Norwich Arts Centre is a small, independently run venue with charitable status situated close to the centre of Norwich.
We aim to offer a broad range of performing and media arts of the highest quality to the community, together with a programme of participatory workshops and activities that offer good access to the arts.
The centre celebrates its 30th anniversary in June 2007. It was originally opened in a disused department store on St Benedict's Street in 1977 and moved to its current site, St Swithin's Church on St Benedict's Street, in 1980.
More information about St. Swithins Church can be found at the Norwich Historic Churches Trust website.
How it all began...
It all started in 1976 when a small group of enthusiasts began meeting with the aim of establishing an alternative outlet for both visual and performing arts. The following year, 1977 as much of the nation celebrated The Queen’s Silver Jubilee and others hailed the arrival of punk, Norwich City Council allowed them to occupy a ramshackle old carpet factory on St Benedicts Street. From these humble beginnings Norwich Arts Centre, which has subsequently moved just up the street to its present home, was launched and over the years has played host to many performances and exhibitions by artists who have gone on to greater success.
Norwich Arts Centre was redeveloped with the aid of a capital grant from the National Lottery in 1999. The improvements included a new on-street entrance, a new multi-media department and improved access and facilities for disabled people and performers alike.
Since redevelopment, Norwich Arts Centre has established itself as a major venue for live music in the region, popular with artists and audiences alike for its intimacy, friendliness and commitment to professional presentation of small scale arts and entertainment.
Norwich Arts Centre specialises in exhibiting photography and new media work, with a particular commitment to developing audiences for new media and opportunities for artists through a commissioning programme.
Norwich Arts Centre's public access multi-media facilities are the region's first. The five Apple iMac G5 workstations are regularly used by artists and students, while the reasonably priced courses in such areas as website design and digital image manipulation have proved to be very popular.
Over the years NAC has seen an amazing array of shows from performers who have subsequently gone on to achieve fame. Amongst those who have appeared are bands such as Coldplay, Nirvana, Oasis, Muse and The Manic Street Preachers as well as blues legend Dr John. Stage performers like Little Britain stars Matt Lucas and David Walliams, TV presenter/author the late Pete McCarthy and top comedians like Mark Lamarr, Johnny Vegas, Mark Thomas, David Baddiel and Rob Newman have all graced the stage over the years. Former Dr Who star Tom Baker has been spotted in the audience and Hollywood film director/writer Mike Figgis appeared as part of the People Show in the early days.
Other comedians that have been here are:
Frank Skinner, Peter Kay, Dylan Moran,, Mark Lamaar, Johnny Vegas, Al Murray, Jack Dee, Jenny Éclair, Alexie Sayle, Rich Hall, Dave Gorman, Ross Noble, Simon Day, Alan Carr, Alan Davies, Sean Hughes, Jeremy Hardy, Stewart Lee, Jerry Sadowitz, Jason Byrne, Ed Byrne, The Might Boosh, Daniel Kitson, Lee Mack. (A veritable who’s who of British comedy!)
Also recently been a champion for female comedians Lucy Porter, Natalie Haynes, Sue Perkins, Josie Long, Jo Caulfield.
Bands also include Kasabian, Starsailor, Muse, Goldie Lookin Chain, Editors, The Kooks, The Automatic.
Poets include John Cooper Clarke, John Hegley and Roger McGough.