Previous Festival Guest Directors
Working with artists of international and artistic renown expands the festival's horizons and takes our programme in interesting and innovative ways
2020/2021: Lemn Sissay MBE
If you Google, the name 'Lemn Sissay' all the returning hits will be about him. There’s only one person in the world named Lemn Sissay
2019: Rokia Traoré
With her work rooted in Malian musical tradition, 2019’s Guest Director was one of Africa’s most inventive musicians
2018: David Shrigley
Best known for his distinctive drawing style and works that make satirical comments on the absurdity of 21st-century society.
2017: Kae Tempest
The Guest Director for Brighton Festival 2017 was the acclaimed recording artist, poet, playwright and novelist
2016: Laurie Anderson
The experimental artist and musician took the helm as Guest Director in 2016 as Brighton Festival celebrated its milestone 50th year
2015: Ali Smith
Described as an heir to Virgina Woolf, this award winning Scottish author was guest director for the 49th Festival
2014: Hofesh Shechter
Critically acclaimed choreographer, dancer, musician, composer and performer Hofesh Shechter helmed the 2014 Festival
2013: Michael Rosen
Celebrated poet, writer, broadcaster and former Children's Laureate Michael Rosen led the 47th Brighton Festival
2012: Vanessa Redgrave
Vanessa Redgrave brought her unique passion to the role of Guest Director of the 46th Brighton Festival.
2011: Aung San Suu Kyi
Brighton Festival celebrated liberty and freedom with Guest Director Aung San Suu Kyi in 2011.
2010: Brian Eno
One of popular music’s most innovative and influential figures, Brian Eno crafted a highly personal programme in 2010