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

Showing 41 to 50 of 78 items

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.

Festival Hot Seat... Now You See It

Antonia Grove, artistic director of Brighton-based dance theatre company Probe, tells us about her brand new solo work, co-directed with Sue MacLaine.

Can you tell us what your show is about?

Developing strategies for coping with family members, difficult scenarios, and life in general! 

Finding a way of making myself visible and finding a way to disappear. 

Interrogating facts and searching for the truth. 

Questioning what I might be missing. 

Channeling frustration and finding an expression through the liberation of movement and speaking out loud.

How and where will the work be staged?

It’s me, for an hour, in a big and beautifully lit theatre space.

It’s taking place at the wonderful Attenborough Centre, at the University of Sussex on 14 May 7.30pm.

Why should someone come and see your show?

Because its authentic, emotionally charged and physically impressive. Because it communicates through story-telling and dance so the work can be felt and experienced on many different levels.

Because the lighting and sound score create a rich, visceral, and exciting environment to be in.

Where did the idea and inspiration come from?

The idea came from my head. From things I felt needed to be said. About experiences I felt others could relate to.

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

I think it’s so important that we continue to make unique, impassioned and challenging work, no matter how hard that is, and no matter how much we think we need to escape from the challenges of life.

What sort of person is going to love this show?

Most importantly anyone who likes to see and hear real life experiences being untangled and interrogated.

For anyone who has felt invisible or wanted to disappear themselves.

For people with questions, people who love dance and people who love theatre.

I would like to think anyone of any age and background would enjoy this show, although it’s probably best understood above the age of 12.

What’s going to surprise people about this show?

You might be surprised by what you see… or what you don’t see… I don’t want to give anything away yet ;)

It’s both poignant and uplifting, so don’t miss it!

What does Brighton Festival mean to you?

It’s my city, it’s where art in the city comes to life. It’s about being on the streets, being at a gig, in a theatre, talking about great work and having new experiences.

Do you have a favourite Festival moment?

I have been part of the festival as a company or as a performer for the last 5 years. All those experiences have been extremely different and memorable, especially when you have a full house at a show you are particularly proud of, I’ve had a few of those moments.

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

Some great female works this year.

  • Vincent Dance Theatre, Virgin Territory, A film installation at Onca Gallery which I am a performer in.
  • The Hiccup Project, May-We-Go-Round? at The Spire, a great venue and a very entertaining work I was dramaturg for.
  • Sharon Duggal presenting her fantastic new book The Handsworth Times at Sallis Benney Theatre
  • Kate Tempest, can’t wait to see her in action again!

Also, Theo Clinkard, whom Probe was originally founded with, has his big new commission, This Bright Field, at Brighton Dome Concert Hall.

Now You See It is at the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts (ACCA) on 14 May.

Festival Hot Seat… No Dogs, No Indians

Writer Siddhartha Bose gives the low-down on his new play No Dogs, No Indians, which has its world premiere at Brighton Festival

How and where will the work be staged?

No Dogs, No Indians will be staged at The Spire, Eastern Road on 17-18 May. Four actors will play multiple characters across three time zones in India: the 1930s, the late 70s, and 2017.

Why should someone come and see your show?

No Dogs, No Indians explores the legacy of British colonialism in India, and will commemorate the 70th anniversary of independence. It tells the story of a forgotten female revolutionary, Pritilata Waddedar — I like to think of her as a sort of Malcolm X to Gandhi’s Martin Luther King. The play also examines the fictional story of Shyamal Chatterjee, who is a relic of the Raj era — a ‘brown sahib’ who loves, and models himself on, British culture. Finally, the play will also transport you to contemporary India, a nation that aspires to be a world power while simultaneously dealing with the ghosts of its past.

Where did the idea and inspiration come from?

This play has been gestating for a few years. For a while I've wanted to write a historical, Raj-era play. I was particularly interested in forgotten stories from the Anglo-Indian encounter. If you look at any film or TV series that looks at this period — from David Lean’s Passage to India to Channel 4’s Indian Summers — you will find symbols of exclusion, in particular, the sign, ‘No Dogs, No Indians’ or ‘Dogs and Indians not allowed’ outside any British club in colonial India. I wanted to respond to the power of these words, and to explore how Indians felt, and responded to, such a provocation. And then, almost by accident, I found Pritilata Waddedar’s story...

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

2017 is the 70th anniversary of Indian independence (and the UK-India Year of Culture). Despite this, I think there is a certain level of historical amnesia about the realities and complexities of colonialism and its legacies. In No Dogs, No Indians I'm aiming to help us remember, explore and engage. I think it’s a timely play which tells an important story (or two!) in a poetic way.

What sort of person is going to love this show?

I hope No Dogs, No Indians will appeal to a broad audience, from theatre-goers to people interested in history. The play asks a lot of questions about cultural appropriation and power that are particularly current at the moment.

What’s going to surprise people about this show?

The play revolves around the premise of neglected stories and forgotten characters. In that sense alone, there will be much to surprise the audience. Stylistically, the play will be innovative and fresh as well.

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

Brighton Festival is one of the world’s leading and most daring arts festivals, and I am honoured that No Dogs, No Indians has been commissioned by, and will receive its world premiere, here. I can't wait to find out what audiences think of it.

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

There’s so much to choose from but Theo Clinkard’s This Bright Field looks amazing.

No Dogs, No Indians is at The Spire 17-18 May.

Festival Hot Seat… Songs for the End of the World

Dom Coyote gives us an insight into a show that mixes music gig and epic theatre, inspired by Philip K Dick’s post-apocalyptic novel Dr Bloodmoney, the star-gazing world of Ziggy Stardust, and the age of austerity Britain

Can you tell us what your show is about?

Songs for the End of the World is a high-octane rock n' roll, gig-theatre show about the end of the World. It's an eccentric, angry, messy, epic, ridiculous sci-fi explosion and a good old fashioned love story. It is set in New Albion - a near-future post-brexit, austerity Britain, owned and controlled by mega-corporation New Global.

Jim Walters, a totally unprepared and hapless astronaut is shot into space to become the first man on Mars. On the day of the launch, armageddon hits and Jim’s rocket gets trapped in orbit around the dying earth. With an ever decreasing amount of Oxygen, all he can do is broadcast his songs for the end of the world in the hope that someone might here…

How and where will the work be staged?

The show is performed by a five piece band of multi-instrumentalists, Dom Coyote & The Bloodmoneys, who all transform into bizarre, comic-book like characters at the drop of a hat. You experience an eclectic, ‘50s infused music gig, at the exact same time as an eccentric, theatrical story about a dystopian future England. It will be performed at the Theatre Royal on May 16th.

Why should someone come and see your show?

If you are enraged by the dystopian world we live in right now, come and see our show.

If you want to shout at the Gods, and shake our sleeping leaders awake, come and see our show.

If you love amazing, imaginative science fiction, like Terry Gilliam's Brazil and authors like Philip K.Dick, China Mieville, Ursula Leguin, Margaret Attwood and John Wyndham, come and see our show!

If you love music, but want something more than just an ordinary gig set up, where a band of awesome musicians create a whole world in front of your eyes, come and see our show.

If you love eccentric, surrealist comedy, come and see our show.

Where did the idea and inspiration come from?

Ten years ago, I read the most bizarre and brilliant science fiction novel, Dr Bloodmoney, by Philip K. Dick, a post-apocalyptic masterpiece with mutating animals, telepathic handymen and a man stranded in orbit, the last DJ of Earth. When the National Theatre asked me what story I wanted to tell, I said it was that one. And then I completely re-wrote it.

Also, I've worked a lot with Kneehigh Theatre. They inspired me to put live music right at the heart of storytelling, and to fill the stage with fire and anarchy. We made this show at the Kneehigh Barns on the cliffs of Cornwall and we let the wild in. Songs for the End of the World revels in it. The unkempt. The wild. The uncontrolled. The stuff of life.

It also came from listening to Ziggy Stardust on repeat.

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

This story is vital. It's really all about us. Now. England. Little England, with its inflated ego, narcoleptic leaders, isolating itself from the world around it. It's about the last days of man. It's time to wake up.

This is a show for everyone. It is not hi-brow or elitist. Far from it. It's radical, provocative, and utterly accessible.

It's time to reclaim the word Populist. Populism has been claimed by the far-right, suggesting that left to their own devices, the masses want to close the doors to the world and be controlled by fear and hate.

Songs for the End of the World suggests the opposite. That people, left to our own devices, have a huge capacity for love, community, survival, and hope.

What sort of person is going to love this show?

People who love science fiction and comic books! Geeks get especially excited about this show. It's full of references from David Bowie, Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut and (spoiler alert) the last line is sort of taken from a famous film about a planet ruled by apes....

Music lovers, love this show. It is really eclectic, genre wise. You can hear shades of ‘50s rock n' roll, blues, early soul, but with crunky analogue synths and a punk rock spirit. It's really contemporary, catchy and a bit twisted and inspired by mid-20th century pop music.

Also, fans of quirky alternative theatre love this show. There are artists from Kneehigh and Little Bulb in the show and it definitely has a ridiculous, epic, story based eccentricity about it.

What’s going to surprise people about this show?

Well there's an apocalyptic preacher who transforms into a hideous mutant, telepathically connected to God. That's pretty surprising...

It also manages to make you laugh and cry at the same time, if we do it right...

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

This is our first time playing at Brighton festival and we are ridiculously excited about it. My favourite festival always has to be Glastonbury. It is sprawling and epic and there are still dirty dark secrets in the cracks....

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

It's obvious. Kate Tempest! I've been following her work for 10 years now, right from the early shows at Shambala and SGP. She blows my mind, every time.

Also, I am really excited about Mica Levi's live soundtrack for Under the Skin, such a gem of a soundtrack. I'm a big fan of the film and also the book it was inspired by, by Michael Faber. Creepy and unnerving, the best kind of sci-fi...

Songs for the End of the World is at Theatre Royal Brighton on Tue 16 May

Festival Hot Seat… Raising Lazarus

Award-winning performance artist, playwright, director and producer Kat Francois brings her solo show Raising Lazarus to Brighton Festival

Can you tell us what your show is about?

Raising Lazarus is the story of how I discovered that I had a relative, Lazarus Francois, from the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada, who had fought for Britain during World War One. In the play, I play several characters, from the present day back to 1915, covering my personal journey of discovery, and also the life of Lazarus, and the West Indian soldiers like him, who came to Seaford during World War One, and then went off to conflict zones around the world.

Why should someone come and see your show?

My play is not just for theatre-goers, or people who know me from my spoken word background. It is a true story about a part of history that is only now just being understood. How young men came from around the globe to defend Britain, and at that time, its empire. I think people will come away from the show having learned more about Britain, the Commonwealth, and even Seaford’s involvement in the story.

Where did the idea and inspiration come from?

In 2009, I had been preparing to take my partner to Grenada for the first time, where my family came from in the 1960s. He decided to read up on the island’s history before travelling, and came across a picture of a war memorial in a book. The memorial was in Grenada, and on it was the name “Francois”. He asked me if I had a relative who took part in World War One, and I instantly said no…. I would have known if I had. But a nagging doubt pushed me to ask my mum and gran if they knew any more, and that’s when I found out that I had indeed this relative, Lazarus Francois. We researched more and more, and as a performance artist, I decided to tell both mine and Lazarus’ story and take it to the stage.

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

It’s 100 years since the First World War, and Britain has been deep in commemoration of the many who took part and the devastation that sliced through a generation. But when I was at school, these stories were very much about British contributions, so being of Caribbean heritage myself, I found it difficult to relate to these stories, and history as a subject in general became of little interest. Suddenly I find out that this history does include people like my relatives… can you imagine as a child how that would have made me feel? It’s important we share everybody’s stories and tell shared histories, especially at a time of such division in society. We have to concentrate on what brings us together.

What sort of person is going to love this show?

Lovers of theatre and spoken word. Lovers of history, but also lovers of a human story.

What’s going to surprise people about this show?

That I play many characters, including a white nurse from Sussex!!

Raising Lazarus is at the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts (ACCA) on 9 and 10 May.

Lulu.com, sponsor of the Storytelling Army, launches a short story competition on the theme of Everyday Epic

Lulu.com, sponsor of Brighton Festival commission the Storytelling Army, has launched a short story writing competition inspired by Guest Director Kate Tempest’s theme Everyday Epic.

Lulu.com’s short story competition is open to all Sussex residents over the age of 18. Writers are asked to respond to the theme selected by Kate Tempest for Brighton Festival 2017, Everyday Epic. From extraordinary moments amongst the ordinary, to the little victories against the odds, writers are invited to reflect on 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.

Nigel Lee, CEO of Lulu.com says ‘Since time began, we as a species have passed down our teachings from generation to generation through the medium of storytelling. From the camp fire to the soap box, from dusty books to the internet, storytelling is how we evolve, it is essential to our existence and vital to the fabric of our communities.

‘Everyone has a story to tell. Lulu.com has amassed our own story telling army of over a million authors in 226 countries. To get on the ground and be part of real-life story telling in Brighton and to publish a selection of those winning stories is a fantastic opportunity for Lulu to further its heart felt cause, freedom of expression and the right to share. The whole initiative speaks to our own ethos, share your story, without profit censorship, without manipulation from profiteers, without judgment.’

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 15 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.

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: Tim Crouch on Jeramee, Hartleby and Oooglemore

Brighton-based theatre artist Tim Crouch has a longstanding relationship with Brighton Festival (The Complete Deaths, I Malvolio). This year, he returns as director of Jeramee, Hartleby and Oooglemore. Uniquely, the names of the three characters are the only words spoken in the play.

Can you tell us what your show is about?

We’re working with a script by an amazing playwright called Gary Owen, but Gary has been incredibly generous in the process in that he is aware, and we are aware, that we will discover things in rehearsal. So he’s given us the characters of Jeramee, Hartleby and Oooglemore, the setup, and the events of the story, and our job in rehearsal has been to give flesh to those things, to find humanity, physicality and play in those things.

I think there’s a really good conversation to be had about subtexts, what’s being said underneath the words, and what do we get off people’s body language and facial expressions. Because that’s all these three characters really have to go on, they just have the energy of their expressions, the volume and the tone of their expressions, and the energy of their physicality, to communicate. That’s a really interesting subject for someone to take away from this show, really: if we remove language from the equation, how detailed we can still be in our levels of communication.

Can you tell us more about the characters?

So what we kind of have is three clowns, really. They’re not clowns like circus clowns, but they’re clowns in the European tradition of openness and idiocy and glorious stupidity and being in the present moment. We have a fantastic physical variety: we have a clown who is tall and lanky; and we have a clown who is short and bouncy; and we have a clown who is lovely and large and slow and cuddly.

Who will enjoy the play?

Well anyone who feels that sometimes their vocabulary is not as expansive as they would want it to be. It’s about trying to come to grips with the complexities of the world and having very few words with which to do it. And that’s a pretty clear state for a three or four-year old, five-year-old or even someone my age really – particularly for young people who are struggling because they have so much to say but they don’t yet have the words to say it with.

How do you hope audiences will react?

I think the thing to say above all else is it’s a really funny thing, a really funny play, it’s a play unlike any play I know, really. And when I first read it I was just aware of the hugeness of it, the scale of what it communicates. So, there’s lots in it, even though there is that limitation, there’s a huge amount in it about status, about how we coexist with each other, how we get on with our friends or our siblings, or mates that we love and sometimes hate and have difficulties with and sometimes can’t do without. It’s a joyful play, it’s a play in the true spirit of the word ‘play’. It’s not a piece of literature but it’s a piece of live theatre and I think it’ll be very responsive to the audience, to the children in the audience, to the laughter of the audience. With that kind of clowning you always play off the audience, you don’t pretend there’s a wall in front of you and the audience, you’re completely with them, in them; they affect, infect, change, influence what you do and you then have that same effect on them.

Jeramee, Hartleby and Oooglemore is at Theatre Royal Brighton 8-9 May

Brighton Festival artist Hollie McNish wins prestigious Poetry Prize

Brighton Festival artist Hollie McNish has won the prestigious Ted Hughes Poetry Award for New Work in Poetry for her third collection Nobody Told Me.

Taken from McNish’s personal diaries, Nobody Told Me combines poetry and storytelling, describing her experiences of pregnancy and motherhood.

She was chosen over six other shortlisted artists for the £5,000 prize, which was announced at a ceremony on 29 March, and The Poetry Society’s Ted Hughes award judges included award-winning poets Jo Bell and Bernard O’Donoghue and singer-songwriter Kathryn Williams.

McNish is known for her viral YouTube videos, which have collectively reached 4 million views, and her performance at Brighton Festival 2015 with Kate Tempest and George the Poet. She was UK Slam poetry champion in 2009, and has previously released two spoken word albums and a poetry collection.

Hollie McNish will be appearing at Brighton Festival this year at An Evening with Picador Poetry on Fri 19 May. The line-up includes Guest Director Kate Tempest along with Richard Osmond, Glyn Maxwell and Lorraine Mariner.

VIDEO: Choreographer and designer Theo Clinkard talks about This Bright Field

Brighton-based choreographer and designer Theo Clinkard spoke to Vámonos creative agency about dance, design and his new show This Bright Field which has its world premiere at Brighton Festival on 25 May.

'It's important to me as a contemporary artist to not be making work within an arts bubble, but to be responding to the world that we are living in, and this is a time of massive change. With the new work there's been something for me about not taking for granted some of our basic human rights'