The People's Cabaret Workshops

at Diss Corn Hall and Sheringham Little Theatre

What is a protest song? Where did it come from? What could it be today? The People’s Cabaret workshops will see artists Luke Styles and Jessica Walker work closely with participants across Norfolk to explore the history, ideas and uses of protest songs.

Luke and Jess brought the first iteration of The People’s Cabaret to NNF21. Now working with participants in Diss and Sheringham, they will create a new set of protest songs, relevant to the challenges of our lives here and now in Norfolk, which will become part of The People’s Cabaret for NNF22. In a series of in-person workshops, participants will have the chance to develop ideas and lyrics for their own protest song, and contribute to a new set of songs to be written in collaboration with Luke and Jess for performance at NNF22. Participants will also have the opportunity to perform as part of a People’s Chorus in a performance of The People’s Cabaret at NNF22.

Workshop 1 
Diss Corn Hall – Tuesday 9 November, 7-9pm
Sheringham Little Theatre – Wednesday 10 November, 7-9pm

The first workshop will include an introduction to the protest song, and set the context for the project and the new songs.
• A presentation on the historic context of the protest song as a form, and a discussion about some famous protest songs
• A guided listening session on contemporary songs and classic protest songs from the 1920s to the 1960s
• Further details about the music and lyrics Luke and Jess created for 2021’s performances, and suggestions for new themes

Workshop 2 
Diss Corn Hall – Tuesday 25 January, 7-9pm
Sheringham Little Theatre – Wednesday 26 January, 7-9pm

• Discussion of issues local and global across the political and cultural spectrum, and what role protest can play. Luke and Jess will gather testimony to inspire their new set of songs
• Breakout groups to develop these themes through creative tools and writing, thinking about structure and communication through song
• Sharing and workshopping of participants’ ideas and writing

Workshop 3
Date tbc

• Reading out of gathered testimony and ideas from the previous workshop, and how these will be included in new songs
• Work-in-progress sharing of participants lyrics and songs, plus further creative writing time and discussion
• Feedback and next steps for the song-writing and community involvement in the People’s Chorus


The workshops are free to join, to book a place email James on 

Ideally participants will attend all three workshops, but you’re welcome to come along to the first workshop to get an idea of the project. Further details on participation in the People’s Chorus will be announced at the first workshop.


Get a taste of some protest songs

Jessica Walker

Alongside her busy career as both cabaret artist and opera singer, Jessica has been devising, performing and writing new work, both alone and in collaboration with others, since 2010. Forthcoming projects include a new performance piece for Royal and Derngate theatre, and a new piece for British Youth Music Theatre, as well as two commissions for Lichfield Festival.  Her last three writer/ performance projects were the New York Times Critic’s Pick at the Brits off Broadway Festival, New York.

Luke Styles

Luke Styles is a composer, published by G. Schirmer/ Music Sales. He was the first Glyndebourne Young Composer in Residence, represented by IMG Artists, and the first composer in residence at the Foundling Museum since Handel. Luke’s operas have been performed on the Glyndebourne main stage, and at Covent Garden by the London Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of conductors such as Vladimir
Jurowski. He has recently completed his first Australian opera Ned Kelly which premiered to critical acclaim at the 2019 Perth Festival.

The People’s Cabaret is sponsored by

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

2021 offers hope for the creative sector, and as an arts charity, we are redoubling our efforts to share meaningful art and cultural experiences with people across Norfolk. We rely on support from our audiences, partners and supporters to continue to bring innovative and inspirational programming and commissioning to the region, and to empower those who might not otherwise have access to the life-changing power of the arts. Find out more about how you can support us, as an individual or as an organisation below.

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