5 minutes with... Daniel Morden
Leading storytellers Daniel Morden and Hugh Lupton will tell the story of Odysseus’ ten-year journey from Troy, a terrific adventure story shot through with moments of insight, humour and horror, in a Brighton Festival event for both young people and adults.
I knew I wanted to be a performer when… a tie company transformed my junior school hall into a jungle by saying, ‘We're in a jungle!’
My first public performance took place at… The King's Stomach Ache, Llanyrafon Primary School, 1970. No, I wasn't the king. I was a tree.
The first book I ever bought was… Silly Verse for Kids - Spike Milligan
The last book I read was… Seven Miles of Steel Thistles by Katherine Langrish. Articles on fairy tale and myth from her blog of the same name.
The proudest moment of my career to date was when… my kids ask to come to my shows.
If I wasn’t performing, I’d probably be… teaching. A noble profession.
People would be surprised to learn that… The Odyssey is a gripping adventure story.
The Odyssey is at Sallis Benney Theatre on 13 May.
5 minutes with... Nick Sharratt
The illustrator of more than 250 books for children, including the best-selling You Choose, Shark In The Dark and Pants, as well as Jacqueline Wilson’s Tracy Beaker series, will be sharing some of his favourite books, showing how he creates his characters and handing out his drawing tips at a special Brighton Festival event.
I knew I wanted to be an illustrator when… I was nine and one of my pictures was pinned up in the school hall.
The first book I ever bought… would have been bought with a book token. It might well have been a Professor Branestawm book.
My favourite writer/illustrator… pairing is that of Janet and Allan Ahlberg, both of them absolute masters of their craft.
The last book I read was… Love by All Sorts of Means, the biography of Beryl Bainbridge by Brendan King. I’m a sucker for biographies.
The proudest moment of my career to date was when I… was presented with a gold Blue Peter badge – there is no higher accolade as far as I’m concerned!
People would be surprised to learn that… being a children’s illustrator can sometimes be a very taxing work ( see - you don’t believe me ) and that when it’s not going smoothly I can get quite grumpy!
Nick Sharratt: Sausages, Spaghetti and Sharks in Parks is at Sallis Benney Theatre on 15 May
Interview: Julian Clary discusses The Bolds on Holiday
Comedian, entertainer and author Julian Clary and illustrator David Roberts will be at Brighton Festival on 13 May to read two stories from the fantastically funny The Bolds series: The Bolds to the Rescue and new instalment The Bolds on Holiday! Here, Julian discusses the new The Bolds book and what inspired his book series.
Your children's books, The Bolds, have been hugely successful. How does writing for children compare to writing for adults?
It's delightful; I just have such a lovely time writing them. Making children laugh is a whole new thing for me, it's lovely. I’ve been doing lots of book events for children and it’s a delight – because they’re not pretending to laugh to please you. It’s a question of entering into that innocent world, a whole new world… it's obviously a world away from my usual filth but that’s liberating. It’s been a revelation.
Where did the inspiration come from for The Bolds?
From my childhood in Teddington. This is written from my point of view as a 7-year-old, because I used to daydream about the neighbours then, and wondered if they were animals. So when it came to writing the book I just regressed and that’s the story that came out. If you had asked me as a child what I wanted to do, it was be a writer.
I was very interested in Africa as a child and I was a member of the World Wildlife Fund. I’ve always liked hyenas, and once I heard my neighbours’ cackling laughs, I made up the story that they must be hyenas in disguise. I have always thought that animals are just as clever as humans. That’s where the story came from.
What about the new addition, The Bolds on Holiday? Why Cornwall?
I have such fond childhood memories of holidays by the sea in Cornwall, and St Ives, where I’ve set this book. It’s been so lovely to relive those happy times as I wrote this third story.
Why do you think they resonate so well with children?
It's not for me to say, really. But I think they're funny and morally sound, and very plot driven. I guess because I enjoy writing them so much that somehow comes across.
Will you continue with The Bolds or do you have a plan for a different series?
The Bolds are alive and well in my mind, so it's all about them. It's a bit like the Just William books, of which there were about 45. I feel like I can go on and on with them. Whether the public want me to or not.
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
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?"
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.
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.
• 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.
In Photos: Brighton Festival Week One
Our 49th Festival with Ali Smith at the helm has been a joy so far. We've had heaps of fun and with a plethora of great theatre, circus, dance, music, classical, outdoor, family, books and debates and visual art and film events still to come the fun is nowhere near over yet!
Take a look back over our first week of Brighton Festival 2015 right here...
Video: Emily Gravett illustrates The Imaginary Girl from The Imaginary
Take a moment and watch the award-winning Emily Gravett illustrate The Imaginary Girl from A.F. Harrold's The Imaginary in this beautiful time lapse video.
You can meet the creators of this frightening, captivating and funny tale at Brighton Festival on Sat 9 May. Find out more about this event 26 Letters event.
Brighton Festival 2015 announces full programme of events
Clear your diaries in May as England’s largest mixed arts festival returns with award-winning author Ali Smith as its Guest Director
Brighton Festival – under the watchful eye of award-winning author Ali Smith as this year’s Guest Director – has announced its full programme of events.
Over the three-week Festival - which runs from 2-24 May 2015 - many of Ali Smith’s ideas, interests and passions will be explored in a programme which spans music, theatre, dance, visual art, film, literature and debate from a wide range of national and international companies and artists; from a rare UK visit by 86-year-old legendary film maker and artist Agnès Varda to rising stars Kate Tempest, George the Poet and Hollie McNish.
With three central themes at its heart - Art and Nature, the Crossing Places between art forms, and Taking Liberty - this year’s Brighton Festival challenges visitors to look again, featuring an eye-opening array of artists and performers with the power to deliver the world we think we know to us re-seen, renewed, with a visionary twist in the tale.
Ali Smith says: “It's tremendously exciting to have been asked to help programme the 2015 Brighton Festival. I'm delighted and honoured – what a gift, to be asked to do this, imagine – the biggest international multi-arts spectacular in England. I've always loved Brighton's sense of fun and friendliness, its vibrant open-mindedness, the way it opens to sky, the way the rest of Europe is so close it's almost visible. It's a city that's always known how to live on the edge, a place full of endless energy, argument, possibilities, light. No matter the wildness or mildness of the weather, no matter the zigzag of zeitgeist elsewhere north or south of it, Brighton is always itself, and always uniquely welcoming.”
Posing questions about whether life imitates art or art imitates life, Art and Nature is explored in a host of events including an exclusive nightingale walk, with Mercury-nominated folk singer Sam Lee; an immersive multi-screen film installation of Marcus Coates’ entitled Dawn Chorus, featuring singers who uncannily recreate birdsong and bird movement; a discussion of the urgent conservation issues that face us today with celebrated author and bird enthusiast Margaret Atwood and her partner and fellow writer Graeme Gibson; and Fleeting, an outdoor spectacular over the West Pier by And Now, in which hundreds of individual points of fire create shapes and swathes of glowing light and shade.
Central to the programme is the notion of Crossing Places - where poetry meets music meets theatre meets dance – from works that defy categorisation such as The Measure of All Things, a new live cinema performance by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Sam Green to Claudia Molitor’s part installation part performance Vast White Stillness in the maze of tunnels beneath the Old Ship Hotel. In Being Both, acclaimed mezzo soprano Alice Coote, English Concert’s Harry Bicket and Susannah Waters stage a theatrical journey into the heart of Handel’s sublime vocal music, which, in a nod to Smith’s own prize-winning work How to Be Both, explores and challenges the experience and perception of gender.
Set against the backdrop of the General Election, Liberty, equality and freedom is celebrated in all its shapes in an astonishing cutting-edge line-up of artists, performers, thinkers and commentators - all contemporary game changers in their chosen forms. These include Liberty Director and author Shami Chakrabati who hosts an evening in celebration of the Human Rights Act featuring a dazzling collection of writers and performers such as Billy Bragg, Neil Bartlett, Rachel Holmes and Jackie Kay; Tony award-winning playwright Richard Nelson who brings the European premiere of his highly acclaimed four play cycle The Apple Family Plays from The Public Theater, New York; award-winning Pakistani/British author Kamila Shamsie; celebrated Russian-American journalist, author and activist Masha Gessen, Turkish writer Elif Shafak and Turner Prize nominated artist Nathan Coley, whose new commission Portraits of Dissension explore ideas of unrest, edge and shift, space and occupation.
Other highlights include Peter Strickland’s daring masterpiece The Duke of Burgundy accompanied by a one-off live performance of its seductive score by Cat’s Eyes - the collaborative project of The Horrors’ frontman Faris Badwan and Italian-Canadian singer and composer Rachel Zeffira; a series of screenings and accompanying talks by prominent female directors including Joanna Hogg, Carol Morley and the legendary Agnès Varda who will also create a special installation at Brighton University Gallery for the duration of the Festival; the English premiere of Vanishing Point & National Theatre of Scotland’s The Beautiful Cosmos of Ivor Cutler, a homage to one of Scotland's most likeable, most individual and most unexpected 20th century figures; a new lecture specially commissioned for Brighton Festival by acclaimed author Jeanette Winterson OBE on the practices and craft of writing; the UK premiere of Lucia’s Chapters of Coming Forth by Day, a theatrical ode to the life - and afterlife – of Lucia Joyce, the adored daughter of James Joyce created by legendary New York theatre ensemble Mabou Mines; the UK premiere of The Forgotten / L’Oublié(e), the directorial debut of Raphaëlle Boitel, one of the most remarkable performers on the European visual and physical theatre scene; and Laurie Anderson: All the Animals, a specially curated performance by one of America’s most daring creative pioneers.
Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival says: “Ali Smith, as Guest Director this year, has been a wonderful inspiration to us all in programming the festival. In her writing, Ali is renowned for pushing form and working with her has taught us to think differently about how we programme and the work that we bring. She has also brought an incredible range of artists to the festival who are responding to the world in a particular way, both people she knows well, and also people she has loved for many years and perhaps longed for an opportunity to work with - from Agnès Varda to Elif Shafak, Jeanette Winterson, Margaret Atwood and Mabou Mines - the list is long and extensive and I think thrilling. I look forward to welcoming audiences to experience another exciting and innovative month of events in May.”
The annual celebration of music, theatre, dance, circus, art, film, literature, debate, outdoor and family events will take place in venues across the city and beyond from 2 to 24 May 2015. Brighton Festival 2015 features 396 performances taking place across 150 events including 42 exclusives, premieres and commissions.
One City, One Book
Today is World Book Day!
What better way to celebrate than with the launch of the first ever Young City Reads project as part of Brighton Festival 2013.
Brought to us by Collected Works CIC, the organisation behind Brighton & Hove’s annual citywide reading festival City Reads, Young City Reads offers children across Brighton & Hove the experience of reading and exploring a book as a part of a community.
The book in question is the classic children’s adventure story, Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kästner’s which has been specially chosen by Brighton Festival 2013 Guest Director, Michael Rosen.
‘Emil and the Detectives flowers with inventiveness, excitement, humour, originality and tension. I think it’s wonderful that a whole city is going to read the book at the same time. I think this will build up a great sense of everyone exploring the book together.’ Michael Rosen
Young City Reads will be engaging the young people of Brighton until the 24th May through a host of special events, workshops and performances that will allow children to discuss, debate and creatively engage with one of Michael Rosens’s favourite books with the hope of inspiring a new generation of story lovers.
For more information about the project and how to get involved, visit cityreads.co.uk