Brighton Festival 2016Counting down to our 50th
Festival this May

In Photos: Dr Blighty Pavilion Projections

Dr Blighty projections light up Brighton's Royal Pavilion from 9.30pm every day until Sat 28 May.

This major outdoor event in the Royal Pavilion Garden inspired by the story of the thousands of Indian soldiers who were treated in the temporary military hospital housed in Brighton Pavilion.

Dr Blighty is a Nutkhut production co-commissioned by Brighton Festival, Royal Pavilion & Brighton Museums & 1418 NOW : WW1 Centenary Art Commissions.

Photos: Victor Frankowski

Discover more about Dr Blighty events and see what everyone's been saying about the whole project below...


Festival Hot Seat... Antahkarna

Gauri Sharma Tripathi is the acclaimed Indian choreographer bringing Antahkarna and the free outdoor dance show Bodyline to Brighton Festival. In this Festival Hot Seat she tells us about the shows and the traditional Kathak form of dance.

Can you tell us what your show is about?

The tradition of storytelling is rediscovered through the Kathak vocabulary in Antahkarna. The piece probes the questioning voices of the past and present, vacillating between the sensuous, the spiritual, stillness and the nomadic.

The expression of love and devotion, from flesh and blood to the abstract presence of the almighty, is present in Vyom. In Timelapse we see a dialogue between the body and the soul, until all dissolves and what remains is dance. Throughout, contrasting attitudes of harmony and discordance are communicated through the various tones of Kathak.

The three episodes, Vyom, Vyuha and Timelapse, permeate into the realms of our innermost core by embarking on an adventurous inner journey — a journey that begins with innovation, expressions and improvisations.

‘Katha Kahe So Kathik Kahai’ He who tells a story is a Kathak.

Where did the idea and inspiration come from?

Kathak is the major classical dance form of northern India. It is derived from the dance dramas of ancient India — ‘Kathak’ means ‘to tell a story’. When patronage shifted from the temples to the royal courts, the emphasis shifted from the telling of religious stories to entertainment. Today, the story-telling aspect of Kathak is usually of secondary importance; the dance is primarily an abstract exploration of rhythm and movement.

Why do you think it’s an important story to tell?

In the words of Martha Graham, ‘dance is the hidden language of the soul’. For me, dance is where happiness comes from. All trials and tribulations are knotted together; thus we need the constant unearthing of ourselves to grow, finding a fleeting moment when we feel elated and alive.

What sort of person is going to love this show?

The versatility, heritage, and reachability of the Kathak form communicates to one and all. Let’s celebrate dance and the festivities together.

What does Brighton Festival mean to you? Do you have a favourite Festival moment?

The excitement of being part of history being made, with 50 years of the Brighton festival itself is a landmark moment. I am really happy to be participating with a traditional Kathak solo, and my favourite being Bodyline performed on the 25th as well. You see the myriad dimensions in which the Kathak dance vocabulary transforms the proscenium space to the outdoor crossroads for Bodyline.

Find out more about Bodyline and Antahkarna

Brighton Festival Live: Marlon James

Join us for an evening with 2015 Man Booker Prizewinner Marlon James. A Brief History of Seven Killings is a fictional account of an attempt to assassinate Bob Marley in 1976, a novel described by the New York Times as a ‘Tarantino remake of The Harder They Come… sweeping, mythic, over-the-top, colossal and dizzyingly complex’. Spanning three decades, the novel uses multiple voices – CIA agents, drug dealers, ghosts, beauty queens – to explore the turbulent world of Jamaican gangs and politics.

If you enjoy this live stream then you might be interested in some of the events still coming up at Brighton Festival

Five minutes with... Alexei Sayle

Alexei Sayle joins us this Brighton Festival to discuss his new memoir, Thatcher Stole My Trousers. We pinned him down for a quick, but seriously funny five minutes of questions...

I knew I wanted to be a comedian when…

I never wanted to be a comedian that’s why I seem so angry all the time.

My first public performance took place at…

My mother used to make the neighbours come around and watch me do little shows from about the age of six.

The first comedy gig I went to was…

There was a guy called John Dowie who came along just too early for the alternative comedy boom who I saw at the Bush Theatre in 1976.

The first album I ever bought was…

The Four Tops. On Top.

My favourite part of touring is…

Not touring.

My favourite comedian is…

I’ll say Louie C K because he is no threat to me.

My favourite place to perform live is…

The Soho Theatre in London. I can get the 19 bus there using my old person’s bus pass and be home again by 10.00. All for free.

The last song I listened to was…

“Circles” by Kate Tempest.

The proudest moment of my career to date was when…

I MC’d Glastonbury in 1985 a famously muddy year and I said from the stage “a woman’s lost a contact lens, if you could all just have a look for it...”

The best show I ever performed was…

Glastonbury 1985.

If I wasn’t performing, I’d probably be…

Eating a sugary cake such as a Lemon Yum Yum from the patisserie counter at Waitrose.

People would be surprised to learn that…

I don’t have diabetes.

Watch Again - Brighton Festival Live: Guardian Gaming - Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Gaming

The way video games are made is set to change drastically over the next decade. Through 'procedural generation', games like Minecraft can create whole new landscapes every time you play, while advances in artificial intelligence allow computer controlled characters that can build new stories based on player preferences. Guardian games editor Keith Stuart talks to an expert panel of designers and programmers about what this all means for the future of games and the people who play them.


More info on this event

Brighton Festival Live is brought to you in partnership with City College 

In Pictures: Week 2

The second week of Brighton Festival 2016 saw two performances from our Guest Director Laurie Anderson: the spellbinding Song Conversation, where she performed with fellow musician-composers Nik Bärtsch and Eivind Aarset, and Slideshow, a sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant journey touching on projects, memories and adventures from her past. 

On top of this, there were blockbuster performances from Duke Garwood and Haçienda Classical, Children's Laureate Chris Riddell answering questions and illustrating the answers live, the sonically spiritual Lou Reed Drones, and much more besides. 

Find out what's going on in the third and final week of Brighton Festival 2016. 

Photo credits Adam Weatherley, Vic Frankowski

Brighton Festival Live: Alexei Sayle

Watch the sold out performance via live stream, Fri 27 May, 8pm

As Margaret Thatcher moved into Downing Street in 1979, Soho’s Comedy Store opened its doors with Alexei Sayle as its master of ceremonies. Sayle’s painfully funny new memoir, Thatcher Stole My Trousers, chronicles a time when comedy and politics collided in new and electrifying ways. Join the godfather of alternative comedy as he discusses his career, from Marxist art-school student to star of The Comic Strip and The Young Ones.

Read our interview & spend a quick Five minutes with Alexei Sayle ahead of the event.

Brighton Festival Brochure Covers: 2007 - 2016

Have a peek at Brighton Festival's recent brand history

Browse through the fifth decade of Brighton Festival Programme Covers. Here's to another five decades!

You can check out the the firstsecondthird and fourth decades of brochure covers, or find out more this year's branding to mark our milestone 50th anniversary. 

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Discover what's going on in Dr Blighty week

In the last week of Brighton Festival the Pavilion Gardens will be filled with a dreamlike environment of immersive installations, ambient soundscapes and theatrical interludes examining the legacy of the Indian soldiers who were wounded in WW1 and treated in Brighton. 


Dr Blighty

In Dr Blighty, performing arts company Nutkhut commemorates the 2300 Indian soldiers who were treated at the Royal Pavilion Estate, particularly focusing on the letters they wrote home. 

The title of the show is significant - Blighty, taken from the Urdu, ‘vilayat’ (specifically Europe or Britain) and ‘vilayati’ (Britain, English, Home), spread widely during World War 1. The term became an accepted reference to England, but also had a deep signficance for the south Asian soldiers.

Many of the soldiers believed the rumour that their King-Emperor George V had given up his own palace for them to be treated in, although in reality the royals had sold the Pavilion long before WW1.

Those soldiers who were illiterate conveyed their messages and letters to scribes at the hospital, who censored criticism of the war in Europe.

From Tue 24 - Sat 28 May (2pm – 10pm), Pavilion Gardens will host a variety of audio and visual experiences and acted performances reflecting on these histories.

This will include a stunning visual projection onto the front of the Pavilion itself at nighttime, telling the story of Dr Blighty.

This map shows the locations and some of the timings of events. 

Nutkhut have worked with Brighton locals to create some of the soundscapes that you'll be able to experience as you wander around the gardens. You can get a glimpse into this process in the video below:


Dr Blighty: Diya-making sessions

Come along to one of the drop in diya making sessions at Brighton Dome Café-bar throughout the Festival and make your very own decorated clay pot for the final installation of Dr Blighty.

You can watch this video from Nutkhut on how to make a diya.


Dr Blighty: Commemorations

On Sun 29 May (4pm) in a special event thousands of diyas will be laid down to memorialize the soldiers' stay in the city. 

A blue plaque will also be unveiled honouring Subedar Mir Dast, who was awarded the Victoria Cross by King George V, organised by Davinder Dhillon, from the Chattri Group.

Dr Blighty: The Concerts

Philharmonia Orchestra

Debashish Bhattacharya

In a special concert incorporating readings from letters and diaries of Indian servicemen, the Philharmonia will play alongside Indian violinist Kala Ramnath, Sat 28 May (7.30pm).

They will perform some of the best loved English music of the Edwardian era by Vaughan Williams and Butterworth as well as Kala Ramnath's The Seasons of India.

You can listen to Kala Ramnath performing with the London Symphony Orchestra string section to get a taste of this incredible meeting of East and West.


Afterwards (Sat 28 May, 10.15pm), slide guitar virtuoso Debashish Bhattacharya will perform a traditional raga concert alongside tabla player Gurdain Rayatt. Bhattacharya is one of the greats of world music and recently won a Songlines Music Awards 2016 winner (Asia & South Pacific) - this late night concert is not to be missed. 

Book now for Philharmonia Orchestra and Debashish Bhattacharya

Philharmonia Orchestra ticket holders enjoy £5 off the ticket price for the Debashish Bhattacharya concert when booked together over the phone or in person.


Dr Blighty is a production by Nutkhut and is part of 14-18 NOW, the UK's arts programme for the First World War Centenary. It is further co-commissioned by Brighton Festival and Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove. It is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England, QED, and by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Watch Again - Brighton Festival Live: Let's Talk About Death

The Brighton and Sussex Medical School Debate

It’s official – the UK is the best place in the world to die. But what does this actually mean? It seems death is still a taboo subject that we would rather skirt around than sit down and discuss candidly.

This engaging discussion will range over many aspects of death and dying, including living while you’re dying, what constitutes a good death and how to plan for one of life’s few certainties.

The panel of experts includes Tim Crouch, director of The Complete Deaths at this year’s Festival; Dame Barbara Monroe, ex Chief Executive of St Christopher’s Hospice; Dr Andrew Thorns, Consultant in Palliative Medicine at Pilgrims Hospice, Kent; Doctor Paul Davies, Reader in Philosophy at the University of Sussex; and Andreas Hiersche, Lead Clinician Palliative Care, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust.

The event will be chaired by Bobbie Farsides, Professor of Clinical and Biomedical Ethics at BSMS.

Also on is the Death Market, a drop-in session about everything and anything you have ever wanted to know about death.

If you enjoy this livestream, then you might enjoy some of the events still coming up at Brighton Festival:

Dr Blighty
This installation and series of events commemorates the Indian soldiers who were given medical care in Brighton's Royal Pavilion estate during the First World War, examining their legacy through their history and the letters they sent. 

Minefield
Argentinian artist Lola Arias brings together veterans from both sides the Falklands-Malvinas conflict to examine and re-enact their memories and how they are still affected, 33 years later. 

Zvizdal (Chernobyl - so far so close)
Acclaimed theatre company Berlin brings you a 'filmic portrait' of an elderly couple who refuse to leave their home. A poignant story of survival, hope and love in a ghost town.

Festival Hot Seat ... Zvizdal

We catch up with Yves Degryse, Artistic Director of Berlin, who are bringing their ‘filmic portrait’ Zvizdal (Chernobyl – so far so close) to Brighton Festival


Can you tell us what your show is about?

Over four years we have been filming near Chernobyl in the forbidden zone. Each time we went it was to meet two people, Petro and Nadia, a couple in their 80s, living in Zvizdal and who refused to be evacuated following the nuclear disaster. They have been living with no water or electricity and no means of communication with the outside world. Every time we went we took a plane and hoped they were still there. We spent time filming them in their everyday lives.

How and where will it be staged?

The audience will be seated in two tiers in front of a big screen, and underneath the screen will be three scale models of the couple’s house and grounds, depicting three seasons. There will be two cameras filming the models and these images will be interspersed in the film.

Where did the idea and inspiration come from?

The French journalist Cathy Blisson, formerly a critic, but who moved into reportage, came into contact with Petro and Nadia and asked if we would be interested to collaborate with her, and we quickly decided to start the project.

Why do you think it’s an important story to tell?

The moment you enter the forbidden zone, you are entering a microcosm of human experience. It is a very extreme situation, but there are layers that you recognise, and as you spend time there the layers become more visible.

What sort of person is going to love this show?

Our work can be complex but at the same time it appeals to a very broad audience.

What’s going to surprise people about this show?

There will be surprises, relating to the concept of the piece, but the surprises you should not know beforehand.

What does Brighton Festival mean to you?

We have brought work to Brighton Festival before including Perhaps All The Dragons in 2014, and Lands End in 2012. What I really like about Brighton Festival is that I have the impression that the audiences are very eager to discover things. I think it’s connected with the way the Festival approaches the audience, not underestimating the audience.

This year marks 50 years of Brighton Festival. What does it mean for you to be part of the festival in this milestone year?

I’m very happy that we will be part of that moment.

Book now for Zvizdal.


Stella: An Encounter with a Truly Remarkable Person.

'Most of all, I hope people are going to realise that even though she's dead 100 years, and even though she lived this unimaginable life in a very different culture, in fact Stella is asking herself the same questions that we are all asking ourselves' Neil Bartlett


Award-winning director, writer and performer Neil Bartlett OBE talks to Kathy Caton about his new show Stella, co-commissioned by and premiering at Brighton Festival.

The show is inspired by Ernest Boulton – one half of the infamous Victorian cross-dressing duo Fanny and Stella - and intimately examines his strange life and lonely death.

In this interview, Neil discusses how he first discovered Stella, her extraordinary history, and how his work both past and current examines her life and character.

This new teaser trailer features the actors Oscar Battingham and Richard Cant as the enigmatic flipsides of Stella, and gives a glimpse into their tumultuous lives. 


From our Spotlight video series, Neil discusses bringing Stella to the 50th Brighton Festival and what he hopes audiences are going to get out of the show. 


Stella is on at the Theatre Royal, Fri 27 & Sat 28 May. Book now.

Interview: Lola Arias on Minefield

Ahead of the world premiere of Minefield, Argentinian artist Lola Arias tells us about working with veterans, the legacy of the Falklands war 33 years on, and the impact she hopes her work will have. 

For someone who knows nothing about the project, can you give us some context around Minefield - what the piece is about and how it developed and why you chose to explore the conflict?

In 2013 I did a project called After the War, and that’s when I started to work with veterans. I did a video installation in which Argentinian veterans reconstructed moments from the war in the places they work today. In the Falklands-Malvinas war there were a lot of conscripts, and these people are now completely different from the soldiers they used to be. For example, one was an opera-singer and another a sportsman, like a swimmer.

The gap between the men they used to be and the men they are now started to interest me a lot and I thought about continuing the project with British veterans. So, Minefield will be the first time a group of British veterans and a group of Argentinian veterans are reconstructing together their memories of the war and this will be rehearsed in Argentina and in England so we will be creating together a whole picture of what happened to them at that time and who they are now.

This project is all about memories, how they are still important for them today even if it’s 33 years later. How even if it was a war that lasted only two months, it’s still present every day for them.

You must have been six years old during the Falklands War - what were your personal memories of the conflict?

During the Falklands-Malvinas war, I was in my first year of primary school and we were asked to write a letter to the soldiers. I remember everyone was writing letters to the soldiers. They all started the same way: ‘to the unknown soldier’, then it was ‘I’m a student of such-and-such school and I’m wishing you the best for the war’, and so on.

When I started to work with the Argentinian veterans, they had kept these letters from the unknown students from all over the country. Some even contacted the people who wrote them. One guy told me that he met his wife, because she was a secondary school student who wrote him a letter saying ‘I wish you the best’ and after the war he got in contact with this woman. They met and they fell in love and have been married for 10 years.

So you never know what can come out from a letter from an unknown student to an unknown soldier.

You work often draws on many different genres and disciplines - what form will Minefield take and what can audiences expect to happen?

We’re still developing it, but it will be a project where people are telling their own stories in an informative way, but there will still probably be media and music. We are even thinking about having a band, with British and Argentinian veterans because some of them play instruments – one plays the drums and two of them play guitar. We thought that it could be really interesting to have them play together, so we’ll see what language they play in – English, Spanish or Spanglish.

What have you discovered about the various characteristics of the veterans so far? What are the similarities/differences?

It was surprising to see that English veterans were as affected as Argentinian veterans by the war. I had the impression that because most of the Argentinian veterans were conscripts – so they were only 18 and not really prepared to go to war, they only had a few months’ training – for them it was a totally traumatic experience.

But I thought that people who were well-trained and inside the military before going to war – it’s just one more mission in their life – but I realised that for British veterans this was also a traumatic experience and they all went through very hard moments and all of them have a story to tell.

Why is Minefield an important and relevant work for today's audiences? What do you hope the legacy of the work to be?

For Argentinians it’s a very present topic, it’s not something forgotten or lost in history, but for the British people it’s just one more war. I think it’s not so much about the relevance of this war in terms of in terms of the history. But it is in a way very interesting to reflect on how these people who were there even for two months are still affected today, 33 years later: they go through fear and pain and they were very marked by this experience. If you think about this happening to people that were only there for two months, you cannot imagine the consequences that are facing British soldiers coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan and so on.

All of them are looking forward to this encounter. For people who were in a war 33 years ago, they don’t have the feeling that the other one is the enemy anymore, they just have the feeling that they’re just other veterans of the same war. They fell very connected, emotionally. I think it will be very moving to see them interacting and telling each other their stories.

Minefield blurs the lines between truth and fiction, what do you think about the meaning of 'truth' in the processes of truth and reconciliation, and what possibilities does theatre open up in addressing post conflict reconciliation?

I’m not doing this because of reconciliation. I don’t think they need that. For me it’s more about how people can build up a history together using their personal stories. I think that through their personal stories you will get a kind of whole picture of the war and what the consequences were for everyone. You’ll be able to reflect on the history of both countries and how politicians from both sides used the war for their own purposes.

Minefield will premiere at Brighton Festival as it celebrates its 50th year of commissioning and producing innovative arts and culture. What does it mean for you to be part of Brighton Festival in this milestone year?

I’m very happy to be part of the celebration of a festival which is doing very challenging, wonderful work.

I remember being at Brighton Festival with My Life After in 2013 and people were emotional about it and very grateful afterwards. A lot of people came after the plays to talk to the performers and to me about the play and that was really beautiful.

I’m very proud to be a part of it. 

Book tickets for Minefield now. 

Festival Hot Seat… Breaking the Rules

Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa and Count of Conza, composed some of the most intense and glorious music of the Renaissance. He was also a brutal killer, and the full horror of his crimes stands in stark contrast to his astonishing music. We talk to Clare Norburn, the author of The Marian Consort’s Breaking the Rules to find out more about this unique show…

How and where will it be staged?

In All Saint’s Church, Hove (very fitting as the play is set part in Gesualdo’s chapel and partly in his head!) – it is half a concert/half a one man play – and our wonderful director Nicholas Renton (best known for his TV work on Musketeers, Lewis and George Gently) has staged it so that the music and text are really blurred and we try to bring the action around the audience. We want the audience to feel that Gesualdo is really speaking to them personally.

Why should someone come and see your show?

Well, our pilot performance and preview have had a really amazing audience reaction. People are fascinated by the story and seem to leave wanting to know more about the man and his music – which makes me feel we’re on to something special. Also, it’s rather unusual being half a play and half a concert – no one has toured a show quite like it before.

Why do you think it’s an important story to tell?

I think Gesualdo’s life and music has been misunderstood. He’s underrated as a composer and not often performed because the music out of context is seen as “difficult” – but it really isn’t once you adjust your ears. It’s extraordinarily powerful and exciting. I see Gesualdo as a kind of Gustav Mahler figure of the late 16th century – once people were given a way into Mahler’s music, he quickly became a “cult classical music figure”. I think the same could become true of Gesualdo.

What sort of person is going to love this show?

If you like slightly dark stories and something a bit different then this is the show for you!

What’s going to surprise people about this show?

Hopefully the music. The story. And the way that we have tried to create a completely different kind of show – half a concert/ half a play.

What does Brighton Festival mean to you?

Do you have a favourite Festival moment? I grew up in Brighton and as a teenager I sang in the Brighton Festival Chorus so I got to perform in many Festival concerts in the mid 80s. As a teenager, I didn’t really have a lot of access to arts events in London and so the Brighton Festival was for me the time when the city (which felt quite ordinary in the mid 80s – not as arty as it is now) became a truly magical place where anything could happen and where I felt part of a cultural community. I loved hanging out after performances at the Festival Club and seeing who might turn up!

This year marks 50 years of Brighton Festival. What does it mean for you to be part of the festival in this milestone year?

I came to the Festival launch in February and, although I was already thrilled that we had been asked to take part, hearing about all the other starry events made me feel particularly excited and honoured to be involved this year. Brighton Festival has been a huge part of my life – as a teenager performing with local choirs, as a singer performing as a young artists in the classical lunchtime series and now with my play here too.

What are you most looking forward to in Brighton Festival this year?

I am keen to see La Nuova Musica’s Dido and Aeneas (they are a particularly exciting up and coming young group and I just saw them in London) and I’m really interested to see Stella by Neil Bartlett at the Theatre Royal. As a teenager I was fascinated by local history and so the story of a local cross-dressing Victorian actor brought to life on a Brighton stage sounds fascinating.

Book now for Breaking the Rules

Watch Again - Brighton Festival Live: Duke Garwood

‘Duke Garwood is the real thing… an old soul and a saint’ Kurt Vile

Veteran blues-rock man and multi-instrumentalist Duke Garwood is most definitely the musician’s musician. Mark Lanegan, with whom Garwood collaborated on 2013’s Black Pudding, calls him a ‘musical genius’, while Josh T Pearson says his songs are ‘as close to heaven as you can get with a guitar’.

Newly signed to Heavenly, Garwood’s acclaimed fifth solo album Heavy Love, his first since 2011’s Dreamboatsafari, sees his intriguing brand of powerful, understated blues on top form. Special guests Smoke Fairies and Woven Entity join Garwood to perform a mix of old and new material. Don’t miss one of contemporary rock’s best kept secrets in a headline performance at Brighton Dome.

Book now for Duke Garwood.

If you enjoy this live stream, then you might be interested in some of the events still coming up at Brighton Festival:

Moments of Weightlessness
Pianist, inventor and performer Sarah Nicolls developed her unique ‘inside-out piano’ to explore the belly of the instrument and to coax out its hidden sounds. See this monumental piano in surprising motion, hear the beautiful melodies and textures of Sarah’s piano-songs and contemplate the moments of life where everything seems to stand still.

Beth Orton
Beth Orton has been one of the country’s most unique and beguiling voices in contemporary music for the past two decades. She returns to the UK for two shows at Brighton Festival premiering highly anticipated new material exploring her electronic roots. 

Floating Points
Dance music trailblazer Sam Shepherd – otherwise known as Floating Points – is renowned for his ambitious, forward-thinking DJ sets around the world. Performing with a full live band, don’t miss what promises to be a remarkable live performance from one of electronic music’s most perceptive new artists.

Minefield: Meet the veterans

With a history of creating work that combines real lives and stories with fiction and performance, Argentinian writer and director Lola Arias brings together British and Argentinian veterans of the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas war on a stage 8,000 miles from their remembered battlefield.

The war of 1982, in which Argentina tried to regain control of the islands, had an enormous political impact: for Argentina it was a defeat that propelled the fall of the military regime; for England it was a triumph that saved the premiership of Margaret Thatcher. And for the islanders it was the way to obtain full British citizenship and a new constitution.

But what happened to the soldiers? Some of them got medals, and some were forgotten. Some of them continue in the forces and others started new lives as psychologists, musicians, teachers, security guards. Today the only thing they have in common is that they are veterans. But, what is a veteran: a survivor, a hero, a madman? The project confronts different visions of the war, bringing old enemies together to tell the many sides of the one story.

Lou Armour was the front page of every newspaper when the Argentinians took him prisoner on the 2nd April, now he is a teacher for children with learning difficulties.


Ruben Otero survived the sinking of the ARA General Belgrano, now he has a Beatles tribute band. 


David Jackson spent the war listening and transcribing radio codes, now he listens to other veterans in his role as a counsellor. 


Gabriel Sagastume was a soldier who never wanted to shoot a gun, now he is a criminal lawyer.


Sukrim Rai was a Gurkha and expert with his knife, now he works as a security guard. 


Marcelo Vallejo was a mortar direction controller, now he is a triathlon champion.


On a film set turned time machine, the veterans are teleported into the past to reconstruct their memories of the war and their lives after. 

Hear their stories at Brighton Festival in Lola Arias' Minefield...


Find out more about Minefield in this interview with Lola Arias

Book tickets for Minefield now

Our Sponsors’ Top Picks for Brighton Festival 2016

We asked a few of our sponsors what they were most excited about for Brighton Festival 2016. Read on to find out about their top picks!

Chris Tomlinson, Development Manager at Rampion Offshore Wind

How many events do you attend in Brighton Festival and how do you choose what you see?

I am most inspired by music so it’s not surprising that my shortlist this year includes LSOBeth OrtonBrighton: Symphony of a CityPhronesisDuke GarwoodHacienda ClassicalLaura MvulaFloating Points Live…help me out here! I always like to throw a circus performance into the mix, so I’ll see if I can get along to Smoke and Mirrors, and Alexei Sayle should ensure I have a smile on my face. My most enduring memory to date was the live performance of Koyaanisqatsi by Philip Glass and his orchestra – truly sublime.

Are you a regular audience member at Brighton Dome year-round?

It varies each year depending on my whereabouts, work commitments and the Dome programme. However, the Dome is far more than Brighton Festival in May, with a broad range of music, dance, comedy and theatre the whole year round.

Read more about our partnership with Rampion Offshore Wind

Vicky King, Marketing Executive, Griffith Smith Farrington Webb solicitors

What are your top 3 picks of the 50th Brighton Festival 2016 programme and why?

My first choice has to be Operation Black Antler, it is such an unusual and exciting concept and perfect for Brighton Festival. Being in someone else’s shoes, making difficult decisions and taking their consequences not to mention the fact that your ticket and instructions are sent via text makes it something you definitely don’t do every day.

Second has to be Hacienda Classical. I have wanted to see something like this for ages and was delighted to see it listed as part of the Festival. House and club classics combined with a live orchestra is a perfect combination and really allows the music to emote to the audience; who will have been to a club night or two in Ibiza!

Finally, Correction, I love dance performances and reading about this in the programme really excited me. I am a huge fan of dance pieces that convey a strong message and make you think outside of the box.

Why are you supporting Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival?

Brighton Dome & Festival is part of our community and appeals to all ages and we feel that supporting such an integral part of Brighton will enable the Festival to continue for many more generations.

Read more about our partnership with Griffith Smith Farrington Webb Solicitors LLP

Jon Dudley, Design and Creative Consultant, Nutshell Construction

Why are you supporting Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival?

Nutshell are supporting the Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival because of its commitment to putting the Sussex community and the diversity of Brighton in the spotlight. Nutshell has similar aims and we are always keen to promote and contribute to the amazing Sussex community. 

Brighton Festival annually puts forth an incredible array of creative projects and family events and the offerings this year do not disappoint. Nutshell Construction are proud to be sponsoring the festival this year as it celebrates its 50th anniversary.

What are your top 3 picks of the 50th Brighton Festival 2016 programme and why?

One of Nutshell’s top picks of the Brighton Festival this year is Futuregazers because this collection of imaginative pieces and workshops is entirely unique in handing the reins to Brighton’s children. The idea of building the future Brighton and Sussex area is something that obviously appeals to Nutshell and this imaginative, family-based project is a perfect fit with our ethos.

From a construction and design point of view, Past Historic, Future Perfect fits perfectly with Nutshell as a business with a specialism in restoration projects. The title Past Historic, Future Perfect encapsulates Nutshell’s aim to perfectly restore beautiful buildings around Sussex and to maintain a sense of the past whilst bringing these buildings into modernity. Past Historic, Future Perfect is like FutureGazers in its attempts to build a bright future for Brighton and Sussex, something Nutshell is passionate about contributing to.

Another Nutshell favourite is Luminary. This beautiful light display embodies the diversity of Brighton and includes the whole city, with giant displays as well as several more intimate ones. Luminary is an amazing display of a whole range of perspectives bringing the community together by creating an exhibit encapsulating the entire city.

Read more about our partnership with Nutshell Construction.

Check out photos from some of the shows and events that have already happened, or find out more about what's still coming up


Brighton Festival Brochure Covers: 1997 - 2006

Dip into Brighton Festival design history

Browse through the fourth decade of Brighton Festival Programme Covers.

You can check out the the firstsecond and third decades of brochure covers, or find out more this year's branding to mark our milestone 50th anniversary. 

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

Watch Again - Brighton Festival Live: Paradise Lost (lies unopened beside me)

Part 2:

There is a possibility that God made everything because he was terrified of doing nothing. Here is a re-telling of the story of the beginning of everything inspired by Milton's Paradise Lost – told through words, music and the easily misunderstood medium of dance.

Find out more about this event

If you enjoy this live stream, then you might be interested in some of the events still coming up at Brighton Festival:

The Marian Consort - Breaking the Rules
Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa and Count of Conza, composed some of the most intense and glorious music of the Renaissance. He was also a brutal killer. As the obsessive composer relives the past and makes his final confession, the full horror of his crimes stands in stark contrast to his astonishing music. 

Correction
Imagine a world where you can’t progress despite your best efforts to push forward. Multi-awardwinning Czech company VerTeDance presents a beautifully poignant dance piece about our lack of freedom and our power to make decisions.

Penny Arcade
Penny Arcade is a force of nature and New York’s undisputed queen of the underground. Outrageous and inspirational, Arcade occupies a unique position in the American avant-garde and counterculture movement. Longing Lasts Longer is her double award-winning Edinburgh show, which turns contemporary stand-up on its head to create a crack in the post-gentrified landscape. 

In Pictures: For the Love of Dogs

Last month we launched a competition inspired by our Guest Director Laurie Anderson's canine concert Music For Dogs and her new film Heart of a Dog.

We asked you to send in photos of your dogs and tell us a bit about them, so we could pick 50 to be immortalised in a mural. We were touched and delighted by the stories we received, and it was pretty tough to pick just 50 for the wall. 

On Sat 14 May all the winning dogs had been painted and we invited dog and owner alike to come and see the mural. 

The dogs’ owners were delighted. One said, ‘I’m just a dog fan...for Stanley to be immortalised in the North Laine – I’m so proud!’

Another said, ‘I think it’s fantastic – he’s famous! We came to live in Brighton about two years ago…and the idea that our dog is now on a mural feels like we’ve finally arrived and been fully accepted into the city. It’s the happiest thing!’

Big thanks to Sinna One for creating such a fantastic piece! You can see it yourself in Kensington Street in Brighton's North Laine or check out some pictures of the piece in progress and the grand opening!

Photo credit: Vic Frankowski. 

Interview: Stewart Hurwood on Lou Reed Drones

'I like to think of it as a sonic massage…'

As we host the UK premiere of Lou Reed Drones, an installation of guitars in feedback mode, Lou Reed’s long-time guitar tech and right-hand man Stewart Hurwood tells us about what it was like to work with a music legend, how the piece came about and exactly what he hopes audiences will get out of it…

How did you meet Lou Reed and how long did you work with him?

I worked with Lou Reed for the last ten years of his life. I became his right-hand man handling many more things than just his guitars, equipment and managing the stages he played on.

What was Lou like to work with?

Lou was very demanding on everyone including himself. He was always pushing his art and didn't want to stand still or rest on his laurels. This made the work extremely challenging and very rewarding.

How did Lou Reed: Drones come about? Was it something you discussed directly with Lou?

In 1975 Lou Reed released Metal Machine Music. This was a noise album featuring a constant drone of guitar feedback from start to finish, in fact, the album was made so the end would continually repeat until you lifted the needle from the record.

Around 2008 Lou wanted to tour and perform a noise type improv similar to Metal Machine Music. We did extensive testing of guitar feedback and ultimately Lou decided that we would use four guitars and amplifiers feeding back as the foundation of the Metal Machine Trio Tour. It was during this testing that Lou Reed gave the title ‘The Drones’ to the four guitar, amp wall of feedback.

During that tour in Sydney, while setting the feedback Lou shouted to me: "I feel healed in The Drones"! He was ill at the time and I fully acknowledged the gravity of his statement.

What was Laurie Anderson’s role?

After Lou passed there was a meeting at his house. People were discussing what should happen to Lou Reed's guitars and equipment. Many said the equipment should be in a museum. I spoke up and said, "Lou would hate his instruments gathering dust, he was about moving forward and creating". I told Laurie Anderson about my experiences with Lou Reed and The Drones, how I wanted to use them as therapy for Lou and the idea of a feedback wall. Laurie Anderson said: "The feedback wall is a great idea...and YOU must do it"!

Laurie set things in motion and I performed a three hour (MM3) session at The Steven Kasher Gallery on 23rd Street in Chelsea, NYC. Laurie Anderson and Antony Hegarty were deeply moved by the tribute and a second session was scheduled...this time at The Kitchen in NYC.

Laurie was invited to perform in a tribute show for Ornette Coleman at The Bandshell in Brooklyn. She had The Drones as part of the performance. I set a soundscape foundation and Master Ren Guang- Yi (Tai Chi teacher to Lou Reed) performed The 21 a movement created for Lou Reed.

Laurie came out on stage with John Zorn and Bill Laswell and all three improvised over The Drones. ...it was beautiful!

What exactly will the audience be able to see/hear/do?

Ideally the room will be pretty dark with some slow moving lights generated from a mirror ball. The idea is to instigate a little disorientation and second guessing about the space you're in. I will set soundscapes in motion these will encourage the listeners' imagination to open.

They can sit, lay, listen, meditate, sleep, cry, dance, chant, perform Tai Chi - whatever they get emotionally from the sounds they can react to. I would encourage people to drone along, making their own drone resonating inside their chest cavity. The sound is interactive changing with the movement of people within the space, other sound sources (musicians and instruments, or chants etc.).

How many guitars are there in the installation? Were they all owned by Lou?

I tour with seven guitars, six are leaning against the amps ready to be included in the soundscape, I can use the extra guitar to swap out a guitar and alter the tunings available to me. All the guitars and amplifiers were owned by Lou Reed...many of which people have seen Lou play live, or in videos of live gigs.

How has the installation been received to date?

The Drones fall between an installation and performance art as I manipulate and interact with them. People, even musicians as usually surprised by how musical and moving it can be.

What do you hope audiences will get out of it?

I hope that they experience the gateway of their imagination to be opened! The Drones generate so many harmonics in the air that people hear different things within the drones; some hear birds, or horns, brass bands, others hear strings, or voices. In addition the sound waves hit the body perhaps penetrating and shaking internal organs, releasing endorphins etc. I like to think of it as a sonic massage!

I had one person tell me, amazingly he slept during parts of the performance. He went on to say he suffers with insomnia and the vibration had made him feel incredibly relaxed... he had a great nap and vivid dreams. I see this as a success!

And finally…. Exactly how loud is the feedback?

Not as loud as Metallica...louder than a string quartet...at times approaching the sound and volume of Lancaster bomber but more musical!


Head this way for more info on free event Lou Reed Drones


In Pictures: Week 1 continued...

As we embark on a whole new week of Brighton Festival events, we thought we'd share more photos from an incredible opening week. We hope you've enjoyed the first few days of our 50th Festival as much as we have.

Look back through this excellent week, which has featured the likes of  Vox Luminus, African Dance Party, Without Walls Weekend, Of Riders and Running Horses and so much more.

See what else is in store this Brighton Festival.

Watch Again - Brighton Festival Live: The Complete Deaths

There are 74 onstage deaths in the works of William Shakespeare (75 if you count the black ill-favoured fly killed in Titus Andronicus). From the Roman suicides in Julius Caesar to the death fall of Prince Arthur in King John; from the carnage at the end of Hamlet to snakes in a basket in Antony and Cleopatra. And then there’s the pie that Titus serves his guests.

Spymonkey will perform them all – sometimes lingeringly, sometimes messily, sometimes movingly, always hysterically. These ‘seriously, outrageously, cleverly funny clowns’ (Time Magazine) will scale the peaks of sublime poetry, and plumb the depths of darkest depravity. It may even be the death of them.

Adapted and directed by Tim Crouch (I, Malvolio, An Oak Tree, Adler & Gibb), The Complete Deaths is a solemn, sombre and sublimely funny tribute to the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

Supported by ZSTa

Book now for this event.

If you enjoy this live stream, then you might be interested in some of the events still coming up at Brighton Festival:

Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour
Catholic schoolgirls go wild as the choir trip to Edinburgh goes badly wrong. Funny, sad and raucously rude, this exhilarating cocktail of singing, sex and sambuca, adapted by Billy Elliot author Lee Hall, enjoyed a sell-out, award-winning run at Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre (2015)

Shakespeare Untold
The stories you know from the characters you don’t. This family-friendly double bill takes a fresh and funny look at the ultra-romantic Romeo and Juliet and the gory revenge drama Titus Andronicus.

The Marian Consort: Breaking the Rules
Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa and Count of Conza, composed some of the most intense and glorious music of the Renaissance. He was also a brutal killer. As the obsessive composer relives the past and makes his final confession, the full horror of his crimes stands in stark contrast to his astonishing music. 

Fat Boy Slim, Prince Regent, and the Palace Pier among those celebrated in the Children’s Parade 2016

Celebrating the great and the good of Brighton, 20,000 people packed the streets today Sat 7 May as the 50th Brighton Festival launched with the Children’s Parade

The theme for the 2016 Children’s Parade, the largest of its kind in Europe, which is jointly produced with award-winning community arts organisation Same Sky and supported by local businesses Class of their Own and Riverford, was ‘Brighton celebrates’, and around 5,000 children from 67 schools and community groups from across the region took part.

Participants took inspiration from the people, places, ideas and innovations that shape the city’s unique character and identity. Featuring in the parade were three Fat Boy Slims, Prince Regent on his throne, Duke of York’s Cinema, the Palace Pier, Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell, David Bowie, Beach Huts, Afternoon tea at The Grand, and dozens of other iconic Brighton figures and landmarks.

Jointly produced with award-winning community arts organisation Same Sky and supported by local businesses Class of their Own and Riverford, the annual Children’s Parade officially launches Brighton Festival and has delighted participants and spectators for over 25 years.

Previous themes have seen children dress up as everything from letters of the alphabet and Brighton street names to books, mermaids and even slices of cake for the annual Children’s Parade.

One of the most spectacular community events in the UK, Same Sky spends six months working behind the scenes to create the event, with creative teams instructing teaching staff how to teach dance and parade chants, run free masterclasses, help develop design ideas and encourage imagination to flow.

John Varah, Artistic Director, Same Sky says: ‘It is great to see Brighton and Hove's schools once again embracing the themes of the parade with amazing imagination and ingenuity. The theme “Brighton celebrates” has brought to life sections celebrating the people, places and ideas that have made the city so exiting, innovative and funky. We are all looking forward to the next 50 years and hope the Children's Parade will continue to thrill and astound. We had The Prince Regent, Fat Boy Slim and Rudyard Kipling brushing shoulders with the I360 and the West Pier whilst traveling through a flutter of starlings and taking Tea at the Grand only here can all these ideas coexist in the maker city where we all create, celebrate and strut our stuff.

Year 4 pupils imagine Brighton life in 2066 in exhibition celebrating 50 years of Brighton Festival

A solar-powered litter picking robot and a free hotel for homeless people, were among the creations made by Patcham Junior School’s Year 4s when tasked with imagining how Brighton might look in 2066, for Brighton Festival exhibition Futuregazers

A wide range of colourful and playful creations were made by on hundred 8 and 9 year-olds to celebrate Brighton Festival’s fiftieth year. Futuregazers is a free exhibition at Onca Gallery from 7-29 May.

The young artists have made bold responses to some big questions including homelessness, fossil fuel dependency and waste. This child-led celebration of the power of imagination will invite audiences of all ages to interact with it playfully and to add their own ideas to the exhibition. There will be free workshops for children families every weekend in May, and Radio FutureGazers FM will be broadcasting daily from the gallery.

Innovations include: ‘The Cleaner Upper: This solar powered litter-picking robot picks up rubbish, puts it in its big tummy and turns it into useful stuff’ and ‘The Free Hotel: We see a lot of homeless people around. We want a happy Earth - we want everyone to have happy and safe homes. So we’ve got a rooftop garden for fresh food and vegetables.’

ONCA co-director Persephone Pearl says, ‘It takes imagination, skill and even courage to dream about and describe the future at a time when the news is often dominated by negative stories. We are dazzled by Year 4’s optimistic, bold visions for Brighton: imaginariums, shark sanctuaries, solar buildings, waste -powered hotels. And of course, hoverboards.’

Exhibition Details:

FutureGazers | ONCA Gallery

Sat 7 - Sun 29 May 2016

Free Admission. Gallery Opening Times: Wednesday – Friday 12-7pm / Saturday & Sunday 11-6pm

ONCA Gallery, 14 St. George’s Place, Brighton BN1 4GB.

www.brightonfestival.org

Workshops:

May 8th 2-4pm: Thinking-Bubble Hats - What inventions would help to make the future even more exciting? Come and design an invention for the future that will make life easier, fuller, or just funnier! Materials provided. For children aged 5-12. With artist Clare Connelly.

May 15th 2-4pm: Write a Future Diary - Inspired by the Mass Observation Project. It’s May 15th, 2066. What are you doing today? For all ages and abilities.

May 22nd 2-4pm: Magical Wishing Wands - What do you most wish for the future? Safer rainforests and tigers, more libraries and art galleries, or an end to pollution? Come and design a magic wish-wand with an image on it of your wishes for the future. Materials provided. For children aged 5-12. With artist Clare Connelly.

May 29th: Voicemails from the Future - It’s 2066. Who will you call? What do you need to tell them? Using our futuristic FutureBooth, the power of your imagination and any phone at all, add your voicemail from the future to our growing collection. For all ages and abilities but recommended for 12-16s as part of B.Fest.

Festival-goers invited to interact with installation of Lou Reed’s guitars

Festival-goers are invited to meditate, dance, chant, and even perform Tai Chi at Lou Reed Drones, an installation of Lou Reed’s guitars and amps set in feedback mode, coming to Brighton Festival in May.

A UK Premiere, Lou Reed Drones is at The Spire Fri 13 - Tue 17 May. Lou Reed instinctively knew the power of drone music, and his 1975 album Metal Machine Music was credited with laying the foundation for the industrial and noise rock genres.

Lou Reed’s guitar technician Stewart Hurwood, the man behind the installation, says, ‘People can sit, lay, listen, meditate, sleep, cry, dance, chant, perform Tai Chi - whatever they get emotionally from the sounds they can react to. I would encourage people to drone along, making their own drone resonating inside their chest cavity. The sound is interactive changing with the movement of people within the space, and other sound sources.’

Stewart Hurwood worked with Lou Reed for the last ten years of his life, handling his guitars, and equipment. Lou Reed Drones came about when following Lou Reed’s death, Stewart came up with the idea as an alternative to Reed’s equipment gathering dust, and worked with Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed’s partner, and Brighton Festival 2016 Guest Director, to make it a reality.

Brighton Festival invites Brighton artists and practitioners to immerse themselves in the installation and participate in a series of Happenings that will take place during Lou Reed Drones, between the hours of 2-4pm, Fri 13 - Tue 17 May 2016. All Happenings need to be self-sufficient, non-intrusive and without amplification. Please note there is no fee.

If you are interested in responding to the Drones creatively please contact Letitia.McConalogue@brightonfestival.org with a short description about you, your practice and how you would like to respond to the Drones. The curatorial team will get back to you to confirm if there is a space to incorporate your idea in the schedule.

Listings information

Lou Reed Drones

Fri 13 – Tue 17 May, 12pm – 5pm

The Spire, St Mark’s Chapel, Eastern Road, BN25JN

FREE

Visit www.brightonfestival.org

Both Lou Reed and John Cale instinctively knew the power of drones. In 1975, Reed played out that drone music on Metal Machine Music, an album credited with laying the foundation for the industrial and noise rock genres.

Lou Reed Drones is an installation of his guitars and amps in feedback mode: 24 strings set in motion from the push of magnetically driven cones; 360 partial harmonics colliding against each other, cascading, uniting, elevating, rising up like New York skyscrapers along the Hudson.

Introducing gain and sculpting sonic frequencies, a feedback loop is created with each guitar and its respective amplifier. Their overlapping harmonic structures produce pseudo-acoustic notes in which a beating sensation is then set in motion. Lou Reed Drones is a visceral, emotional and spiritual experience.

Brighton Festival artist Debashish Bhattacharya wins Songlines Music Award

Pioneering Indian Classical musician, and India’s leading lap steel guitar player Debashish Bhattacharya has won the Songlines Music Award 2016 for Best Album (Asia and South Pacific category).

The results were announced on Friday 6 May in the June 2016 edition of Songlines Magazine and Debashish has picked up the award for his album Slide Guitar Ragas from Dusk Till Dawn.

The awards recognise outstanding talent in world music.

Debashish says, ‘From 1967-2016 my music has crossed five decades and huge changes in the music world, Songlines is a great magazine bringing to the public the best music from different cultures and ethnicities. This award is a big boost and recognition of my hard work, recognition like this is a life-saving drug to a low-profile musician like myself. This award inspires me to keep on driving on my music highway.

As part of Brighton Festival 2016 Debashish Bhattacharya will play a traditional raga concert on a slide guitar he has developed himself, on 28 May at Brighton Dome Concert Hall, alongside virtuoso table player Gurdain Rayatt, as part of the Dr Blighty concert series.

Listings information

Debashish Bhattacharya

Sat 28 May, 10.15-11.45pm

Brighton Dome Concert Hall

£10/£15

Visit www.brightonfestival.org or call 01273 709709

Songlines Music Awards 2016 winner Bhattacharya will play a traditional raga concert, alongside virtuoso tabla player Gurdain Rayatt. Bhattacharya plays slide guitar, an instrument he has developed himself – a unique event from one of the great artists of world music.

Watch Again - Brighton Festival Live: The Soldier: From Severn to Somme

Christopher Maltman baritone
Malcolm Martineau piano

Including works by Butterworth, Gurney, Somervell, Mahler, Musorgsky, Schumann, Wolf, Finzi and Poulenc

In the first of two recitals by Malcolm Martineau, the pianist accompanies the celebrated baritone Christopher Maltman – hailed as one of the country’s leading exponents of song ever since winning the Lieder Prize at the 1997 Cardiff Singer of the World competition. Colouring the contrast between the idyll of Edwardian England and the horrors of the Great War, an eclectic programme of songs, lieder and chansons charts the soldier's experience, from boyhood to battlefield and beyond.

Find out more and book for this event. 

If you enjoy this live stream, then you might be interested in some of the events still coming up at Brighton Festival:

Gemma Lois Summerfield and Simon Lepper
A selection of chansons and Lieder showcases the expressive talents of Gemma Lois Summerfield, who won the 2015 Kathleen Ferrier Competition, accompanied here by vocal specialist Simon Lepper.

The Marian Consort - Breaking the Rules
Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa and Count of Conza, composed some of the most intense and glorious music of the Renaissance. He was also a brutal killer. As the obsessive composer relives the past and makes his final confession, the full horror of his crimes stands in stark contrast to his astonishing music. 

Philharmonia Orchestra
Music, words and imagery combine in this special concert. The Philharmonia Orchestra perform some of the best-loved English works of the period, including Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending (the nation’s favourite piece of classical music as voted by Classic FM listeners), alongside violin virtuoso Kala Ramnath's own traditional music scored for violin, orchestra and Indian folk instruments. 

In Pictures: Three Score Dance - Tall Tales

To celebrate the 50th Brighton Festival, Three Score Dance brought together 50 dancers aged over 50 to perform a very special dance piece on the beach. 

On a gloriously sunny day, crowds gathered on West Pier Beach to see Tall Tales, a specially commissioned piece choreographed by Lea Anderson drawing upon the history of Brighton Festival over five decades.

Enjoy these photos of the event! 

Photo credit Vic Frankowski

In Pictures: Music For Dogs

Brighton Festival plays host to the UK premiere of Laurie Anderson's unique concert for dogs this week. 


Brighton Festival played host to Guest Director Laurie Anderson’s Music for Dogs this week – a pair of concerts specially designed for the canine ear. Around 400 dogs were in attendance accompanied by their human counterparts at BOAT (Brighton Open Air Theatre).

This was the UK premiere of Music For Dogs following performances at Sydney Opera House, and again in New York’s Times Square earlier this year which made headlines around the world. The idea was initially prompted by a backstage conversation with cellist Yo-Yo Ma in which Laurie mused: 'Wouldn’t it be great if you’re playing a concert and you look out and everyone’s a dog?' 

Here is a selection of photographs from the evening.

Photo credit Vic Frankowski

In Pictures: Week 1

Brighton Festival 2016 kicked off in grand sunny style with the Children's Parade (click to see more photos) on Saturday, and we've been celebrating since then! 

Here are a few photos from the first week, from the touching Portraits in Motion to a very special canine concert in Music For Dogs. 

Photos by Vic Frankowski, Tom Oldham, John Hunter and Adam Weatherley. 

Festival Hot Seat... Song Conversation

Our Guest Director Laurie Anderson is bringing Song Conversation to Brighton Festival, a free-wheeling collaboration with musician-composers Nik Bärtsch and Eivind Aarset. In this Festival Hot Seat Nik and Eivind tell us about the show and how they came to work with Laurie Anderson

This is your second song conversation together – How did the original collaboration come about?

Nik: I had the chance to invite two musicians for the program "Song Conversation" initiated by Thomas Wördehoff for the Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele in Germany. Eivind immediately came to my mind since he is a great collaborator and we’d already played a few times together. Usually there should also be a singer on board for this program but I had a challenge to think of a person that would be inspiring to collaborate. I talked with Mr. Wördehoff and he suggested Laurie. I was immediately enthused since I loved records like “Bright Red” and “The Ugly One with the Jewels”. I listened to these records a lot when I was in my twenties. The idea of “Song Conversations” was also to include songs that were inspiring during an artist’s life.

All together we had lots of fun and also found answers to many artistic questions that were raised when we talked about “a song”. So the initial idea of covering influential songs developed into a general musical conversation about the song itself and its contexts. Of course Laurie is brilliant in this and her stories worked on several meta levels which was totally in the sense of us all.

Why ‘Song Conversation’? What exactly does the show involve?

Nik: The notion of a “song conversation” embraces the idea that songs can talk to us and they can talk to each other. Also there can be a dialogue about the song itself or we can enter the song like a house.

Eivind: We treated the subject of a “song conversation” in a kind of loose way. Not so much playing concrete songs, but more looking at the subject, and exploring different themes thru association.

Nik: We had so many ideas about the possibilities of this “conversation” that the performance jumped constantly from one meta level to the next. We played self-invented songs, songs about songs, stories about songs and we interpreted songs composed by us and other artists like Alban Bergs and Lou Reed.

How much of the show is improvised? What do you enjoy about that approach?

Nik: We improvise a lot, to serve the song and its context. We will also improvise with the moods around Laurie’s stories, some flow directions are agreed but then the moment decides how the piece develops. I like the approach to have a flexibility while respecting the songs’ integrity.

What is it like to work with Laurie Anderson?

Nik: Very inspiring of course. I like the story telling singing and her approach to always think about the meta level of content and context. We also seem to share an interest in ironic or droll moments in music and performances, whilst also an appreciation of the serious spiritual deepness in them.

Eivind: I have been a fan for many years, so it was a fantastic for me to be invited to work with Laurie. I was even more impressed after working with her. Just hearing the sound of her voice, experiencing the timing she has when telling a story, and having my sound being a part of this, was a very inspiring experience. She also has a very clear, playful, creative and focused mind, with this beautiful ability to come up with conceptual ideas that go beyond music, crossing borders of art forms in a very organic way, and all the time, it seems to me, with the aim to get a deeper message or meaning across.

Will the show cross all genres of music?

Eivind: I think the show reflects our different personal sounds, and therefore is totally undogmatic when it comes to genre. Even though I often play at jazz festivals I don´t really consider myself to be a jazz player, my background is more rock and ambient music. And Nik has a very personal touch and with aesthetics that go beyond genres. Laurie is a genre of her own.

What sort of person is going to love this show?

Eivind: I think people who are interested in all kinds of music and poetry will enjoy it.

Nik: The good thing with music is, that you never know an answer to this question...

Have you visited Brighton before? What were/are your impressions of the city?

Nik: When I was a teenage student, long ago in a kind of bizarre phase of my life, I visited Brighton whilst staying in Hastings. I am happy now to have a second chance to enjoy this famous place for such an inspiring festival with such fantastic artists!

Eivind: I have been to Brighton a couple of times before, and enjoyed it a lot, but previously my visits have been too short. Luckily this time I will have the chance to stay for longer, so I am very much looking forward to it.

Book now for Song Conversation

Combined ticket deal with Laurie Anderson's Slideshow available in person or on the phone

Watch Again - Brighton Festival Live: Michael Morpurgo

Former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo is spellbinding company, a master storyteller who has created some of the most brilliant children’s books of recent years. 

Join him as he talks about his work, which includes War Horse, Private Peaceful and Why the Whales Came, and hear all about his latest book, An Eagle in the Snow, the extraordinary story of the man who could have stopped World War Two before it even began.

If you enjoy this live stream, then you might be interested in some of the events still coming up at Brighton Festival:

Poetry Workshop with Vanessa Kisule
23-year-old award-winning poet Vanessa Kisuule will show you how to find your unique voice and writing style and teach the performance and breathing techniques that will help your words get heard.

New Writing South Annual Lecture: Nikesh Shukla
Nikesh Shukla discusses his recent calls for increased diversity in literature and asks: "Do I need to see myself in stories to enjoy them?"

Derek Landy
Skulduggery Pleasant
creator Derek Landy’s epic road-trip across the supernatural landscape of America continues in Demon Road: Desolation. Join Derek to get a sneak peek of what will happen in the thrilling closing chapter of the trilogy.

The Melody and Eloquence of Laurie Anderson: A World Premiere

Music buff and journo Joe Fuller brings us another take on upcoming events at Brighton Festival 2016 - this time on our Guest Director Laurie Anderson's shows Slideshow and Song Conversation

The world premiere of Laurie Anderson's Slideshow next week is the centrepiece of the Festival, and at the heart of its theme of home and place. Anderson can alternate between elegiac ruminations about death and humorous anecdotes about her dog's clogs without blinking an eye, which appositely reflects the diverse tone of Brighton Festival itself. Her output over the last ten years has included some of her most enjoyable and accessible work, such as the melodic, string-heavy album Heartland and the contemplative recent film Heart of a Dog, so this is a chance to see the latest piece from an artist at the height of her powers.

The short trailer for Heart of a Dog below gives you a good impression of Anderson's mastery of matching eloquent commentary to varied visual techniques such as animation and home video, carefully aligned to a beautiful soundtrack. The film is loosely based around her pet Rat Terrier Lolabelle, but also delves into the subject of death in a lighthearted way, as well as discussing the climate of surveillance post-9/11 and her own life. The Heart of A Dog soundtrack and Homeland are available on Spotify if you want to sample her softly spoken style.

Anderson has explained that Slideshow is a “collection of adventure stories about love, cities, diners, Mars, how we see, living by rivers, Dollywood, my home town and many other places along the way”. It sounds like it could be similarly autobiographical to Heart of a Dog so it will be fascinating to see what pathos, humour and social commentary she conjures up from her experiences in her brand new monologue.

Song Conversation will be a different sort of evening altogether: a “freewheeling walk through sonic spaces” discussing the notion of song with fellow improvisers Nik Bärtsch and Eivind Aarset. The first iteration of Song Conversation took place in Stuttgart last year and I recommend using Google Chrome to translate this review to get a feel for the format. The show sounds fantastic, with the trio discussing inspirations from William Shakespeare to Alban Berg in “atmospheric conversations”, as well as using “piano as a percussion” and “guitar as a synthesiser”. Google Translate comes up with some poetic turns of phrase itself, enigmatically describing a “great discourse thicket” and explaining how the “sound images completes wonderful”. Praise indeed!

Swiss pianist and composer Nik Bärtsch has performed as a solo artist, with acoustic group Mobile (performing 'rituals' of up to 36 hours) and in the funk-inspired Ronin group, all of which sound quite jazzy and experimental. Bärtsch should therefore have some intriguing ideas about song structures to discuss with Anderson, who often retains pop sensibilities in her work.


Eivind Aarset utilises avant-garde techniques in various genres; in this video for example he lurches from Pink Floyd-like prog solos and jamming into a jutting, darker vamp. I would personally bet that Aarset will be in a calmer mood at the Dome however, more along the lines of the video below.


We can assume that the shows will be warm, melodic and moving if they are going to be like Laurie Anderson's previous work, but who really knows what to expect? At the time of writing in the week before the concerts, Laurie is still working on Slideshow, and Song Conversation is inherently improvisational. The thrill of the unknown in new work is one of the joys of Brighton Festival, and I look forward to settling into my seat next week expecting the unexpected.

There are still tickets from £10 for both shows and also a brilliant joint ticket offer from £15 (available on the phone or in person)
Song Conversation
Slideshow

Watch Again - Brighton Festival Live: Yanis Varoufakis

In his new book, And the Weak Suffer What They Must?, former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis assesses the history of the European monetary union.

A passionate campaigner against austerity, Varoufakis argues that it is a fundamental threat to Europe and to the global economy. He also shows that the origins of the Eurozone crisis lie not with governments or the banks but in its founding structure. 

He will talk to Channel 4 economics editor and Guardian columnist Paul Mason about the current crisis and present his case for economic reform.

Find out more on this event.

If you enjoy this livestream, then you might be interested in some of the events still coming up at Brighton Festival:

Chiflón: The Silence of the Coal
Premiering in the UK, Silencio Blanco confronts the black silence of Chile’s mining history and the personal histories of the miners in this unique and poignant work. 

Fuga Perpetua
Meaning 'always running', this potent and thought-provoking new work by Yuval Atival combines music, sound, movement and visual projection to reflect and give insight on the situation of refugees and displaced people. 

New Writing South Annual Lecture: Nikesh Shukla
Nikesh Shukla discusses his recent calls for increased diversity in literature and asks: "Do I need to see myself in stories to enjoy them?"

10 Things you might not know about Guest Director Laurie Anderson

Henry Holloway of The Argus brings us this list of surprising facts about our Guest Director Laurie Anderson. Laurie is bringing two shows specially to Brighton Festival: Slideshow and Song Conversation. Click to find out about the shows, or read on to discover more on the pioneering artist herself.

1. Her relationship with JFK

As a student politico she wrote to John Kennedy, who was waging his campaign for Presidential candidacy, seeking advice and the young politician responded.

Anderson said: “He sent me a telegram and some roses. It was a long crazy love story between a kid and a politician.”

2. She has invented two musical instruments

The first was a tape bow violin in 1977. The instrument uses magnetic tape instead of horsehair across the bow, enabling her to play pre-recorded sounds on the instrument.

The second is the talking stick, a 6ft long baton which can replicate any sound.

3. She was the first and last Artist in Residence at NASA

The world’s leading space agency brought Anderson on board to be their official artist.

She toured the facilities and staged a show titled The End of the Moon, before the $20,000 programme was scrapped.

4. She won a Prize for her Outstanding Contribution to the Beauty of the World

The full description for the Gish Prize awarded to Anderson is “outstanding contribution to the beauty of the world and to mankind’s enjoyment and understanding of life”.

She won the award in 2007.

5. She performed a concert exclusively for dogs

One of the events Anderson will be bringing to the Brighton Festival is her concert for dogs.

Based on the simple musing “what if you looked out from the stage and the audience were dogs?” Anderson performs music audible only to the canine ear.

6. She created a self-playing violin

Anderson modified a violin with a built in speaker and amplifier – producing music without the human touch.

The piece is now in the Museum of Modern Art in New York and featured in the making music exhibition in 2008.

7. Her friends accused her of being a “sell out”

She enjoyed her most commercial success with the track O Superman – which went to number 2 in the charts in 1981.

She said she had no interest in the pop world but when the song charted well he friends told her she was a sell out.

8. Her first piece was a symphony played on car horns

One of her earliest recognised pieces was a symphony at a drive-in theatre using cars.

She used the horns and other car parts to create the spectacle entitled An Afternoon of Automotive Transmission in 1972.

9. She once froze herself into two blocks of Ice

Another of Anderson’s early works featured her performing a duet with herself with her feet frozen into two blocks of ice.

Wearing ice skates she stood and performed until the ice blocks melted, which signalled the end of the show.

10. She created a video game

As part of her album Bright Red she released an interactive CD-Rom called Puppet Motel.

The game involves people exploring the motel with 32 surreal rooms with names like Violin, Ice, the Hall of Time, Ouija and Motel.

Book now for Slideshow and Song Conversation

In pictures: The Children's Parade 2016

Brighton Celebrates!
A few photos from an incredible Children's Parade. What an amazing and wonderful way to mark the start of the 50th Brighton Festival.

The theme for the 2016 Children’s Parade, the largest of its kind in Europe, which is jointly produced with award-winning community arts organisation Same Sky and supported by local businesses Class Of Their Own and Riverford, was ‘Brighton celebrates’, and around 5,000 children from 67 schools and community groups from across the region took part.

Participants took inspiration from the people, places, ideas and innovations that shape the city’s unique character and identity. Featuring in the parade were three Fat Boy Slims, Prince Regent on his throne, Duke of York’s Cinema, the Palace Pier, Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell, David Bowie, Beach Huts, Afternoon tea at The Grand, and dozens of other iconic Brighton figures and landmarks.

A heartfelt thank you to everyone involved. Thank you all for your magnificent creations and for your enthusiasm and to Same Sky Brighton and our sponsors for making this an epic Children's Parade to remember!

Find out more about our sponsors: Riverford Brighton & Sussex and Class Of Their Own


Watch Again - Brighton Festival Live: Smoke and Mirrors

Circus as you’ve never seen it before: audacious and thought-provoking, technically brilliant and profound. The Ricochet Project is pushing the boundaries of contemporary circus using poetic acrobatics, contemporary dance, contortion and high-flying feats to explore the human condition. Revealing the inner workings of the mind and our search to find a place of realness and connection in an enduring culture of illusion, Smoke and Mirrors is a mesmerising and intimate two-hander for grown-ups.

Caution: contains strobe lighting and partial nudity


If you enjoy this live stream, then you might be interested in some of the events still coming up at Brighton Festival:

Belonging(s)
Thoughts of migration, belonging and the fleeting nature of what surrounds us are subtly provoked by this site-responsive promenade piece, which combines contemporary dance, physical theatre and an unusual use of objects and locality.

Clairière Urbaine
French company Retouramont creates an opening in the dense sprawl of the city – a ‘clairière urbaine’, or urban clearing – for this free outdoor dance performance. Finding outlets for its expressive aerial choreography in the bustle of city streets, its dancers integrate into the architecture and populate the empty spaces between the buildings, monuments and thoroughfares of the urban jungle.

Correction
Imagine a world where you can’t progress despite your best efforts to push forward. Multi-awardwinning Czech company VerTeDance presents a beautifully poignant dance piece about our lack of freedom and our power to make decisions.

Brighton Festival Brochure Covers: 1987 - 1996

Take a turn through Brighton Festival's brand history

Browse through the third decade of Brighton Festival programme covers.

You can check out the first two decades here and here, or find out more this year's branding to mark our milestone 50th anniversary. 

1987

1988

1989

1990

1991

1992

1993

1994

1995

1996

Song, music and history: sublime baritone & piano at All Saints Church

Journalist and music fan Joe Fuller offers up some thoughts on upcoming Brighton Festival shows in his guest blogs. Here, he explores the poignant show The Soldier: From Severn to Somme

Steeped in emotion, drama and poignant reflection, pop songs and lieder have a lot in common. I saw Benjamin Appl sing at the Festival last year and it was a cultural awakening for me, insofar that I discovered the singular beauty of a lone classical singing voice. There is a sense of control and focus in it that differs to pop singing, but the intimacy, pure melody and emotional draw of the performance is something that will appeal to any type of music lover. Christopher Maltman and Malcolm Martineau perform at All Saints Church this year in a similar concert, and if it's anything like as moving as last year's show then it will be a truly special evening.

Lieder simply means song in German, but in classical parlance it refers to a type of German art song from the Romantic period, which is usually performed by a single singer with piano accompaniment. The presence of British composers such as Butterworth, Somervell and Finzi, and also French chansons, will give you the chance to hear the similarities and contrasts in the styles of song (and you could test your linguistic skills if you're a scholarly or travelled sort).

The Soldier: From Severn to Somme delves into the soldiers' experience: an emotionally devastating ordeal that has served as artistic inspiration to so many. The work of prolific poet and composer Ivor Gurney will feature, who wrote the plaintive Severn Meadows while in the trenches himself in World War One. You can hear the short song and read the poem below:

Only the wanderer

Knows England's graces,

Or can anew see clear

Familiar faces.

And who loves joy as he

That dwells in shadows?

Do not forget me quite,

O Severn Meadows.

Maltman's “sensitivity to words and compassion in delivering [them]” has been praised by The Guardian in a review of a similar performance in 2014 (Full review here) I therefore have high hopes for this concert: the opportunities for meaning, expression, voice, tone, nuance, artistry and melody are thrilling. Sensitive piano accompaniment is essential to complete the evocative picture, and Martineau's extensive experience (including recording English song recitals with Bryn Terfel for Deutsche Grammophon) ensures that we are in safe hands here.

A night of touching and transcendent song should make for a rousing night out. Even if you are unmoved by heartbreaking history or expressive poetry, I shall brazenly declare that you'll be moved by the stark beauty and emotive power of a baritone and piano performance. If you are ultimately, genuinely unmoved, contact me after the gig and I will buy you a drink.

Book now for The Soldier: From Severn to Somme

What is post-classical music and why should you care about it?

Brighton music lover and journalist Joe Fuller has stepped in to offer us some musings on upcoming Brighton Festival shows. In this guest blog he explores the post-classical music showcase on offer at New Blood: 130701

Post-classical is the kind of music that soundtracks a heavily bejumpered person staring out of a window in a Scandi drama. It's that airy, brooding, spacious piano plonking that artists such as Max Richter and Nils Frahm have pioneered. It's more than this though, and the Brighton-based FatCat Records are presenting a perfect introduction to the genre in a concert next week.

Show title New Blood: 130701 refers to the 130701 imprint of FatCat, which has been a focal point in the development of post-classical music. Hauschka, Max Richter, and Oscar nominee Jóhann Jóhannsson are all on 130701's roster, and the New Blood evening will be showcasing three more recent signings.

You can stream headliner Dmitry Evgrafov's whole album here, and it sounds like the instrumentation of Van Morrison's Astral Weeks, albeit filtered through a more refracted, dappled sunlight and with a cooler, more 21st century mindset. Piano miniatures and a sea of elongated string parts are recorded in a warmly analog way, but moments of darkness and bassier bits are scattered throughout the album to add different shades to the bristle.

The ending of Invitation, for example, starts off liltingly and melodically, but falls apart in lightly distorted piano stabs: a startling effect that keeps you on your toes. The album is brilliantly varied and the homespun melodies sound like they were composed in a forest, like a vocal-less Bon Iver meeting Steve Reich by way of S Carey. Fracture is a brighter, bolder piece that fans of Sigur Rós might enjoy while Garage is more ambient in a chopped up Tim Hecker sort of way.

Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch's skeletal scores have led to commissions from the BBC and HBO, and soundtrack fans of any sort might enjoy her atmospheric, occasionally eerie music. Tulsi is a gorgeous, shuffling, quiet triumph of pizzicato plucking and sonorous strings, while The Sum Of Our Flaws' propulsive, oscillating piano swirls might appeal to fans of Ludovico Einaudi or Philip Glass.

Resina’s music (aka Polish cellist Karolina Rec) is sparser fare: Tatry, for instance, features shimmering layers of solo cello intertwining mesmerisingly. Live, she uses looping to create waves of sound that ought to be both hypnotic and haunting, but in a nice way: more a spectral icy bath than a brash, ghoulish experience.

There's a fresh sense of invention and deconstruction in the three artists' approach to post-classical music which should make for a distinct, different concert. Another tempting aspect of the evening for me is the chance to see a concert at a venue I've never visited before. The Spire is a flexible space for performers housed in St. Mark's Chapel on Eastern Road past the Royal Sussex County Hospital (it's also hosting the Lou Reed Drones installation which sounds sonically provocative).

Church gigs are often atmospheric and offer superb acoustics, so the New Blood evening is a nice night out for the musically, culturally, or even architecturally curious. It is great value too at £14 for three artists, or you could try to get a £10 Festival Standby ticket in person from the venue just before the show.  

Book now for New Blood: 130701

Indian violin, English idyll and hypnotic raga

In his series of guest blogs, Brighton-based writer Joe Fuller discusses upcoming Festival shows. Here, he reflects upon the Dr Blighty concerts: the Philharmonia Orchestra and Debashish Bhattacharya

The two Dr Blighty concerts present a unique opportunity to experience some carefully curated cultural fusion, featuring beautiful music, poignant historical readings and expert Indian instrumentalists. The programme commemorates a part of Brighton's history that residents might not be familiar with, when wounded Indian soldiers were housed in the Royal Pavilion during World War One. The short video below features Nutkhut's Artistic Director Ajay Chhabra discussing the project, and the transformation that the Royal Pavilion Garden will undergo during the week of Tues 24 to Sat 28 May.

The first concert on Sat 28 May sees the Philharmonia Orchestra and Indian violinist Kala Ramnath perform beloved English works from Vaughan Williams and Butterworth alongside Ramnath's own 'The Seasons of India', scored for violin, orchestra and Indian folk instruments. The Lark Ascending by Vaughan Williams recently reached number one in the Classic FM Hall of Fame, and you can listen below to find out why.

The violin part nimbly and mellifluously soars (the piece is famously difficult to play) and wind instruments respond in a triumphantly melodic piece of music. Also featuring will be Butterworth's flowery, evocative The Banks of Green Willow and Vaughan Williams' more melancholy Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis.

Indian violinist Kala Ramnath was selected as one of the 50 best instrumentalists in the world by Songlines magazine, and conductor David Murphy specialises in creating music with the best musicians in India, so it will be fascinating to see what their combined talents produce on the evening. The Indian violin uses a different tuning to Western violins and the aim of the tone is to imitate the Indian singing style, so I can't wait to hear Ramnath's interpretations of English classics beside her own work to illustrate the dynamic potential of the instrument. The audio footage of Ramnath playing with the London Symphony Orchestra Strings below gives you a hint of what to expect.

Ramnath and the London Symphony Orchestra

Later, on the same evening, a traditional raga concert from slide guitarist Debashish Bhattacharya and virtuoso tabla player Gurdain Rayatt will give you a chance to compare and contrast Western and Eastern musical traditions. Bhattacharya has invented his own guitars and garnered various international accolades, so this is an opportunity to hear a hugely influential figure in world music.

Bhattacharya's music is rich and hypnotic: try out the album below if you'd like a taster of his meditative, contemplative songs. The piece opens with languid, string bending guitar playing which transforms into strident, jangling riffing towards the end.

The different instruments and structure of the raga concert will be a refreshing shock to the system, and also a healthy reminder that Western music isn't the only kind of music in the world. You'll get the chance to hear renowned world music artists in a welcoming programme ranging from an English idyll of sweet (but deeply musical) melodies, to an expansive Indian raga, featuring lustrous, enveloping drones and spidery guitar lines.

It's also a rare chance to stay out late at the Dome, which should have a lively 'final Saturday night of the Festival' atmosphere about the place. The choice is yours: you can see two exciting concerts in one evening for a generous price, or simply dip your toe into your preferred musical option separately. 

Book now for Dr Blighty: The Concerts
Philharmonia Orchestra 
Debashish Bhattacharya 

You can get £5 off the Bhattacharya concert if you also book a ticket for the Philharmonia Orchestra over the phone or in person 

Festival Hot Seat: Bec Britain - Fanfare

We caught up with Brighton-based artist Bec Britain to find out more about her 1960’s inspired installation Fanfare at the Clock Tower featuring giant trumpets and chequerboard flags in graphic black and white adorning this iconic Brighton landmark throughout May

How did the piece come about?

Brighton Festival approached Samesky with the idea of creating a piece at the clock tower as it is such as iconic location. It’s so central and a real crossing point for people - and it has a very strong visual impact. Samesky then contacted me as I had created a flag installation for the Rugby World Cup in the autumn so they knew that I could handle it!

When you work on the clock tower it’s quite epic – it’s on such a large scale that you have to do lots of working out in advance and there’s no way of testing out if it’s going to fit . You just have to work it out from the measurement and hope for the best! After the Rugby World Cup I really wanted to do something even more ambitious and this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Do you always work on a large scale?

I actually do a combination of large-scale sculpture and book binding – so literally both ends of the spectrum from the really small to the incredibly large.

You are based in Brighton – what does Brighton Festival mean to you?

I have lived in Brighton for 20 years. In fact my first job in Brighton was as Project Manager for Streets of Brighton so the Festival always been very close to my heart. For me, this piece was an opportunity to celebrate the breadth of Brighton Festival and call out to the next generation of artists which was very important.

Do you have a favourite Brighton Festival moment?

Too many to mention. Walk the Plank at Queens Park and the Group F at Preston Park were fantastic. I also loved Hofesh Schechter’s Political Mother – he’s an absolutely incredible artist.

Can you tell me about the design of the piece itself?

With this year marking 50 years of Brighton Festival I wanted to look back to 1967 where it all began. And I wanted to explore the Festival theme of Home so I looked at this year’s Brighton Festival logo which reminded me of brutalist architecture! I echoed the black and white of the logo in the design and if you look closely you will find cut up pieces of Festival ‘F’s all over the piece in a subtle nod to home.

The main focus though was very much about creating a rallying call to the next generation of artists After all - without artists it won’t be able to continue for another 50 years. I also wanted it to be big and bold and in your face – like the Festival itself – a fanfare calling in all directions to the artists of the future.

Fanfare is on from Sat 7 - Sun 29 May 

Festival Fifty: Five Biggest Hits

From pyrotechnics to pendulums, some events at Brighton Festivals past have attracted audiences tens of thousands strong. Here are a few of the biggest hits from recent times – how many of them did you see?

Joueurs de Lumnieres, Groupe F, 2006

Some 70,000 people descended on Preston Park for the ultimate pyrotechnic show as the French company pushed the boundaries of your typical firework display to create an event that told a theatrical story. Led by flame master Christophe Berthonneau – the man behind the Millennium fireworks in Paris and both the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2004 Olympics in Greece – it set the Sussex sky on fire. Zap Art’s Dave Reeves, who programmed the piece as part of 2006’s Streets of Brighton, explained ‘one minute you are watching something lyrical and delicate; the next you're shell-shocked by the sound of eight tons of explosives being detonated. It feels as if the sky is caving in on you.’

41 Places, William Shaw, 2007

Writer Shaw’s bold vision was to take true life onto the streets – literally – as the stories of the people who live, work and play in Brighton were printed on everything from paving stones to brick walls to create a giant work of art across the city. Each story was installed in the place where they happened – with audiences free to stumble across this treasure hunt of stories or navigate their way around the city via a specially produced map. Designed by Richard Wolfstrome – a Sussex-based graphic designer who went on to win an award from the International Society of Typographic Designers for piece - the site-specific publishing project was explored and interacted with by a huge 190,000 people during May.

41 Places. Photo credit: Matthew Andrews

Before I Sleep, dreamthinkspeak, 2010

Inspired by Anton Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival associate company dreamthinkspeak led by Artistic Director Tristan Sharps took over the former Co-operative department store on London Road for this special site-specific promenade experience. Blending performance, film and installation, audiences were led through numerous spaces inhabited by the key characters in Chekhov’s classic. It broke ticket office records at the time as 21,000 people visited – leading the run to be extended by 9 weeks – and was universally praised by both the local and national press, with The Argus writing ‘it is an unforgettable, amazing experience’. The company’s Brighton Festival follow-up The Rest Is Silence - which took place in an old warehouse in Shoreham in 2012 - was equally well received, leading to weeks of extra performances.

Before I Sleep

Time Passing By, Kaarina Kaikkonen, 2013

The Finnish artist was the talk of the city as her special commission between Brighton Festival and Fabrica saw the city’s Clock Tower bedecked in thousands of colourful shirts for the month. Donated by local residents and then given to Oxfam following the exhibition, the piece – presented in tandem with The Blue Route inside Fabrica – was seen by hundreds of thousands given the installation’s prominent position in town. As Kaikkonen said to The Argus, ‘I wanted to give my art for everybody in a way. I wanted to face those people who never go to art galleries. I wanted to go to the street. It is quite a challenge to meet all these people who sometimes hate art.’

Time Passing By

Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time, No.2, William Forsyth, 2014

This large-scale choreographic installation featured 400 swinging pendulums hanging from an automated rig on the ceiling of Circus Street Market. Visitors were encouraged to dodge between them to create their own unique and often intricate dances and moves. Some 12,500 people took part across three weeks; the acclaimed choreographer himself was even spotted taking part ahead of an intimate Q&A event with that year’s Guest Director Hofesh Shechter. It’s success stretched to the virtual world too; a video documenting the installation of the piece shot by Brighton-based company Shy Camera had over 90,000 views whilst Instagram tweeted shots of the piece to over 1m followers.

Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time, No.2. Photo credit: Heidi Kuisma

Brighton Festival commission spawns special spin-off Shakespearean 'card-gayme'

To accompany Brighton Festival commission The Complete Deaths, and in celebration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, ground-breaking theatre company Spymonkey have collaborated with illustrator and Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell to create the Great Shakespearean Deaths Card-Gayme. 

The Complete Deaths, premiering at Brighton Festival 2016, 11-15 May, at Theatre Royal Brighton, is performed by physical comedy company Spymonkey and directed by Tim Crouch, and sees all of the onstage deaths from the works of William Shakespeare re-enacted by “four of the greatest clowns working in Britain” (Time Out).

Each doomed character is depicted by Chris Riddell in The Great Shakespearean Deaths Card-Gayme. From Clarence, drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine, to Cleopatra and her asps, from Julius Caesar and the Ides of March to the black ill-favoured fly in Titus Andronicus, from the woefully tragic deaths of Romeo and Juliet to the lamentable (but frankly pretty amusing) demise of Pyramus & Thisbe. And then there’s the pie that Titus Andronicus bakes his guests.

Who had the greatest last words (and what were they?) Who had the slowest, most tedious death? Who had it coming more than anyone else? What was the most piteous death? Who just lay down in a ditch and died of shame? Each character is ranked according to categories including Speed of Death, Piteousness, Dramatic Quality, and Last Words.

The Great Shakespearean Deaths Card-Gayme will be available from Theatre Royal Brighton during the run of The Complete Deaths, and online at spymonkey.co.uk/shop.

Chris Riddell will be making three appearances at Brighton Festival this year. Ask the Laureate (Sat 14 May, 6pm, Sallis Benney Theatre) gives fans of all ages the opportunity to ask Chris about his work – and he will be drawing the answers. In Poems and Pictures Live (Sun 15 May, 2.30pm, Sallis Benney Theatre, age 8+) see Chris’s enchanting illustrations take shape while poet Rachel Rooney reads some of her work. Chris Riddell’s Picture Book Masterclass (Sun 22 May, 10.30am-1.30pm, Brighton Dome Founders Room, age 16+) is one for grown-ups – find out everything you need to know about creating a picture book.

Dance company brings together 50 dancers aged 50+ for outdoor performance celebrating 50th Brighton Festival

Three Score Dance will present new work Tall Tales celebrating the 50th Brighton Festival in May 2016, featuring 50 dancers aged 50 and over.

Commissioned by Brighton Festival, Tall Tales is choreographed by renowned choreographer Lea Anderson, with audio guide (available to download in advance from the Brighton Festival website) by Steve Blake and design by Tim Spooner.

Tall Tales will be performed on Sunday 8 May, 4pm and 5.30pm, on West Pier Beach, and draws upon the history of Brighton Festival over five decades.

It follows their hugely successful performance of Plans (choreographed by James Finnemore, with music by Joel Harries and commissioned by Hofesh Shechter for the 2014 Brighton Festival).

Choreographer Lea Anderson says, ‘When Three Score Dance invited me to come and work with them, I thought it was a great opportunity to work with a group of people who are impassioned about making work and who have had a lot of experience of life. I knew they would not bat an eyelid when asked to recreate paintings on the beach by the West Pier. I have been using art works, (in this instance artworks by German painter, Oscar Schlemmer), artist’s sketchbooks and feature films as scores to create dance performance now for many years, as well as working with composer Steve Blake who has recorded odd stories from their past for a soundtrack, and designer/performer Tim Spooner who has provided the objects required for the reconstruction. The piece will ostensibly attempt to celebrate some of the historical performances from the 50 years of the festival but the efforts may well become scuppered by the tangential musings and procrastination of the performers.’

Sound design is by Steve Blake, costume design by Tim Spooner, rehearsal director is Jason Keenan-Smith, and project manager Faith Dodkins. Tall Tales is performed by Three Score Dance company members and class attendees.

Festival Hot Seat... Masquerade

yello brick are bringing Masquerade to Brighton Festival, so we asked them to tell us all about it. 

Can you tell us what your show is about?

yello brick invite you to enter the Masquerade Ball, a world of anonymity and duplicity that spins a web of lies and truth around it’s guests. Carry out tasks, hide your secrets, do whatever it takes to win. You will need to form bonds, break relationships and be ruthless in your pursuit of glory but remember….trust no one. Masquerade is a street game set in the physical world during which participants receive instructions from the mysterious hosts of the ball. It invites participants to test their wit and cunning, where lies are truths intertwine.

How and where will it be staged?

Masquerade will take place outside on George Street (we have our fingers crossed for sunny weather).

Why should someone come and see your show?

If people are looking to see something a bit different and interactive then this is the show for them. It’s a mix between theatre, game and story and is one that encourages interaction between participants. Hopefully it will be quite a spectacle so even if you aren’t taking part it will be visually exciting to watch.

Where did the idea and inspiration come from?

We’ve always wanted to make something interactive that could be both social and playful. We wanted to see if it was possible to make an audience come together and play and how they respond within a game. How can we get a group of people who have never met before to interact in a fun and immersive way that is perfect for festival crowds.

Why do you think it’s an important story to tell?

For us the heart of the game is about what people do when they are given anonymity. How does this affect how we act within a crowd. Will crowds respond to stimulus and action and what will this whole experience be like to view from within and from outside it.

What sort of person is going to love this show?

People who love to play and those who love to play but don’t realise it yet.

What’s going to surprise people about this show?

If we tell you, it will spoil the surprise.

Have you visited Brighton before?

We haven’t been to Brighton before so this will be a really exciting adventure for us. Brighton seems to be such a vibrantly creative place and we are looking forward to exploring!

This year marks 50 years of Brighton Festival. What does it mean for you to be part of the festival in this milestone year?

This is the first year that we have created work for a festival and we are really pleased to be part of Brighton Festival especially for such a milestone year. It’s fantastic to be part of something that has established itself as one of the best festivals in the UK.

What are you most looking forward to at Brighton Festival this year?

Meeting new people and seeing some amazing shows.

Brighton Festival Brochure Covers: 1977 - 1986

Take a journey through Brighton Festival's design history 

Browse through our second decade of Brighton Festival programme covers. You can check out the first ten years here, or find out more this year's branding to mark our milestone 50th anniversary. 

1977

1978

1979

1980

1981

1983

1984

1985

1986

Competition: Twitter Rapid Reviews

Tweet us a rapid review during the festival to be in with a chance of winning a pair of tickets to one of our shows. 

Skilfully craft your review of a Brighton Festival event into 140 characters, and tweet it to @brightfest with the hashtag #RapidReview to enter the contest.

We'll be picking our favourites once a week throughout May so keep 'em coming!

Terms and Conditions and important info:

• The prize is for one pair of tickets to a show
• We’ll select winners once a week between Sat 7 – Thu 26 May. Winners will be notified via Twitter direct message, so make sure you follow us so we can get in touch.
• We’ll message and tweet you at least 24 hours before the show to tell you if you’ve won. If you don’t respond by 2 hours before the show starts, your tickets will not be held
• The prize is for the show offered only and cannot be carried over
• We may use your review and share it on our Social Media channels, website and in future publicity for Brighton Dome and Festival
• Selection of Winners: The winners will be chosen by a representative of Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival
• Winners list: The winner consents to their Twitter profile being made publicly available on Twitter via our Twitter/ updates
• Other: No correspondence will be entered into regarding either this competition or these Terms and Conditions. In the unlikely event of a dispute, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival’s decision shall be final. We reserve the right to amend, modify, cancel or withdraw this competition at any time without notice
• No refunds can be given on existing tickets

Festival Hot Seat... Portraits in Motion

Volker Gerling spent over a decade touring Germany by foot, capturing the people that he met in his distinctive flipbook portraits. We caught up with him to find out about the development of his craft and his extraordinary show Portraits in Motion

Can you tell us what your show is about?

In the summer of 2002 I took an old wooden kitchen tray and made it into a simple hawker’s tray. It had room for six photographic flipbooks, which showed portraits of my friends, and I hung a sign on it saying “Please visit my traveling exhibition”.

I walked through Berlin, showing people my flipbook ‘movies’. I screwed an empty honey jar underneath the hawker’s tray so that visitors could pay a symbolic entrance fee.

For nearly a year I showed people my flipbook movies in Berlin. Then, I decided to become a journeyman – I wanted to find out how people all over the country would react to my flipbooks.

And I wanted to make some new flipbooks.

I was afraid that I would miss something if I travelled too quickly, so I decided to walk. In the summer of 2003 I walked from Berlin to Basel – a walk of 1,200 kilometres – and it was a great experience. So I decided to do it again.

Since then I have walked nearly every summer and in total I have walked some 3,500 kilometres, nearly all in Germany. On all of these walks my only source of money came from showing my flipbooks. Portraits in Motion is based on my long summer walks and the people I met on them.

Volker with his tray of flipbooks

How and where will it be staged?

I leaf through the flipbooks under a video camera that projects them onto a large screen, and I tell the stories about the people that are portrayed. The show is a reflection on the passing of time and what it means when people meet each other.

Why should someone come and see your show?

To see my protagonists come to life on screen in a way that you’ve probably never experienced before.

Where did the idea and inspiration come from?

My inspiration comes from my fascination for human beings, faces, portrait photography, walking and storytelling.

Why do you think it’s an important story to tell?

Because every story that is told from the heart is important.

What sort of person is going to love this show?

Everybody who is able to see great things emerge from small things.

What’s going to surprise people about this show?

Nothing will prepare you for the intimacy of the flip books. There's something magical about these miniature glimpses into human souls.

This year marks 50 years of Brighton Festival. What does it mean for you to be part of the festival in this milestone year?

It feels like a big honour for me to be part of the festival this year.

Book now for Portraits in Motion

Brighton Festival celebrates 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death

The 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death falls on Saturday 23 April, and Brighton Festival 2016 is marking four centuries since the death of the most prominent playwright in the English language with a spectacular line up of events

Digging For Shakespeare takes place at Roedale Allotments Sat 7 - Sun 22 May. This promenade piece explores the story of James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps - a 19th Century polymath, eccentric and Shakespeare Scholar - who lived on what is now Roedale Valley Allotments in Brighton.

Next up we have The Complete Deaths at Theatre Royal Brighton Wed 11 - Sun 15 May. Directed by Tim Crouch, clowning troupe Spymonkey will perform all 74 onstage deaths in the plays of William Shakespeare – sometimes movingly, sometimes messily, always hysterically.

Shakespeare Untold at Brighton Dome Studio Theatre Sat 21 May & Sun 22 May gives a glimpse of people behind the scenes of Shakespeare's iconic plays. This show features two famous stories told from the perspective of not-so-famous characters – the Capulet’s party planner, and Titus Andronicus’ pie maker.

Globe Theatre on Tour return to Brighton Open Air Theatre Wed 25 - Sun 29 May to hurl Shakespeare's anarchic comedy into the 21st century in this riotous production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona.

Festival Fifty: Experimental poetry, fire and baseball... Five events from 1967

Brighton Festival kicked off in 1967 with an incredible variety of shows, concerts and exhibitions. Here are five of the biggest events from the first Festival half a century ago, from world-class rock bands to an iconoclastic beachside bonfire

Concrete Poetry, around Brighton, daily

Curated by artist Stephen Bann, this city-wide project saw verse, rhythm and rhyme take physical form via a series of large outdoor typographical structures. In the Laines, visitors experienced a communal project on the ‘five vowels’ produced by the students of Bath Academy and a set of ‘typographical columns’ designed by German Hansjorg Mayer, whilst on a board outside the Royal Pavilion the word ‘seas’ appeared repeated with the word ‘ease’ in the middle. The project also saw two early poems erected by Ian Hamilton Finlay who would later become critically acclaimed for his poetry, art and writing. These particular structures became feted in the press who praised this new poetic form, hailing that it could compare with the ‘direct method of Concrete Art’.

Kinetic Audio Visual Environments, West Pier, daily

Created and arranged by The Advanced Studies Group at Hornsey College of Art under the collective titled K4, this immersive audio visual arts installation incorporated three different experiences at the end of the West Pier. The Kinetic Labyrinth was a succession of small spaces which exhibited international art work involving pulsating lights and strong colours whilst the Video Drum was a device for singular use which played material concerned with dream fantasies. The largest space was the Kinetic Area; a nightly discotheque which, on Saturdays, featured live performances from the likes of as-yet-un-famous prog-rock legends The Pink Floyd and British artist, performer and eccentric Bruce Lacey (with his Humanoid Robots) alongside endlessly changing patterns of light and colour projected onto screens. The installation also featured a soundscape designed by pioneer of electronic music Delia Derbyshire titled LIGHT/SOUND WORKSHOP.

One of Bruce Lacey's Humanoid Robots

International Baseball, Preston Park Cricket Ground, Sunday, April 16

This unique baseball match played between England and USA attracted a bumper crowd of over 5,000 people to Preston Park Cricket Ground, many of whom were intrigued with the exciting prospect of witnessing a sport not native to British shores. Possibly unsurprisingly, England lost 12-1. The programme to the event contained a message from the then Mayor of Brighton, Kathleen Watson-Miller, wishing the visitors from the States “a very warm welcome” and hoping that they “thoroughly enjoy their brief visit to Brighton and that they may be able to come again some day” alongside a useful two pages explaining the rules of the game.

The Destruction of Hideous Objects, Brighton beach, Saturday, April 29

In a wholly unique event, this huge public bonfire saw hundreds of items deemed ‘hideous’ by 1967 standards – from furniture to art – torched in an aesthetic culling. Allegedly, the bonfire was topped by a wooden cut-out effigy of the then Principal of Brighton College of Art. The fire itself was lit by Brighton Festival chair Ronald Bates, artistic director Ian Hunter and world-renowned violinist Yehudi Menuhin; who burst into an impromptu solo whilst the flames took hold.

Yehudi Menuhin

Cleo Laine, John Dankworth and his orchestra, Brighton Dome Concert Hall, Wednesday, April 26

Famed for her scat singing style and for her vocal range of four octaves, Jazz singer Cleo Laine joined her husband – jazz composer, saxophonist and clarinettist John Dankworth – on stage for the first of many Brighton Festival concerts over the years. Married in 1958, the couple were feted as helping to bring the marginalised world of jazz into the mainstream over their careers. Dankworth’s jazz scores sound-tracked some of the most memorable films of the 1960’s including Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and Darling, whilst Laine’s career became truly international from the early 1970s – to date, she is the only female singer to have received Grammy nods in the jazz, pop and classical categories.

Watch a trailer with rediscovered footage from the 1967 Brighton Festival:

Festival Hot Seat... Chiflón: The Silence of the Coal

Chilean company Silencio Blanco tells us more about the UK Premiere of their show Chiflón: The Silence of the Coal at Brighton Festival. 

Can you tell us what your show is about?

Chiflón, The Silence of the Coal is the story of the mines, from the perspective of the people who worked them. A young miner is expelled from the coal pit where he works, and to keep working he has to accept a job in ‘El Chiflón del Diablo’, an infamously sinister mine. Silencio Blanco portrays the miners’ world through everyday situations and anonymous characters - also focusing on the role of women in these mining communities. 

How and where will it be staged?

Chiflón is going to be presented at the Brighton Dome Studio Theatre, and it’s a simple collaboration between the puppets and their manipulators, who give life to the marionettes in a manner almost like a little dance between them. This is supplemented with simple scenery made with recycled materials like old wood, to show the simplicity of the work and the lifelike detail of every movement.

Why should someone come and see your show?

This play is unmissable, primarily for the visual language that’s used: marionettes constructed of newspaper and chopsticks, which, together with other day-to-day elements that have been recycled and re-purposed, give life to these bodies and to a fascinating and moving story.

Furthermore, despite us coming from far-away Chile - at the edge of Latin America - this language allows us to tell a completely universal story, focusing on the depths of these people, touching the very fibres of their being through everyday situations, just using movement and gesture.

Where did the idea and inspiration come from?

This play emerged from our intention to portray a particular job, a lost job, anonymous and lonely. That’s why we chose miners, inspired by Baldomero Lillo’s tale, Chiflón Del Diablo. Lillo is a brilliant Chilean author, naturalist, and witness of the world that he observes. He is considered to be the Chilean Emile Zola.

To develop the idea and the inspiration, we traveled to the town of Lota, in southern Chile, where we met mining families and ex-miners that today have no jobs. They told us their stories and experiences, their sadness, pains and dreams, and we realised that the miners’ history is a living treasure that we want to tell with our work.

Why do you think it’s an important story to tell?

Mainly because it’s a universal story.

It’s inspired by a town in Chile, but it cuts across all of humanity, because it talks about the human emotions of the workers faced with these conditions, and the role of the women and their uncertainty of not knowing if their men will come back from the mine or not.

Also because it talks about history - from the little stories of anonymous characters and the daily situations they face. It tells history from the perspective of the defeated, not the winners.

What sort of person is going to love this show?

Anyone aged 6 to 99.

What’s going to surprise people about this show?

The magic of the marionettes – how delicate and natural they are.

The illusion that can be produced through the marionettes is able to stir even the deepest emotion in the heart.

Have you visited Brighton before? What were/are your impressions of the city?

No we haven’t visited Brighton before, but we’re really excited to get to know the city and enjoy the festival. We don’t have any expectations – we just want have fun and enjoy it – but we hope people there will love and enjoy our work, which was prepared with a lot of love, care, attention to detail and, of course, hard work.

This year marks 50 years of Brighton Festival. What does it mean for you to be part of the festival in this milestone year?

We’re excited to be part of this huge festival and celebrate together the 50th anniversary. To us, it’s very important be part of this, because this is the first time that a Chilean company has participated in Brighton Festival, so it’s an honour to represent our country there – particularly with a very Chilean story, the story of the miners. It’s a privilege to present this work, and we are sure that everyone is going to enjoy it. We are bringing you a little piece of our history. 

Book now for Chiflón: The Silence of the Coal

Festival Hot Seat... Slap and Tickle

We catch up with Liz Aggiss, the 'unclassifiable' performance artist behind Slap and Tickle 

Can you tell us what your show is about?

As the title suggests it’s a show of opposites; slap and tickle, punishment reward, push and pull……..all the way home. It’s about inconsistencies, propaganda, interpretations, mythologies, platitudes and expectations on, and of, girls, ladies, women, mummies, mothers, grannies, pensioners and senior citizens. It’s about using performance as a means to create a discussion, a dialogue about the observed and received cultural mores, forays and sexual taboos.

How and where will it be staged?

Slap and Tickle is presented in three fast moving acts, using a visual and aural collage of movement, text, props, costumes (Holly Murray), sound (Joe Murray) and cover versions (Alan Boorman/Wevie). The performances take place in the intimate black box Studio Theatre space on Thursday 19th May at 8 pm, and Friday 20th May at 7pm and 9.30 pm.

Why should someone come and see your show?

Because for the past 40 years I have been re(de)fining my own brand of British contemporary dance performance, dodging categorization and being classified as unclassifiable. Because there are limited opportunities to see live work. Because if you don’t come to see the work in Brighton the next chance will be London, then, Tasmania, India, Norwich, Bournemouth, Scotland and I can’t guarantee it will return to Brighton in the near future. No contest! Because I invite the audience to ‘…..have a party’ and then confound their expectations of what this party might be. Because I make, funny, accessible, empowering and thoughtful work. Because what are you waiting for? Permission? Because it’s granted!

Where did the idea and inspiration come from?

I was born on Nanny Goats Common, Dagenham, Essex, a post war baby, into a repressive era in the suburbs, where parents were truly in charge and children were seen and not heard. I never had a clue who I was, or what I wanted to do, I just knew I wanted to be seen and heard. I come from a pre televisual age, a world of radio drama, Mrs. Mills, post music hall variety acts, cor blimey and oooer missus, that opened the dark tabernacle into the soul of early feminism. It is this personal history when placed alongside feminist politics that compels me to create a context in which to scratch that particular itch. Slap and Tickle is that itch.

What sort of person is going to love this show?

Bring an open mind and no preconceptions as to what you think a mature, ageing, post menopausal, solo, female, dancing body should be doing, why she should be doing it, and where it should be done, and you should be just fine. There are no limits except for those under 15 on account of the strong language. Not my call!

What’s going to surprise people about this show?

The pace, the speed, the unpredictability, the roller coaster ride.

What are you most looking forward to in this year’s Brighton Festival programme?

Flexing my performance muscle and presenting Slap and Tickle in three consecutive performances. Apart from that taking a punt on unknown and new discoveries in unexplored locations, whilst soaking up Brighton and the festival atmosphere.

This year marks 50 years of Brighton Festival. What does it mean for you to be part of the festival in this milestone year?

I’ve lived in Brighton since 1975. I’m still here, still making, still performing, still touring, nationally and internationally, still in the picture……… though not so still, I can’t stop moving! Must be the sea air.

Book now for Slap and Tickle

Festival Hot Seat... Clairière Urbaine

We caught up with Retouramont to find out more about their UK premiere Clairière Urbaine

Why should someone come and see your show?

The show - and more broadly the artistic work of the company Retouramont - offers new perspectives on the city. It doesn’t consider walls as limits but rather as openings and opportunities - and a means to invent new choreography. In our shows we aim to shift perspectives and invite the audience to discover their neighbourhood in a very new way.

How and where will it be staged?

It will be staged in Lavender Street. Some anchoring will be made on two buildings so the dance can evolve on the wall of one of them and in-between, in the air and over the audience.

Where did the idea and inspiration come from?

It came from the desire to go beyond, but not in the usual sense. As a climber, cliffs or boulders are limits you want to go over. I like when this movement can also be inventive and aesthetic. In the city, I find this desire for crossing and going over particularly joyful and creative.

What sort of person is going to love this show?

Everyone can enjoy this aerial and acrobatic dance show that grabs the city in all its dimensions. We do not try to impose any story on the audience - each person can create their own story. This is our way of inviting the audience to feel and accept a shift of perceptions and take a new look at their surroundings.

What’s going to surprise people about this show?

We propose a different and new use of the city that no one has seen before, not even the architects or inhabitants of the neighbourhood. They may look up for the first time and see buildings differently from now on.

Have you visited Brighton before? What were/are your impressions of the city?

This is my first time in Brighton - I'm curious to discover it.

This year marks 50 years of Brighton Festival. What does it mean for you to be part of the festival in this milestone year?

It’s great to see such longevity in a festival of art, vertical dance is about 25 years old. In this sense, I find it very interesting to question and analyse our practices in the long-term: how did street arts emerge? What is their social role? etc.

Head this way for more info on free event Clairière Urbaine.

Festival Fifty: Producers' Standout Moments

In our 50th year, five producers look back and share their personal highlights of past festivals, from hunting around the globe to find and reconstruct the score to Laurence Olivier’s Henry V, to wiping sheep sneezes off Anish Kapoor’s C-Curve

Philip Morgan, producer (1991 – present day)

One of my most memorable Brighton Festival moments was Gaudeamus by the Maly Theatre in 1996. This devised show was directed by Lev Dodin - considered to be one of the best theatre directors in the world. It’s based on a Russian short story about life in the army in 1980. It was a steeply raked stage covered in artificial snow and honeycombed with traps which the cast of twenty literally dived in and out of. We flew a grand piano across stage with a couple making love on top of it. It was an incredibly exciting show demonstrating ensemble work that no longer exists in the UK and we built a temporary theatre in Brighton Dome Corn Exchange to show it.

Pippa Smith, producer (1990 – present day)

In 1990 I was working at Same Sky when Brighton Festival director Gavin Henderson asked us to take over the organisation of the annual Children’s Parade. In my previous job I had been involved with Notting Hill Carnival so I was able to bring many of their ideas to Brighton; it was a really exciting to see them work with children and train teachers to make the parade the amazing spectacle it is today! In the early years the entire event would end up on the Café lawn of Pavilion Gardens; all the children, their parents and teachers could gather on the one lawn and there was still room for the Millstones – the Blatchington Mill Big Band! The parade now features dozens of bands, every single school from Brighton and Hove and many from outside the city.

children's parade 2
Children's Parade

Beth Burgess, producer (2015 – present day)

A producer’s first festival is always memorable, but in 2015 there was a great moment when I was sitting in my office which overlooks Castle Square. I had run up to do some quick e-mails and the Children’s Parade was still going past… I had been on the ground, so to speak, as it began and that made me smile from ear to ear, but seeing it from above, it was amazing. As I leaned out my window to watch all these amazing costumes, sculptures and children marching past, I could not believe that I was part of something so huge, so joyous and this was just the beginning! There were all sorts of wonders but, later that week, sitting with Agnes Varda - my all-time heroine of cinema - was my dream come true. She was such a lovely human being and delightful to work with. I learned so much from her and her work. What could be better?!

Gill Kay, producer (1985 – present day)

One of my most memorable festival moments was the 2007 performance of Laurence Olivier’s film Henry V with Carl Davis and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra playing the famous Walton score live. That year was Olivier’s centenary and Granada Film/TV were issuing a new celebratory HD print of this iconic 1944 film. The original score had been lost, and so began a hunt which took us, literally, around the world to the US, via Italy and back to Christie’s in London. Finally, along with a brilliant composer/transcriber Dominic Sewell we managed to reconstruct the score… only to find that all the sound on the film had been put onto one track so extracting the music to enable ‘live’ performance became a mammoth task. Dominic, myself and some dedicated Granada technicians spent hours going through the film frame by frame to produce this new version of the score and film. It can now be performed by any orchestra anywhere in the world so definitely worth all that effort!

Tanya Peters, producer (2007 – present)

In 2009 bringing Guest Director Anish Kapoor’s C-Curve to Brighton was definitely one of my most memorable Festival experiences. The location was up on a South Downs hill that overlooked the Chattri and down across the city to the sea. For such a stunningly simple-looking piece it was deceptively complex to do in terms of agreeing the site, transporting the valuable sculpture across farmland, the meticulous installation and maintenance. One unanticipated issue was the local lambs sharing the field would cuddle behind it as a windbreak overnight – they’d keep sneezing on it and I’d have to go back up there at 6am to remove the evidence and buff it up! One day I remember looking down toward Brighton and seeing all these dots on the hill. After a while it dawned on me that they were people; it was the first day of the Festival and lots of people were walking up to see the sculpture! This continued throughout May – people arriving throughout the night and at dawn, from campers to cyclists and poi jugglers. You’ve got to love Brighton people haven’t you – we are going to put an amazing sculpture in the middle of absolutely nowhere and everyone comes along - I love that! What amazed me, and this is really what Brighton Festival is all about, is how the piece inspired so many people, with many then creating their own works of art. Beautiful photography and portraits created in response to it were being shared online and across social media. It was amazing and Anish loved seeing that too. I miss my days starting with a walk in the Downs and sheep sneezes.


Anish Kapoor's C-Curve
Photo by Matthew Andrews

Competition: For the Love of Dogs

What is it about our relationship with our dogs that is so special?

We’re giving our audience the chance to pay tribute to the animals who love us so unconditionally. We’ll be selecting 50 dogs to be immortalised in a special Brighton Festival graffiti mural in a city centre location.

Brighton Festival Guest Director Laurie Anderson is presenting two events this year around dogs. In her film Heart of a Dog, her relationship with her pet rat terrier Lolabelle provides the starting point for a meditation on love, loyalty and memory.

If you would like to see your furry friend featured on this one-off mural, email competitions@brightonfestival.org by Thu 21 Apr with:

  • The name of your dog and up to 50 words on why your dog is so special to you
  • A high-quality portrait-style photograph
  • Your name and email address

50 dogs will be chosen to be immortalised on a Brighton wall, a tribute to unwavering loyalty and to 50 years of our bold, brilliant & sometimes barking mad Brighton Festival. We will also create an online gallery featuring all dog submissions and their stories.

Festival Hot Seat... The Last Resort

In the first of a new blog series we caught up with artists Tristan Shorr and Rachel Champion aka Art Of Disappearing to find out more about upcoming Brighton Festival commission The Last Resort

Can you tell us what your show is about?

The Last Resort takes a wry look at a rather bleak future. It throws out questions and ideas and possibilities. It’s an experience that should challenge imagination and thought.

How and where will it be staged?

Two participants at a time embark on a fictional tour of a forgotten resort. They move along the barren stretch of beach, imagining what might or might not have been, led by an immersive score.. The site is near the dock at Portslade which we chose for its bleakness and solitary position, the perfect environment for the imagination to be set loose!

Why should someone come and see your show?

If you enjoy dystopian ideas, beautiful barren landscapes and sci-fi whilst spending time in an imaginative experience then this is the show for you. With an original score, the chance to spend quality time with friend, family or stranger, and a shop to buy The Last Resort goodies...what more could you want!

Where did the idea and inspiration come from?

The outdoor site in Portslade was a perfect fit for certain ideas we have been mulling over for a while. The opportunity to create a work for Brighton Festival gave us the chance to bring the idea to life in a very real and raw way.

How we make the work and what the work is about are intrinsically linked for us. Within the creation of imaginary realities and reinterpreted landscapes the work looks to inspire, challenge and feed the participants imagination and create a space for action rather than passivity.

The context is of a future where our imaginations and our ability to think for ourselves as individuals is placed in doubt. Our inspiration is in the making of a work that encourages both active listening and active participation from our audiences.

Why do you think it’s an important story to tell?

Its both exciting and depressing to think about the future...what will happen, what are we doing and what choices will be made….this work looks at one extreme possibility all wrapped up in the nicest possible experience. It’s important to think ahead…

The Last Resort is a work that hopefully you leave asking a few questions.

What’s going to surprise people about this show?

The nudist beach along the route might be an eye opener!

The show is unusual, in that it uses sound along with the participants imaginations to create an immersive world.

What sort of person is going to love this show?

Anyone who holds a fascination with the future, enjoys being outdoors, loves listening to music in headphones, enjoys the challenge of spending time with a friend, a stranger or a family member and definitely anyone who wants to broaden and challenge their imagination.

What does Brighton Festival mean to you?

Rachel:

I was born locally and have lived near Brighton for the majority of my life. Brighton has always been a place of positive escapism for me, the live music, the great coffee shops and the Brighton Festival. I actually performed in Brighton Fringe with my school 27 years ago! Ouch! It’s always been there...long may it continue!

Tristan:

I think at a time where funding for the arts is dwindling and when challenging audiences and social passivity to the world around us is also taking a step back, it's hugely important that arts and cultural festivals like Brighton Festival exist. It is also important that places that support work and artists pushing the boundaries of the arts exist too and this is what the festival means to us both.

This isn't to say that we view ourselves as particularly radical in our approach, but we definitely appreciate the importance of Brighton Festival giving a place for us artists to call home!

Do you have a favourite festival moment?

It hasn’t happened yet!! The festival is always great, the city wakes up! Can’t ask for more than that! We’re going to be pretty busy this year with the show so it will be a very different experience… we might have to hear about it rather than join in!

Book now for the last remaining slots of The Last Resort.

Gallery: Brighton Festival Brochure Covers 1967 - 1976

Look back through Brighton Festival's design history 

Check out the first ten years of Brighton Festival Programme Covers.
The next four decades will be coming soon... 
Find out more on the branding for our milestone 50th year. 

1968

1969

1970

1971

1972

1973

1974

1975

1976


Brighton Festival celebrates the city's memories with new oral history app

'Jimi Hendrix signed my tambourine and I had to run for my life...'

A free interactive oral history app unfolding the ordinary personal stories of young love, loss and rebellion in the 1940s, 50s and 60s is launching during May as part of Brighton Festival 2016.

The Giddy app, from Brighton arts collective The Nimbus Group and funded with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, takes users on an alternative walking tour of the city, punctuated by GPS triggered personal histories straight from the mouths of the people who lived them.

From a chance meeting with Jimi Hendrix in the back of a beaten up MG and tales of daytime runaways who never got caught, to stories about sneaking into strip bars and dancing til dawn with the Teddy boys, Giddy offers a view of life in the postwar years that is conspicuously absent from the history books.

All of the content – the stories, photographs, app design – has been gathered and created by teenaged pupils of Brighton’s Longhill School, with the support of a team of archive specialists, oral history interviewers and photographers.

‘Every generation of young people thinks they are the first to experience the intense highs, lows and giddy adventures of the teenage years,’ says Carina Westling of The Nimbus Group. 

‘We wanted to use digital technology to create something that celebrates the stuff of life that unites us as humans, reveals our individuality but also highlights universal themes associated with youth that span the generations,’ she says.

‘Oral history offers a perspective of the past that stands outside the received wisdom of the history books. Our intention for Giddy is to bring history to life in such a way that the young (or not so young) people who hear these stories will never look at older people in quite the same way again.’

Giddy is available for iOS and Android smartphones from May, sign up for a notification of the app’s release at www.giddybrighton.com.

An accompanying online archive and exhibition featuring portraits and archive images gathered during the making of the app will launch at University of Brighton's on 7 May 2016, which will be open to the public till the end of the Festival on 29 May.

Peacock Poetry Prize 2016

For the 50th Brighton Festival, our annual poetry competition in partnership with Brighton, Hove & Sussex 6th Form College (BHASVIC) takes the theme of ‘Celebration’. Rejoice in the everyday or revel in the outlandish: what will you choose to celebrate?

Entries will be judged by our panel of experts and prizes awarded at a special ceremony at Brighton Dome on Thu 26 May, 5pm. There are four categories, for ages 8–11, 12–15, 16–17 and 18+. You can submit up to three poems with a maximum length of 40 lines per poem.

Email your entry, together with your full name, age and date of birth to writing@brightonfestival.org 

Deadline for entries: Fri 22 Apr, 5pm

The Peacock Poetry Prize is an annual competition produced by Brighton Festival and Brighton, Hove & Sussex Sixth Form College (BHASVIC) to encourage young writers to explore the written word from a creative point of view. The aim is to get young people writing right across Sussex and encourage them to engage with the Festival’s theme. The competition is open to residents of Brighton & Hove, East and West Sussex aged 8 and over.

Supported by GM Building

Laurie Anderson on...

… Brighton Festival 2016’s theme of ‘home and place’:

‘I’m really happy to be part of Brighton Festival this year. I love the theme, maybe because I’m a working musician and often on the road, the idea of home is pretty appealing. It’s also a great idea for a festival, trying to find out who and where you are. It’s a pretty amazing collection of work. See you there!’

… Brighton Festival 2016 exclusive performance Song as a Place:

‘We’ll be doing a lot of new things in the Festival, one is a collaboration with Nik Bärtsch and Eivind Aarset. They are incredible musicians and we’ve played together once before. It’s going to be like a song conversation. Imagine walking through a piece of music with people you really like and we get to play it and kind of think about it and talk about it at the same time… it’s going to be a blast.’

… Brighton Festival 2016 exclusive performance Slideshow:

‘This is about an attempt to describe several places I’ve been in my life and what they might have in common. This is a brand new piece so I can’t tell you that much about it, it’s going to be a surprise to me too!’

… her unique concert for dogs making its UK premiere:

‘I’m so curious who is going to show up. We’ll be playing things that are kind of in their range - although they hear very well across the spectrum - so we’re going to see what happens.

… on the Brighton Festival 2016 screening of her critically acclaimed film Heart of a Dog:

‘It’s full of stories about how you make a story. It’s nominally a film about me and my dog, but really it’s not… it’s about love and language, I guess. I hope you like it.’

… on what Brighton Festival 2016 audiences can expect of her works:

‘I like to make a really big, fun, interesting playing field and not predict what people are going to get from of it. It’s so different for each person. I’m often really surprised when people tell me what they’ve got from my work, and then I think “that’s really interesting and brilliant… but that had really nothing to do with the work I was doing”. It’s your interpretation, so I guess that’s what I hope… that people use it to go places themselves.’

… the UK premiere of Lou Reed’s Drones project:

‘We’re going to be doing a really exiting installation plus sort of ‘improv site’, let’s say. It’s based on Lou Reed’s feedback work - he worked with guitars and the incredible harmonics and sound structures that happen when you use feedback. His guitar tech, Stewart Hurwood will be doing it with Lou’s guitars and Lou’s amps… so it’s kind of as close to Lou’s music as we can get these days. It’s a very hypnotic, beautiful sound, I think you are really going to like it. We’re inviting musicians to come and do improvisations with it as well - that is really fun - so I hope you get a chance to come by and play. You could improvise any way you want really, you could come and do some drawings or pottery… I guess… bit messy!’

… on being Guest Director of Brighton Festival in May:

‘Brighton Festival is so big and sprawling and exciting and there’s so many different things going on - it really has a kind of celebratory, crazy, art party feel to it. I also love the chance to meet other artists and hang out with them. It’s a free for all so I’m really looking forward to it.’

Danny Wallace introduces Young City Reads 2016, Brighton & Hove

Brighton Festival and Collected Works CIC are rather excited for the 2016 Big Read. The concept is simple: one book, by one author is selected for the whole community to read, explore, discuss and creatively engage with. This year's featured book is Danny Wallace’s Hamish and the Worldstoppers

Watch the video and see what Danny Wallace has to say about this year's Young City Reads and head over to Collected Works CIC website and find out more.

More on the Young City Reads Big Event

Brighton Festival 2016 branding: Fifty years on the edge

What’s black and white and read all over? The 50th Brighton Festival brochure…

Working to create our striking monochrome 50th identity has been a lot of fun. Here’s what designers Johnson Banks said about their inspiration and direction,

‘This year Brighton Festival asked us to create a special identity to celebrate their fiftieth year. It really was a gift for us, that their current F logo could become the initial letter for 'FIFTY' in a one-off logotype.

The festival has always celebrated the experimental, unusual and cutting edge in the arts, wanting to disrupt the quotidian. So the 'FIFTY' marque began from there - avoiding the traditional, and sitting on the edge, literally and figuratively. The vertical type, chevrons and diagonal cut letters add to the dislocated effect. This year's line 'Fifty years on the edge' developed from the same starting point.

Laurie Anderson, the Guest Director for 2016, herself an experimental performance artist, is a perfect fit with the festival ethos for their golden year.’ 

The design process in progress:


Volunteer with England's biggest mixed arts Festival

Embrace Brighton’s epic Festival season, be at the heart of the action in this milestone 50th year and gain invaluable work experience within a busy arts organisation. Any time you can offer would be much appreciated – we'd love to have you on board to help make our 50th Festival the best yet. 

All Volunteers will be provided with an official Festival t-shirt and a tote bag filled with great local discounts, and will also gain access to exclusive Festival ticket offers and social events.

We're still looking for Volunteers to fill the following roles...  

Heritage Ambassadors for Dr Blighty
Req'd afternoon shifts 24th-26th May, and ideally to attend a rehearsal on 21st May
- Working as a team to greet and assist the audience around the Pavilion Gardens
- Giving information to audience members (You will be briefed and supplied with materials)

ONCA Gallery and St Nicholas'Church Invigilators
Req'd for flexible shifts throughout May
- On site to welcome visitors and answer questions at these Visual Art exhibitions

The Last Resort Performance Stewards
Req'd for flexible shifts throughout May
- On site to help guide audience members through the performance.

The Last Resort Full Time Assistants
Req'd full time throughout May
- This opportunity would entail taking on a deeper role within the work and the chosen person would be able to spend time with the company post show learning more about the company's practice and the creation of the show. There is also the added possibility that this person might get the chance to tour with the work in the future.

Marketing & Promotions Ambassadors
Req'd for flexible shifts throughout May
- Getting out and about to our venues to update our branding - banners, flyers, posters etc
- Conducting market research by asking audience members to fill out short surveys
- Giving out flyers and chatting to the public around town to generate excitement about the events
- Exit-flyering before or after our own and external events

Brighton Station Info Booth Representatives
Req'd for flexible shifts Fridays-Sundays throughout May
- Chatting to the public
- Promoting What's On that day
- Generating excitement about the events

Children's Parade Assistants
Req'd Sunday 7th May morning shift
- Setting up banners and bunting
- Handing out schedules, flyers and masks etc.

Registration to volunteer at Brighton Festival 2016 is still open, click here to complete our short registration form...

Alternatively, drop us an email at volunteers@brightonfestival.org stating which role(s) you're interested in, and your availability, or feel free to call on 01273 700747.

Hamptons International are providing generous support towards our Brighton Festival Volunteers programme.

Be part of Gillian Wearing’s A Room With Your Views

Turner-Prize winning artist Gillian Wearing is seeking participants to be part of a unique, global, collective filmmaking project - one of the largest of its kind ever to be produced - for a new commission, A Room With Your Views, as part of this year’s Brighton Festival and HOUSE festival.

The project aims to capture a snapshot of views from people’s homes all over the world - from urban spaces to remote countryside - and invites the public to film a short clip of either their curtains or blinds opening to reveal a view from their window. Like the curtains going up at the beginning of a stage play, each view will be a pictorial unveiling of a landscape, cityscape or even a brick wall.

The results will feature in a new exhibition as part of the 50th edition of Brighton Festival and HOUSE festival called A Room with Your Views – Wearing’s first solo exhibition on the South Coast of England – which will take place at the Brighton University Galleries from 7-29 May 2016.

Participants are not required have experience as a filmmaker - raw footage filmed on phones, video cameras or in more professional formats will all be accepted. The only stipulation is that the shot is static and is shot on a horizontal and participants follow some simple instructions so all the clips are similar in specification. Creative ideas of revealing the view are welcomed for windows without curtains or blinds.

The project asks for contributions to be uploaded to yourviewsfilm.com. It is hoped that Brighton & Hove residents will send their own films to the project as well as participants from far further afield. 

Gillian Wearing, OBE, commented, “It feels personal in the way that each person has approached the instructions to the film and universal as it unites the world in the harmonious gesture of opening the curtains, blinds or shutters to give us a glimpse of their views. I am delighted by this opportunity to present ‘A Room With Your Views’ to the HOUSE and Brighton Festival audience and hopefully the work will include some local participant’s films too.”

Andrew Comben, CEO, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival, said, “We are delighted to have co-commissioned Gillian Wearing for Brighton Festival 2016. In this – our 50th year – we particularly wanted to reflect on the nature of ‘home’ and ‘place’ and this project does just that, providing an insight into people’s views from their windows throughout the world. I can’t wait to see the project develop and hope that the whole community will get involved by sending in their own films”

Please upload your contributions to  yourviewsfilm.com.


Astounding film footage of first Brighton Festival discovered

See extracts in our 50th Brighton Festival film

Film footage of the very first Brighton Festival in 1967 has been discovered in an attic. The long lost material, shot by former Brighton College of Art students Ian Beck and Tim Grimes, captures the inaugural festival’s many different events alongside behind the scenes footage. 

You can enjoy extracts of this historic and unique footage in our latest Brighton Festival video (watch above). Made by Echo Video, with Ian Beck and Tim Grimes’ original footage and featuring footage from Screen archive South East. With voiceover from Spymonkey's Toby Park.

Ian Beck says ‘In 1967 we were encouraged by Tom Buckeridge, head of photography at Brighton College of Art, to make a record of the first Brighton Festival. We were handed two Bolex 16 mm cameras and some film stock and we were more or less left to run wild to film what we were interested in… so we did!’

Historical gems uncovered in the 100 minutes of silent film include footage of a young Eric Clapton playing with Cream in Brighton Dome, early robotic works from acclaimed artist and eccentric Bruce Lacey, and an International baseball game held between England and the United States of America.

Ian Beck explains ‘We all thought the film was lost. Tim Grimes, my fellow worker on the film, was cleaning out an attic and found several rusty tins in which was the original untouched negatives. It was quite the find. We then had them digitised, although it’s mute because the sound recordings are still lost!’

Also captured is the frantic moment Keith Moon destroys his drum kit following a concert by The Who and the intriguingly titled Destruction of Hideous Objects; a large bonfire on the beach comprised of discarded furniture and art pieces.

Ian Beck continues ‘We were allowed to film anywhere. We shot both John Dankworth and Georgie Fame rehearsing at Brighton Dome. We seemed to have access to all sorts of things and we filmed everything and everyone without anyone turning their head and asked ‘what are you doing? We don’t want you filming this!’ These were relaxed times I suppose you say!’

Brighton Festival marks its milestone 50th year in 2016 with the pioneering artist and musician Laurie Anderson as its Guest Director. Established in 1967, Brighton Festival has become one of the city's most enduring symbols of inventiveness and celebration over the past half century. Renowned for its pioneering spirit and experimental reputation, Brighton Festival’s inaugural programme controversially included the first ever exhibition of Concrete Poetry in the UK, alongside performances by Laurence Olivier, Anthony Hopkins and Yehudi Menuhin.

Spotlight: Digging for Shakespeare

Find out more from Marc Rees on Digging for Shakespeare in our Spotlight film. Marc Rees studied in Brighton with Liz Aggiss and has gone on to make wonderful work with communities and for specific sites, most notably with National Theatre Wales. He brought us the captivating story of James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps who was a world-renowned Shakespearean scholar in the 19th Century and an eccentric recluse. When Marc suggested making this piece on the Roedale allotments where Halliwell-Phillipps lived it was too beguiling an idea to pass up.

See more Spotlight films, where we cast a spotlight on some of our special commissions and co-commissions in our milestone 50th Brighton Festival.

Film by Echo Video

Spotlight: Minefield

Learn more from Lola Arias on her latest work Minefield

Argentinian writer and director Lola Arias brought her acclaimed show My Life After to Brighton Festival 2013. Now she returns with the world premiere of her new work about the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas, developed with and performed by Argentinian and British veterans of the 1982 conflict.

See more Spotlight films, where we cast a spotlight on some of our special commissions and co-commissions in our milestone 50th Brighton Festival

Video by Echo Video

Spotlight: The Complete Deaths

We cast a spotlight on some of our special commissions and co-commissions in our milestone 50th Brighton Festival. Tim Crouch and Toby Parks discuss their work The Complete Deaths

Another match made in Brighton. Leading physical comedy company Spymonkey (Oedipussy, 2012 and Cooped, 2006) and award winning playwright and performer Tim Crouch (I, Caliban, 2003, I, Peaseblossom, 2004, I, Banquo, 2005, An Oak Tree 2006, I, Malvolio, 2010 and what happens to the hope at the end of the evening, 2014) come together to re-enact every onstage death from the works of William Shakespeare in a sublimely funny tribute to mark the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death. We’re holding onto our hats.


Video by Echo Video

Spotlight: Dr Blighty

Find out more about Dr.Blighty

One of the most affecting and complex stories of the Royal Pavilion Estate is its use as a military hospital for wounded Indian soldiers in World War I. As we work towards reunifying the Royal Pavilion Estate to bring collections, heritage and the arts together to create compelling new work for the Estate, the opportunity was ripe for Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove and ourselves to work with British Asian performance company Nutkhut and with 14-18 NOW to commemorate this special chapter in Brighton’s history. 

Video by Ed Inglis and Nutkhut: http://www.nutkhut.co.uk/


Spotlight: Brighton: Symphony of a City

Discover more from Lizzie Thynne and Ed Hughes, as they discuss Brighton: Symphony of a City

One of the Brighton Festival events people still talk about is the screening of Battleship Potemkin (2005) with Ed Hughes’s new score in the Hove Engineerium. When Ed and Brighton based filmmaker Lizzie Thynne proposed a Brighton homage to Walther Ruttmann’s 1927 silent classic Berlin: Symphony of a Great City, we grabbed the opportunity to celebrate Brighton in all its festive, bohemian, campaigning, fun-filled glory.

See more Spotlight films, where we cast a spotlight on some of our special commissions and co-commissions in our milestone 50th Brighton Festival.

Video by Catalina Balan with Neil Whitehead

Spotlight: Stella

Hear more from veteran Brighton artist Neil Bartlett, one of Britain’s most individual theatre makers. We’re honoured that Neil’s wonderful, intense and distilled new play Stella, inspired by the life and death of Ernest Boulton, can open in Theatre Royal Brighton before going on to performances at London International Festival of Theatre and Holland Festival.

See more Spotlight films, where we cast a spotlight on some of our special commissions and co-commissions in our milestone 50th Brighton Festival.

Video by Echo Video

The 50th Brighton Festival launches with Laurie Anderson as Guest Director

The full programme for the 50th Brighton Festival (7-29 May 2016) - the largest and most established curated annual multi-arts festival in England - was unveiled today with experimental artist and musician Laurie Anderson as Guest Director.

Renowned for her inventive use of technology, Anderson is one of America’s most daring creative pioneers. In roles as varied as artist, composer, poet, photographer, filmmaker, vocalist and instrumentalist, she has been experimenting, creating and challenging audiences all over the world for almost as long as Brighton Festival has existed. Anderson takes the helm as Brighton Festival marks its milestone 50th year of commissioning and producing innovative arts and culture by exploring the theme of ‘home and place’ across its 2016 programme.

Taking inspiration from Anderson’s multidisciplinary career as well as the original intentions of Brighton Festival to celebrate the new and the avant-garde, the eclectic programme - which spans music, theatre, dance, visual art, film, literature and debate - features work from some of the most innovative national and international artists. It includes 54 commissions, co-commissions, exclusives and premieres such as two exclusive performances from ‘folktronica’ pioneer Beth Orton, choreographer and dancer Akram Khan’s new full-length production Until The Lions; and the world premiere of a global collaborative work by Turner Prize-winning British artist Gillian Wearing.

Anderson’s own events include the UK premiere of her unique Music for Dogs, a concert specially designed for the canine ear; a screening of her acclaimed new film Heart of a Dog, described by Anderson herself as: “full of stories about how you make a story . . . nominally a film about me and my dog but really it’s not, it’s about love and language”; an exclusive new performance monologue about place and places called Slideshow; and a freewheeling walk through sonic spaces with fellow musician-composers, pianist Nik Bärtsch and guitarist Eivind Aarset.

Many of Anderson’s interests, passions and achievements are also explored including the UK premiere of Lou Reed Drones, an installation of her late husband’s guitars and amps in feedback mode which she describes as “kind of as close to Lou’s music as we can get these days”; a special screening of critically acclaimed Sans Soleil (Sunless) - an elegiac masterpiece by her favourite director Chris Marker; and a series of events that explore innovation and technology in the arts, including Complicite /Simon Burney’s acclaimed The Encounter and Brighton-based Art of Disappearing’s outdoor adventure The Last Resort.

With the theme of ‘home’ at the heart of the programme, Brighton Festival 2016 will celebrate its relationship with the unique, energetic and creative city of Brighton, its artists, its characters, its sense of place and spirit whilst also considering universal issues and ideas around home, our communities and places of safety. Highlights include a new work from Argentinian artist Lola Arias developed with and performed by veterans of the Falklands conflict; experimental composer and musician Yuval Avital’s potent and thought-provoking new work, Fuga Perpetua, which reflects on the situation of refugees; and the UK premiere of Berlin’s Zvizdal, a filmic portrait of an elderly couple’s self-imposed solitude in the region affected by the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

The rich diversity of home-grown artists and companies are celebrated in a series of special commissions that include two works marking the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death: The Complete Deaths, a re-enactment of every onstage death from Brighton-based artistic powerhouses Spymonkey and Tim Crouch, and Digging for Shakespeare by Marc Rees, a site-specific homage to 19th Century Brighton eccentric and world-renowned Shakespearean scholar James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps; Stella, a theatrical love letter to one half of the infamous Victorian cross-dressing duo Fanny and Stella by playwright Neil Bartlett; and the world premiere of Blast Theory & Hydrocracker’s immersive undercover police drama Operation Black Antler.

Other city-inspired highlights include a specially commissioned film Brighton: Symphony of a City, screened to a new score performed by Orchestra of Sound and Light, and the entire Royal Pavilion Estate playing host to Dr Blighty; an ambitious, large-scale, immersive outdoor experience which highlights the untold story of wounded Indian soldiers hospitalised in Brighton during World War One. Kicking off with the Children’s Parade - the largest of its kind in Europe – Brighton Festival 2016 will also see a record number of community-focussed events throughout the programme including the annual City Reads and Young City Reads produced in partnership with Collected Works and Future Gazers which asks school pupils to imagine the world in 50 years’ time.

2016 also sees Brighton Festival work with Guardian Live in a special partnership to deliver the Books and Debate programme with a series of events including Yanis Varoufakis, Lionel Shriver, Marlon James and Mark Haddon. It will also see the return of caravan (15-17 May 2016), a three-day biennial curated industry showcase of the best new theatre from across England, which this year features eight performances open to the public. 

Laurie Anderson says: "I'm so happy to be serving as Guest Director of Brighton Festival in its historic 50th year. I've been part of the Festival several times and it is so big and sprawling and exciting and there’s so many different things going on - it really has a kind of celebratory, crazy, art party feel to it. And I love the theme of home and place. It is especially relevant with so many people in the world on the move now looking, like all of us, for a place we can belong. Maybe because I’m a working musician and often on the road, the idea of home is pretty appealing to me. It’s also a great idea for a festival - trying to find out who and where you are. See you there!” 

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Festival says: “It’s very special for us to be marking the 50th Brighton Festival with Laurie Anderson as Guest Director. Every year since 1967 some of the greatest artists, performers and thinkers have come together with some of the most open-minded and enthusiastic audiences anywhere for a festival whose home is one of the most artistically rich and geographically blessed places in the country. Laurie is well-known and well-loved by the city and has been has been experimenting, creating and challenging audiences all over the world for almost as long as Brighton Festival has existed. Alongside the startling international and newly commissioned work that we’re bringing, she has been particularly enthusiastic about finding ways in which the festival can invite the participation of the whole community – time and again throughout the programme we see opportunities to get involved to explore our own creativity and to celebrate, together, this wonderful festival in its 50th year.”

Hedley Swain, Area Director, South East, Arts Council England, said: “It is very fitting that the theme for Brighton Festival’s 50th programme is ‘home and place’. The Festival, and more widely arts and culture in general, have long been synonymous with Brighton. Collectively they deliver inspiring performances and exhibitions for local communities, attract people from far and wide to drive cultural tourism and make a strong contribution to the local economy. This success is built on strong partnerships across the city, including Brighton & Hove City Council, and is a great example of collaborative investment and working that others can learn from. Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival’s forthcoming capital project will help to build on the success to date, ensuring Brighton remains one of England’s cultural leading lights.”

The eighth Guest Director of Brighton Festival, Laurie Anderson follows in the footsteps of visual artist Anish Kapoor (2009), musician Brian Eno (2010), Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi (2011), actress and human rights campaigner Vanessa Redgrave (2012), poet, author and former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen (2013), choreographer, composer and performer Hofesh Shechter (2014) and award-winning author Ali Smith (2015) in shaping the three week programme of cultural events. 

Established in 1967, Brighton Festival has become one of the city's most enduring symbols of inventiveness and celebration over the past half century. Its original intentions as set out by the first Director Sir Ian Hunter were: “to stimulate townsfolk and visitors into taking a new look at the arts and to give them the opportunity to assess developments in the field of culture where the serious and the apparently flippant ride side by side”. The inaugural programme included the first ever exhibition of Concrete Poetry in the UK, a ‘Kinetic labyrinth’ on the West pier, and a site specific project which attempted to ‘change the colour of the sea’ alongside performances by Laurence Olivier, Anthony Hopkins and Yehudi Menuhin. Now one of Europe’s leading arts festivals, Brighton Festival is known for its ambitious and daring programme that aims to make the most of the city’s distinctive cultural atmosphere.

-Ends-


For further enquiries, please contact our press team:

Emma Robertson, Head of Press & PR - emma.robertson@brightonfestival.org | 01273 260 803
Chris Challis, Senior Press Officer – chris.challis@brightonfestival.org | 01273 260838
Anna Christoforou, Freelance Broadcast PR (national) - anna@annachristoforou.com | 07818 035 690
Anna Whelan, Digital Marketing Officer – anna.whelan@brightonfestival.org | 01273 260825

Ticket Office - 01273 709709 | brightonfestival.org
Follow us on Twitter - www.twitter.com/brightfestival (@brightfest)
Join our Facebook fan site - www.facebook.com/brightonfestival

NOTES TO EDITORS:


About Brighton Festival –

• Brighton Festival is an annual mixed arts festival which takes place across three weeks in the city each May, with an average audience reach of 150,000

• Brighton Festival attracts inspiring and internationally significant Guest Directors who bring cohesion to the artistic programme with British sculptor Anish Kapoor as inaugural curator in 2009 followed by the Godfather of modern music Brian Eno in 2010, the Burmese Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in 2011, actress and Human Rights campaigner Vanessa Redgrave in 2012, poet, author and former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen in 2013, choreographer, composer, musician and performer Hofesh Shechter in 2014 and award-winning author Ali Smith in 2015..

• Brighton Festival is an innovative commissioning and producing arts festival, offering an ambitious programme that makes the most of the city’s distinctive atmosphere.

• Brighton Festival is England’s most established mixed arts Festival and a major milestone in the international cultural calendar

• Brighton Festival includes visual art, theatre, music, dance, books and debates, family friendly events and outdoor performances throughout the city including site-specific and unusual locations.

• Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival produces the annual Brighton Festival and also manages the three venues of Brighton Dome year round. It aims to champion the power of the arts, to enrich and change lives and inspire and enable artists to be their most creative.

• The first Brighton Festival in 1967 controversially included the first ever exhibition of Concrete Poetry in the UK, alongside performances by Laurence Olivier, Anthony Hopkins and Yehudi Menuhin

• Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival manages a year round programme of arts at Brighton Dome – a three space, Grade 1 listed building made up of the Concert Hall, Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre - and produces the annual Brighton Festival in May. 

Click here to view the PDF 

Laurie Anderson photo © Tom Oldham

Brighton Festival: Fifty years on the edge

For 50 years this popular seaside destination has been the incomparable setting for Brighton Festival, a magnet for culture loving visitors and artists from all corners of our Globe.

Long known as a haven for ‘dirty weekenders’, the festival’s arrival in 1967 ushered a new era of cultural sophistication for Brighton. But it was one that embraced its raffish spirit! In the words of inaugural director Sir Ian Hunter, it was to be a festival where ‘the serious and the apparently flippant ride side by side’.

Now entering its milestone 50th year the festival’s trail-blazing traditions proudly continue with 2016’s eclectic programme featuring a dazzling array of some of the most innovative artists and companies from the UK and around the world. And with pioneering artist and musician Laurie Anderson at the helm as Guest Director, it’s really going to be something worth celebrating.

This footage of the very first Brighton Festival in 1967 was discovered recently in an attic. The long lost material, shot by former Brighton College of Art students Ian Beck and Tim Grimes, captures the inaugural festival’s many different events alongside unseen footage of Eric Clapton, The Who and more. Read more on the discovery of this footage. 

Made by Echo Video, with Ian Beck and Tim Grimes’ original footage and featuring footage from Screen archive South East. With voiceover from Spymonkey's Toby Park.

Welcome from Laurie Anderson

'I'm so happy to be serving as Guest Director of Brighton Festival in its historic 50th year. 

'Our theme of home and place is especially relevant with so many people in the world on the move now looking, like all of us, for a place we can belong. I've been part of the Festival several times and it was exciting to watch the city become the heart of so much art. I'm looking forward to being part of it this year.'

Brighton Festival 2016 Merchandise

This year we worked with Johnson Banks once again to create the visual identity for Brighton Festival 2016: A tessellated and dislocated fifty descending from the Brighton Festival F, marking Brighton Festival's half century of celebrating the experimental, the unusual and the cutting edge in the arts.

We have created a selection of merchandise for you to enjoy:

T-shirts (S, M, M Ladies, L, XL)
£12 /£15.50 online incl. p&p

Small posters (A3: 297mm x 420mm)
£2/ £5.50 online incl. p&p

Large posters (B2: 707mm x 500mm) 
£4/ £7.50 online incl. p&p

Canvas bags
£6/ £9.50 online inc. p&p 

These products are available to buy online by clicking the links below.

The prices above include P&P to UK locations only.
If you live abroad, please contact marketing@brightondome.org to purchase and get a quote for P&P.

If you live locally, you can buy these items at our Ticket Office at 20 New Road, Brighton. 

The Brighton Commissions

For our milestone 50th Festival, we have commissioned more new works than ever before, including many by Brighton artists or about Brighton itself. Wildly different and each fascinating, the 'Brighton Commissions' below are presented as a tribute to our home and the talent within it.

Brighton: Symphony of a City
One of the Brighton Festival events people still talk about is the screening of Battleship Potemkin (2005) with Ed Hughes’s new score in the Hove Engineerium. When Ed and Brighton based filmmaker Lizzie Thynne proposed a Brighton homage to Walther Ruttmann’s 1927 silent classic Berlin: Symphony of a Great City, we grabbed the opportunity to celebrate Brighton in all its festive, bohemian, campaigning, fun-filled glory.

Charles Linehan Company
Loved by dancers and dance audiences, Brighton-based choreographer Charles Linehan (The Fault Index/ The Clearing, 2011), brings us a contrasting double bill of new works including one with William Trevitt and Michael Nunn (BalletBoyz). Described by The Guardian as ’one of our classiest choreographers’ Charles’s return to Brighton Festival in our 50th year feels especially appropriate. 

The Complete Deaths
Another match made in Brighton. Leading physical comedy company Spymonkey (Oedipussy, 2012 and Cooped, 2006) and award winning playwright and performer Tim Crouch (I, Caliban, 2003, I, Peaseblossom, 2004, I, Banquo, 2005, An Oak Tree 2006, I, Malvolio, 2010 and what happens to the hope at the end of the evening, 2014) come together to re-enact every onstage death from the works of William Shakespeare in a sublimely funny tribute to mark the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death. We’re holding onto our hats. 

Digging for Shakespeare
Marc Rees studied in Brighton with Liz Aggiss and has gone on to make wonderful work with communities and for specific sites, most notably with National Theatre Wales. He brought us the captivating story of James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps who was a world-renowned Shakespearean scholar in the 19th Century and an eccentric recluse. When Marc suggested making this piece on the Roedale allotments where Halliwell-Phillipps lived it was too beguiling an idea to pass up. 

Dr Blighty
One of the most affecting and complex stories of the Royal Pavilion Estate is its use as a military hospital for wounded Indian soldiers in World War I. As we work towards reunifying the Royal Pavilion Estate to bring collections, heritage and the arts together to create compelling new work for the Estate, the opportunity was ripe for Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove and ourselves to work with British Asian performance company Nutkhut and with 14-18 NOW to commemorate this special chapter in Brighton’s history.

The Last Resort
Using binaural technology to create a shifting world of sound, Brighton-based artists Rachel Champion and Tristan Shorr (who worked with Charlotte Spencer on Walking Stories, 2013), working as Art Of Disappearing, have created an immersive work set on Portslade beach that takes a wry look at science fiction traditions and dystopian societies. 

Operation Black Antler
Two Brighton Festival Associate Companies come together in an exciting new collaboration. Blast Theory (Rider Spoke, 2008; Fixing Point 2013) are celebrated for their inventive use of technology and their thought-provoking subject matter. Hydrocracker have delighted and terrified audiences with Shakespeare á la Carte (2008), the uproarious The Erpingham Camp (2009), and the chilling production of Pinter plays The New World Order (2007 & 2011). Having these two companies working together has been on all our wish lists for a number of years. 

Stella
Veteran Brighton artist Neil Bartlett (Oliver Twist, 2004, The Maids, 2007; For Alfonso, 2011; What Can You Do?, 2012; Britten: The Canticles, 2013) is one of Britain’s most individual theatre makers and a generous friend of Brighton Festival. We’re honoured that Neil’s wonderful, intense and distilled new play, inspired by the life and death of Ernest Boulton, can open in Theatre Royal Brighton before going on to performances at London International Festival of Theatre and Holland Festival. 

Brighton Festival 2016 Listing Highlights

Contemporary music


Laurie Anderson: Music for DogsUK Premiere
Tue 10 May, 7.30pm
‘Wouldn’t it be great if you’re playing a concert and you look out and everyone’s a dog?’ Laurie Anderson mused while waiting backstage with cellist Yo-Yo Ma. True to form, Anderson made her outlandish dream come true: first at the Sydney Opera House, and again in New York’s Times Square in January, making headlines the world over. The 20-minute piece has been specifically designed for the canine ear, including higher pitches audible only to them, as well as other sounds for humans to enjoy.

Laurie Anderson, Nik Bärtsch & Eivind Aarset: Song Conversation, Song as a Place.
Brighton Festival Exclusive
Tue 17 May, 7.30pm, Brighton Dome Concert Hall
Laurie Anderson is joined by fellow musician-composers, Zurich-based pianist Nik Bärtsch and one of Norway’s most in-demand guitarists, Eivind Aarset, for a freewheeling walk through sonic spaces. These master improvisers will take on the idea of space in songs, while dissecting song structure, melody, lyrics, inspiration, dedication, and improvisation. 

Laurie Anderson, Slideshow
World Premiere

Brighton Festival Exclusive
Wed 18 May, 7.30pm, Brighton Dome Concert Hall.
In the second of two exclusive performances for Brighton Festival, Laurie Anderson presents Slideshow, a specially created performance monologue about place and places, described by Anderson herself as a “collection of adventure stories about love, cities, diners, Mars, how we see, living by rivers, Dollywood, my home town and many other places along the way.”

Yuval Avital & Ensemble Meitar, Fuga Perpetua
Co-commissioned by Brighton Festival
Fri 20 May, 8pm., Brighton Dome Corn Exchange.
Fuga Perpetua - musical terms meaning ‘always running’ - reflects on the situation of refugees compelled always to move on. In this potent and thought-provoking new work, Yuval Avital, a unique voice in the contemporary and experimental scene, creates an immersive environment using a combination of music, sound recordings, visual projections and movement. With contemporary music group Ensemble Meitar. Produced by Magà Global Arts, Ensemble Meitar &Third Ear. Supported by Arts Council England.

Haçienda Classical: House and club classics
Fri 20 May, 9pm
Brighton Dome Concert Hall
The DJs who shaped the Haçienda sound, Graeme Park and Mike Pickering, will perform a continuous set of house and club classics alongside the Manchester Camerata Orchestra and special guests. Taking the euphoria of the legendary club nights to a whole new level, Haçienda Classical is a unique meeting of styles.

Beth Orton
Brighton Festival Exclusive
Fri 27 & Sat 28 May, 8pm. Attenborough Centre for Creative Arts
Beth Orton returns to the UK for two shows at Brighton Festival premiering highly anticipated new material exploring her electronic roots. Orton has been one of the country’s most unique and beguiling voices in contemporary music for the past two decades - from debut LP Trailer Park in which she pioneered the synthesis of electronic beats and acoustic song writing to her follow-up Central Reservation which brought international acclaim and a BRIT award. These one-off shows will feature new material performed live for the first time.

Floating Points Live
Sun 29 May, 8pm. Brighton Dome Concert Hall
Dance music trailblazer Sam Shephard – otherwise known as Floating Points – is renowned for his ambitious, forward-thinking DJ sets around the world. His debut album Elaenia draws upon classical, jazz, electronic music, soul and even Brazilian popular music. At times delicate and intense, with moments of utter stillness, it provides the bridge between his rapturous dance music and his classical roots. Performing with a full live band, don’t miss what promises to be a remarkable live performance from one of electronic music’s most perceptive new artists.

Visual Art


Gillian Wearing: A Room With Your Views
Co-commissioned by Brighton Festival, World premiere
Sat 7 – Sun 29 May, 10am – 5pm (Thu 10am –8pm), University of Brighton Gallery
Turner Prize-winning British artist Gillian Wearing – the invited artist for HOUSE 2016 - will present Your Views, a global collaborative work which captures a snapshot of 'views' from windows across the world. Wearing’s work examines our public personas and private lives, describing her working method as ‘editing life’. Drawing on fly-on-the-wall documentaries, reality TV and theatrical techniques, she explores how we present ourselves to the world, as well as her involvement with extensive self-portraiture. Co-commissioned with HOUSE 2016.

Ron Haselden: Luminary
Co-produced by Brighton Festival
Sat 7 – Sun 29 May, 12pm – 7pm, Fabrica
A series of beautiful LED light-drawings at locations across the city by respected British artist Ron Haselden that range in scale from the monumental, presented as a walk-through installation at Fabrica, to the intimate, shining out from homes in several of the city’s neighbourhoods. Stemming from Haselden’s love of drawings produced by the ‘untutored hand’, sketches by young children and older people have provided the inspiration for Luminary, scaled up with LED ropelight, to amplify their spontaneous, uninhibited style. Co-produced by Fabrica and Brighton Festival in partnership with MSL Projects, Hastings.

Lou Reed Drones
UK Premiere
Fri 13 – Tue 17 May, 12pm – 5pm. The Spire
A visceral, emotional and spiritual experience, Lou Reed Drones is an installation of Lou Reed’s guitars and amps in feedback mode: 24 strings set in motion from the push of magnetically driven cones; 360 partial harmonics colliding against each other. Introducing gain and sculpting sonic frequencies, a feedback loop is created with each guitar and its respective amplifier. Their overlapping harmonic structures produce pseudo-acoustic notes in which a beating sensation is then set in motion. 

Film


No Home Movie

(2015, Belgium/France, cert. U), Directed by Chantal Akerman
Sun 8 May, 1.30pm, Duke’s at Komedia
The final film of the great Belgian film-maker Chantal Akerman is a moving memoir of her mother’s last months. Confined to her Brussels apartment, Natalia’s harrowing past as an Auschwitz survivor and her chronic anxiety, greatly influenced Akerman’s art. This special preview screening ahead of the film’s UK release is a tribute to one of the most original and influential figures in feminist cinema, who died last year.

Heart of a Dog
Plus Q&A with Laurie Anderson
(2015, USA), Directed by Laurie Anderson
Tue 10 May, 9pm. Duke of York's Picturehouse
Visually rich and poetic, Laurie Anderson's Oscar nominated Heart of a Dog sees her reflect on love, language and death - inspired by the affection she had for pet Rat Terrier, Lolabelle, who died in 2011. Essayistic in style, and constructed like a collage of original musical compositions, contemporary footage, narration, animation and 8mm home movies, it deftly flits between the serious and the playful, the funny and heartfelt.

Sans Soleil (Sunless)
(1982, France, cert. 15), Directed by Chris Marker
Sun 15 May, 1.30pm., Duke of York's Picturehouse
This elegiac masterpiece by Laurie Anderson's favourite director Chris Marker is a poetic documentary tour of Tokyo, Guinea-Bissau, Iceland and San Francisco. Sans Soleil is a hugely influential essay film in which the spoken word and haunting visuals conjure the disorientation of a world traveller, journeying through cultures, secret rituals and confusions of time.

The Human Face
(1990, UK, cert. 12A), Directed by Nichola Bruce.
Sun 22 May, 4.30pm, Duke’s at Komedia
Nominated for a BAFTA, The Human Face is a documentary made for the BBC series Arena. Laurie Anderson presents, narrating an examination of mankind’s obsession with its own image, looking at the use of heads and the human face in art and sculpture, and at the prejudices applied every day based solely on a person’s appearance.

THEATRE


Blast Theory & Hydrocracker: Operation Black Antler
World Premiere. Co-commissioned by Brighton Festival
Sat 7 & Sun 8, Tues 10 - Sat 14, Tues 17 - Sat 21, Tues 24 - Sat 28. Every 15 minutes from 6pm - 9pm (timed entry allocated on booking).
For 40 years British police officers have been operating undercover inside protest groups, ‘deep swimming’ by forming relationships and even having children with their targets. This ground-breaking piece of immersive theatre by Blast Theory and Hydrocracker will give audiences a chance to go undercover for the night in a thrilling and unforgettable walk in someone else’s shoes. Visit the safehouse to meet your police handler and build up your identity, choose your cover story and meet the rest of the team then head out to the gig to use your new skills.
Commissioned by Brighton Festival and Ideas Test. In partnership with Dramatic Resources. 

Spymonkey & Tim Crouch: The Complete Deaths
World Premiere. Commissioned by Brighton Festival
Wed 11 - Sat 14 May, 7.30pm, Sat 14 & Sun 15 May, 2.30pm. Theatre Royal Brighton
There are 74 onstage deaths in the works of William Shakespeare - 75 if you count the black ill-favoured fly killed in Titus Andronicus - from the Roman suicides in Julius Caesar to the death fall of Prince Arthur in King John; from the carnage at the end of Hamlet to snakes in a basket in Antony & Cleopatra. Spymonkey will perform them all – sometimes lingeringly, sometimes messily, sometimes movingly, always hysterically. Directed by Tim Crouch, The Complete Deaths is a solemn, sombre and sublimely funny tribute to the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Presented by Spymonkey in a co-production with Brighton Festival and Royal & Derngate Northampton. 

Berlin (Antwerp): Zvizdal (Chernobyl – so far so close)
UK Premiere.
Mon 23 – Wed 25 May, 8pm. Brighton Dome Corn Exchange
Co-produced by Brighton Festival.
26 April 1986, Pripyat, Ukraine. A nuclear reactor explodes and some 90 towns and villages are evacuated. But one couple, Pétro and Nadia, refuse to leave. Without running water, electricity, telephone or mail, they hold on indestructibly in the infected zone for 30 years. Berlin returns to Brighton Festival with a filmic portrait of one elderly couple’s self-imposed solitude. Featuring interviews with Pétro and Nadia filmed between 2011 and 2016, Zvizdal tells a poignant story of survival. Co-produced with Brighton Festival; Het Zuidelijk Toneel, Tilburg; PACT Zollverein, Essen; Dublin Theatre Festival; Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Brussels; BIT Teatergarasjen, Bergen; and CENTQUATRE, Paris.

Neil Bartlett: Stella
World Premiere. Co-commissioned by Brighton Festival.
Fri 27 & Sat 28 May, 8pm. Theatre Royal Brighton.
A new work written and directed by one of Britain’s most individual theatre makers. Inspired by the strange life and lonely death of Ernest Boulton – also known as one half of the now-infamous Victorian cross-dressing duo Fanny and Stella – this new work from Neil Bartlett is an intense and deeply personal meditation on what it means to keep your nerve as the lights go out. It's about being old, about being young, and about what it means to really be yourself. A co-commission by LIFT, Brighton Festival and Holland Festival.

Lola Arias (Buenos Aires): Minefield
World Premiere. Co-commissioned by Brighton Festival.
Sat 28 May, 8pm. Sun 29 May, 2pm & 7pm. Brighton Dome Corn Exchange
Argentinian writer and director Lola Arias returns to Brighton Festival with the world premiere of her new work about the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas, developed with and performed by Argentinian and British veterans of the 1982 conflict. Merging film, re-enactment and documentary theatre, Minefield blurs the lines between truth and fiction to give a fascinating insight into how and what people remember, and how war continues to cast a long shadow over the lives of its protagonists. Co-commissioned by LIFT Festival, Royal Court Theatre, Brighton Festival, Le Quai Angers and Künstlerhaus Mousonturm.

OUTDOOR


Art of Disappearing: The Last Resort
World Premiere. Commissioned by Brighton Festival
Sat 7 – Sun 29 May (no performances Mon & Tue), Wed – Fri, 2pm – 8pm, Sat & Sun, 11am – 9pm
Amidst a barren landscape, a neon light stands bleak and stark. Welcome to The Last Resort. For those brave enough to return to this long deserted resort, beauty, science fiction and history merge to create a unique outdoor experience. Using binaural technology to create a constantly shifting world of sound, artists Rachel Champion and Tristan Shorr have created an exciting immersive work that takes a wry look at science fiction traditions and dystopian societies.

Marc Rees: Digging for Shakespeare
World Premiere. Commissioned by Brighton Festival
Sat 7 & Sun 8 May, Sat 14 & Sun 15 May, Sat 21 & Sun 22 May, 10.30am & 2.30pm. Roedale Allotments.
Meet James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps, 19th century joker and world-renowned Shakespearean scholar who lived on the outskirts of Brighton. There in his 'rustic wigwam' (a series of conjoined sheds), he obsessively curated a huge hoard of Shakespearean rarities. Marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, director Marc Rees has devised a unique promenade performance through Roedale Allotments, close to the site of this eccentric recluse's former home. 


Nutkhut: Dr Blighty
World Premiere. Co-commissioned by Brighton Festival
Tue 24 – Sat 28 May, 2pm – 10pm. Royal Pavilion Gardens.
Between 1914 and 1916, over 2000 Indian soldiers wounded on the Western Front were brought to a temporary hospital housed in Brighton’s Royal Pavilion Estate. In a major new collaboration with Nutkhut and a creative team that includes designer Tom Piper (Tower of London Poppies), Dr Blighty recalls this unexpected episode in Brighton’s history. Bringing the experiences of the soldiers - inspired by letters they sent home - and the locals who came to care for them, the Royal Pavilion Gardens will host a dreamlike environment of immersive installations, soundscapes and theatrical interludes, alongside concerts featuring Philharmonia Orchestra with Kala Ramnath, Debashish Bhattacharya and Gurdain Rayatt within Brighton Dome. A Nutkhut Production co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW, WW1 Centenary Art Commissions, Brighton Festival and Royal Pavilion and Museums, Brighton & Hove

BOOKS AND DEBATE
Presented in partnership with Guardian Live


Guardian Book Club: Howard Jacobson
Sun 8 May, 5pm. Sallis Benney Theatre
Perhaps the leading observer of Jewishness in modern Britain, Howard Jacobson examines Shakespeare’s most controversial character in his new novel, Shylock is My Name. Including a shocking twist on Shylock’s infamous demand for a pound of flesh, the novel examines contemporary questions of Jewish identity and the relationship between fathers and daughters. Join him for a discussion with Guardian Book Club host John Mullan about the novel and the endlessly fascinating play that inspired it.

Yanis Varoufakis
Tue 10 May, 7.30pm. Brighton Dome Concert Hall
In his new book, And the Weak Suffer What They Must?, former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis assesses the history of the European monetary union. A passionate campaigner against austerity, Varoufakis argues that it is a fundamental threat to Europe and to the global economy. He also shows that the origins of the Eurozone crisis lie not with governments or the banks but in its founding structure. He will talk to Channel 4 economics editor and Guardian columnist Paul Mason about the current crisis and present his case for economic reform.

Lionel Shriver
Wed 11 May, 8pm. Brighton Dome Corn Exchange.
Orange Prize-winning writer Lionel Shriver talks about her new novel, The Mandibles – a dark, witty and frightening dystopia about a nation in decline. Set during a fiscal crisis in near-future America, the book follows three generations of a family as they cope with the loss of their fortune and learn how to survive as America’s economy spirals into dysfunction.

The Guardian Newsroom: The EU Referendum
Thu 26 May, 7pm. Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts
David Cameron's promised referendum on the UK's membership of the EU could be called as early as June 2016. As both the EU exit and pro-Europe campaigns gather momentum, Britain faces profound questions about its future. Business leaders claim that withdrawal would lead to economic calamity, while others on the left and the right argue the case for Britain to govern itself. Join a panel of Guardian writers, including Brighton Festival Chair Polly Toynbee, to analyse and discuss both sides of the debate.

Marlon James
Thu 26 May, 7.30pm. Brighton Dome Studio Theatre.
Join us for an evening with 2015 Man Booker prize winner, Marlon James. A Brief History of Seven Killings is a fictional account of an attempt to assassinate Bob Marley in 1976, a novel described by the New York Times as a ‘Tarantino remake of The Harder They Come…sweeping, mythic, over-the-top, colossal and dizzyingly complex’. Spanning three decades, the novel uses multiple voices - CIA agents, drug dealers, ghosts, beauty queens - to explore the turbulent world of Jamaican gangs and politics.

DANCE AND CIRCUS


Charles Linehan Company: Double bill
World Premiere. Co-commissioned by Brighton Festival.
Sat 7 & Sun 8 May, 8pm. Brighton Dome Corn Exchange
Charles Linehan returns to Brighton Festival with a contrasting double bill of new works. My Mother’s Tears mines the personal history of William Trevitt and Michael Nunn (BalletBoyz) performing classical ballet mime from The Royal Ballet repertoire with unpredictable consequences. In A Quarter Plus Green ideas of transformation are applied to movement, light and sound in a unique new setting at Brighton Dome Corn Exchange. Co-commissioned by Brighton Festival, Dance4, South East Dance, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance and Tanztendenz, Munich.

The Ricochet Project (New Mexico): Smoke and Mirrors
Mon 9 & Tue 10 May, 8pm.
Brighton Dome Corn Exchange
Circus as you’ve never seen it before: audacious and thought-provoking, technically brilliant and profound. The Ricochet Project is pushing the boundaries of contemporary circus using poetic acrobatics, contemporary dance, contortion and high flying feats to explore the human condition. Revealing the inner workings of the mind and our search to find a place of realness and connecting in an enduring culture of illusion, Smoke and Mirrors is a mesmerising and intimate two-hander for grown-ups.

Nederlands Dans Theater 2
Fri 13 - Sat 14 May, 7.30pm. Brighton Dome Concert Hall.
Nederlands Dans Theater is one of the world's most celebrated dance companies, wowing audiences with their unique brand of breath-taking dance, awe-inspiring skill and passionate creativity. Artistically directed by award-winning choreographer Paul Lightfoot, NDT2 presents 18 international dancers aged 18-23. For their long awaited return to Brighton Festival, they bring a vibrant mixed programme including works by Sol León & Paul Lightfoot, Edward Clug, Hans van Manen and the international hit Cacti by Associate Choreographer Alexander Ekman. Presented in partnership with Dance Consortium.

Akram Khan Company: Until the Lions
Co-commissioned by Brighton Festival
Thu 26 & Fri 27 May, 7.30pm. Brighton Dome Concert Hall.
One of the most respected figures in the dance world, Akram Khan returns to Brighton Festival with his new, full-length production Until the Lions - his most arresting work to date. Khan is joined by two of his company dancers alongside four musicians providing haunting vocals and soundscape. Together they give a breath-taking performance in this partial adaptation of poet Karthika Naïr’s original reworking of the epic Mahabharata, bautifully combining the classical Indian dance form kathak with contemporary dance. Initiated by the 360° Network of round artistic venues across the world and produced during residency at Sadler's Wells London and Curve Leicester. 

CLASSICAL


London Symphony Orchestra
Sat 7 May, 7.30pm. Brighton Dome Concert Hall.
A rare opportunity to hear the LSO outside of London, this unique opening concert reflects the Festival’s strong classical tradition over the past 50 years with some of the most remarkably talented performers of today. One of the most brilliant pianists of our time (Leif Ove Andsnes) basks in the lyrical genius of Mozart (Piano Concerto No.20 in D minor K466). Bruckner’s Third Symphony (Symphony No. 3 in D minor) with its grand and majestic orchestration is directed here by the LSO’s Principal Guest Conductor. 

La Nuova Musica: Dido and Aeneas
Sun 8 May, 7.30pm, Theatre Royal Brighton
Ann Murray DBE, one of the great singers of her generation, brings her magisterial artistry to the role of Dido. She is joined by Benjamin Appl, who is fast establishing a major career; and La Nuova Musica, noted for its rigorous yet sparkling approach to the Baroque repertory embellished here by Zack Winokur's evocative dancers. One of the first operas in English, Dido and Aeneas is a tale of love and loss, as Dido, Queen of Carthage, is abandoned by the Trojan prince Aeneas and dies overwhelmed by grief.

Brighton: Symphony of a City
World Premiere. Commissioned by Brighton Festival.
Wed 11 May, 7.30pm. Brighton Dome Concert Hall
Brighton in all its festive, bohemian, campaigning, glory has inspired a remarkable fusion of silent film and live music by filmmaker Lizzie Thynne and composer Ed Hughes. Drawing on such precedents as Walter Ruttmann’s 1927 silent classic Berlin: Symphony of a Great City, this new film depicts a day in the life of the city, darting back and forth through time to encompass archive film of the lost glories and contemporary events that have defined Brighton’s profile as the UK’s most vibrant location. This kaleidoscope of local identity is accompanied by a sumptuous symphonic score performed live by Orchestra of Sound and Light. 

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra & Brighton Festival Chorus: The Dream of Gerontius
Sun 22 May, 7pm. Brighton Dome Concert Hall.
Lush orchestration, massed forces and profound subject matter: The Dream of Gerontius is an overwhelming musical experience. This is the kind of music that Brighton Festival Chorus was created to perform, and which is woven into the identity of the renowned CBSO, whose very first performance in 1920 was conducted by Elgar. A truly stellar cast (Alice Coote: mezzo-soprano, Robert Murray: tenor, Matthew Rose: bass), led by the eminent British conductor Edward Gardner, luxuriates in music of rare power and eloquence that etches the vision of the journey of a pious man’s soul from his deathbed to his judgment before God.

CHILDREN AND FAMILY


Globe Theatre on Tour: The Two Gentlemen of Verona
Wed 25 – Sat 28 May, 6pm, Thu 26, Sat 28 & Sun 29 May, 1.30pm. Brighton Open Air Theatre.
Hidden identities, cross-dressing and subterfuge crisscross in a tale of love, friendship, betrayal and reconciliation. This riotous new production hurls Shakespeare’s anarchic comedy into the 21st century, in the perfect setting of Brighton Open Air Theatre. Remember to bring a picnic and dress for the weather.

A Weekend Without Walls
Sat 14 May, 12 – 5pm. Easthill Park, Portslade, Sun 15 May, 12 – 5pm. East Brighton Park, Whitehawk
Get ready for a weekend of fun and adventures as Easthill Park and East Brighton Park host five extraordinary new performances: Les Enfants Terribles’ Dr Latitude and his team of misguided misfits in The Fantastical Flying Exploratory Laboratory, NOWish's Le Cheval Solitaire, Miss High Leg Kick's Audition Project and H.O.H. by Far From the Norm. Bring a picnic and all the family.

26 LETTERS


Michael Morpurgo
Wed 11 May, 6pm. Brighton Dome Corn Exchange
Former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo is spellbinding company, a master storyteller who has created some of the most brilliant children’s books of recent years. Join him as he talks about his work, which includes War Horse, Private Peaceful and Why the Whales Came, and hear all about his latest book, An Eagle in the Snow, the extraordinary story of the man who could have stopped World War Two before it even began.

Chris Riddell Children's Laureate in residence
Winner of two Kate Greenaway medals for illustration, Brighton’s own Chris Riddell (The Edge Chronicles, Goth Girl) joins 26 Letters for no less than three events: Ask the Laureate (Sat 14 May), 6pm. Sallis Benney Theatre, Poems and Pictures Live (Sun 15 May, 2.30pm. Sallis Benney Theatre) and Picture Book Masterclass (Sun 22 May, 10am. Brighton Dome Founders Room.

Young City Reads 2016
Thu 19 May, 1.30pm. Brighton Dome Concert Hall.
Brighton & Hove’s Big Read for young people returns. This year young story-lovers are invited to read and discuss Hamish and the World Stoppers by Danny Wallace. For the Young City Reads Big Event, the award-winning author and presenter, together with the book’s illustrator Jamie Littler, will take centre stage for a live, interactive schools event to talk about their book and tell us more about Hamish, Alice and some disgusting creatures called ‘The Terribles’, who might come from outer space — or maybe France…

Notes to Editors:


About Brighton Festival:

• Brighton Festival is England’s largest and most established annual curated multi-arts festival which takes place across three weeks in the city each May. It is a major milestone in the international cultural calendar and 2016 marks a landmark in its history with the 50th Brighton Festival.

• Brighton Festival attracts inspiring and internationally significant Guest Directors who bring cohesion to the artistic programme.

• For nearly 30 years Brighton Festival has opened with the Children’s Parade, which includes participants from schools and community groups and bands across the city. One of the most spectacular community events in the UK with up to 4,000 participants and an audience of around 10,000, this year the Children’s Parade, devised and delivered by Same Sky, will be themed around Brighton Celebrates in response to Brighton Festival’s milestone year.

• Brighton Festival is an innovative commissioning and producing arts festival, offering an ambitious programme that makes the most of the city’s distinctive atmosphere.

• Brighton Festival includes visual art, theatre, music, dance, circus, books and debates, family friendly events and outdoor performances throughout the city including site-specific and unusual locations.

• Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival produces the annual Brighton Festival and also manages the three venues of Brighton Dome year round

Fifty years on the edge

50 Springs. 50 Festivals. 50 opportunities, in the words of the first Festival Director Sir Ian Hunter, to ‘…take a new look at the arts and [have] the opportunity to assess developments in the field of culture where the serious and the apparently flippant ride side by side.’ Every year some of the greatest artists, performers and thinkers have congregated for a festival in one of the most artistically rich and geographically blessed places in the country. Now that’s something to celebrate.

In a potent mix of art made here and art from all around the world, Brighton Festival has developed a legacy we are proud to have inherited. Since Sir Ian Hunter each Festival Director – Gavin Henderson, Chris Baron and Nick Dodds – has served those initial ideals and made each Festival a unique celebration of this ‘City on the Edge’, this place where the exciting meets the exotic meets the exasperating meets the exceptional.

The Guest Directors with whom we have worked since 2009 – Anish Kapoor, Brian Eno, Aung San Suu Kyi, Vanessa Redgrave, Michael Rosen, Hofesh Shechter, Ali Smith and this year the wonderful Laurie Anderson – have allowed us to celebrate this truly eclectic and all-embracing Festival in a new way whilst retaining a sense of past and place. It is this combination of the search for the new with a deep respect for our traditions which I believe is at the heart of Brighton Festival and at the heart of this magical creative city. And in this 50th year we particularly wanted to reflect on the nature of ‘home’ and ‘place’: ours as well as those evoked by the places our visiting artists call home. 

I’m particularly proud that as part of the 20 new commissions in this year’s programme, we are able to present so many new works by Brighton artists or about Brighton itself. Wildly different and each fascinating, the ‘Brighton Commissions’ are presented as a tribute to our home and the talent within it. Here’s to the 50th Brighton Festival, here’s to you, our audience, and here’s to the next 50 to come!

Andrew Comben
Chief Executive

Read more on the Brighton Commissions 

Explore what's on at Brighton Festival 2016 

Brighton Festival announces major new commission for 2016 inspired by untold story of First World War

Brighton Festival - alongside commissioning partners 14-18 NOW and Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove - has today announced a major new commission inspired by the untold story of the hundreds of thousands of men who travelled from India to fight for the Allies in the First World War.  

Created by performance company Nutkhut and brought together by a creative team that includes designer Tom Piper (Tower of London poppies), the ambitious, large-scale, immersive outdoor experience Dr Blighty is the latest event revealed for the 50th edition of Brighton Festival in May 2016.

More than a million men travelled from India to fight for the Allies during the First World War, their collective experiences constituting one of military history’s great untold stories. Between 1914 and 1916, over 2000 Indian soldiers wounded on the Western Front would be brought to a temporary hospital housed in Brighton’s Royal Pavilion Estate. 

This major new collaboration, Dr Blighty, recalls this episode in Brighton’s wartime history, bringing the experiences of the soldiers - and the locals who came to care for them - movingly back to life via an immersive walk-through installation across the Royal Pavilion Estate. Animated by actors and enhanced by immersive installations, enthralling video projections, ambient soundscapes and theatrical interludes, inspired by letters the soldiers sent back home, the event will seek to capture the essence of the hospital and those who recuperated here.

The hospital installation will be complemented by a series of related performances and participatory outreach activities, drawing parallels with contemporary events while bringing this moving episode in Brighton’s history back to life. For four nights, a spectacular after-dark production will incorporate video projections on the Royal Pavilion, evoking memories of a very distant home for the soldier convalescents. In addition, the Philharmonia Orchestra will perform in a special ticketed concert at Brighton Dome with some of India’s leading contemporary musicians, marrying Western and Eastern classical music traditions.

Ajay Chhabra, Artistic Director of Nutkhut says: “Thousands of letters were written from the Western Front back home to wives, mothers, daughters and sisters, and it’s the emotion within these letters that Dr Blighty is trying to bring into the public domain. They, alongside the propaganda and the censorship, give us an insight into the lives of these young men, and give these many anonymous soldiers a voice. The project will essentially tell a 100-year-old story, and make it a contemporary one for new audiences.’

Ajay Chhabra, Artistic Director of Nutkhut says: “Thousands of letters were written from the Western Front back home to wives, mothers, daughters and sisters, and it’s the emotion within these letters that Dr Blighty is trying to bring into the public domain. They, alongside the propaganda and the censorship, give us an insight into the lives of these young men, and give these many anonymous soldiers a voice. The project will essentially tell a 100-year-old story, and make it a contemporary one for new audiences.’

Jenny Waldman, Director, 14-18 NOW, said: “We are thrilled to be working with Brighton Festival to present this ambitious project with an amazing group of artists brought together by Nutkhut, which will offer audiences an insight into the little-known and remarkable story underpinning the city’s involvement with the First World War."

Brighton Festival marks its milestone 50th year in 2016 with the pioneering artist and musician Laurie Anderson as its Guest Director. Established in 1967, Brighton Festival has become one of the city's most enduring symbols of inventiveness and celebration over the past half century. Renowned for its pioneering spirit and experimental reputation, Brighton Festival’s inaugural programme controversially included the first ever exhibition of Concrete Poetry in the UK, alongside performances by Laurence Olivier, Anthony Hopkins and Yehudi Menuhin. Now one of Europe’s leading arts festivals, Brighton Festival is known for its ambitious and daring programme that aims to make the most of the city’s distinctive cultural atmosphere, drawing some of the most innovative artists and companies and adventurous audiences from the UK and around the world. 

Full programme details of Brighton Festival 2016 will be announced on 17 February 2016

-ENDS-

For further enquiries, please contact our press team:

Emma Robertson, Head of Press and PR - emma.robertson@brightonfestival.org | 01273 260 803
Chris Challis, Senior Press Officer – chris.challis@brightonfestival.org | 01273 260838
Anna Whelan, Digital Marketing Officer – anna.whelan@brightonfestival.org | 01273 260825

Ticket Office - 01273 709709 |brightonfestival.org
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NOTES TO EDITORS:

About Dr. Blighty:

• Co-commissioned by Brighton Festival, 14-18 Now and Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove.

• The full Dr. Blighty creative team includes:
Ajay Chhabra (Artistic Director)
Shri Shriram (Composer)
Tom Piper & Amanda Stoodley (Design)
Sian Thomas (Performance Director)
Stephen Clark (Writer)
Phil Supple (Lighting Designer)
Novak (Video & Animation)
Ed Carter (Sound Designer)

About Brighton Festival:

• Brighton Festival is England’s largest and most established annual curated multi-arts festival which takes place across three weeks in the city each May. It is a major milestone in the international cultural calendar and 2016 marks a landmark in its history with the 50th Brighton Festival.

• Full programme details will be announced on Wednesday 17 February 2016.

• Brighton Festival attracts inspiring and internationally significant Guest Directors who bring cohesion to the artistic programme.

• For nearly 30 years Brighton Festival has opened with the Children’s Parade, which includes participants from schools and community groups and bands across the city. One of the most spectacular community events in the UK with up to 4,000 participants and an audience of around 10,000, this year the Children’s Parade, devised and delivered by Same Sky, will be themed around Brighton Celebrates in response to Brighton Festival’s milestone year.

• Brighton Festival is an innovative commissioning and producing arts festival, offering an ambitious programme that makes the most of the city’s distinctive atmosphere.

• Brighton Festival includes visual art, theatre, music, dance, circus, books and debates, family friendly events and outdoor performances throughout the city including site-specific and unusual locations.

• Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival produces the annual Brighton Festival and also manages the three venues of Brighton Dome year round

About 14-18 NOW:

• 14-18 NOW is a programme of extraordinary arts experiences connecting people with the First World War. Their programme takes place from 2014 to 2018 and is timed to mark the centenary of the war, which raged across Europe, Asia and Africa from 1914 to 1918.

• 14-18 NOW commission artists from all art forms to look afresh at the First World War conflict and create shared experiences exploring this significant moment in time. They work with cultural organisations across the UK to commission new art, theatre, film, dance, digital, music, poetry and mass-participation events
• 14-18 NOW firmly believes in the transformative power of the arts to bring the stories of the First World War to life. Perceptions of the war have been shaped by the artists of the time, including poets, painters, photographers and film-makers – many of whom served and who reflected on the war and its effects. One hundred years later, today’s artists are opening up new perspectives on the present as well as the past.

About Nutkhut:

• Formed in 2003, Nutkhut exists to fulfil the creative vision of Simmy Gupta and Ajay Chhabra

• As an ideas-led, art focused performance company, Nutkhut creates work mixing performance, dance, film, participation and a distinctly British comedic sensibility and eccentricity. Nutkhut has been delighting audiences for over 10 years and are a major presence in the outdoor performing arts sector, working regularly with festivals and events across the UK and beyond.

• Nutkhut is led by two British Asian artists, Simmy Gupta and Ajay Chhabra. The company is unique as it draws inspiration from the Artistic Directors’ backgrounds and mixes it with a very British sense of humour and mischief. Nutkhut is highly representative of modern Britain and create work which could only have come from the here and now.

About Royal Pavilion & Museums

• Royal Pavilion & Museums is the museum service of Brighton & Hove City Council. It directly operates: The Royal Pavilion, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Hove Museum & Art Gallery, The Booth Museum of Natural History and Preston Manor

• Its collections include three which are Designated: World Art, Decorative Art and Natural History. Other collections include Local History, Archaeology, Fashion, Fine Art, Toys and Media.

• It has responsibility for a number of historically important listed buildings and monuments: William lV Gatehouse, India Gate, Northgate House, 4/5 Pavilion Buildings, Portslade Old Manor, The Old Courthouse and Courtroom, Jaipur Gate at Hove Museum & Art Gallery

• The service provides advice and support to voluntary-run museums and heritage organisations within the city: The Old Police Cells Museum, the Fishing Museum, the Toy and Model Museum, West Pier Trust and West Blatchington Windmill.

City Reads 2016 novel announced

Paul McVeigh’s novel The Good Son becomes Brighton’s ‘Big Read’ as part of the 50th Brighton Festival

Brighton-based author Paul McVeigh’s The Good Son – shortlisted in The Guardian’s ‘Not The Booker Prize’ annual list – has been chosen for City Reads 2016. Delivered by award winning literary organisation Collected Works CIC, City Reads is the longest running ‘big read’ in the UK conceived to spread a love of books and ideas to the widest possible audience throughout the region. The annual event will return to its cultural home in 2016 as it becomes part of Brighton Festival’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

Paul McVeigh says ‘when I moved to Brighton a few years ago, one of the first things I did was volunteer for City Reads to celebrate books and get to know my new city. Who could believe that just a few years later my book would be chosen and my adopted city would adopt me right back. That it will be part of the 50th anniversary of the Brighton Festival is such an honour. I can’t wait to get started.’

The Good Son – chosen to mark the centenary of the Easter Rising in 2016 – is a bitter sweet tale, set in 1980s Belfast. Mickey Donnelly is smart, which isn’t a good thing in his part of town. Despite having a dog called Killer and being in love with the girl next door, everyone calls him ‘gay’. He has to protect his Ma and his sister Wee Maggie from the Troubles and from Da. And sometimes... you have to be a bad boy to be a good son.


Sarah Hutchings, Artistic Director of City Reads says ‘This outstanding debut from Brighton based Irish writer Paul McVeigh was the perfect choice, particularly as it’s the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising this year. I defy anyone not to fall in love with its protagonist Mickey Donnelly. He’s clever, naive and hilariously funny. I hope you love it as much as we do at City Reads.

From its launch on World Book Day (3 March) to the final event at Brighton Festival on 29 May, City Reads will encompass a wide range of events and discussions themed around the novel that encourages residents across Brighton & Hove to get reading and start talking. Highlights include an Irish Whiskey Tasting on St Patrick’s Day (17 March) - from top taster Dave Broom - with readings from The Good Son and live music, a special screening on the official centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising (24 April) of Pat ‘O Connor’s 1984 film Cal (starring Helen Mirren) and of course the perennial favourite: The City Reads Book Quiz returns on 27 April.

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival says: ‘We are delighted that City Reads is part of Brighton Festival this year - building on our strong relationship with Collected Works through other partnership projects such as Young City Reads and Adopt an Author. It’s especially exciting for us to champion the work of a local writer as part of 50th edition of the Festival – in which we explore the concept of home and the various writers, artists and performers that live in this city on the edge.’ 

Collidescope 2016

Brighton Festival artist development residency: calling artists and creators across the art forms 

Brighton Festival’s artist development residency Collidescope enables a group of mid-career artists to intensively engage with Brighton Festival. Selected artists will attend a wide range of events in the Festival programme; network with fellow participants; reflect on their own practice and current projects; and share conversations with Festival artists from across the genres of the performing and visual arts.

Suitable for artists who have been making work for at least five years, this opportunity will provide an immersive experience through a packed show schedule across the 23 days of Brighton Festival, and the chance to meet Festival artists in up-close encounters. Artists and creators making work in all areas of the performing arts are welcome to apply.

Throughout the experience, the focus is on peer-to-peer creative development, with the goal of potentially creating new marriages of minds for future explorations. The schedule, cherry picked by the Festival programming team will feature the most cross-disciplinary and innovative performances, accompanied by informal facilitated conversations with the producing artists, to generate debate, ideas and inspiration within a multi-disciplinary atmosphere. Participants will be encouraged to share their experiences and thoughts through Festival-led social media on a regular basis.

Between 7 - 29 May, the participants will attend approximately 30-35 shows, as well as specially arranged conversations with Festival artists. Tickets for all events will be provided free of charge to participants of Collidescope, who are required to commit in full to the schedule of shows and events as part of the project. The group will attend shows together, which will be an important part of the experience, and will be thoughtfully guided through the experience by the two Collidescope facilitators.

Participants will be selected by application – please note that a significant time commitment is required. Most shows and events will be scheduled for the evenings and weekends, however a number of events, including peer-to-peer sessions will take place during the daytime, so participants need to have a flexible and available schedule.

Applications are now closed.
Decisions announced by 18 Mar
Provisional Collidescope schedule here –please note this is subject to change


'Exhilarating, horizon-expanding, whirlwind of an experience. A privilege to be part of’
Naomi Alexander, theatre director, Collidescope 2015

‘Nurturing and nourishing. I actually wish every festival offered this opportunity to artists!’ 
Sheila Ghelani, performance and installation artist, Collidescope 2014 

Do you have a Brighton Festival story to tell?

Did you see The Who at Brighton Festival 1967? Ella Fitzgerald at Brighton Festival 1971? The Ramones at Brighton Festival 1986? Do you remember The Zap Club tent or The Town Plays? Have you ever performed at Brighton Festival? Do you have any memories of the city itself during Festival time? If so, we’d love to hear from you.

In 2016, Brighton Festival marks its milestone 50th year. Over five decades the three-week celebration of the arts has become a major milestone in the international cultural calendar; bringing visual art, theatre, music, dance, circus, books and debates, family friendly events and outdoor performances to the city.

We’re collecting memories, memorabilia and musings on the last 50 years of Brighton Festival – if you’ve got a story to tell or a memory to share, please email mymemories@brightonfestival.org and we’ll be in touch.

Brighton Festival announces major new commission for 2016 inspired by untold story of First World War

Brighton Festival - alongside commissioning partners 14-18 NOW and Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove - has today announced a major new commission inspired by the untold story of the hundreds of thousands of men who travelled from India to fight for the Allies in the First World War.

Created by performance company Nutkhut and brought together by a creative team that includes designer Tom Piper (Tower of London poppies), the ambitious, large-scale, immersive outdoor experience Dr Blighty is the latest event revealed for the 50th edition of Brighton Festival in May 2016.

More than a million men travelled from India to fight for the Allies during the First World War, their collective experiences constituting one of military history’s great untold stories. Between 1914 and 1916, over 2000 Indian soldiers wounded on the Western Front would be brought to a temporary hospital housed in Brighton’s Royal Pavilion Estate.

This major new collaboration, Dr Blighty, recalls this episode in Brighton’s wartime history, bringing the experiences of the soldiers - and the locals who came to care for them - movingly back to life via an immersive walk-through installation across the Royal Pavilion Estate. Animated by actors and enhanced by immersive installations, enthralling video projections, ambient soundscapes and theatrical interludes, inspired by letters the soldiers sent back home, the event will seek to capture the essence of the hospital and those who recuperated here.

The hospital installation will be complemented by a series of related performances and participatory outreach activities, drawing parallels with contemporary events while bringing this moving episode in Brighton’s history back to life. For four nights, a spectacular after-dark production will incorporate video projections on the Royal Pavilion, evoking memories of a very distant home for the soldier convalescents. In addition, the Philharmonia Orchestra will perform in a special ticketed concert at Brighton Dome with some of India’s leading contemporary musicians, marrying Western and Eastern classical music traditions.

Ajay Chhabra, Artistic Director of Nutkhut says: 'Thousands of letters were written from the Western Front back home to wives, mothers, daughters and sisters, and it’s the emotion within these letters that Dr Blighty is trying to bring into the public domain. They, alongside the propaganda and the censorship, give us an insight into the lives of these young men, and give these many anonymous soldiers a voice. The project will essentially tell a 100-year-old story, and make it a contemporary one for new audiences.’

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival said: 'This is an important story, both in the history of Brighton & Hove and in the wider context of the First World War - one which we think deserves to be better known. In Brighton Festival’s 50th year, it’s even more appropriate that we present this piece now and I am delighted to be working with our partners to bring it to fruition.'

Jenny Waldman, Director, 14-18 NOW, said: 'We are thrilled to be working with Brighton Festival to present this ambitious project with an amazing group of artists brought together by Nutkhut, which will offer audiences an insight into the little-known and remarkable story underpinning the city’s involvement with the First World War.'

Brighton Festival marks its milestone 50th year in 2016 with the pioneering artist and musician Laurie Anderson as its Guest Director. Established in 1967, Brighton Festival has become one of the city's most enduring symbols of inventiveness and celebration over the past half century. Renowned for its pioneering spirit and experimental reputation, Brighton Festival’s inaugural programme controversially included the first ever exhibition of Concrete Poetry in the UK, alongside performances by Laurence Olivier, Anthony Hopkins and Yehudi Menuhin. Now one of Europe’s leading arts festivals, Brighton Festival is known for its ambitious and daring programme that aims to make the most of the city’s distinctive cultural atmosphere, drawing some of the most innovative artists and companies and adventurous audiences from the UK and around the world.

Full programme details of Brighton Festival 2016 will be announced on 17 February 2016. 

Danny Wallace’s Hamish and the Worldstoppers chosen for Young City Reads

Collected Works CIC and Brighton Festival - which celebrates its 50th edition in 2016 - are delighted to reveal that Danny Wallace's Hamish and the Worldstoppers has been chosen as the 2016 'Big Read' for children across Brighton & Hove. The concept is simple: one book, by one author is selected for the whole community to read, explore, discuss and creatively engage with.

‘Everyone knows that Brighton has the funniest, coolest, stinkiest children in Britain - and when I heard that they’d all be reading my book, my feet fell off in delight. Brighton Young City Reads is a brilliant thing, and for Hamish to be at the centre of it this year is a real honour. Jamie and I can’t wait to see what the kids think. Now excuse me while I put my feet back on.’ Danny Wallace, Young City Reads author, Jan 2016

About the book

What would YOU do... if the whole world just stopped? Yes the WHOLE WORLD. Birds in the air. Planes in the sky. And every single person on the planet - except you. Because that's what keeps happening to ten-year-old Hamish Ellerby. And it's being caused by The WorldStoppers and their terrifying friends The Terribles! They have a PLAN. They want to take our world for their own . . . Oh, and they hate children. Especially if you're a child who knows about them. Hang on - You know now, don't you? Oh dear. Can Hamish save us from the WorldStoppers? Only time will tell…..

Sarah Hutchings, Artistic Director, Collected Works CIC, commented, ‘Young City Reads is all about the pure pleasure of reading. It inspires children to take time over the reading a book and then encourages them to discuss it with friends, teachers, parents or grandparents. It’s a celebration of words and pictures. And did I mention it’s also great fun!’

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival said: ‘Young City Reads is always a highlight of Brighton Festival; young booklovers, en masse, discussing and sharing one story before meeting the author themselves… it’s a unique event and something we’re very proud of. One theme we’ll be exploring at our 50th Brighton Festival is the future of art - who are the new voices, what will the next generation make and what role might they play? That Danny Wallace’s adventurous tale sees the fate of the world in the hands of one plucky youngster is, to me, a very fitting and apt choice for the whole city to enjoy.’

How can local primary schools get involved?

• Primary school teachers and classes are being invited to register online (for FREE) and agree to read Hamish and the Worldstoppers together in class between (3 March – 19 May 2016). The Class Teacher or Head Teacher can complete a sign-up form on the City Reads website at: cityreads.co.uk

• Throughout the project, participating classes will receive FREE weekly e-bulletins which will include bite-size Hamish quizzes, puzzles and fun activities to complete.

• This is a great way for classes to get excited about a book and to experience the benefits of shared reading and the fun it brings.

Find out more on the Young City Reads page

Young City Reads 2016 - Key Dates

• 3rd March 2016 (World Book Day) Young City Reads launches at Jubilee Library

• 19th May 2016 (Brighton Festival Event) Special Young City Reads event at Brighton Festival featuring the author and illustrator LIVE.

Call out for artists to participate in caravan marketplace 2016

caravan is a three-day showcase of site specific, interactive and incidental performance presented as part of Brighton Festival that aims to strengthen the international networks and expand the range of opportunities for performing artists and companies in England to work abroad. 

The curated programme features England’s most exciting artists from established international names to the brightest new talent. The 2016 programme includes performances from: Lost Dog’s Edinburgh Festival hit Paradise Lost (lies unopened beside me), new work from Spymonkey and Greg Wohead, Of Riders and Running Horses by Still House, alongside work from Eric MacLennan, Andy Field, Christopher Brett Bailey, Dickie Beau, Jo Bannon, Emma Frankland, Selina Thompson and Sue MacLaine.

Paradise Lost at Brighton Dome


caravan marketplace

caravan is a convivial event designed to encourage artists, commissioners, programmers and potential collaborators to explore new ways of working together, to share ambitions and to reach new audiences. 

The caravan marketplace takes place on Tuesday 17 May from 10am-12pm, and is an opportunity for artists and companies to host a stand in Brighton Dome Corn Exchange, and to share information about current or future projects with approximately 50 national and international delegates.

For more information or to apply to be part of marketplace, please complete the application form and submit by email to Monica at monica.bakir@farnhammaltings.com by 12pm on Friday, 05 February. A small subsidy is available to support travel and/or access costs.

Laurie Anderson is Guest Director of Brighton Festival 2016

Brighton Festival is delighted to announce the pioneering artist and musician Laurie Anderson as Guest Director for 2016.

Anderson will take the helm as Brighton Festival marks its milestone 50th year, celebrates its unique, energetic and creative city, and reflects on the nature of home.

Renowned for her inventive use of technology - from her 1981 hit O Superman to her appointment as NASA’s first artist-in-residence - Laurie Anderson is one of America’s most daring creative pioneers. Her eclectic, multidisciplinary career has spanned the worlds of art, theatre and experimental music and has seen her create works as a writer, director, visual artist and vocalist. Most recently Anderson has garnered acclaim for her first feature film in almost 30 years - Heart of a Dog - which reflects on the deaths of her husband Lou Reed, her mother, her beloved dog, and such diverse subjects as family memories, surveillance, and Buddhist teachings.

A long-time supporter of Brighton Festival, Anderson is well-known and well-loved by the city, following successful appearances such as Delusion (BF2011) and All the Animals (BF2015). An inspiration to audiences and artists alike, she has been described by Brighton Festival 2015 Guest Director Ali Smith as: “the performance artist, singer, musician, artist of our lifetime I think - a great, great figure of liberty and liberation of the arts”.

Laurie Anderson says:

'I'm so happy to be serving as Guest Director of Brighton Festival in its historic 50th year. Our theme of home and place is especially relevant with so many people in the world on the move now looking, like all of us, for a place we can belong. I've been part of the Festival several times and it was exciting to watch the city become the heart of so much art. I'm looking forward to being part of it this year.'

The 50th Brighton Festival - which will take place from 7-29 May 2016 - will feature new works from Laurie Anderson alongside exclusives, world and UK premieres from a wide range of international, national and local artists and companies.

Full programme details will be announced on Wednesday 17 February but some of the key commissions that can be revealed now include The Complete Deaths, a partnership between two Brighton-based artistic powerhouses - Tim Crouch and Spymonkey - to re-enact every onstage death from the works of William Shakespeare in a sublimely funny tribute to mark the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death; Minefield, a new work from Argentinian artist Lola Arias developed with and performed by Argentinian and British veterans of the Falklands conflict; Stella, a theatrical love letter to one half of the infamous Victorian cross-dressing duo Fanny and Stella by Neil Bartlett; and Until the Lions, a brand new full-length production from award-winning choreographer and dancer Akram Khan.

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Festival says: 'We are thrilled and honoured to announce such a major international figure as Guest Director for Brighton Festival 2016. In our 50th year, it feels right to reflect on the original intentions of the Festival which from the start were about celebrating international culture, the new and the avant-garde. Laurie Anderson has been experimenting, creating and challenging audiences all over the world for almost as long as Brighton Festival has existed – indeed, she’s been a part of the Festival’s journey in past years with some very special commissions and appearances in the city. She continues to break new ground in her own work and through collaborations with some of the most promising artists of the future, and we are looking forward to celebrating all this in what we hope will be a very special 50th Brighton Festival in May.'

Alongside the pieces announced at this stage, Brighton Festival 2016 will feature a major new commission in partnership with 14-18 NOW - whose nationwide programme of arts experiences seeks to connect people with the First World War - as part of the UK’s official centenary commemorations (full details of which will be announced on 20 January 2016). Brighton Festival 2016 will also see a Books and Debate programme delivered in a special partnership with Guardian Live, as well as the return of caravan (15-17 May 2016), a three-day biennial curated industry showcase of the best new theatre from across England, which this year features eight performances which will be open to the public.

Full programme details of Brighton Festival 2016 will be announced on Wednesday 17 Feb 2016. 

Key commission revealed as 50th Brighton Festival takes shape

The Complete Deaths – performed by physical comedy company Spymonkey and directed by Tim Crouch – is the first show revealed as part of the 50th Brighton Festival programme.

A Brighton Festival commission, the world premiere is a partnership between two Brighton-based artistic powerhouses to re-enact every onstage death from the works of William Shakespeare in a sublimely funny tribute to mark the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death.

There are 74 onstage deaths in the works of William Shakespeare - 75 if you count the black ill-favoured fly killed in Titus Andronicus. They range from the Roman suicides in Julius Caesar to the death fall of Prince Arthur in King John; from the carnage at the end of Hamlet to snakes in a basket in Antony & Cleopatra; from Pyramus and Thisbe to young Macduff. There are countless stabbings, plenty of severed heads, some poisonings, two mobbings and a smothering. Enorbarbus just sits in a ditch and dies from grief. And then there’s the pie that Titus serves the Queen of the Goths.

Spymonkey will perform them all - sometimes lingeringly, sometimes messily, sometimes movingly, sometimes musically, always hysterically. The four ‘seriously, outrageously, cleverly funny clowns' (Time Magazine) will scale the peaks of sublime poetry, and plumb the depths of darkest depravity. It may even be the death of them.

The Complete Deaths is directed by Tim Crouch (I, Malvolio, An Oak Tree, Adler & Gibb), designed by Spymonkey regular Lucy Bradridge and presented by Spymonkey in co-production with Brighton Festival and Royal & Derngate.

Spymonkey is the UK's leading physical comedy company, based in Brighton and comprising a core creative ensemble of five lead artists: artistic directors Toby Park, Petra Massey and Aitor Basauri, and associate artists Stephan Kreiss and designer Lucy Bradridge. They’ve been making sublimely hilarious and deeply ridiculous theatre since 1998. Recent Brighton Festival appearances include Oedipussy (2012) and Cooped (2006)

Tim Crouch is a multi-award winning playwright and performer living in Brighton. His work has played in theatres and at festivals around the world. His four award-winning solo Shakespeare plays I, Caliban. I, Peaseblossom, I, Banquo and I, Malvolio were commissioned by Brighton Festival. 

Established in 1967, Brighton Festival is a three week celebration of music, theatre, dance, visual art, film, literature and debate and family events has become one of the city's most enduring symbols of inventiveness and celebration over the past half century. Renowned for its pioneering spirit and experimental reputation, Brighton Festival’s inaugural programme controversially included the first ever exhibition of Concrete Poetry in the UK, alongside performances by Laurence Olivier, Anthony Hopkins and Yehudi Menuhin. 

Now one of Europe’s leading arts festivals, Brighton Festival is known for its ambitious and daring programme that aims to make the most of the city’s distinctive cultural atmosphere, drawing some of the most innovative artists and companies and adventurous audiences from the UK and around the world.

The 50th Brighton Festival takes place from 7-29 May 2016.

Listings information:


The Complete Deaths by Spymonkey & Tim Crouch
World Premiere.
Commissioned by Brighton Festival.
Wed 11 - Sat 14 May, 7.30pm, Sat 14 & Sun 15 May, 2.30pm
Theatre Royal Brighton
There are 74 onstage deaths in the works of William Shakespeare (75 if you count the black ill-favoured fly killed in Titus Andronicus). From the Roman suicides in Julius Caesar to the death fall of Prince Arthur in King John; from the carnage at the end of Hamlet to snakes in a basket in Antony & Cleopatra. And then there’s the pie that Titus serves his guests. Spymonkey will perform them all – sometimes lingeringly, sometimes messily, sometimes movingly, always hysterically. These ‘seriously, outrageously, cleverly funny clowns’ (Time Magazine) will scale the peaks of sublime poetry, and plumb the depths of darkest depravity. It may even be the death of them. Directed by Tim Crouch (I, Malvolio, An Oak Tree, Adler & Gibb), The Complete Deaths is a solemn, sombre and sublimely funny tribute to the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.  

-ENDS-


For further enquiries, please contact:

Emma Robertson, Head of Press and PR – emma.robertson@brightonfestival.org I 01273 260803
Chris Challis, Senior Press Officer – chris.challis@brightonfestival.org | 01273 260838
Ticket Office - 01273 709709 | www.brightonfestival.org

Follow us on Twitter - www.twitter.com/brightfest (@brightfest)
Join our Facebook fan site - www.facebook.com/brightonfestival

NOTES TO EDITORS:


About Brighton Festival –

• Brighton Festival is an annual mixed arts festival which takes place across three weeks in the city each May, with an average audience reach of 150,000

• Brighton Festival attracts inspiring and internationally significant Guest Directors who bring cohesion to the artistic programme with British sculptor Anish Kapoor as inaugural curator in 2009 followed by the Godfather of modern music Brian Eno in 2010, the Burmese Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in 2011, actress and Human Rights campaigner Vanessa Redgrave in 2012, poet, author and former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen in 2013, choreographer, composer, musician and performer Hofesh Shechter in 2014 and award-winning author Ali Smith in 2015..

• Brighton Festival is an innovative commissioning and producing arts festival, offering an ambitious programme that makes the most of the city’s distinctive atmosphere.

• Brighton Festival is England’s most established mixed arts Festival and a major milestone in the international cultural calendar

• Brighton Festival includes visual art, theatre, music, dance, books and debates, family friendly events and outdoor performances throughout the city including site-specific and unusual locations.

• Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival produces the annual Brighton Festival and also manages the three venues of Brighton Dome year round. It aims to champion the power of the arts, to enrich and change lives and inspire and enable artists to be their most creative.

• The first Brighton Festival in 1967 controversially included the first ever exhibition of Concrete Poetry in the UK, alongside performances by Laurence Olivier, Anthony Hopkins and Yehudi Menuhin

• Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival manages a year round programme of arts at Brighton Dome – a three space, Grade 1 listed building made up of the Concert Hall, Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre - and produces the annual Brighton Festival in May. 

• It aims to champion the power of the arts, to enrich and change lives, and to inspire and enable artists to be their most creative.

• Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival are a registered arts charity

• Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival are working with the Royal Pavilion & Museums on a joint masterplan to realize a future vision for the Royal Pavilion Estate. For updates and news please visit www.brightondome.org or contact 

The Complete Deaths at Brighton Festival

Your first glimpse at Brighton Festival 2016

Key commission revealed as 50th Brighton Festival takes shape

The Complete Deaths – performed by physical comedy company Spymonkey and directed by Tim Crouch – is the first show revealed as part of the 50th Brighton Festival programme.

A Brighton Festival commission, the world premiere is a partnership between two Brighton-based artistic powerhouses to re-enact every onstage death from the works of William Shakespeare in a sublimely funny tribute to mark the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death.

There are 74 onstage deaths in the works of William Shakespeare - 75 if you count the black ill-favoured fly killed in Titus Andronicus. They range from the Roman suicides in Julius Caesar to the death fall of Prince Arthur in King John; from the carnage at the end of Hamlet to snakes in a basket in Antony & Cleopatra; from Pyramus and Thisbe to young Macduff. There are countless stabbings, plenty of severed heads, some poisonings, two mobbings and a smothering. Enorbarbus just sits in a ditch and dies from grief. And then there’s the pie that Titus serves the Queen of the Goths.

Spymonkey will perform them all - sometimes lingeringly, sometimes messily, sometimes movingly, sometimes musically, always hysterically. The four ‘seriously, outrageously, cleverly funny clowns' (Time Magazine) will scale the peaks of sublime poetry, and plumb the depths of darkest depravity. It may even be the death of them.

The Complete Deaths is directed by Tim Crouch (I, Malvolio, An Oak Tree, Adler & Gibb), designed by Spymonkey regular Lucy Bradridge and presented by Spymonkey in co-production with Brighton Festival and Royal & Derngate. The Brighton Festival performances are supported by ZSTa.

The 50th Brighton Festival takes place from 7-29 May 2016 – a full programme of events will be announced mid-February 2016 when tickets will go on sale. Click here to become a Member and be first in line to book.

More news about the 50th Brighton Festival programme will be announced shortly.