When you decide to venture beyond campus, you’ll find that Norwich is home to some great arty venues, events and collectives. Here are just a few of Venue’s favourites…
Firstly, if you paid attention to the road signs on your way into the city, you might have noticed that Norwich is one of Unesco’s Cities of Literature. This accolade recognises not only the inspirational writers who have spent time here, but Norwich’s ongoing literary scene. For example, Norwich Writers Centre’s Dragon Hall base (currently closed for renovation) regularly hosts readings, workshops, courses and other writing eventsMany UEA societies hold events both on campus and around the city to showcase the university’s most talented artists. The Drama Society, Live Music Society, Headlights Comedy Society and Burlesque Society among others are all worth a ‘like’ on Facebook to find out when they’re next putting on a show.
Norwich is home to several art galleries and print festivals, plus more serious art shops which are always fun to browse, even with no intention of buying! Norwich Castle houses a variety of both permanent and temporary exhibitions and Norwich University of the Arts has facilities right in the city centre. NUA students exhibit their work at the East Gallery on St Andrew’s Street which is free to enter and open most afternoons.
There’s loads of great theatre in Norwich. The Theatre Royal hosts the biggest ballets and touring productions, but some real gems can be found at the city’s smaller theatres. The Maddermarket and the Playhouse, also with a very trendy bar open to non-theatregoers, host some top local plays and musicals. For a more quirky theatrical experience, the Puppet Theatre – exactly what the name suggests – is the place to go. Norwich Arts Centre, based in a former church, has seen visits from bands like Oasis and Nirvana and still regularly hosts intimate indie gigs and theatre performances.
The Arts Centre is located on St Benedict’s Street, which is one of Norwich’s trendiest areas. It’s part of the ‘Norwich Lanes’, a series of small, mostly-pedestrianised streets and alleys, home to a collection of independent shops, cafes and bars which attract the bohemian young people of the city. St Benedict’s has several record shops, while the Lanes are home to some cool new and second-hand boutiques, tea rooms and art retailers.
The Lanes is also the location of the Birdcage pub, which regularly hosts open mic nights with Norwich’s Poetry Collective. A particular favourite of students, here you can listen to some of the best local poets or even perform yourself.
Cinema City is known as one of Britain’s best small cinemas, and it’s located right in the heart of Norwich. Whether it’s a particularly niche British indie flick or a foreign film that takes your fancy, chances are you’ll find it in Cinema City’s eclectic listings among the Hollywood blockbusters, documentaries and theatre live streams.
Norwich is home to an interesting array of alternative options for nightlife. At Open, the former Barclays Bank-turned-venue, the Soul Train club night, Common People ‘90s event and Craig Charles’ many past visits have all proved popular. Bunk Collective and Tropico’s pop-up events draw house and techno fans to the cosy Karma Kafe.
With all this and more on your doorstep, Venue urges you to get out there and explore all that Norwich has to offer!