We're moving to Norwich Guildhall

We're beginning our 250th year with relocation to the heart of the city.

We are happy to announce we will be moving our offices to Norwich’s medieval Guildhall this autumn.

The team at the Festival have been working with Norwich City Council and Hudson Architects on plans for the past 18 months. The ambitious move will provide a unique and flexible base for the organisation which celebrates 250 years in 2022.

The striking building of chequerboard flint and stone has stood on Gaol Hill since the early 1400s. For the next 500 years, it became home to the city’s civic administration and law courts. Given Grade I listed status in 1956, England’s largest and most elaborate medieval Guildhall has been home to a number of tenants over recent years.

The Festival team are expected to move in late this year and will take over 85% of the building, providing a flexible office and event space and a home to the main Festival Box Office. Alongside the core Festival team, a range of independent cultural workers, artists, producers and networks will be invited to share the space to create a vibrant creative hub in the city centre.

The move is supported by funding from the Towns Deal, which was secured by Norwich City Council last year. This is enabling several improvements to the office spaces within the historic fabric of the building, including the creation of accessible toilets and upgraded electrical and mechanical work.

“It’s fitting that one of Norwich’s foremost cultural organisations will take up residence in one of the city’s finest heritage buildings,” said Graham Nelson, Norwich City Council’s Director of Development and City Services. “The Festival team will breathe new life and vitality into this gem of a building and enable it to open up its doors again so people can enjoy and appreciate it.”

The move will also significantly improve public access to the building. Working with acclaimed artists, Lone Twin, the Festival will develop a Guild of Volunteers who will play a role as guides and custodians of the historic building, opening it up for regular heritage tours throughout the year.

Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Norfolk & Norwich Festival, Daniel Brine said “We’re really excited by this move. As we enter our 250th year at the Festival, it will reposition us in the heart of the city, increase our year-round community presence and enable us to develop our working relationships with local artists and organisations. To do that in one of Norwich’s most iconic buildings is tremendously exciting. We are grateful to all the partners who have helped bring this to fruition.”

Festival Futures – Arts make life better

Norfolk & Norwich Festival brings tens of thousands of people together in celebration – it has been doing this for 250 years. Through our May festival and our arts education work, we lead and support celebration, creativity and curiosity in communities across Norfolk.

This year we launch a giving campaign, Festival Futures, to help ensure we continue this work for future generations.

2022’s campaign focuses on ‘Tomorrow’s World’ – the participants, audiences and artists of the future. We aim to raise £20,000 towards our Take Part: Schools programme and towards a range of programming at 2022’s Festival that provides participation and showcase opportunities for young people and early-career artists.  We believe that participation in the arts can increase confidence, creativity and academic results and that by creating performance and commissioning opportunities for the next generation of artists, we are ensuring the future of Norfolk & Norwich Festival. We need your support.

Make a Festival Futures donation to Norfolk & Norwich Festival.

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