It has a new name, some famous guests, and the same commitment to celebrating arts across Norfolk.

The Autumn Festival of Norfolk is the new title of the Hostry Festival – which has served up packed programmes of dance, drama, music, talks, film, exhibitions and awards for more than a decade.

Highlights this year include high-profile speakers, music and drama, a sensory arts festival and multi-cultural events, plus the festival’s signature projects:

The African Choir of Norfolk concert and three-course African inspired meal on September 23 will be followed by the mini festival Way of Sankofa at the Quaker Meeting House, Upper Goat Lane, Norwich on November 25. Enjoy the choir’s vibrant music celebrating the nations of Africa through song, and experience ‘gastro-sonic’ thanksgiving food rituals, food tastings, and share stories as part of a ‘a joyous conversation about race.’

The Norfolk Actors Company presents this year’s central drama production, Lady Windermere’s Fan by Oscar Wilde, at The Hostry, Norwich Cathedral, from October 23 to 28.

Total Ensemble inclusive performance group hosts a new weekend of dance on October 7-8. It includes shows and workshops with the main performance, Dance into the Fall, at The Blake Studio, Norwich Cathedral Close, on October 7.

The Norfolk Arts Awards honours people who have given exceptional time and energy to the arts in Norfolk. The 2023 gala ceremony to announce the winners is at the Ocean Room, Gorleston, on Friday November 3.

The relaunched Autum Festival of Norfolk runs from late September to late November with venues ranging from its traditional home in Norwich Cathedral’s Hostry to a farm at Walcott, near Happisburgh, and the Ocean Room in Gorleston-on-Sea.

The independent, not-for-profit festival was founded by Stash Kirkbride and Peter Barrow. Artistic director Stash said that over the years the festival had commissioned 152 events and worked with more than 1,000 volunteers.

‘Our programme for this year’s festival offers everything from music, dance and literature to the visual arts and performance, and now even extends to culinary delights, demonstrating the diversity of homegrown talent and attractiveness of this unique county,’ said Stash.

Festival patrons include Stephen Fry and actors Stephanie Beacham, Hayley Mills and Susan Hampshire.

Great British Life: 2023 Autumn Festival of Norfolk venues created by Norfolk Arts Awards winners 2022, The Norwich Dandies. Picture: Autumn Festival of Norfolk venues created by Norfolk Arts Awards winners 2022, The Norwich Dandies. Picture:

More festival highlights

A series of talks at the Hostry includes founder member of the Comedy Store and former Young One, Nigel Planer on October 28; disgraced former MP Jonathan Aitken, who is now a Church of England priest, in conversation with the Bishop of Norwich on October 28; author and biographer Rebecca Stott, who used to live in Norwich; theatre critic and Guardian writer Michael Billington and Norfolk playwright and poet James McDermott.

Posting Letters to the Moon at The Norwich School’s Blake Studio, Norwich Cathedral Close, on October 20, is a romantic and funny portrait of life during the Second World War, revealed in letters between actress Celia Johnson and her explorer and writer husband Peter Fleming (brother of James Bond creator Ian Fleming). The letters will be read by Celia and Peter’s actor daughter Lucy Fleming, and her husband Simon Williams (parts in EastEnders and Upstairs Downstairs and The Archers.) They recount Celia’s experiences filming with Noel Coward and David Lean, and making the classic film Brief Encounter in 1945.

Violinist Braimah Kanneh-Mason has become a new patron of the Autumn Festival of Norfolk and will join Jeneba and Mariatu Kanneh-Mason for an interview and classical concert in the Blake Studio, Norwich Cathedral Close, on November 4.

Full programme at Tickets from Norwich Theatre Royal box office and 01603 598676.

Great British Life: Braimah Kanneh-Mason. Picture: Jake TurneyBraimah Kanneh-Mason. Picture: Jake Turney