helping to bring live performances back to Norwich. Our brand new big-top tent will open to audiences from Norwich and beyond in July and welcome artists from all over the world performing alongside local talent including my own company Lost in Translation Circus. Set in the beautiful grounds of Norwich Cathedral, this outdoor season is extremely special to me as it brings back memories of when I performed in the Vatican City in Rome years ago.”
INTERLUDE in the CLOSE runs from 14 July to 30 August 2021. Shows announced today will go on sale Friday 14 May at 12 noon. Further programming will be announced soon.