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Great Festivals for Everyone in 2013!

  • Date: 29 May 2013
  • Area: South East
People celebrate the opening of Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2013

Reve D’Herbert by Compagnie des Quidams at Norwich Cathedral during the opening of Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2013. Credit: Jemma Mickleburgh

Festival season is well and truly upon us in the East! We have already enjoyed all that SPILL, HighTide Festival, Sampled: Unfinished and Unleashed, Norfolk & Norwich Festival and Luton International Carnival have had to offer, but there is plenty more to come across the region.

Each festival programme showcases great art and culture from local and international talent, providing something for everyone. Here we take a look at some of the most recent events and a quick look at what June holds.

Norfolk & Norwich Festival, 10 - 26 May 2013
Norfolk & Norwich Festival’s (NNF) annual multi artform festival launched on 10 May, bringing some of the world’s best artists to the region whilst also showcasing a mixture of the region’s best and burgeoning artistic talent. This year’s programme matched the high standard of previous years and presented a vibrant programme with an array of new commissions, local and international artists.

The lead up to the Festival saw a special five show run of Black Watch, National Theatre of Scotland's multi-award winning drama – which set the tone for NNF 2013.

The festival got off to an exciting eclectic start with music from New Orleans group The Soul Rebels, French director and graphic artist Yoann Lemoine aka Woodkid and Portuguese fado singer Mariza.

This year’s programme included performances from a range of Escalator artists; a talent development initiative in the East of England supported by Arts Council England. Other festival highlights included the return of How Like An Angel  to Norwich Cathedral for six performances, the epic work Life and Times from New York company Nature Theatre of Oklahoma on their first ever visit to the UK and two new shows from Les Enfants Perdus and Circa.

Norfolk & Norwich Festival 2013 was diverse and engaging, offering everything from large scale to intimate performances – it had something for everyone!

Luton International Carnival, 26 May 2013
On 26 May, around 50,000 people filled the streets of Luton to celebrate the annual Luton International Carnival. Bursting with colour, music, dance and much more, the event was a fantastic success and is testament to the strength of the artistic programme delivered by the UK Centre for Carnival Arts (UKCCA), an Arts Council England National portfolio organisation. With beautiful weather to match the vibrant and highly inclusive carnival atmosphere, this year’s event set a high benchmark for the future.

Pulse 2013, 30 May  - 8 June 2013
PULSE 2013 will deliver an exciting and inspiring snapshot of contemporary theatre and performance as New Wolsey Theatre (NWT) welcomes China Plate as festival directors for this year’s event. PULSE 2013 promises to be one of the best yet, bursting with finished shows, work-in-progress and new ideas.

Some of the highlights we can all look forward to include Lucy Ellinson’s When I Was Old / When I Get Young, and Dan Bye’s The Six O’Clock News – which will see the New Wolsey Young Company work alongside guest artists.

This year’s PULSE also includes NWT’s innovative Suitcase Prize Day, which will see ten participants compete to win £1,000 for the best piece of theatre that can be transported on public transport. This eco-friendly take on touring promises to showcase a full day of extracts from inventive new shows and works-in-progress.

Each night will finish up in the New Wolsey bar with live music – a perfect way to round off each day!

There is also a special family day on 2 June, which offers a fantastic selection of performances for younger audiences and ensures everyone can get involved with PULSE 2013.

Aldeburgh Festival, 7 – 23 June 2013
In June, the 66th arts and music Aldeburgh festival returns for just over two weeks. This year’s event is extra special as it provides a key focal point for the Britten Centenary, a year-long celebration of Benjamin Britten – a great composer and visionary, and the festival’s founder in 1947.

It will provide audiences, new and old, with an unparalleled opportunity to engage with Benjamin Britten, his work and his fantastic legacy, which continues to positively impact on the world of music and performance today.

Some of the key highlights of this year’s festival include an iconic performance of Peter Grimes in the location that inspired it and The Church Parables in their original venue. The festival audience will also get a special insight into Friday Afternoons, a specially commissioned, year-long project that reflects Britten’s pioneering work to get children and young people singing.

In a year dedicated to the legacy of Britten, this is certainly one not to be missed.

Imagine Watford, 20 – 30 June 2013

For two weeks in June, Watford will be transformed into a ‘stage’ as Imagine Watford: A festival of extraordinary moments returns deliver an incredible selection of world-class performance to the streets.

Some of this year’s highlights include the Curious Directive with And we will play again?, Motionhouse dance company with Captive and c-12 Dance with Trolleys.

The event, which is organised by Watford Cultural Leader’s Group, is completely free and provides audiences with a fantastic opportunity to engage with the arts in the great outdoors.

June and beyond
Looking beyond June, Metal, an Arts Council England National portfolio organisation, host their popular one day arts festival Village Green on 13 July. By the end of July, Suffolk’s family friendly music festival Latitude will be in full swing.  In mid-September we look forward to the return of the region’s largest free festival of street art and circus produced by SeaChange Arts; Out There Festival in Great Yarmouth.