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Now Northwich, the international dance and street arts festival by Cheshire Dance and partners is to return on 30th April with another resplendent programme to astound and enthrall visitors to the town and Barons Quay. A key event in the Cheshire calendar, this year’s Now Northwich promises more acts over a wider festival footprint to keep audiences safe with 12 hours of dance, acrobatics, street performances, live music, interactive workshops and artisan food and drink. Performances will begin at 11am with the last show ending at around 8.30pm. In addition, there will be a globally acclaimed installation that will be open to the public throughout the whole Bank Holiday weekend from Saturday 30th April until Monday 2nd May.
A FREE day and evening for all the family, Now Northwich 2022 will offer another vibrant treat for the eyes and ears, re-animating the streets with an array of spectacular shows for both adults and children throughout the streets from The Plaza along Witton Street, across Barons Quay sites and all the way to Apple Market Place. From multi-sensory experiences to masterful puppetry and mind-blowing installations, the festival will once again fuse fantastic sights and stimulating sounds in some of the most unforgettable performances around.
This year visitors can stumble upon EKO – a giant crawling sea creature; meander through a honey-perfumed bee colony, step into a floral biodome and be mesmerised by mythical migrating birds. For 2022 producers have announced there will be flamboyant dance riots with acro, urban, Brazilian and African twists, drum-tastic performances, immersive experiences and even journeys to the moon.
Creative Director Jane McLean reveals: “Until now, COVID has kept us away – but on 30th April we return bigger and bolder than ever with 18 performance and installation pieces by 11 different companies. This is 4 more touring companies than in 2019!
“From 11am until dusk, 8 different sites will come alive with acrobatics, dance and street shows for the whole family. There’s also a specially commissioned Northwich community film screening on a loop, 6 hours of live music, no less than FIVE processional pieces from two of our companies AND a 3-day showstopper.”
Headlining Now Northwich 2022 will be ‘Museum of the Moon’ – a touring artwork by UK artist Luke Jerram in the beautiful and iconic auditorium at The Plaza on Witton Street. Measuring seven metres in diameter, this installation features 120dpi detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface. At an approximate scale of 1:500,000, each centimetre of the internally lit spherical sculpture represents 5km of the moon’s surface.
Created in partnership with the UK Space Agency, University of Bristol and The Association for Science and Discovery Centres, Museum of the Moon is a hypnotic, majestic and scientifically-stunning visual experience. Fusing lunar imagery, moonlight and surround sound composition by BAFTA and Ivor Novello award-winning composer, Dan Jones, Museum of the Moon allows viewers to observe and contemplate cultural similarities and differences around the world.
Co-commissioned by a number of creative organisations brought together by Luke Jerram and Norfolk & Norwich Festival (including Greenwich+Docklands International Festival, Brighton Festival, Without Walls, Cork Midsummer Festival, We The Curious, Lakes Alive, Provincial Domain Dommelhof, Les Tombées de la Nuit, Rennes and Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts), this floating out-of-this-world exhibit has toured the globe from Beijing, Belgium and Blackpool, to Canada, Australia, Dubai… and now Cheshire
Opening times to visit Museum of the Moon at The Plaza over the Bank Holiday weekend will be announced nearer the time, but Now Northwich has revealed that it will be offering three special lunar-inspired sessions on 30th April – Yoga Under the Moon, Quiet Time at The Moon and Bedtime Stories Under the Moon. As with all Now Northwich experiences, these sessions will be free of charge – however, booking will be required via the website in order to monitor visitor numbers.
To date, ‘Museum of the Moon’ has been presented in more than 30 countries and experienced by over 3 million people worldwide. The installation often draws massive crowds (Hull Minster received 16,000 visitors a day) so queues at Museum of the Moon at Now Northwich 2022 are expected. In the wake of Covid-19, visitors are encouraged to be courteous and respectful to those around them whilst waiting to enjoy the moon’s experience.
Cheshire Dance, producers of the festival has confirmed that this 2022 event has been programmed around the sensitives of the past few years, with the safety of the audience and artists its principle priority. Now Northwich will follow any new guidelines set out by Public Health and will revisit any Covid advice in the run up to and on the day of the festival.
Adam Holloway, Director at Cheshire Dance explains: “We are very conscious that although the world has reopened since the pandemic, there are many people out there that are still vulnerable and many that remain anxious of large crowds and Covid-19. It is for this reason that our two processional pieces for audiences to watch along the route will run various times throughout the day and our headline piece ‘Museum of the Moon’ will be open to visitors during the whole Bank Holiday weekend to limit over-crowding.”
He continues: “Cheshire Dance has worked hard to be sensitive to peoples’ sometimes torrid journeys through the pandemic, and more than ever before, we want Now Northwich to be for everyone to enjoy. With this in mind we ask that people remain courteous and respectful of others, spreading out where possible to help everyone savour the festival safely. We also ask that visitors to the festival keep an eye on the Facebook page in the run up to the festival and on the day itself, where we will be sharing any additional guidance.”
In addition to globally acclaimed performances and installations, Now Northwich will once again host a Family Zone – this year, along Weaver Point Way – and will offer a number of exciting free workshops for families. Amongst others, there will be junk modelling workshops with the master puppeteers from Autin Dance Theatre and the chance to become a ‘dandy’ for the day with Patrick Ziza Dance Company. There will also be an immersive and interactive experience specially designed for People with Intellectual and Multiple Disabilities (PIMD) by sensory theatre makers, Frozen Light Theatre.
Once again, Northwich library will offer drop-in opportunities for arts and crafts activities on the festival day, and exquisite artisanal food and drink will be on offer from local businesses serving up flavours from around the world.
As with previous years, visitors to the event are again advised to ‘expect the unexpected’. The line-up has been described as majestic, quirky and somewhat surreal with audiences likely to question what’s right before their eyes, helping them to put ‘the world’ as they know it into perspective.
Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “Now Northwich is the perfect opportunity for the community to rediscover and reconnect following Covid-19.
“Previous years have seen a great influx of visitors to Northwich for this event who come along to enjoy some of the very best local, national and international talent around, for free. There is wonderful community spirit in Northwich and Now Northwich 2022 will be a brilliant opportunity to once again boost the town and our local businesses.”
Now Northwich 2022 is part of the Reopening and Recovery programme, funded by the Governments Additional Restrictions Grant to Cheshire West and Chester Council. Additional investment comes from Arts Council England, Northwich Town Council, Northwich BID, Barons Quay, Charcoalblue, Encirc and via Cheshire West and Chester Council Member’s budgets. Now Northwich (part of the Without Walls Touring Partnership Network) is produced by Cheshire Dance in collaboration with Cheshire West and Chester Council, Northwich Town Council, Northwich BID and Barons Quay.
Ellie Harris, Executive Producer for Festival.org, delivering Greenwich+Docklands International Festival (GDIF) has said: “Now Northwich’s 2022 programme is an exciting mix of celebration, reflection and engagement. Their considered approach to planning, to bring live performance and workshops back to the town centre, is heartening. Audiences are in for a treat this April and into the May Bank holiday!”