Brighton Festival 2017Public booking opens: Fri 24 Feb, 9am

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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.

ACE funding success for Brighton Festival 2018 event

Arts Council England has announced our success in a recent application for funding, in collaboration with LIFT festival, to bring a piece of world-class Korean music theatre to English audiences in May and June 2018, as part of a £1.4 million in international collaboration and exchange with Arts Council Korea.

LIFT and Brighton Festival will collaborate to present a fascinating adaptation of Trojan Woman by the internationally-renowned director, Ong Ken Seng, with the National Changeuk Company and the National Theatre of Korea. The two festivals will each present this extraordinary piece of work that combines the musical storytelling and drumming tradition of Korean opera and pansori with the best of contemporary theatre.

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival says: “We are delighted that our joint funding bid was successful. I was lucky enough to go to Seoul for the premiere of the work in autumn 2016. It is an incredibly powerful piece of theatre which marries a familiar aesthetic with a completely different cultural form. I can’t wait to see it again at Brighton Festival in 2018.”

You can read about the other funded projects from this Arts Council England and Arts Council Korea funding pot here.

Spotlight: This Bright Field

We caught up with Brighton-based choreographer and designer, Theo Clinkard. In our latest Spotlight video Theo discusses This Bright Field, a new work for his company, to premiere as part of Brighton Festival 2017.

Clinkard and his exceptional company of twelve international dancers have crafted an event in two parts that focuses the subjective and objective gaze within private and public spaces. Audience and performers share the stage for a captivating and intimate mobile installation before the second part presents a dynamic landscape of emboldened collective energy.

Music: James Keane
Filmmaker: Roswitha Chesher
Filmed at Greenwich Dance during the first week of the creation process, featuring publicity photo shoot with Chris Nash.

Book now for This Bright Field.


City Reads Book Swap Boxes offer 'books for everyone'

Brighton Festival and Quercus have collaborated with City Reads 2017 to get more people in Brighton & Hove reading: for free! Several Book Swap Boxes throughout Brighton & Hove from March until May will allow everyone to informally and anonymously share books, inspired by crime writer William Shaw’s ‘homemade’ box of his own.

These exciting Book Swap Boxes give you the chance to engage with reading for free, in a fun and rewarding way. Improve your memory and reduce stress by reading new books and expanding your knowledge.

City Reads will be posting the box locations via their website and various social media channels; City Readers are encouraged to take a book, leave a book, read a book and share!

A number of copies of this year’s City Reads choice The Handsworth Times by Sharon Duggal will be in each box. Books by two of Quercus’ best-selling authors – Brighton residents William Shaw and Elly Griffiths – will also be found in the Book Swap Boxes. William Shaw’s own box is located at Redwood Café, and Elly Griffith’s box at Pavilion Gardens Café.

City Reads 2017 events run from 2 Mar to 14 May, finishing with Sharon Duggal at the Brighton Festival.

A. F. Harrold introduces Young City Reads 2017

Author A F Harrold welcomes you to this year's Young City Reads and Brighton Festival reading adventure! 

Young story-lovers, get ready to enjoy another thrilling book this year. You are invited to read and discuss A.F. Harrold’s Fizzlebert Stump The Boy Who Ran Away from the Circus (and Joined the Library) – the story of a boy, a book, some very bad people, some very brave deeds, and the importance of rubber teeth for lions.

This city-wide 'big read', brought to you by Collected Works CIC, is designed to spread a love of books to the widest possible audience of young readers throughout Brighton & Hove.

Brighton Festival announces Radio Reverb as Broadcast Media Partner for 2017

Brighton Festival is delighted to announce that RadioReverb, Brighton’s not for profit radio station, will be Broadcast Media Partner for 2017.

RadioReverb will be working with Brighton Festival to produce a daily digest of Festival performances for the month of May. 

RadioReverb started broadcasting in 2004 for two weeks during Brighton Festival, and was then awarded a full community broadcasting licence from OFCOM in 2007, making this year a ten-year anniversary celebration for the team of home-grown broadcasters who produce a vibrant mix of locally relevant, advert free, speech and music programmes.  

Emma Robertson, Head of Press & PR at Brighton Festival says: 'We are delighted to be partnering with Radio Reverb this year. Our Guest Director Kate Tempest is passionate about the power of the arts to bring communities together so it is extremely fitting that we are working with a radio station that provides a platform for such a diverse spectrum of voices. With Radio Reverb’s support, we hope that Brighton Festival 2017 will encourage the whole city to come together to celebrate the creativity in their communities and try something new.'

Tracey Allen, Director of RadioReverb says 'As we celebrate our tenth year of having a broadcast license, it was very apt that we once again worked with Brighton Festival, which was the catalyst for RadioReverb becoming an official station in the city. Having Kate Tempest curate the festival fits in perfectly with our values of community, diversity and using communication for social good and entertainment. We can't wait for Brighton Festival to start.'

Listeners can hear the Brighton Festival shows on RadioReverb at 97.2FM, on DAB and on-line at www.radioreverb.com.

The show will be repeated 10pm each evening and at 8am the following morning.

Podcasts of all the show will also be found behind RadioReverb’s Listen Again button. 

Artist Opportunity: Collidescope 2017

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

Brighton Festival’s artist development residency Collidescope, spearheaded & facilitated by independent performance dramaturg Lou Cope 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 6 - 28 May, participants will attend approximately 20-30 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.

Deadline for applications is Mon 20 Mar. Decisions will be reached and communicated by Friday 30 Mar 2017.

Download the application form

Please send this application form and any further attachment with the file name: Collidescope-Applicant Name to artisticplanning@brightondome.org by 5pm on 20th March 2017. 

Guest Director Kate Tempest invites festival-goers to join the Pay-it-Forward movement

Brighton Festival 2017 Guest Director Kate Tempest invites festival-goers to join the Pay-It-Forward movement and enable more people to enjoy ticketed events at Brighton Festival.

This is part of her vision of opening up the possibility of experiencing the arts to as many people in the city as possible. In her words: “Art is social. It should be a part of life. No big deal – just life itself.”

Those booking tickets for Brighton Festival events are given the option of paying an extra £5 (or an amount of their choosing) as they complete their purchase, which Brighton Festival will match in order to give a £10 Pay-It-Forward Festival Ticket Voucher to someone unable to afford the opportunity.

All Brighton Festival ticketed events have a special Pay-It-Forward Voucher £10 price available to book online or in person. Vouchers will be distributed at Your Place (our new community-led, free performance spaces in Hangleton and Whitehawk running over two Festival weekends), local schools and through our partner community organisations.

Kate Tempest says 'After something amazing like the opening Children’s Parade where all the school kids in Brighton parade through the streets - Pay-it-Forward feels like a useful way of activating some of the feelings that get brought up when you are watching a piece of work together – about community and feeling a part of something. It feels like an active way that people can help make the Festival a bit more open and create space for more people to come and check out some of these amazing artists.'

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Dome and Festival says 'From our regular free participatory events such as the annual Children’s Parade, City Reads and Young City Reads, and Weekend Without Walls - two days of free arts in the parks, to our partnership with Brighton City College to live-stream many of our shows to audiences around the world for free, Brighton Festival has always been dedicated to making the arts accessible for all. This year’s Guest Director Kate Tempest is passionate about the power of the arts to bring communities together. With new initiatives, such as Your Place and the Pay-it-Forward scheme, I hope that Brighton Festival 2017 will encourage the whole city to come together to celebrate the creativity in their communities and try something new.'

The inspiration for Pay-It-Forward comes from the global international Pay It Forward Day, which is now in its 10th year, and hopes to inspire millions to experience the power and positive energy of giving by buying something in advance for someone else. Pay It Forward is about all people, from all walks of life giving to someone else and making a positive difference. At last count, there were more than 5 million people in 80 countries around the world participating on the Pay It Forward Day. This year Pay It Forward Day is 28 April 2017.

More than half of the ticketed events in Brighton Festival 2017 have prices generally available for £10 or less. There are also 16 free events and workshops including Weekend Without Walls (Sat 13 May, Easthill Park, Portslade and Sun 14 May, East Brighton Park) and visual art installations at ONCA Gallery, Fabrica and University of Brighton running throughout the Festival.

Kate Tempest on Brighton Festival 2017 theme Everyday Epic

Guest Director Kate Tempest’s programme celebrates what she calls the ‘Everyday Epic’ - art that helps us connect to ourselves and others, explores our individual stories and differences, and encourages audiences to take a walk in someone else’s shoes. In her words: “Art is social. It should be a part of life. No big deal – just life itself.”

Many of Tempest’s interests, passions, and inspirations are explored in an eclectic line-up spanning theatre, dance, visual art, film, debate and spoken word.

Produced by echovideo.co.uk

Full programme unveiled for Brighton Festival 2017

The full programme for Brighton Festival 2017 - the largest annual curated multi-arts festival in England - has been unveiled with the acclaimed recording artist, poet, playwright and novelist Kate Tempest as Guest Director.

At a political and social moment that feels particularly precarious, Kate Tempest’s programme celebrates what she calls the ‘Everyday Epic’ - art that helps us connect to ourselves and others, explores our individual stories and differences, and encourages audiences to take a walk in someone else’s shoes. In her words: “Art is social. It should be a part of life. No big deal – just life itself.”

Many of Tempest’s interests, passions, and inspirations are explored in an eclectic line-up spanning theatre, dance, visual art, film, debate and spoken word - and featuring the likes of Ocean Wisdom, who appears on a bill hosted by UK hip hop label High Focus Records with The Four Owls and Jam Baxter, and Brighton-born poetry slam champion Tommy Sissons who performs alongside fellow spoken word stars Patience Agbabi and Dizraeli.

Kate Tempest will perform in a host of special Brighton Festival events including: an exclusive opening gig of music and spoken word; a poetry evening in which she appears alongside the likes of fellow Picador poets Hollie McNish and Glyn Maxwell; and a live orchestration of her recent album Let Them eat Chaos, produced in collaboration with Oscar-nominated artist Mica Levi, who also brings her acclaimed live score of Under the Skin to the Festival.

A series of outdoor sight-specific works will encourage audiences to see the ‘Everyday Epic’ in the landscape of the city and engage with their environment anew. These include For the Birds, an intricate light, sound and kinetic sculpture trail experienced as an immersive night-time adventure through a woodland location; the UK premiere of Five Short Blasts: Shoreham a maritime journey on the River Adur created by Australian artists Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey in collaboration with Shoreham’s water communities; Depart, an ethereal promenade performance through a cemetery from Yaron Lifschitz and his internationally acclaimed circus company, Circa; and SPECTRA:CAST, an interactive installation from artist duo Walter & Zoniel that will transform Brighton beach into a giant canvas as audiences register their views on a variety of subjects by casting multi-coloured stones onto it.

Storytelling in all its forms is celebrated in a number of events such as The Gabriels, Tony-award-winning playwright Richard Nelson’s extraordinary depiction of one American family written in real time during the turbulent US election year – the follow-up to his 2015 smash-hit The Apple Plays; Anna and Elizabeth’s revival of the ancient tradition of ‘crankies’, cloth and cut-paper scrolls depicting stories and scenes from the great ballads unfurled to musical accompaniment; two spoken word nights from cult collectives Apples and Snakes and Bang Said the Gun; a new co-commission by Andy Smith & Fuel, Summit, performed in British Sign Language and English by a cast of three; and No Dogs no Indians, the world premiere of three intertwining stories exploring the effects and legacy of the British in India by poet and playwright Siddhartha Bose to mark the 70th anniversary of Indian independence.

The power of the arts to activate our empathy and pose questions about how we view the ‘other’ is examined through works such as They/Onlar, ipek Duben’s multi-screen installation which explores the division lines of gender, ethnicity and sexuality in Turkish society; the world premiere of Brighton-based choreographer and designer, Theo Clinkard’s This Bright Field, a major new commission which sees audiences share the stage with thirteen exceptional performers for a captivating and intimate event examining perspective and attention; Collisions, Lynette Wallworth’s thought-provoking Virtual Reality film experience which puts audiences directly into the life-changing moment when indigenous Martu Elder Nyarri Nyarri Morgan a witnessed an atomic test – his first encounter with Western culture; and Breaking the Spell of Loneliness, George Monbiot and Ewan McLennan’s musical exploration of loneliness and social isolation.

Reflecting Tempest’s belief that: “The arts should be in our communities, not only on elevated platforms or behind red velvet ropes”, Brighton Festival 2017 sees two new ventures - The Storytelling Army, a dynamic collective of people from all walks of life who will be performing in unexpected locations around the city from bus stops to supermarkets, and Your Place, a diverse line-up of mixed arts programmed in partnership with Brighton People’s Theatre, Festival artists and local residents in the Hangleton and Whitehawk communities. These join regular free, participatory events such as the annual Children’s Parade, City Reads and Young City Reads; and Weekend Without Walls, two days of free arts in the parks; and a new initiative which encourages audiences to Pay-It-Forward by donating £5 on top of their ticket price which will be match-funded by Brighton Festival to create a £10 Festival ticket voucher for someone unable to afford the opportunity.

Other Brighton Festival 2017 highlights include a special performance from legendary folk singer Shirley Collins with guests handpicked for the occasion; a new adaptation of Swan Lake from one of Ireland’s foremost dance and theatre-makers, Michael Keegan-Dolan; genre-defying actress, singer, dancer, and cabaret diva Meow Meow who joins forces with Orchester der Kleinen Regiment for an exclusive Brighton Festival performance; a major new co-commission from sculptor Cathie Pilkington; US performance artist turned rapper Mykki Blanco’s punk and riot grrrl influenced hip hop; Kneehigh’s acclaimed production of Emma Rice’s staging of Tristan & Yseult; BBC Young Musician 2016 Sheku Kanneh-Mason performing with the Chineke! Orchestra; and two special events to mark the 450th anniversary of the birth of Claudio Monteverdi - three masterworks dealing with love and loss from Christophe Rousset and his ensemble Les Talens Lyrique, and a selection of the composer’s lesser-known delights of the sacred music form from vocal ensemble I Fagiolini.

Kate Tempest says: "I feel very humbled to have been given the opportunity to guest direct Brighton Festival. This year’s theme, Everyday Epic, seems to encapsulate some of my feelings about how music, literature and poetry can give us back our lives. Singing, playing, dancing, moving, painting life and communicating about that in public spaces. It requires no qualifications, no training to enjoy it. It’s truthful communication between humans about humanity and in these times, it feels more important than ever to try and understand what that humanity is and what it could be. So please go and see as much as you can. Approach it like an epic. Like you are a pilgrim on a quest and something may well happen in the theatre, the pub, the community centre, the concert hall that will smash you back to feeling and land you in your skin again.”

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Festival says: “Kate Tempest has brought a formidable passion and energy to the role of Guest Director this year. She is an extraordinary artist across many forms - writer, musician, performer and poet – with a unique ability to connect with people of all ages and from all walks of life. Kate is passionate about the power of the arts to bring communities together – vital now more than ever. We are thrilled to be presenting more work across the city than ever before - much of it outdoors in a celebration of everything this city has to offer – the everyday and the epic. And with new initiatives such as Your Place and the Pay-it-Forward scheme, I hope that Brighton Festival 2017 will encourage the whole city to come together to celebrate the creativity in their communities and try something new.”

At 31, Kate Tempest will be the youngest Brighton Festival Guest Director to date, taking the mantle from pioneering artist and musician Laurie Anderson, who led the 50th Brighton Festival this year. Other previous Guest Directors include visual artist Anish Kapoor (2009), musician Brian Eno (2010) and Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi (2011) who have all taken turns shaping the three-week programme of cultural events.