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

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In photos: Week 3

Brighton Festival 2017 is over! We can't believe what a fantastic month it has been – here's a few photos from events in the last week

Photos by Vic Frankowski and Adam Weatherley

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.

In Pictures: Chidren's Parade 2017

Poetry In Motion!
A few photos from an incredible Children's Parade. What an amazing and wonderful way to mark the start of Brighton Festival 2017.

The theme for the 2017 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 business Yeomans Toyota Brighton, was Poetry in Motion, and around 5,000 children from 67 schools and community groups from across the region took part.

Leading the parade was Guest Director Kate Tempest and special guests Hot 8 Brass Band, who brought a brilliant slice of New Orleans funk to the occasion. 

Participants took inspiration from poems and poets including Edward Lear, Spike Milligan, Rudyard Kipling, Christina Rossetti, Lewis Carroll and William Shakespeare, resulting in a glorious array of outfits and mannequins from an Owl and a Pussycat in a pea green boat to a giant jam sandwich!

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 sponsor Yeomans Toyota Brighton


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: 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

Boys Don't - Interview with Rosemary Harris

What’s a boy to do? From the playground to the classroom, from home to the uncharted waters of online, boys learn that displaying their feelings is a no-no. But what happens to emotion that can’t be let out? Boys Don’t explores through spoken word what happens when boys show their feelings, written from real-life experiences of the diverse male cast.

Boys Don’t is the latest work from Papertale, following on from the Suitcase Trilogy of spoken word performances about migration for young audiences, directed by Rosemary Harris. We spoke to Rosemary to find out more about the show, its inspiration, working with performance poets and her thoughts on why boys don’t share their feelings.

Tell us a little about Boys Don’t. What’s the show about?

The show is a spoken word piece for young audiences, exploring cultural prohibitions on boys expressing their feelings, particularly around the act of crying. It also explores the mental and social cost to everyone (boys and girls alike) when boys feel they can’t fully express their feelings, and hopefully offers a different, more positive way of thinking about the issue.

What was the original inspiration for the story?

Working a lot with young people you become very aware of the gender structures that still persist, and how keenly they are felt by young people. Boys and girls really suffer because of this, and for boys a lot of the expression of distress goes into anger, which is a major problem for schools and for our culture as a whole. As a company committed to delivering issue-based work for young audiences, we identified a real need for further exploration of the subject.

Boys Don’t was written using the real-life experiences of the cast. How much of a cathartic experience was this for them?

Writing and performing together has been a rich opportunity for the male cast to engage with the bigger issues around this subject, drawing on the personal (which is so central to spoken word) and then moving into the bigger social and political discussions. Of course, the work is for young and family audiences, so the writing was also about trying to make the piece accessible, fun and above all real, to take the real-life experiences and make them speak to young people now.

The production features a diverse male cast. Did they find a common bond in their stories?

Definitely. One of the key points was for us all to examine how these ideas of what boys and men should be are often really central to cultural identity, which can be why they are so persistent and entrenched. And then although they may be culturally specific, there is also a great deal of common ground across cultures about notions of ‘manning up’ and what that entails. Finding common ground is key, not only to Boys Don’t, but to all of Papertale’s shows.

You’re working with some of the UK’s leading poets and performers. What’s that been like?

A total joy and privilege, because you are working with the full package when you work with artists who write and perform their own work. One of the real delights is in bringing a team of spoken word artists together who are open to collaboration, who are keen to collaborate, because spoken word is often a very solo activity. Casting people who are enthusiastic to share and engage with a team in developing their own work is a really thrilling process, because everybody’s work impacts on everyone else’s – and you end up with something so much greater than the sum of its parts! And of course all of these poets bring their own unique approach to language with all sorts of influences, including poetry, rap, stand up, dramatic monologue, and so you get a wonderful cornucopia of wordplay.

Why do you think boys have problems sharing their feelings?

That’s a huge question with a complex answer. We’ve been very clear that this is a feminist piece about boys and men, because one of the things people often fail to fully comprehend within our culture is that inequity damages everybody. In 2017 boys are still handed these antiquated, unhelpful, unwritten rules about what is permissible for them as human beings expressing emotion, and that has a serious effect on their mental health, with a knock-on effect to the wider community.

What do you think can be done to combat this and let them express their emotions?

The issue of boys’ (and young people’s) mental health is currently being spotlighted more within the media, and it is imperative to see government funding supporting initiatives to tackle these issues. It’s incredibly helpful to see more men especially, challenging the stereotypes within their own lives and work. Seeing people like Barack Obama, David Beckham, cry on TV, these are helpful role models – and Papertale’s aim with Boys Don’t is to offer role models of male performers closer to home, exploding some of the myths, and sharing their feelings. Cultural change happens slowly and we all have a part to play. We have a responsibility to young people to offer ways out of mental distress, through accessible stories and examples that entertain as well as inform.

What can audiences look forward to?

Something engaging, current, accessible and diverse, that has humour as well as meaning, that provokes discussion and speaks to young people’s lives now. Oh yeah, and great language, rapping and poetry.

Describe the show in three words.

Real, important, entertaining.

And finally, what would you like audiences to take with them after seeing the show?

An increased understanding of the issues involved, a sense that they’ve shared some great contemporary writing and performing – plus a greater sense of shared communication around the emotions we all feel, young, old, male, female, all of us!

See Boys Don't on Sun 21 May.

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.

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


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.