The 250th Norfolk and Norwich Festival will kick off with a giant domino topple snaking round Norwich, kicking off 17 days of arts events.

The outdoor event will see thousands of breezeblock dominoes positioned around the city on May 13, with the topple starting from Anglia Square.

There will also be nine new especially-commissioned new fanfares written by young composed performed around the city on the opening weekend, to mark the festival’s landmark anniversary.

Festival director Daniel Brine said: “We’re looking forward to a wonderful Festival. One which will celebrate our history, our philanthropic origins, our rich music commissioning heritage, but this milestone is also about looking to the future.

“Across the programme you will find many elements created by children and young people. 2022 will be an exhilarating time to be in Norwich and around Norfolk as we celebrate culture and the creative future of this place we live in.”

The ‘Festival 250’ programme includes 18 new commissions and events across the county from King’s Lynn, Great Yarmouth to Diss and Sheringham and throughout Norwich. The city’s Chapelfield Gardens will again be a hub for the festival, including the Adnams Spiegeltent and the Garden Party weekend of family events.

The Festival began as a cathedral service fundraiser for the new Norfolk and Norwich Hospital in 1772. In a special fundraiser for the Jenny Lind Children’s Hospital, the Festival will present a programme celebrating Lind, an artist and a humanitarian.

Fairytales & Nightingales charts her life in Sweden, reimagines her career through the music of Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn, Robert and Clara Schumann and follows Lind on her path to stardom. The project is devised by acclaimed pianist and conductor Simon Crawford-Phillips who is accompanied by modern-day ‘Swedish Nightingale’ Hanna Husáhr and violist and violinist, Lawrence Power.

At the end of the Festival the Britten Sinfonia and Norwich Philharmonic Chorus join forces to for Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Five Tudor Portraits in the composer’s 150th anniversary year. The piece was commissioned by the Festival and premiered in St Andrew’s Hall in 1936, in a performance conducted by the composer.

The Festival includes world premieres and commissions such as:

  • a new work from Sō Percussion and Pulitzer Prize-winner Caroline Shaw who combine forces in a concert that also presents the UK premiere of new work from Angelica Negron;
  • clarinettist and composer Arun Ghosh presents a spiritual jazz re-imagining of St. Francis of Assisi’s mystical prayer, The Canticle of the Sun performed by a contemporary eight-piece ensemble featuring Camilla George and Sarathy Korwar;
  • celebrated for their stunning performances of Gesualdo’s extraordinary late madrigals, Exaudi performs a selection of these intense and anguished vocal dramas, alongside two premieres by young UK-based composers, Sylvia Lim and Joanna Ward, written in response to Gesualdo’s works;
  • Side by Side sees ensembles appear across Norfolk in a creative trail of free live performances, culminating with a massed, open-air concert in Festival Gardens, featuring a new work for the occasion by Pete Letanka;
  • Fire Songs by theatremakers Frozen Light which presents an immersive sensory sound experience for audiences with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) that will travel the cosmos with an hour of original music;
  • Air Giants Unfurl – a huge and installation made from interactive gentle giants created by roboticists, and designers;
  • Dutch sound artists Strijbos & Van Rijswijk (Walk With Me, 2018) transform Great Yarmouth, from the beach to the city, with soundscapes matching your pace and the landscape in Signal on Sea, in Signal at Dusk site-specific live soprano performances accompany the installation, providing a captivating transformation of the town and beach around them.

Other commissions and premieres include: Community Chest by Matthew Harrison, Timeless by Joli Vyann, Look Mum, No Hands! by Daryl Beeton Productions and Mimbre, Big Gay Disco Bike from Fatt Projects, Theatre Témoin’s Flood, Scrum by Avant Garde Dance and Tony Adi Gun and Lives of Clay combining classical indian dance and live ceramics and The Album:Skool Edition celebrating making up dances, all across the Garden Party weekend in Chapelfield Gardens.

Booking opens on Wednesday 9 March and the full programme can be found on the Norfolk and Norwich Festival website.