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

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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.

Sponsors pledge to support Brighton Festival 2017

A plethora of sponsors have pledged to support Brighton Festival as playwright, novelist, poet and respected recording artist Kate Tempest takes the role of Guest Director.

New sponsors Yeomans Toyota Brighton and Lulu.com join Gatwick Airport, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, GM Building, Griffith Smith Farringdom Webb, Nutshell Construction, University of Sussex, Selits, and ZSTa in sponsoring the largest and most established annual multi-arts festival in England.

This year sponsors will be supporting a number of events including the popular Children’s Parade, the programme of events taking place at The Spire, Brighton Festival International and Family Programmes, 26 Letters, and accessibility at Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival.

Luke Devitt-Spooner, General Manager of Yeomans Toyota Brighton says ‘Yeomans Toyota Brighton are excited to be sponsoring Brighton Festival for 2017. Based on South Coast Road, we have been serving the Brighton area since 2001 with New and Used car Sales, Servicing, Parts and Motability. We look forward to a successful partnership with Brighton Festival.’

Ben Copper, CEO of Nutshell Construction says ‘Brighton Festival is a hugely important part of not only Brighton’s - but also the nation’s cultural heritage – attracting large audiences of to its wonderfully eclectic array of events. Through the medium of the Festival, Nutshell can talk to both existing and potential clients in a very different atmosphere to the building site! In short, Nutshell Construction is delighted to be a very real part of Brighton Festival. We enjoy it immensely – we hope you do too.’

Each year, Brighton Festival attracts inspiring and internationally significant Guest Directors who bring cohesion to the artistic programme. This year’s Guest Director Kate Tempest is often recognised as the voice of a generation. Her highly anticipated new album ‘Let Them Eat Chaos’ was released in October 2016.

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival says ‘We wouldn’t be able to present the sheer number of quality performances, installations and exclusive talks that make up Brighton Festival without the help of sponsors, many of whom also support the work of Brighton Dome year-round. It is thanks to their continued help that we can make Brighton Festival unique and the city itself such a magical place to be in May.’

During Brighton Festival - which runs from 6-28 May 2017 - many of Tempest’s interests, passions, and inspirations are explored in an eclectic line-up spanning theatre, dance, visual art, film, music, debate, comedy and spoken word - and featuring the likes of Brighton-based rapper Ocean Wisdom, who appears on a bill hosted by influential UK hip hop label High Focus Records, and poetry slam champion Tommy Sissons who performs alongside fellow spoken word stars Patience Agbabi and Dizraeli.

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 including For the Birds, an intricate light, sound and kinetic sculpture trail experienced as an immersive night-time adventure through a woodland location. 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 and set in real time during the turbulent US election year.

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.

Sponsoring Brighton Festival and Brighton Dome allows businesses to raise their profile, reach new customers, and meet corporate social responsibility objectives. To find out more, please contact Kata Gyongyosi on 01273 260 810 or email kata.gyongyosi@brightondome.org

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. 

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.

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.

UK premiere of topical play cycle set during the US election year are first shows announced for Brighton Festival 2017

The UK premiere of The Gabriels: Election Year in the Life of One Family - an acclaimed trilogy of plays by Tony Award-winning playwright and director Richard Nelson set during the turbulent US Election year - are the first shows to be revealed as part of Brighton Festival 2017 (6-28 May) ahead of the full programme announcement next month.

Particularly topical with the inauguration of Donald Trump as the next US president taking place this week, The Gabriels is the acclaimed follow-up to Nelson’s The Apple Family Plays which was the theatrical highlight of the 2015 Brighton Festival. The landmark series from New York’s leading theatre company, The Public Theater, follows one American family in real time, tracking their lives throughout the election year of 2016. History, money, politics, art and culture are all on the table in this moving trilogy about a family celebrating, remembering and waiting for the world to change.

The first play Hungry places us in the kitchen of the Gabriel family of Rhinebeck, New York. The family discusses their lives and disappointments, as they fight the fear of being left behind and attempt to find resilience in the face of loss.

What Did You Expect? brings us back to the kitchen of the Gabriel family, with the country now in the midst of the general election for President. In the course of one evening in the house they grew up in, history (both theirs and America's), money, politics, family, art and culture are chopped up and mixed together, while a meal is made around the kitchen table.

The Gabriels gather once again in Woman of a Certain Age to await the result of the election. As they consider the future of their country, town and home, they compare notes on the search for empathy and authenticity at a time when the game seems rigged and the rules are forever changing.

On his intentions behind the piece, Richard Nelson has said: 'In troubled and troubling times, theater has not only an opportunity, but the responsibility, to portray this confusion, and articulate the ambiguities, doubts, and fears of its time. Of course, it is a great temptation, in troubled times, to try and use the theater as a weapon… but….as a playwright, I try not to be co-opted by arguments and agendas. In other words, my theater is not a place to shout in, or be lectured at, nor where we go to be incited; rather a place to come together, sit among strangers in the dark, and recognize the complexity of the world before us.'

One of the nation’s most prolific playwrights, Nelson wrote the book for the musical James Joyce’s The Dead, which earned him a Tony Award in 2000. Among his other works are Franny’s Way (Drama Desk Award nominee), Goodnight Children Everywhere (Olivier Award), Two Shakespearean Actors (Tony Award nominee), Some Americans Abroad (Olivier Award nominee) and Principia Scriptoriae (London Time Out Award). Nelson also won the 2008 PEN/Laura Pels Master Playwright Award and a 2008 Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, both for his career. He is an honorary artistic associate of the Royal Shakespeare Company, which has produced ten of his plays.

The Gabriels Marathons (all three plays): Sat 20, Sun 21 & Sat 27 May, 1.30pm, 4.15pm and 7.30pm. Hungry: Tues 23 May, 8pm, What Did You Expect: Wed 24 May, 8pm, Woman of a Certain Age: Thurs 25 May, 8pm

The full programme announcement is on 15 Feb 2017. Members' Priority Booking opens Thurs 16 Feb 2017. Public booking opens Fri 24 Feb 2017.

Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival international programme is kindly supported by Gatwick Airport and The Gabriels: Election Year in the Life of One Family by University of Sussex. 

Titles announced for City Reads and Young City Reads 2017

The debut novel by Sharon Duggal The Handsworth Times has been chosen for City Reads while A.F. Harrold’s Fizzlebert Stump The Boy Who Ran Away from the Circus (and Joined the Library) has been picked for Young City Reads as part of Brighton Festival 2017.

City Reads and Young City Reads are city-wide ‘big reads’ delivered by award winning literary organisation Collected Works CIC, designed to spread a love of books and ideas to the widest possible audience throughout Brighton & Hove. This year they launch on 2 March (World Book Day) and run until May with a series of events themed around the books to encourage people across the city to get reading and start talking.

Brighton-based British Asian writer Sharon Duggal’s novel, published by Bluemoose Books, is set in 1981 where factories are closing, unemployment is high, the NF are marching and the neglected inner cities are ablaze as riots breakout across Thatcher's fractured Britain. The Agarwal family are facing their own personal tragedy, but their pain is eased through humour, friendship and community.

Sarah Hutchings, Artistic Director of City Reads says: ‘Sharon Duggal’s outstanding debut was the unanimous favourite of our reading panel for this year’s City Reads. 2016 saw Britain polarised following the Brexit referendum, leading to some bitter arguments and disputes within communities. Sharon’s book couldn’t have been published at a more relevant time. It has heart, humour and courage - I hope you love it as much as we do at City Reads.’ 

The title chosen for Young City Reads, the ‘big read’ aimed at children, Fizzlebert Stump The Boy Who Ran Away from the Circus (and Joined the Library), is the story of a boy, a book, some very bad people, some very brave deeds, and the importance of rubber teeth for lions.

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival says: ‘We are delighted that City Reads and Young City Reads are part of Brighton Festival again this year - building on our strong relationship with Collected Works through other partnership projects such as Young City Reads and Adopt an Author. The importance of empathy and community is central to our Guest Director Kate Tempest’s vision for the Festival as a whole, making Sharon Duggal’s powerful debut particularly fitting as a choice for City Reads. And with this year’s Guest Director our youngest in the role to date we are particularly pleased to be providing an opportunity to encourage young booklovers to come together to discuss and share their love of reading – and hopefully nurturing a new generation of artists and art lovers for the future.’

Highlights of City Reads include a Literary Salon at the Regency Townhouse (Wed 29 March), a riotous celebration of the music made during era of The Handsworth Times via a Stick It On Party at The Latest Music Bar (Fri 28 April), perennial favourite The City Reads Book Quiz returns on Wed 22 March, and Sharon Duggal is in conversation at Brighton Festival on 14 May. Young City Reads launches at Jubilee Library on 2 March, with a special Brighton Festival event on 23 May featuring the author and illustrator (Sarah Horne).

Primary school teachers and classes are being invited to register online (for free) at cityreads.co.uk and agree to read Fizzlebert Stump The Boy Who Ran Away from the Circus (and Joined the Library) together in class between 2 March – 23 May 2017. Throughout the project, participating classes will receive free weekly e-bulletins which will include bite-size Fizzlebert Stump quizzes, puzzles and fun activities to complete.

Paul McVeigh's The Good Son was chosen for City Reads 2016 while Hamish and the WorldStoppers by Danny Wallace was the title for Young City Reads 2016.

For more information visit cityreads.co.uk.

50th Brighton Festival named Tourism Event of the Year at The Beautiful South Tourism Awards 2016

Brighton Festival, which marked its 50th year in 2016, was awarded a coveted Gold in the category Tourism Event of the Year at the Beautiful South Awards last night.

Held at the Hilton at the Ageas Bowl, near Southampton, the ceremony saw TV and radio celebrity Toby Anstis celebrating the cream of the region’s tourism industry. Established over 20 years ago, the Beautiful South Awards reward excellence, quality, innovation and customer service.

Considered ‘the defining moment in the Festival year’ (The Guardian), Brighton Festival brings a national and international audience to the city. This year’s milestone 50th edition - with experimental artist and musician Laurie Anderson as Guest Director - was the most successful in its history with more people engaging with the festival, both as audiences and participants, and more tickets sold than ever before.

The Festival’s biggest talking point was Nutkhut’s Dr Blighty, an ambitious, large-scale, free immersive, outdoor experience co-commissioned in partnership with Royal Pavilion & Museums and 14-18 NOW, which highlighted the story of wounded Indian soldiers hospitalised in Brighton during WW1. Ending each night with a spectacular light display using projection-mapping, Dr Blighty set the city and social media abuzz and drew audiences of almost 65,000 over its five-day run. A video clip of the projections went viral, attracting over 500,000 views and one hashtag alone achieved three million impressions, and accolades such as ‘spectacular’, ‘incredible’, ‘unique’ and ‘best festival event ever’.

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Festival says: “We are so thrilled to have received this Gold award for our milestone 50th Brighton Festival. From the annual Children’s Parade on the opening weekend featuring 5000 participants from schools and community groups from across the region, to the city-wide City Reads and Young City Reads produced in partnership with Collected Works and the incredible response to Nutkhut’s Dr Blighty, it was truly a wonderful celebration of our community. I look forward to welcoming audiences to experience another exciting and innovative month of events next May with the extraordinary Kate Tempest as Guest Director.”

Nigel Smith, Chief Executive of Tourism South East, said, “Achieving excellence isn’t easy – it takes vision, years of commitment, hard work and talented people. All of the finalists can be proud about their achievements and the example they are setting for others to follow. I want to thank headline sponsor Shepherd Neame and the rest of our sponsors who make the Awards possible and the judges who give their time and expertise voluntarily. Sometimes the margin between businesses is tiny and they have the unenviable task of deciding between them.”

Brighton Festival 2017, with the acclaimed recording artist, poet, playwright and novelist Kate Tempest as Guest Director, will take place from 6-28 May 2017. The full programme will be unveiled on Wed 15th February 2017.

Brighton Festival 2017 announces Children’s Parade theme

Brighton Festival is delighted to announce that the theme for the 2017 Children’s Parade, which will take place on Saturday 6 May, is ‘Poetry in Motion’.

Jointly produced with award-winning community arts organisation Same Sky, the annual Children’s Parade officially launches Brighton Festival and has delighted participants and spectators for over 25 years. The largest of its kind in Europe, the parade is attended by almost 5,000 children from schools and community groups from across the region and cheered on by many thousands of spectators.

With a different imaginative theme each year, previous parades have seen children dress up as everything from letters of the alphabet and Brighton street names to books, mermaids and even slices of cake. In 2016, participants were invited to be part of a major historical milestone as Brighton Festival celebrated its 50th year, taking inspiration from the people, places, ideas and innovations that shape the city’s unique character and identity from the Prince Regent to Fat Boy Slim.

The 2017 theme is inspired by Guest Director Kate Tempest, who was recently unveiled as the latest artistic figure to take up the role of shaping the three-week programme of cultural events. Described by the Guardian as ‘one of the brightest British talents around,’ Tempest’s prolific artistic output across multiple disciplines has attracted her considerable acclaim and a unique range of audiences. Having made her live debut as a spoken-word artist at just 16, Tempest is now equally well-known as a poet, novelist, musician and playwright. In October, she was invited to perform her new album 'Let them Eat Chaos' in full on BBC2 as part of a specially-themed night to celebrate National Poetry Day.

Pippa Smith, Brighton Festival 2016’s Children & Family programmer says: “We are thrilled with this year's theme and we are really looking forward to seeing the creativity of the teachers and the ingenuity which they bring to this annual celebration.”

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: “Same Sky is very excited by the 2017 Guest Director Kate Tempest and her theme for the parade of children's poems. We are creating a great parade with 70 Brighton & Hove schools to create Poetry in Motion. Each school will illustrate a favourite children's poem and hit the street with dazzling costumes, puppets and sounds. Same Sky once again thanks Brighton Festival for giving us this great opportunity to work with nearly every school in our wonderfully creative city.”

Brighton Festival will take place from 6-28 May 2017. The full programme will be unveiled on 15th February 2017.

Brighton Festival names Kate Tempest as Guest Director 2017

We are delighted to announce that the Guest Director for Brighton Festival 2017 is the acclaimed recording artist, poet, playwright and novelist Kate Tempest

Described by The Guardian as ‘one of the brightest British talents around,' Tempest’s prolific artistic output across multiple disciplines has attracted her considerable acclaim and a unique range of audiences. Having made her live debut as a spoken-word artist at just sixteen, Tempest initially conceived of herself as a rapper, however she is now equally at home as a poet, novelist, musician and playwright - garnering extraordinary success in each field.

In 2012 her debut play Wasted (Brighton Festival 2012) was praised as ‘electrifying’ and ‘ingenious’; a year later her self-performed epic narrative poem Brand New Ancients won the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry and completed a sell-out run in the UK and New York, winning a Herald Angel at Edinburgh Fringe. In 2014, her debut solo album Everybody Down was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize while the same year she was named one of 20 Next Generation poets by the Poetry Book Society, a prestigious list picked just once per decade. Most recently her debut novel The Bricks That Built the Houses has earned her yet more accolades and a slot on BBC Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime. In October her highly anticipated new album Let Them Eat Chaos will be released through Fiction Records featuring new single Don’t Fall In.

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.

Kate Tempest says: 

"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. Music, literature, theatre, film - these things are so important, they bring us together into the same space, they give us ourselves, they bring us to life, they beam our humanity back to us in all its hideous beauty. And in these times, with the fear spreading everywhere and the divisions between us deepening daily, we desperately need to remember that we are all part of the same thing. Nothing does that for me more profoundly or joyously than standing in the crowd watching a gig, or a play, or a painting. It’s like a little victory you get to keep forever. I want us to offer that experience to everyone.”

Tempest’s appointment as Guest Director follows a number of successful appearances at Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival. After her acclaimed play Wasted sold out Brighton Festival 2012, Tempest performed Brand New Ancients to two full houses in the Corn Exchange as part of Brighton Dome’s spring 2014 programme. In 2015 she headlined an exclusive Brighton Festival event alongside fellow wordsmiths George the Poet and Hollie McNish.

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Festival says: “We are privileged to announce such a distinctive and singular talent as our Guest Director for Brighton Festival 2017. Kate Tempest is uniquely positioned to fulfil the role – her seemingly limitless creativity has led to a body of work that straddles an extraordinary array of art forms and has earned her fans of all ages and from all walks of life. She is also passionate about the arts and its power to bring communities together – vital now more than ever. I can’t wait to continue the conversations with her as we work towards creating a Festival for next year which I hope will be a true inspiration to all.”

In 2016 Brighton Festival celebrated its 50th year of commissioning and producing innovative arts and culture. With a total audience reach of over 225,000, the milestone programme was the most successful in its history with more people engaging with the festival, both as audiences and participants, and more tickets sold than ever before. The Festival’s biggest talking point was Nutkhut’s Dr Blighty, an ambitious, large-scale, immersive, outdoor experience co-commissioned in partnership with Royal Pavilion & Museums and 14-18 NOW, which highlighted the story of wounded Indian soldiers hospitalised in Brighton during WW1. Ending each night with a spectacular light display using projection-mapping, Dr Blighty set the city and social media abuzz and drew audiences of almost 65,000 over its five day run.

Brighton Festival 2017 - which will take place from 6-28 May 2017 - will feature exclusives, world and UK premieres from a wide range of international, national and local artists and companies. 

Find out more about Kate Tempest's plans for the role in this exclusive online interview 

Full programme announced: Wed 15 Feb 2017
Members' priority booking: Thu 16 Feb 2017
General booking opens: Fri 24 Feb 2017

Photo by Hayley Louisa Brown