Laura Cannell - Photo courtesy NNF

There’s something unnerving about heading incantations read aloud, even when you don’t believe in them – and the spoken rituals that started the Norfolk and Norwich Festival incarnation of Modern Rituals definitely had that edge.

Norfolk musician’s Laura Cannell’s Modern Ritual began in 2017 following a solo performance at Latitude Festival, when she wanted to develop a programme of diverse solo performers and writers in order to present a new collective experience for both performers and audience.  

Since it began Modern Ritual has involved over 30 artists and has toured the UK including the Barbican’s LSO St Luke’s and Liverpool Philharmonic Music Rooms. Each Modern Ritual is different and for its Spiegeltent visit it featured the cellist Lori Goldston, actors and writers Tim Downie and Justin Chubb, author and broadcaster Jennifer Lucy Allan and Suffolk-based artists Sarah Cannell. 

Downie has a wonderfully resonant voice, and together with Chubb set the other-worldy scene for the night with the story of the Rollright Stones. They also returned for a chilling finale with Eleanor Scott’s supernatural tale of Randalls Round.

Allan and Sarah Cannell’s exploration of pottery mixed dialogue with live throwing, adding a particularly thrilling aspect to the evening (although the placement of a water jug frustrating blocked the view of half the audience).

Laura Cannell and Lori Goldston brought the music, with Cannell performing For The Ravens and For The Gatherers from her album Antiphony of the Trees, while Goldston presented a rich tonal solo cello performance.

This was a varied, entertaining, and unexpected night. Just don’t blame me for the consequences if you joined in on any of the rituals.