From unseen photographs of Norwich to interactive talks and behind the scenes tours, The Forum will be hosting more than 30 events and activities as part of Norfolk’s Heritage Open Days (HODs).
Located in the heart of the city, The Forum is an integral part of the festival with the full HODs programme coordinated and promoted by the building’s charity trust.
New for this year is the Portraits of Life exhibition featuring over 40 photographs of Norwich taken by photographer Jack Roberts after the Second World War and before the redevelopment in the early 1970s. The photos have never been publicly exhibited and it’s an opportunity to take a look at how Norwich once was and hear stories from those who lived and worked there.
Katie Ellis, HODs Event Producer, said: “As well as displaying this amazing collection of photos, we will also have recordings from local residents who responded to our call to come into The Forum and share their memories of the streets, buildings and people pictured.
“We spent a week meeting and chatting with some wonderful people who gave us a fantastic insight into what it was like living in Norwich during that time, with many amusing stories about the characters that lived there too!”
The exhibition will run throughout the whole festival from September 13 to 22, open daily from 10am to 4pm.
Other events new for this year at The Forum include Voicing the Landscape, a series of monologues written about the Whitlingham Broad area by Lakenham 23rd Girl Guides and the Dare to Dream Craftivism Workshops by award-winning activist Sarah Corbett, where people will stitch their aspirations for a better world onto clouds. A series of behind the scenes tours will also be running providing a wonderful opportunity to see a different side to the Millennium building and learn what makes it so unique.
Places for the behind the scenes tours are fully booked, however there are a few remaining tickets for Dare to Dream and the Girl Guides film will be screened in a mini pop-up cinema from September 13 to 16, available to drop-in between 10am to 4pm each day.
HODs is also a great opportunity to walk the Talking Statues trail which sees ten of the city’s historic statues given the gift of the gab. Trail maps will be available to pick up from The Forum throughout the festival from 10am to 4pm each day. Follow the route and swipe your smartphone over the nearby statue plaque to get a call back from Lord Nelson (voiced by Stephen Fry) or Julian of Norwich (voiced by Sarah Perry and Olivia Colman).
The Forum will also be hosting a range of pre-bookable talks, with everything from Swing Riots in Norfolk to The R34 Adventure. The latter of the two looks back to the airship R34 which made the first double airborne Atlantic crossing in 1919. Basil Abbott of Diss Museum, will recount the voyage from Scotland to Long Island and back to Pulham on September 17 at 12pm.
Something fun for all the family is the Putting on a Pageant interactive talk on September 21 at 10am. The audience will be taken on a journey back to 1578 to discover how Tudor Norwich prepared for Queen Elizabeth I's visit. Aimed at children and young historians, there will be drama, music and a special guest.
Other talks will explore Robert Toppes, believed to be the original builder and owner of Dragon Hall, Mabel Carkson, one of the first women councillors in the country who went on to be the Lady Lord Mayor of Norwich and Miriam Pratt, a local teacher whose suffragette activism led to her imprisonment.
The full range of Forum talks can be found in the Norfolk HODs brochure or online at www.theforumnorwich.co.uk/hods. Tickets for all of The Forum’s pre-bookable events can also be booked online.
Katie added: “We’re so pleased to be offering such a varied programme of events at The Forum, with the Millennium Library, Norfolk Heritage Centre and the Second Air Division Memorial Library all hosting their own activities too.
“We’ve worked really hard to make sure our events appeal to all ages and interests, and we hope as many people as possible will enjoy this free festival.”
The Forum will also be the base for a HODs information point throughout the festival, offering a place to pick up maps of the city and ask HODs expert volunteers questions about any of the events.