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

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Volunteer call-out: For the Birds

Take part in an immersive night time adventure where sound and light take flight!

Brighton Festival is taking to the Sussex woodland to create an enchanting journey for our guests to explore a world of sound and vision across May.

We are inviting volunteers to be part of our friendly front of house team for this mesmerising event.

Every Wed - Sun throughout May we are looking for a team of helpers between 8pm-12.30am to welcome and guide our customers throughout this magical experience. If you can volunteer an evening or several over May we'd be delighted to hear from you at festival.rota@brightondome.org. Please let us know what dates you are able to be involved. 

To take part there is a training session and preview on Fri 5 May 7pm-11.30pm, which we would invite you to attend in order to take part for the rest of the Festival. 

More on For the Birds...

As night falls, gather family and friends to embark on an enchanting journey into the Sussex woodland. Against a canvas of darkness and the sound of wind in the trees, you will follow a magical trail of beautiful and ingenious installations of light, sound and moving sculpture inspired by the world of birds.

Whether it’s the iconic robin, the chip-thieving gull, or blackbirds baked in a pie, we have an enduring connection with these special creatures. For the Birds will get you thinking about the mystery and beauty of the avian world - and why it should be protected.

Artist and producer Jony Easterby has brought together some of the most dynamic sound and lighting artists in the UK to create this unforgettable Brighton Festival outdoor experience.




In Pictures: Brighton Festival 2016

The 50th Brighton Festival is almost over, so we're taking a look back at the pictures from some of the shows and events we've loved the most. 

Picking out these images put a grin on our faces, and we hope it makes you smile too! 

Why not have a look through some more photos from this year's festival and re-live something special?

Photo credits: Victor Frankowski, Adam Weatherley, John Hunter

Interview: Dr Blighty projection mapping expert Paul Wigfield

We shine a light on the technology behind the Dr Blighty projections with Paul Wigfield, director of QED, the company behind the projection mapping that's enabled the beautiful and poignant transformation of the Royal Pavilion this Brighton Festival. 

How did you get involved in the project and what is your role?

I've been discussing this with the Festival over the past two years as it seemed a fitting way to mark its 50th anniversary. Our role was to produce and deliver the entire project.

It’s quite an ask - what did you think of the brief?

Our brief was to produce something spectacular for the Festival, but really it was the building itself that defined the brief, challenging us to tell the story of its role as a WW1 Indian military hospital.

What are the challenges of projecting onto a building of that scale?

The building is big, but by no means overwhelming - it's the immense amount of intricate detail that's the biggest challenge.

We therefore decided to cover every feature from every possible angle in order to project both onto and behind all the columns, as well as onto the onions and other architectural features. This enabled the content creators Novak to design uninterrupted continuous material that flows across all surfaces.

It's hard enough to project onto a large building from so many different angles, but even harder to create a digital canvas for something so heavily featured that still enables a story to be told and which can be appreciated by a large audience from all viewing angles.

It is a truly pioneering projection mapping project of the most intricate detail and quality, and we've had to deploy 500,000 lumens of projection power to enable it to happen before nightfall.

What does video mapping actually entail? Can you take us through the process in layman’s terms?

It's a lengthy and detailed process, however the concept and workflow is relatively simple. We first laser scanned the Pavilion and the surrounding environment and built a 3D model from the data. We then created a UV map of the building for the creatives to use as a content template. The UV map is essentially a flattened out 2D template that divides the building into the specific sections. It's like a jigsaw puzzle where all the individual pieces are sent to each projector and reassembled when projected back onto the building to create a completely seamless image.

Here we are sending 22 individual synchronised HD outputs from the media server in order to achieve coverage required. We knew it would require a large number of feeds but we didn't know quite how many until we pre-visualised the building with test content.

How did you feel when you saw it realised?

Absolutely amazing. I managed to resist the temptation to see it before the opening night as I wanted to fully experience and enjoy it from the perspective of a member of the audience. It's the culmination of many months of hard work and of many years waiting for the opportunity to arise.

We simply had to do justice to the Royal Pavilion, to honour the WW1 commemorations and to celebrate 50 years of the Brighton Festival, so we put all our resources and skills behind it.

Find out more about all the Dr Blighty events


Dr Blighty is a Nutkhut production co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions, Brighton Festival, and Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove. Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England, QED, and by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.


In Pictures: Week 2

The second week of Brighton Festival 2016 saw two performances from our Guest Director Laurie Anderson: the spellbinding Song Conversation, where she performed with fellow musician-composers Nik Bärtsch and Eivind Aarset, and Slideshow, a sometimes humorous, sometimes poignant journey touching on projects, memories and adventures from her past. 

On top of this, there were blockbuster performances from Duke Garwood and Haçienda Classical, Children's Laureate Chris Riddell answering questions and illustrating the answers live, the sonically spiritual Lou Reed Drones, and much more besides. 

Find out what's going on in the third and final week of Brighton Festival 2016. 

Photo credits Adam Weatherley, Vic Frankowski

Discover what's going on in Dr Blighty week

In the last week of Brighton Festival the Pavilion Gardens will be filled with a dreamlike environment of immersive installations, ambient soundscapes and theatrical interludes examining the legacy of the Indian soldiers who were wounded in WW1 and treated in Brighton. 


Dr Blighty

In Dr Blighty, performing arts company Nutkhut commemorates the 2300 Indian soldiers who were treated at the Royal Pavilion Estate, particularly focusing on the letters they wrote home. 

The title of the show is significant - Blighty, taken from the Urdu, ‘vilayat’ (specifically Europe or Britain) and ‘vilayati’ (Britain, English, Home), spread widely during World War 1. The term became an accepted reference to England, but also had a deep signficance for the south Asian soldiers.

Many of the soldiers believed the rumour that their King-Emperor George V had given up his own palace for them to be treated in, although in reality the royals had sold the Pavilion long before WW1.

Those soldiers who were illiterate conveyed their messages and letters to scribes at the hospital, who censored criticism of the war in Europe.

From Tue 24 - Sat 28 May (2pm – 10pm), Pavilion Gardens will host a variety of audio and visual experiences and acted performances reflecting on these histories.

This will include a stunning visual projection onto the front of the Pavilion itself at nighttime, telling the story of Dr Blighty.

This map shows the locations and some of the timings of events. 

Nutkhut have worked with Brighton locals to create some of the soundscapes that you'll be able to experience as you wander around the gardens. You can get a glimpse into this process in the video below:


Dr Blighty: Diya-making sessions

Come along to one of the drop in diya making sessions at Brighton Dome Café-bar throughout the Festival and make your very own decorated clay pot for the final installation of Dr Blighty.

You can watch this video from Nutkhut on how to make a diya.


Dr Blighty: Commemorations

On Sun 29 May (4pm) in a special event thousands of diyas will be laid down to memorialize the soldiers' stay in the city. 

A blue plaque will also be unveiled honouring Subedar Mir Dast, who was awarded the Victoria Cross by King George V, organised by Davinder Dhillon, from the Chattri Group.

Dr Blighty: The Concerts

Philharmonia Orchestra

Debashish Bhattacharya

In a special concert incorporating readings from letters and diaries of Indian servicemen, the Philharmonia will play alongside Indian violinist Kala Ramnath, Sat 28 May (7.30pm).

They will perform some of the best loved English music of the Edwardian era by Vaughan Williams and Butterworth as well as Kala Ramnath's The Seasons of India.

You can listen to Kala Ramnath performing with the London Symphony Orchestra string section to get a taste of this incredible meeting of East and West.


Afterwards (Sat 28 May, 10.15pm), slide guitar virtuoso Debashish Bhattacharya will perform a traditional raga concert alongside tabla player Gurdain Rayatt. Bhattacharya is one of the greats of world music and recently won a Songlines Music Awards 2016 winner (Asia & South Pacific) - this late night concert is not to be missed. 

Book now for Philharmonia Orchestra and Debashish Bhattacharya

Philharmonia Orchestra ticket holders enjoy £5 off the ticket price for the Debashish Bhattacharya concert when booked together over the phone or in person.


Dr Blighty is a production by Nutkhut and is part of 14-18 NOW, the UK's arts programme for the First World War Centenary. It is further co-commissioned by Brighton Festival and Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove. It is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England, QED, and by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Year 4 pupils imagine Brighton life in 2066 in exhibition celebrating 50 years of Brighton Festival

A solar-powered litter picking robot and a free hotel for homeless people, were among the creations made by Patcham Junior School’s Year 4s when tasked with imagining how Brighton might look in 2066, for Brighton Festival exhibition Futuregazers

A wide range of colourful and playful creations were made by on hundred 8 and 9 year-olds to celebrate Brighton Festival’s fiftieth year. Futuregazers is a free exhibition at Onca Gallery from 7-29 May.

The young artists have made bold responses to some big questions including homelessness, fossil fuel dependency and waste. This child-led celebration of the power of imagination will invite audiences of all ages to interact with it playfully and to add their own ideas to the exhibition. There will be free workshops for children families every weekend in May, and Radio FutureGazers FM will be broadcasting daily from the gallery.

Innovations include: ‘The Cleaner Upper: This solar powered litter-picking robot picks up rubbish, puts it in its big tummy and turns it into useful stuff’ and ‘The Free Hotel: We see a lot of homeless people around. We want a happy Earth - we want everyone to have happy and safe homes. So we’ve got a rooftop garden for fresh food and vegetables.’

ONCA co-director Persephone Pearl says, ‘It takes imagination, skill and even courage to dream about and describe the future at a time when the news is often dominated by negative stories. We are dazzled by Year 4’s optimistic, bold visions for Brighton: imaginariums, shark sanctuaries, solar buildings, waste -powered hotels. And of course, hoverboards.’

Exhibition Details:

FutureGazers | ONCA Gallery

Sat 7 - Sun 29 May 2016

Free Admission. Gallery Opening Times: Wednesday – Friday 12-7pm / Saturday & Sunday 11-6pm

ONCA Gallery, 14 St. George’s Place, Brighton BN1 4GB.

www.brightonfestival.org

Workshops:

May 8th 2-4pm: Thinking-Bubble Hats - What inventions would help to make the future even more exciting? Come and design an invention for the future that will make life easier, fuller, or just funnier! Materials provided. For children aged 5-12. With artist Clare Connelly.

May 15th 2-4pm: Write a Future Diary - Inspired by the Mass Observation Project. It’s May 15th, 2066. What are you doing today? For all ages and abilities.

May 22nd 2-4pm: Magical Wishing Wands - What do you most wish for the future? Safer rainforests and tigers, more libraries and art galleries, or an end to pollution? Come and design a magic wish-wand with an image on it of your wishes for the future. Materials provided. For children aged 5-12. With artist Clare Connelly.

May 29th: Voicemails from the Future - It’s 2066. Who will you call? What do you need to tell them? Using our futuristic FutureBooth, the power of your imagination and any phone at all, add your voicemail from the future to our growing collection. For all ages and abilities but recommended for 12-16s as part of B.Fest.

Festival Hot Seat... Portraits in Motion

Volker Gerling spent over a decade touring Germany by foot, capturing the people that he met in his distinctive flipbook portraits. We caught up with him to find out about the development of his craft and his extraordinary show Portraits in Motion

Can you tell us what your show is about?

In the summer of 2002 I took an old wooden kitchen tray and made it into a simple hawker’s tray. It had room for six photographic flipbooks, which showed portraits of my friends, and I hung a sign on it saying “Please visit my traveling exhibition”.

I walked through Berlin, showing people my flipbook ‘movies’. I screwed an empty honey jar underneath the hawker’s tray so that visitors could pay a symbolic entrance fee.

For nearly a year I showed people my flipbook movies in Berlin. Then, I decided to become a journeyman – I wanted to find out how people all over the country would react to my flipbooks.

And I wanted to make some new flipbooks.

I was afraid that I would miss something if I travelled too quickly, so I decided to walk. In the summer of 2003 I walked from Berlin to Basel – a walk of 1,200 kilometres – and it was a great experience. So I decided to do it again.

Since then I have walked nearly every summer and in total I have walked some 3,500 kilometres, nearly all in Germany. On all of these walks my only source of money came from showing my flipbooks. Portraits in Motion is based on my long summer walks and the people I met on them.

Volker with his tray of flipbooks

How and where will it be staged?

I leaf through the flipbooks under a video camera that projects them onto a large screen, and I tell the stories about the people that are portrayed. The show is a reflection on the passing of time and what it means when people meet each other.

Why should someone come and see your show?

To see my protagonists come to life on screen in a way that you’ve probably never experienced before.

Where did the idea and inspiration come from?

My inspiration comes from my fascination for human beings, faces, portrait photography, walking and storytelling.

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

Because every story that is told from the heart is important.

What sort of person is going to love this show?

Everybody who is able to see great things emerge from small things.

What’s going to surprise people about this show?

Nothing will prepare you for the intimacy of the flip books. There's something magical about these miniature glimpses into human souls.

This year marks 50 years of Brighton Festival. What does it mean for you to be part of the festival in this milestone year?

It feels like a big honour for me to be part of the festival this year.

Book now for Portraits in Motion

Brighton Festival celebrates the city's memories with new oral history app

'Jimi Hendrix signed my tambourine and I had to run for my life...'

A free interactive oral history app unfolding the ordinary personal stories of young love, loss and rebellion in the 1940s, 50s and 60s is launching during May as part of Brighton Festival 2016.

The Giddy app, from Brighton arts collective The Nimbus Group and funded with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, takes users on an alternative walking tour of the city, punctuated by GPS triggered personal histories straight from the mouths of the people who lived them.

From a chance meeting with Jimi Hendrix in the back of a beaten up MG and tales of daytime runaways who never got caught, to stories about sneaking into strip bars and dancing til dawn with the Teddy boys, Giddy offers a view of life in the postwar years that is conspicuously absent from the history books.

All of the content – the stories, photographs, app design – has been gathered and created by teenaged pupils of Brighton’s Longhill School, with the support of a team of archive specialists, oral history interviewers and photographers.

‘Every generation of young people thinks they are the first to experience the intense highs, lows and giddy adventures of the teenage years,’ says Carina Westling of The Nimbus Group. 

‘We wanted to use digital technology to create something that celebrates the stuff of life that unites us as humans, reveals our individuality but also highlights universal themes associated with youth that span the generations,’ she says.

‘Oral history offers a perspective of the past that stands outside the received wisdom of the history books. Our intention for Giddy is to bring history to life in such a way that the young (or not so young) people who hear these stories will never look at older people in quite the same way again.’

Giddy is available for iOS and Android smartphones from May, sign up for a notification of the app’s release at www.giddybrighton.com.

An accompanying online archive and exhibition featuring portraits and archive images gathered during the making of the app will launch at University of Brighton's on 7 May 2016, which will be open to the public till the end of the Festival on 29 May.

Brighton Festival 2016 branding: Fifty years on the edge

What’s black and white and read all over? The 50th Brighton Festival brochure…

Working to create our striking monochrome 50th identity has been a lot of fun. Here’s what designers Johnson Banks said about their inspiration and direction,

‘This year Brighton Festival asked us to create a special identity to celebrate their fiftieth year. It really was a gift for us, that their current F logo could become the initial letter for 'FIFTY' in a one-off logotype.

The festival has always celebrated the experimental, unusual and cutting edge in the arts, wanting to disrupt the quotidian. So the 'FIFTY' marque began from there - avoiding the traditional, and sitting on the edge, literally and figuratively. The vertical type, chevrons and diagonal cut letters add to the dislocated effect. This year's line 'Fifty years on the edge' developed from the same starting point.

Laurie Anderson, the Guest Director for 2016, herself an experimental performance artist, is a perfect fit with the festival ethos for their golden year.’ 

The design process in progress:


Spotlight: Brighton: Symphony of a City

Discover more from Lizzie Thynne and Ed Hughes, as they discuss Brighton: Symphony of a City

One of the Brighton Festival events people still talk about is the screening of Battleship Potemkin (2005) with Ed Hughes’s new score in the Hove Engineerium. When Ed and Brighton based filmmaker Lizzie Thynne proposed a Brighton homage to Walther Ruttmann’s 1927 silent classic Berlin: Symphony of a Great City, we grabbed the opportunity to celebrate Brighton in all its festive, bohemian, campaigning, fun-filled glory.

See more Spotlight films, where we cast a spotlight on some of our special commissions and co-commissions in our milestone 50th Brighton Festival.

Video by Catalina Balan with Neil Whitehead