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

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Brighton Festival Live: An Evening with Picador Poetry

An Evening with Picador Poetry will be live streamed on Fri 19 May, 8pm

Featuring Glyn Maxwell, Lorraine Mariner, Hollie McNish, Richard Osmond & Kate Tempest

The Picador Poetry list is 20 years old. Since its inception, its mission has been simply to publish the best work from across the art form. For this celebratory event, An Evening with Picador Poetry, Editor Don Paterson presents a wonderful line-up of established names and new voices from this broad church.

Picador is the home of Guest Director Kate Tempest’s poetry. Kate will read from her passionate, political verse from Picador collection Hold Your Own, and long poems Brand New Ancients and Let Them Eat Chaos.

Glyn Maxwell is one of Britain’s most respected and awarded contemporary poets, whose book On Poetry was described by Guardian critic Adam Newey as ‘the best book about poetry he has ever read’.

You may already know the work of rising spoken word star Holly McNish from one of her viral YouTube videos (collectively now at 4 million views), as well as her Brighton Festival 2015 performance with Kate Tempest and George the Poet.

Described as a Dorothy Parker for the internet age, Lorraine Mariner’s much loved wry style is demonstrated in her latest collection, There Will Be No More Nonsense.

The line-up is completed by poet and forager Richard Osmond, one of the Evening Standard’s ‘new guard’ of young poets, whose Useful Verses follows in the tradition of the best nature writing.

Filmed and edited in partnership with Brighton Metropolitan College

Brighton Festival Live: Bang Said the Gun

Bang Said the Gun will be live streamed on Sat 20 May, 8pm

Voted the best poetry night in the UK by The Times, Bang Said the Gun is for people who don’t like poetry. Normal rules do not apply here: it’s loud, raucous, political, trivial, serious and very funny.

Bang Said the Gun’s unique brand of stand up poetry has been described by Kate Tempest as ‘like mud wrestling with words’ and by former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion as ‘a vortex of energy and enthusiasm’. Don’t miss a rich mix of the best and freshest talent that will grab you by the collar and drag you into another world.

Featuring Dan Cockrill, Martin Galton, Laurie Bolger & Rob Auton with guests Vanessa Kisuule & Sally Jenkinson.

Filmed and edited in partnership with Brighton Metropolitan College

In photos: Week 1

The first week of Brighton Festival 2017 has come and gone! We've been really enjoying all the shows, events and happenings – here's a few pictures of what's been going on

Photos by Victor Frankowski and Adam Weatherley.

Brighton Festival Live: The Furrow Collective and Anna & Elizabeth

The Furrow Collective and Anna & Elizabeth will be live streamed on Mon 15 May, 8pm

A double bill featuring rising stars of contemporary folk from both sides of the Atlantic, The Furrow Collective and Anna & Elizabeth.

Described by MOJO as ‘a mouth-watering collaboration’ The Furrow Collective is Lucy Farrell, Rachel Newton, Emily Portman and Alasdair Roberts – four fine soloists whose shared love of traditional songs and playful musicianship has earned them two BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominations. This ‘quietly classy young folk band’ (The Guardian) move with ease from jaunty stories to poignant laments and supernatural ballads.

Anna & Elizabeth are two truly inspiring artists from Southwest Virginia and a rare treat for lovers of Appalachian roots music. As storytellers, they are almost single-handedly resurrecting the lost art of ‘crankies’ – cloth and cut-paper scrolls depicting stories and scenes from the great ballads, unfurled to musical accompaniment. Witness this culture carried forward with mastery and love.

Filmed and edited in partnership with Brighton Metropolitan College

The deadline for entries to Lulu.com Short Story Competition has been extended

The short story writing competition launched by Lulu.com, sponsor of Brighton Festival commission the Storytelling Army, is now open to entries until Wednesday 24 May.

The publisher invites all Sussex residents over the age of 18 to respond to Brighton Festival Guest Director Kate Tempest’s theme Everyday Epic, the observations and achievements of our daily lives which we piece together to celebrate and share our common humanity.

Four lucky competition winners will be announced during the last week of the Festival. The winning stories will be combined into an anthology, alongside stories from the Storytelling Army, and published as a paperback book. UK based marketing and PR company Authoright will also be supporting the book with a publicity campaign once it is published; ensuring the Everyday Epic stories reach as many readers as possible after the competition ends.

Brighton Festival is working with nabokov theatre company and Guest Director Kate Tempest to assemble and mobilise the Storytelling Army: a dynamic collective of people from all walks of life - including those who are homeless and vulnerably housed – who will perform in unexpected locations throughout Brighton over the last weekend of this year’s Festival.

Entry is free and stories must be no more than 4,000 words (there is no minimum word count) and must be received electronically by midnight GMT on 24 May 2017. Entries must be submitted electronically as a word or pdf document and the document must contain: your name, your address, your age, your e mail contact details, the title of your submission, the word count, your twitter handle (if relevant). Entries should be emailed to social_uk@lulu.com.

For full Terms and Conditions visit lulu-uk.blog. Alternatively email social_uk@lulu.com for the competition entry rules.

New app The Hum invites festival-goers to view Brighton in a new light

The Hum, a free app which highlights the beauty in the everyday, is now available to download.

A Brighton Festival co-commission conceived and directed by Nic Sandiland, The Hum is a reflection and meditation on our own everyday interactions with the city. Half cinema, half reality, the piece weaves together visuals with a specially composed soundtrack.

Festival-goers will be invited to follow a trail on their smartphone screen, guided by the app to 15 locations within walking distance, around the city, and on arrival a narrated soundtrack will be played.

The Hum incorporates text from four diverse artists including: international dance artist Wendy Houston, dance writer for The Times Donald Hutera, Maria Oshodi director of Extant Theatre Company of visually impaired people and live artist Pete Phillips, to a sound score by musician James Keane. These writers explore the subtle qualities of observed and experienced movement to create their own idiosyncratic narratives ranging from the poetic and humorous through to the ironic and subversive.

Director Nic Sandiland says ‘The Hum gives audiences a new perspective on the everyday happenings in Brighton. Set to an emotive musical score with thought provoking text the piece takes you on a journey through 15 often-overlooked places in the city, places that we take for granted. The Hum makes us look at the mundane acts which take place in these places and by elevating them to the status of a feature film. At times profound yet often personal it is an immersive work that reveals an alternative view of the city through the movements that take place within it.’

Click here to download The Hum on Apple and Android devices

For the Birds and the Environment

We would like to offer our reassurance that we have undertaken an extensive consultation process over the past few months with experts and all the relevant authorities to ensure that For the Birds can be produced both safely and sensitively in its environment.

Neither Brighton Festival nor the artists take this lightly. Indeed the work itself is intended to celebrate the mystery and beauty of the avian world and highlight why it should be protected.

Specific measures include:

  • Undertaking environmental assessments of the area and locating the installations accordingly to prevent disturbance of habitats
  • Obtaining all the correct permissions for use of the location
  • Controlling the sound and light levels through bespoke, low-voltage LEDs and low-volume, localised sound installations
  • Routing the audience journey on existing, well-used footpaths overseen by security and stewards to ensure no ticket holders stray from the paths
  • Prohibiting vehicular access to the site by shuttling audiences from off-site parking via Big Lemon Buses (fuelled by repurposed cooking oil)
  • Protecting the identity of the location by not publicising it in our marketing materials to prevent disruption from non-ticket holders
  • Employing security to protect the site (which has many users including bike scramblers and dog walkers) throughout the month

Following the recent concerns raised, we have commissioned an additional survey from a further independent expert, which concluded that: “the organisers appear to have taken a great duty of care in ensuring there is a minimal impact to wildlife and the woodland environment”.

The report highlighted just one specific recommendation regarding the positioning of one of the light installations which has been actioned immediately.

The artists and on-site staff will continue to monitor the site throughout the month and be fully responsive to any new information.

The safety and welfare of the natural environment is our highest priority.

To read a full copy of the ecological report please click here.

Brighton Festival Live: Kate Tempest with Mica Levi & Orchestrate

Kate Tempest with Mica Levi & Orchestrate will be live streamed on Thur 11 May, 7.30pm

Hip-hop inspired storytelling meets cinematic orchestration as Kate Tempest teams up with musician and composer Mica Levi and ensemble Orchestrate. Known to many as the frontwoman of Micachu and the Shapes, Mica Levi is also an accomplished composer of film scores, most recently Pablo Larrain’s Jackie for which she received both BAFTA and Oscar nominations. She has long collaborated with Orchestrate, a network of some of the UK’s most accomplished and adaptable young musicians, whose work in the studio and on stage includes performances with The National, SBTRKT, Ghostpoet and Christine and the Queens.

For this special one-off performance, Orchestrate will perform a selection of Levi’s works, followed by a special performance with Kate Tempest of Let Them Eat Chaos, re-worked for string orchestra. Released late last year to universal acclaim, the album has been described as Tempest’s state-of-the-nation address: over the course of 13 tracks, we meet seven sleepless Londoners in the small hours, whose individual stories of dissatisfaction are set against a backdrop of global crisis.

An unmissable Brighton Festival collaboration.

Filmed and edited in partnership with Brighton Metropolitan College

Supported by Chalk Cliff Trust

Your Place brings diverse line-up of music, dance, theatre and spoken word events to Hangleton and East Brighton communities

As part of a new partnership with Brighton People’s Theatre, Brighton Festival has been working with local residents and festival artists to programme an exciting and diverse line-up of free music, dance, theatre and spoken word in the Hangleton and East Brighton communities.

Hosted by local community centres, Your Place is coming to East Brighton and Hangleton with free workshops, performances and activities for the whole family over two weekends, beginning with Hangleton 13-14 May, then East Brighton 19-21 May. Along with community steering groups in partnership with the Hangleton and Knoll Project and Due East in East Brighton, this year’s inspiring Guest Director Kate Tempest and local company Nutshell Construction to create the space, we have selected and shaped an events programme with these communities in mind.

This programme plays a critical part of Kate Tempest’s vision for this year’s Brighton Festival of enabling as many people in the city as possible to access the festival. In her words: 'The arts should be social, not elitist. They should be part of our everyday life. They should be in our communities, not only on elevated platforms or behind red velvet ropes.'

Highlights from the Your Place Hangleton programme (13 to 14 May) include:

Acclaimed photographer Eddie Otchere’s Pinhole Camera Workshop (14 May), teaching families how to build their own pinhole camera and document local history; Guest Director Kate Tempest (13 May) performing poetry from her incredible back catalogue; Culture Clash (13 May)with award winning poetry slam champion Tommy Sissons and rapper and battle MC Ceezlin, who will both also be coaching rap, poetry and comedy; a special one-off showcase from AudioActive (13 May) a music organisation working with young people at the meeting point of technology and contemporary urban culture; a singing workshop from Appalachian folk artists Anna and Elizabeth (14 May); a performance of Tighten Our Belts, a theatre show about the cost of austerity by Brighton People’s Theatre; and an array of workshops for all ages including a workshop run by Nutshell Construction to make Book Swap Boxes (13 May), as part of the City Reads city-wide project.

Highlights from the Your Place East Brighton programme (19-21 May) include:

A night of Spoken Word (20 May) as Kate Tempest performs poetry from her latest anthology, also with performances by national poetry slam champion Tommy Sissons, and Ceezlin (on tour with Rag ‘n’ Bone Man); Tales of Birbal (19 May) where Mashi Theatre’s travelling storytellers tell ancient stories from across the Indian subcontinent; Virgin Territory (20 May) workshop delivered by Vincent Dance Theatre for young people and adults to investigate the challenges that young people face in a selfie-obsessed world; Three Score Dance & Ceyda Tanc Dance (20 & 21 May), Three Score Dance a company for people aged 60+ perform a new Brighton Festival commission choreographed by Ceyda Tanc and her youth company; an oral history workshop by acclaimed photographer Eddie Otchere; Help! I think I might be Fabulous! (20 May) a hilarious and heart-warming show from Alfie Ordinary; other workshops include building and decorating Book Swap Boxes (20 May) with Nutshell Construction, and Hidden Mazes (21 May) which uses art and drama to explore the experience of navigating the world with an invisible disability.

Kate Tempest, Brighton Festival 2017 Guest Director says 'I thought it was important that as well as having this very exciting, cosmopolitan festival happening in the city centre, with all this buzz and hype and all this energy that gets built up from people seeing something, spilling out on to the street, I wanted it to also represent the wider population of Brighton who maybe can’t afford to get in to the city centre. I wanted to bring a bit of what was happening in the Brighton Festival out to a bit more of Brighton. We’ve got this really cool initiative called Your Place – which is probably the thing I’m most excited about. There will be performances from Brighton Festival artists and also participatory events and workshops. Everything completely free, programmed in conjunction and consultation with people that run some of the community programmes out of those community centres.'

Naomi Alexander, Artistic Director of Brighton People’s Theatre says 'The community has been really hands on engaged from start to finish in the overall planning and management of the project. I think the arts and creativity are important to everyone, I think everyone is creative but not everyone gets the opportunity to express that creativity.'

All Your Place events are free but ticketed. To book call Brighton Festival Ticket Office on 01273709709 or download a comprehensive guide 

Volunteer call-out: Depart

Take part in Circa's sold-out performance Depart at Brighton Festival –call-out on behalf of LIFT Festival

Depart is an exciting new international collaboration featuring circus artists, aerialists, acrobats, dancers, choral singers and musicians working in tandem with video, lighting and installation artists under the direction of celebrated Australian director Yaron Lifschitz and his company Circa.

Depart will be shown in Brighton as part of the Brighton Festival with 8 performances from Tue 23 to Sun 28 May at 8.30pm and 10.15pm. Show duration is 60 to 65 minutes.

Audience Guides

To compliment the artistic model and the outdoors promenade format of the show, Depart is looking to recruit 12 to 18 volunteers locally in Brighton to match the role of Audience Guides.

Audience Guides are an integral and central part of the show implementing the task of leading audience through the site following a pre-agreed route and ensuring audience’s observance, including walking in silence, not treading off the given route and not taking pictures during the show.

Mapped along the route will be performance areas featuring circus artists, aerialists, acrobats, dancers, choral singers enhanced by the elements of lighting design, sound and video work.

The production can offer an expenses cover of £100 to all volunteers for your time on the project.

Depart will offer scheduled training sessions led by Circa Associate Artistic Director Alice Lee Holland. Previous performance or audience stewarding experience is desirable, but not compulsory. Audience Guides will need to show confidence when interacting with audience and be able to follow artistic direction. All training sessions will take place at Extra-Mural Cemetery next to Extra-Mural Chapel, entrance to cemetery from Lewes Road.

Training sessions:

Sat 20 May: 4pm – 8pm

Sun 21 May: 4pm – 8pm

Full attendance is expected, if possible.

Further to that, Audience Guides will be expected to have evening 6.30pm – 11pm availability on Tue 23 – Sun 28 May. They will need to attend a technical rehearsal on the evening of Tue 23 May, a dress rehearsal on Wed 24 May, and be available on show days Thu 25 – Sun 28 May.

Costume

As part of the costume brief, Guides will be expected to come dressed in black trousers, comfortable black shoes or boots.

If they own a white shirt, they will be expected to wear that also. Alternatively the production will provide a shirt. The production will also provide each guide with a black coat. We advise that everyone dresses warm and wears layers, as those will be long hours in the outdoors.

Upon appointment, please provide production team with your coat size.

For further information, please contact Linda: linda.peterkopa@gmail.com