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Welcome Weekend

Saturday 11 May, 1-6pm & Sunday 12 May, 11am-4pm

This is a past event which has now ended.

We’re popping-up across the city centre with a programme of free performance. From theatre and dance to circus and comedy, we bring a little playful fun to the city’s streets as we celebrate the opening of this year’s Festival.

View our handy guide to what’s happening where

Important information

Sunday 12 May

Jeanefer Jean-Charles - Patois

Sunday 12 May, 11.30am-12 noon & 2-2.30pm (The Forum – Millennium Plain)

What happens when two unwritten languages, dance and patois, meet?

Mechanimal - Crap at Animals

Sunday 12 May, 11-11.45am & 3-3.45pm Installation 11.45am-3pm (Elm Hill Loke)

One guy tries heroically, and fails epically, to do impressions of 50,000 rare animals in under an hour.

Crooked Timber Theatre & Gemma Khawaja - Up Jumped the Crab: A Story Of Cromer Now & Then

Sunday 12 May, 11-11.30am & 1.15—1.45pm  (St Giles Street)

A charming puppet story in miniature showing a day at sea with the real Cromer crab fishermen of North Norfolk.

Bureau of Silly Ideas - Island Storms

Sunday 12 May, 12-12.45pm & 2.30-3.15pm (Motorcycle Park, above Norwich Market)

Circus, fun and stunts in a magical arcade action world. Help a surviving family rebuild their watery empire.

Access info: There will be an ‘industrial wheelie bin that sits amidst the audience, rigged with subbass tactile transducers’ This provides d/Deaf and partial hearing audiences a means to feel the soundtrack through touch⁠


Tit for Tat Circus - Now I Am Become d/Deaf (Destroyer of Words)

Sunday 12 May, 12-12.30pm & 2.45-3.15pm (The Forum – Theatre Plain)

An exploration of identity and hearing loss through circus.

Raggle Taggle Arts - Betty Brown Bags

Sunday 12 May, 12.45-1.15pm & 3.15-3.45pm (London St/Castle St junction)

An all singing, all dancing, spoon playing interactive show, inspired by a traditional folk play from Lancashire.

Sam Goodburn - Wire Attire

Sunday 12 May, 12.45-1.25pm & 3.15-3.55pm (The Forum, Millennium Plain)

A journey of one man’s quest to put on his clothes, eat biscuits and unicycle across a tight wire.

Das Brass

Walkabout through the city; starting points:

Sunday 12 May 
11-11.30am Gentlemen’s Walk
1.15-1.45pm Gentlemen’s Walk
2.15-2.45pm  London St / Castle St junction

The vibrant pulse of New Orleans tunes, sprinkled with London’s  distinctive swagger.

Norwich Puppet Theatre - Bugs and Beetles Puppet Making Workshop

Sunday 12 May, 11am—4pm  (The Forum, Millennium Plain)

Create your own bug or beetle themed puppet. Let your imaginations run wild with ladybirds, caterpillars, spiders and stick insect.
(Workshop fee £6 per puppet)

Freshly Greated - Joyland Snails

Sunday 12 May, 11am-4pm (Across the city)

Great Yarmouth’s iconic snails from Joyland will be exploring the city all weekend.

Guildhall Sessions

Sunday 12 May, 11am-4pm

Enjoy six new music films screened in The Courtroom at Norwich Guildhall.

Variable Matter - World Kiosk

Sunday 12 May, 11am-4pm (Tombland)

An intimate digital sound and light installation.

Access info: BSL conversation host, live audio description, BSL interpreted stories on devices, a large print newspaper.⁠

Freshly Greated - Great Postcards From Yarmouth

Sunday 12 May, 11am-4pm (Across the city)

Interact with hand-made cut-outs celebrating what makes Yarmouth great.

From Sat 4 May for 2 weeks, jump on a bus between Norwich and Great Yarmouth and spot the hand-made postcards made by Matthew Harrison with members of the community from Great Yarmouth.

Dot Howard & Sorrel Muggridge - Handful of Time

Sunday 12 May, 11am-4pm (Norwich Guildhall)

A traveling exhibition of clay artworks made to be handled with care.
Come and make a unique clay cast of the space inside your own hand, which will be burnished and fired by the artists and added to the collection, to be exhibited later in 2024.

See other dates for Handful of Time

Tickets: This is a non-ticketed event


Supported by the Paul Bassham Charitable Trust


Free Outdoor Programme Partner



Norfolk & Norwich Festival is a partner in Without Walls, a consortium of festivals and arts organisations bringing fantastic outdoor arts to people in towns and cities across England. Find out more on Shows at the Welcome Weekend are co-commissioned by Norfolk & Norwich Festival and a number of partners.


Bureau of Silly Ideas

Watercycle is supported by Without Walls and commissioned by Stockton International Riverside Festival and Brighton Festival. The R&D for Watercycle was supported by Blueprint: Without Walls R&D Investment Fund.

Jeanefer Jean-Charles & Associates

Patois is supported by Without Walls and commissioned by FESTIVAL.ORG for Greenwich+Docklands International Festival, Norfolk & Norwich Festival and Brighton Festival.

NoFit State Circus

BAMBOO. A NoFit State production directed by Mish Weaver, in collaboration with Orit Azaz and Imagineer Productions. It is supported by the Arts Council of Wales, the Foyle Foundation, and Without Walls, and commissioned by Stockton International Riverside Festival, Norfolk & Norwich Festival, Hat Fair and Timber Festival.     

Phoebe Ophelia Company

Betty Brown Bags is supported by Without Walls.

Tit for Tat Circus

Now I am Become Deaf (Destroyer of Words) is supported by Without Walls and commissioned by Just So Festival and Hat Fair.

Tom Bailey – Mechanimal

Crap at Animals is supported by Without Walls and commissioned by Norfolk & Norwich Festival.

Variable Matter

World Kiosk is supported by Without Walls and Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Commissioned by Brighton Festival and Havering Changing.

Image credit: Bamboo © Jon Street

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 year-round arts education work, focusing on children and young people, we lead and support celebration, creativity and curiosity in communities across Norfolk and the region.

This year we begin an exciting new initiative, Festival Connect & Create that will bring creative opportunities to those schools and communities with least provision. Creativity transforms people’s lives. It builds cohesive communities, develops vital skills and supports health and wellbeing. We want more people to have access to creative opportunities.

Please consider donating to support and develop this work. With your help we can increase access to the life changing power of the arts.

Registered Charity No. 116442

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