Brighton Festival 2019Public booking opens: Fri 24 Feb, 9am

Showing 1 to 25 of 455 items

In conversation with: Director of Superhoe Jade Lewis

University of Sussex student Lola Awoderu, speaks to Director of Superhoe, Jade Lewis. Superhoe is the first collaboration between Talawa Theatre Company and the Royal Court Theatre and was first presented as part of Talawa Firsts in June 2018. Superhoe is Nicôle Lecky’s writing and performing debut and is directed by Jade Lewis . We spoke to Jade Lewis about her time at the University of Sussex and her involvement in Superhoe.


You studied History here at University of Sussex, how did your experience affect your journey to becoming a Director?

I was Vice President of ACAS, I wanted to bring ACAS arts to the university. Every Tuesday evening we’d all come together to make short plays; we did a showing in Falmer bar and that later transpired to Culture Fest. We used our platform to showcase all our talent ranging from theatre to dance.  Being a part of ACAS arts was a nice way to feel comfortable at university – I was bonding and making friends through it, which can be difficult at times at university. In terms of history, I loved stories and learning about the world so then in my third year I studied South African history, and my dissertation was based on how theatre was used as a protest movement. I was able to read plays and question how theatre was used as a medium as opposed to the government. Sussex had the space and the resources in order for me to explore those realms.

What made you want to get involved in Superhoe? Did you already know Nicôle Lecky beforehand?

Nicôle and I met working on the project; she wrote the play with support of Talawa theatre company. They do a festival every year called Talawa Firsts and featured Superhoe as part of this festival. We were introduced through a mutual friend, had a meeting and then jumped into a 3-day RND on this play, and off the back of that showing it then got picked up by the Royal Court. We worked really well together, at a really a good pace. The Royal Court and Talawa did a co-production which lead to Superhoe. It was very much a professional relationship but through that we've become very good friends and collaborators.

What were the biggest challenges you faced when directing?

A real challenge we faced was what the design was: it’s a one person show and it’s very dense and text heavy. We had to question how we can make this text breathe, and present to the audience. Sasha goes from location to location, we had to visually show what the text does not do, which led to us using the AV. We wanted the audience to feel empowered after this story, all we ever strive for as humans is to be loved and be accepted and she goes on this journey of constantly not being ‘good enough.’ Social media shows how we live our lives but ‘no one is really living it up like their profile,’ and again how can we then show that without it being on the low and very literal. Through constant negotiation and trial and error we, got there in the end.

What advice would you give to any other black and minority creatives who are trying to navigate their way through the industry?

I’d say self-belief, believe that you can, believe that you will, because the industry will sometimes tell you that you won’t or can’t. Surround yourself with positive people that are like minded, and when working with people like Nicôle we were on the same wavelength. I feel like we’re in a time and age where that is happening much more – now we want each other to win, because ‘if you win, I win.’ It’s a new growing mentally. Keep working at your craft and keep asking questions, don’t feel like you have to conform with what’s already there. Be willing to evolve and be opened minded to what comes your way.

What is next? Do you have any visions for what you want to work on in the future?

I’m working on a project with Central School of Speech of Drama students, making a play for under-fives. I’m a true believer of keeping theatre alive and how can we keep theatre alive if we only make shows for adults? As a creative you can do anything – I’m having loads of meetings and I’m very mindful about what I do next. Superhoe has opened up a lot of doors for me, especially in terms of networking and establishing long term relationships. I’m kind of in the lab of the moment, but I know it's important to rest… if you don't rest, you’re not going to be at your best.

Thank you for being part of the story!

This year’s Brighton Festival was all about celebrating stories – exploring their ability to intrigue us, challenge assumptions and bond people together.

Whether you came to one show, or took part in events throughout the Festival, we’re so glad you could join us for another incredible year of talent, expression and artistic invention.

We’re so thankful to everyone who helped make this year so memorable, especially all our audiences, artists, participants, volunteers, sponsors, members, patrons and staff. A special thank you also to our 2019 Guest Director Rokia Traoré, who brought immeasurable time and talent curating this year's Brighton Festival edition.

We look forward to seeing you again next year! Save the dates: 2 - 24 May 2020

Video by Summer Dean, Savanna Gladstone and Jen O'Brien

Volunteer Spotlight: Volunteer Greeter, Katy

During Volunteers’ Week we continue our Volunteer Spotlight series with an interview with Brighton  Festival volunteer Katy, who talks about the shows she’s enjoyed most, Billy Bragg’s very particular request and why she returned to volunteer for a second year.

What’s your role?
I’m a Festival Greeter which involves a bit of setting up, welcoming people when they arrive at a venue, helping to seat them and answering any questions during the show. I make sure everyone has a great time basically! I love working with people – the audiences, the paid staff, producers and performers sometimes. It’s very different from my day job in an academic library!

Two years ago I volunteered as a Literature Assistant and I wanted to volunteer again.

What did that involve?
Getting to the sessions early, meeting some of the authors at the station to get them to the hotel or the venue – particularly if they were late. One speaker arrived 15 minutes before the show so it was a bit of a mad dash from the train station to the venue! Jenny Murray was great. I didn’t get to watch her talk because I was looking after her dogs - she had three chihuahuas who are tiny and amazing! I also met Billy Bragg. He asked me for a pencil with an eraser because he wanted to rub out something he was presumably composing or writing at the time!

So what shows are you volunteering at this year?
I volunteered at Sam Sweeney's event at All Saints Church in Hove, which is a beautiful venue. I love it that you get to see lots of different places – churches, the Theatre Royal, Brighton Dome. I’m volunteering at events at the i360 and at Black Rock this weekend. There are such a variety of places you could find be!

Flight at the King Alfred Leisure Centre in Hove was really different. I had to wear a radio which was quite exciting! You watch it solo sitting in your own little booth with headphones. It was about child refugees travelling from Afghanistan across Europe to London so it was quite harrowing in places. The audience goes in one by one and it starts minute, after minute telling the story to each person as they watch little 3D models going around in a barrel drum. It’s so clever and really immersive and intense. I got to see that because someone didn’t turn up. That’s always a nice perk of volunteering.

Do volunteers often get to watch the shows they work at?
It depends on the show and the role you’re doing. You might be in the auditorium during the show – or you might not be – but the staff will try to get you to see it if they can. You’re volunteering your time so they want you to have a good experience.

What’s been your highlight this year?
I worked at The Nature of Why, by the British Paraorchestra. It was on at Brighton Dome with a small audience of about 150 who were up on stage with the performers.

You were on stage?!
Yes. It was just electric. There were dancers who moved, with some of the musicians, among the audience. Everyone had such a brilliant experience. It’s lovely to hear the feedback at the end – if people experience a show that thrilled them, that took them away somewhere, that mesmerised them - they really want to share that with you.

Has it been easy to fit volunteering around your life?
Yes. I’ve got two kids and work full time and it’s been easy because you can pick your availability – they're really accommodating and understand if you can’t make it. The Festival staff have generally been so welcoming and friendly and made it such a positive experience. 

To find out more about volunteering year-round for Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival email volunteers@brightonfestival.org

Round-up: Audience Reactions

Wow – what a month we have had! We’ve enjoyed every second of Brighton Festival 2019, and we hope you had a blast too. Here's a quick look back at what audiences had to say...

Flight

Flight was deeply moving, breathtakingly beautiful and utterly necessary work of storytelling. Everyone should see it to understand the real-life experience of young people fleeing war and oppression and seeking shelter in Europe. Good art should leave you questioning the world – Flight made me want to take immediate action”


A Child of Our Time

“An outstanding performance, full of intense emotion, context and meaning”


Rokia Traoré: Dream Mandé: Djata

"Captivating. Magical. She had the whole theatre spellbound and listening with complete focus. Beautiful. Thank you, Rokia."


Still I Rise

"Another refreshingly free from boring stereotypical gender roles. Hooray! A diverse and talented group of female performance who were skilful, graceful and powerful. I loved this show."


True Copy

"Utterly absorbing, a calm and gentle story which gradually unwinds revealing more and more layers. The brilliant BERLIN create another very human, real world gem."


The Nature of Why

"It was mesmerising and aurally and visually beautiful. I felt so close to the performance and the performers. It felt intimate and personal.”


Silence

“A stunning and powerful portrayal of war, invasion and terror. It’s one of the best things I’ve seen on this subject”


A Midsummer Night’s Dream

“Fabulous performance! Brilliant cast, beautiful voices and some truly hilarious moments. Laughed till I cried”


Backbone

“Absolutely amazing! Beautiful, poignant, funny and totally breathtaking! A dramatic showcase of human physicality, which was a joy to watch! The performers really looked like they were living their best lives!”


My Left Right Foot: The Musical

“Genuinely blown away by how good this show was. Hilarious performances from everyone, and so well written with some really thought-provoking ideas on inclusion”


To relive your Brighton Festival experience, look back at our videos here

University of Sussex students help create treasure hunt inspired by local history for Our Place at Brighton Festival

A treasure hunt will take place through the streets of Hangleton this weekend, after students and staff from the University of Sussex successfully collaborated with a local storyteller for Our Place a part of Brighton Festival.

Final year undergraduates from the department of History were offered the chance to apply their learning by researching and presenting material on Hangleton’s history, which Brighton based storyteller Jon Mason would then weave into a themed event.

Overseen by course leaders Professor Lucy Robinson and Dr Chris Warne, students threw themselves into the challenge, devising puzzles and story elements and using digital technology to present their ideas producing content which will be viewable to participants through their phones.

The work has resulted in a ‘Time Travel Treasure Hunt’; an interactive adventure for families at Our Place in Hangleton on Saturday 25 May which will share stories about heroes, villains and folktales from the area's past. 

Laura Barrow, an undergraduate student in History with a year abroad, said: “The Hangleton project was a great way to round off the year and continue to explore my interests in digital history and interactive media.

“I really enjoyed working with my group and learning about the area. Devils Dyke railway and Hangleton has some rich history which I wouldn't known about if we hadn't done this project.

“The tutors and our professional storyteller did a fabulous job guiding us through this process.”

The event takes participants on a search for fragments of the ‘Chronoscope’, a lost time machine credited to real-life local inventor Magnus Volk. Malevolent forces are trying to control the City's past, present and future by finding the time machine first, but a Time Agent has enlisted the treasure hunters to beat them to it!

At each step, the narrative is joined by spies, ghosts, thrill seekers and other figures from the local past, making it not just a tour of the physical space, but a journey through local history.

Participants will also be challenged to think about Brighton & Hove's contested identity over time, considering whether Brighton is a rural village or a wealthy resort, a Bohemian metropolis or a conservative suburb. Even if the hunters find all the pieces of the Chronoscope, they must decide how they want the City to be.

Storyteller Jon Mason said: "Events like this are why I became a storyteller in the first place, I want to engage everyone with the drama, magic and depth of history in the landscape around them.

“It's easy to write off somewhere you're familiar with as boring, and that affects how we feel about ourselves. But everywhere has its own story, and the people who came before us leave marks which can define our life."

The Time Travel Treasure Hunt is part of the Brighton Festival’s Our Place programme, a day of free events at Hangleton Community Centre on 25 May. A parallel day of events was also held at Whitehawk on Sat 18 May. The idea of Our Place is to bring family-friendly theatre, dance, music, games, activities and workshops into smaller communities, and involve local residents in planning and staging the events.

Megan Sweeney, student in Anthropology and History, said: “I enjoyed exploring what history can be and do in the real world outside of University, through both traditional storytelling and the digital medium.

“I feel more involved in the community outside the centre of Brighton now; an area I would probably never have been to if I hadn't been a part of this project.

“It feels good knowing that our research helps extend the Festival so that it feels more inclusive to smaller community areas like Hangleton.”

Lucy Robinson, Professor of Collaborative History, said: "We are committed to genuinely collaborative relationships with the wider community and feel it is important for students to reflect on their place in Brighton and Hove as a community beyond the university campus towards the end of their time studying here.

“Rather than coming up with projects in the isolation of the University and then 'exchanging' them with communities, we see ourselves as part of the community, engaged in the co-production of questions about history and responses to them.

“There is a particular resonance with Our Place as it was put in place during poet and musician Kate Tempest's curatorship of the festival; a very real example of how the arts and popular culture can drive social change. Our Place breaks down the artificial lines between 'high art' and popular culture, this seems a close match with Sussex's history's focus on bottom up, everyday and resistant histories that take popular culture seriously as a driver for historical change.”

Professor Lucy Robinson and Dr Chris Warne will now analyse the relationship between the academic research undertaken, Jon's narrative, and the participants' experiences after the event.

The Treasure Hunt runs at 11.00am and 1.30pm (duration 60-90mins) on Sat 25  May 2019 at Our Place, at Hangleton Community Centre.

Check out the full programme

Thank you University of Sussex for supporting this event 

Words: Stephanie Allen

Volunteer Spotlight: Volunteer Coordinator, Dee

More than 100 volunteers work at Brighton Festival each year. A volunteer herself, Dee helped to co-ordinate it all. She talked to us about what it’s like to work behind the scenes and how she fit her role around her studies.


What does your role involve?
This year I am working with the Volunteer Coordination Manager as a Volunteer Coordinator Volunteer (a bit of a mouthful!). I am in the office one-two days a week, helping with… anything I can help with really! From filing paperwork and updating our volunteer database to answering queries and getting in touch with the Festival volunteers.

Why did you want to volunteer?
I love my city, and I love the arts. I have worked in the sector for a number of years now. This year I happened to have a little more spare time on my hands and thought it would be a missed opportunity not to apply. Besides, this year I have made a promise to try as many new things as possible, and volunteering for the Brighton Festival was on my list!

How have you found the experience of volunteering for Brighton Festival?
It’s fun! The team is just amazing - such lovely people, all of them. It is a pleasure to work with them and see behind-the-scenes of the Festival from their perspective.

As a student has it been easy to fit around your studies?
I am in the final stages of my second MA (Art History and Museum Curating at the University of Sussex). While things are getting a little intense now and the dissertation is looming, I found it rewarding to dedicate what is really just a small part of my week to working with the Festival team, learning new things and widening my experience.

What has been the most satisfying part of your role?
If at the end of my day in the office, I have made Catherine's (our Volunteer Coordination Manager) work even a tiny bit easier, I am happy.

What's been the highlight of your volunteering?
The best part is the Festival itself. This year it has been an absolute blast - so many great shows, we are really spoilt for choice. And of course the Volunteer Welcome Event, which we organised for the volunteers before the Festival had started, was a treat! It was such fun meeting everyone and the annual Brighton Dome quiz at the end of the night was a total success!

To find out more about volunteering year-round for Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival email volunteers@brightonfestival.org

What's On In Worthing

Make the most of the Festival's final week by widening your horizons and getting over to Worthing, where for the first time ever, a range of fun, family-friendly events are springing up across Brighton's neighbouring town. To help you pick and choose what to do and see, we’ve spoken with Stephen Sheldrake, senior campaign officer for Worthing Theatre, Museum & Art Gallery, for an insider scoop on a few hidden gems dotted about the town you might have missed. Along with the stunning line-up of Festival events taking place in Worthing throughout May, you’re sure to find something to keep you and your family and friends entertained!

Spymonkey’s Cooped (Part of Brighton Festival)

As part of the 2019 Brighton Festival, catch the hilarious and ‘deliciously demented’ theatrical stylings of Spymonkey, in the show that launched them into stardom - Cooped. Think Hitchcock’s Rebecca meets The Pink Panther, this show is packed with laughs, slapstick, top-class acting, and a wild, raucous experience you won’t find anywhere else!


Cooped will be showing at Pavillion Theatre Worthing from Wed 22 to Sun 26 May. Visit the Festival’s Spymonkey event page to book your tickets today!

Worthing Pier

“…the town has also just won pier of the year…” Stephen Sheldrake, Worthing Theatre, Museum & Art Gallery.

Described as ‘the heart of Worthing’, this picturesque structure was built in the 1800’s, and has survived through war, fire, partial demolition, and storms with minimal damage. The people of Worthing have always sought to keep the monument standing, and for good reason. Today, the pier is a popular wedding venue and café/bar, as well as keeping an amusement arcade in the centre for young beachgoers.

See the Worthing Pier website for photos, historical information, and details about your visit.

Art-ful Pottery Café

If you are looking for an easy, inexpensive way to spend some creative time with your little ones, or with your friends or partner, there is no better place than the Art-ful Pottery Café. As well as running some family-friendly workshops, such as their Toddler Mornings on Wednesdays and Fridays (with an extra room for sensory play!), the women at Art-ful also run Artful-Evenings, specifically catered to adults who want to get something personal out of the experience. Bottles of wine are encouraged if you want to bring one along!

Art-ful Pottery Café is open Tuesday to Sunday, check their website for further information. £5-7 booking price per person, which includes tea and a slice of cake!

Still I Rise (Part of Brighton Festival)

In celebration of the life of Maya Angelou, phenomenal poet, author, and activist, who died peacefully in 2014, this emotive and gripping piece of dance theatre is not to be missed. TRIBE// are a new, powerful force to be reckoned with, and this performance is their means of proving it. Commemorating and honouring a truly remarkable woman, Still I Rise allows spectators to draw their own interpretations from the dance and implores them to reach personal conclusions within themselves.


Still I Rise is a performance put on by Brighton Festival, taking place in Connaught Theatre Worthing on Thu 23 May. Look on the festival’s Still I Rise event page to find out more.

Worthing Museum & Art Gallery

“…we also run a free Museum & Art Gallery that boasts the third largest costume collection in the UK.” Stephen Sheldrake, Worthing Theatre, Museum & Art Gallery.

For an inexpensive and unforgettable experience, we highly recommend a visit to the totally free Worthing Museum & Art Gallery. Boasting the third biggest costume collection in the UK, as well as a constant stream of imaginative and thought-provoking exhibitions each month, there is bound to be something for all everyone to enjoy.

The Worthing Museum & Art Gallery offers full disabled-access to all of its display rooms, as well as the shop. For more information, visit the website.


We are proud to incorporate Brighton's sister town of Worthing for this year’s Brighton Festival, and hope to bring the joy of the Festival right to the door of anyone who wants to get involved. 

Five Minutes with Founder & CEO of Selective Asia Nick Pulley

Selective Asia is an award-winning tour operator, offering thoughtfully crafted holidays in Asia. They’ve been travelling to Asia for decades and have shared their passion by taking clients there for the past 13 years. Based in the heart of the North Laine in Brighton, they admit that this remarkable city makes returning home from these journeys just a little bit easier and they’re thrilled to be sponsoring the Brighton Festival for the first time.


Firstly, describe the festival in three words:

Dynamic, innovative and vibrant.Constant fun…can I have fourth and a fifth?

What are you looking forward to, and what has been your stand-out performance so far in this year’s festival?

I’m looking forward to seeing Seeta Patel’s Not Today’s Yesterday, as well as the amazing Taiwanese Varhung: Heart to Heart, which we’re sponsoring. I really enjoyed Backbone. The performance was absolutely breathtaking from start to finish!

What impact do you think the festival has for the people here and for you?

I love the vibrancy that the festival brings to our city. We are well and truly spoilt during May with the sheer variety of incredible performances that we get to witness, not to mention the free shows and exhibitions which really bring the arts to the whole community.

In your first-year sponsoring Brighton Festival you’ve created a guide to Brighton’s best independent Asian restaurants. What inspired this?

Each of us has dishes which are particularly close to our hearts, from steaming bowls of pho that bring back memories of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, to fragrant curries that contain all the spice and heat of an evening on the backwaters of Kerala. Although we’re an international business, Brighton is central to our DNA, so we wanted to do something to promote and raise awareness of Asian restaurants in the city. We wanted to tap into our natural traveller’s curiosity and throw a spotlight on the unwritten stories of the chefs raising the bar of Asian-inspired dining in Brighton.


What can we expect to see in the guide?

We’ve chosen seven of our stand-out favourite Asian restaurants, whose food we know intimately and are inspired by the fascinating stories we’ve heard from the restauranteurs. From Tuntun’s, an authentic café celebrating Bangladeshi dishes to Lucky Khao who champion northern Thai food, the Selective Bites guide gives readers a taste of what they can expect, plus some extraordinary tales from the head chefs and owners behind our favourite restaurants. There’s also plenty of top tips for travelling throughout Asia! You can pick up a copy at the Brighton Dome, Festival ticket office or at each of the featured restaurants, or alternatively download an e-guide from our website. It was a lot of fun to create and we’ve been receiving great feedback from the Brighton public who have been busy discovering new flavours throughout the festival!

Brighton Festival is proud to support artists from around the world and we’re particularly excited to welcome Tijmur Dance Theatre from Taiwan this year. We’re delighted to partner with Selective Asia to help showcase the incredible range of Asian food the city has to offer our residents. Be sure to pick up a free copy of Selective Bites in Brighton Dome! 

Come over to Our Place

Volunteers Tanya and Ricky helped to create Our Place, an event that saw the vibrancy and talents of their local community come to life. As members of the East Brighton Steering Committee they put together an awe-inspiring line up of theatre, dance, sport, music and activities. We talked to them about the event and their experience of volunteering for Brighton Festival.

What is Our Place?

Tanya: It’s a community event that takes community events to another level! It’s all free so everyone can come and there are some amazing performances and workshops on throughout the day, this year headlining with Abba tribute band Re-Bjorn!

What does your role involve?

Tanya: Working together in partnership with Brighton Festival, Brighton People’s Theatre, Due East and community groups in East Brighton to make the day as great as it can be.


What do you love most about it?

Tanya: I love the build up to it, seeing everyone working together and how many people from the local community want to be involved – there are more and more every year - and we’ve got 25 volunteers this year!

How do you think it impacts the local community?

Ricky: Before Our Place I was never really into art or culture – I thought it wasn’t for me – but from being involved I’ve seen tried new things and really enjoyed it. I hope it will be the same for other people - they might come to see sport and be drawn into something else - maybe step out of their comfort zone and try something new.


How have you found the experience of volunteering for Brighton Festival?

Tanya: Just brilliant - we’ve been really well supported. Speaking from the heart, it’s so so important to look after volunteers. They’re here because they want to be here. Not because they have to be here or because they’re being paid to be here but because they really love what they're doing.  

Find out more about Our Place

Produced in association with Brighton People's Theatre, the Hangleton and Knoll ProjectDue East and the Hangleton & East Brighton Our Place Steering Committees 

Supported by


What's On: Must-see Events This Weekend at Brighton Festival

We’ve had an incredible few weeks at Brighton Festival. With a jam-packed closing weekend, here’s a quick rundown of what’s happening…


Cooped
Wed 22-Sun 26 May

As Spymonkey celebrate its 20th anniversary, don’t miss the opportunity to catch the show which made them an international comedy sensation. Cooped, a deliciously demented take on the pulp gothic romance – think Hitchcock’s Rebecca meets The Pink Panther

Read our interview with Spymonkey to find out more


Silence

Wed 22-Sat 25 May

Poland’s Teatr Biuro Podrozy make their Brighton debut with this extraordinary large-scale spectacle, a moving insight into the lives of ordinary citizens trapped by war. Using light, sound and pyrotechnics to conjure the visceral reality of war.


A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Thu 23-Sat 25 May

Shakespeare’s magic-filled comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream is performed in the open air by The Lord Chamberlain’s Men. Bring a chair or a rug to enjoy a glorious May’s evening watching one of Shakespeare’s best-loved plays. Experience this enchanting performance, overflowing with Elizabethan costumes, fairies, sprites, dukes, confused lovers and music and dance.

True Copy
Thu 23-Sun 16

Based on the true story of possibly the most successful art forger in the world, BERLIN uses its genre-curious style to expose the hypocrisy of the art world.


SESSION
Thu 23-Sun 26 may

Part gig, part social and part dance party, the show is led by an ensemble of young dances who move across hip hop, contemporary folk and Afrobeats – celebrating community, youth and belonging. Join us for a high-energy night of dance and live music!


Peter Sellars and Rokia Traoré
Fri 24 May

Join our Guest Director, Rokia Traoré and Peter Sellars as they explore our world through the lens of humanity, compassion and art. Warm and intimate, this is a conversation not to be missed.

New Daughters of Africa
Fri 24 May

In 1992, Margaret Busby edited what Carol Boyce Davis described as ‘one of the most significant assemblages of writers across the diaspora’, effectively collating oral and written work from women of African descent.. A quarter of a century later, Margaret Busby has edited New Daughters of Africa, with over 200 writers and a much greater focus on the contemporary. Experience the newest new daughters first hand as Margaret Busby introduces three exciting UK contributors - Candice Carty-Williams, Irenosen Okojie and Catherine Johnson.

Varhung: Heart to heart
Sat 25 May

Taiwanese Tjimur Dance Theatre presents a richly patterned performance that shows how the Paiwan people, not used to discussing private feelings, use artforms to bring them to the surface. Experience a deeply emotional and open-hearted performance.


Our Place – Hangleton Community Centre
Sat 25 May

For the third year running we’ve been working in partnership with Brighton People’s Theatre, Due East, Hangleton and Knoll Project, and the community steering committee to enable local residents to make their vision come to life. This year the communities have taken control of the event, bringing more free family-friendly theatre, dance, music, games, activities and workshops to Hangleton and East Brighton. View the full programme here.


A Jar of Pickles & a Pinch of Justice with Chinta Soundar
Sat 25 May

Chitra Soundar has collected and retold some ancient trickster tales from India in which young Prince Veera and his friend Suku get into a pickle or two. The king is away, and they have the power to run his kingdom! What will they do? Come and listen to Chitra bring these stories alive in Brighton.

Another Star to Steer By
Sat 25-Sun 26 May

Another Star to Steer By is a magical 45-minute play (for audiences of 6+) celebrating the special power of storytelling, using drama, humour, audience participation and singing.

Read our interview with writer Andrew McCaldon


BOYS
Sat 25-Sun 26 May

The PappyShow celebrates male tenderness, silliness, vulnerability and community with a cast of young men of colour from England, BOYS gives us a window to share their experiences, their hopes, families and globe-spanning heritage.

Read our interview with The PappyShow to find out more about BOYS


Neneh Cherry + Celeste
Sat 25 May

Join iconic Swedish singer-songwriter Neneh Cherry for an evening as she shares her new album 'Broken Politics' along with Brighton native, Celeste.

Neneh Cherry at Brighton Festival

Acts of Care
Sat 25 May

Author of Distortion and Financial Times journalist Gautam Malkani joins author of Hold Michael Donkor at Brighton Festival this May. Discussing the 'Acts of Care' and their novels along with Naana Orleans-Amissah, a counsellor and literary enthusiast.

Safe
Sun 26 May

Derek Owusu, Mostly Lit podcast host and editor of SAFE: On Black British Men Reclaiming Space, is joined by Okechukwu Nzelu and Stephen Morrison-Burke as he leads a conversation that embraces family, mental health, the LGBT community and grime music.

A Child of our Time
Sun 26 May

This special concert is performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra alongside Brighton Festival Chorus and a cast of world-class soloists and promises a deeply emotional journey and particularly poignant end to our 2019 Festival programme.

Don’t miss out – it’s your last chance to check out Iron Men and Current Affairs

Five Minutes with Nick Evans: Managing Partner of Griffith Smith Solicitors

We met with Nick Evans, managing partner of Griffith Smith Solicitors, one of Brighton Festival's longtime sponsors, to discuss what he finds special about the Festival. Nick and his team are keen to support local artists, as he explains below.

Firstly, describe the festival in three words:

Random. Creative. Freedom!

What are you looking forward to?

My top tip this year is Neneh Cherry, she's a must see! I saw her last year in the film Stockholm My Love - music and poetry in one. Brilliant. Also, take time to catch a lunchtime concert. There’s plenty of choice in this year’s festival and a great way to get out of the office for an hour.

Neneh Cherry

What impact do you think the Festival has for the people here and for you?

The streets come alive during the Festival. There is a great sense of freedom around and you can take the time to discover wonderful, random new things. I also love the Artists Open Houses, an unmissable part of the festive season.

What are your highlights from the past?

Seeing Courtney Pine at the Brighton Dome was a key highlight for me. He’s one of our finest jazz musicians. Some early deranged nonsense from Spymonkey was great fun too!

Spymonkey's 'Cooped'

For more information about Griffith Smith Solicitors, visit their website. Interested in becoming a sponsor? See our Support Us page.

Review: Iron Men & Current Affairs: 'the artists reference and welcome us into their home countries while delivering international environmental messages'

Brighton Festival Press Intern, Sofia Christodoulou shares her thoughts on Serge Attukwei Clottey’s exhibition Current Affairs and Fototala King Massassy’s photographic exhibition Iron Men both currently exhibiting as part of Brighton Festival until the end of May.


Ghanaian Serge Attukwei Clottey and Malian photographer Fototala King Massassy are currently exhibiting their work in local galleries, Fabrica Gallery and Phoenix Gallery as part of Brighton Festival. The theme of ‘community’ is prevalent in both exhibitions; however, the artists have used the spaces in contrasting ways.

Current Affairs is a wholly interactive show, upon arriving I was encouraged to walk on, touch and take photographs of the work; a tapestry made from re-purposed jerry cans. These cans, some of which are placed around the exhibition, have been imported into Ghana from Europe and Asia often carrying oil and are then re-purposed to carry water by those struggling due to the country’s water shortage. Through this work, the artist highlights the environmental impact the use of plastic has within the community in Ghana.

The huge, bright yellow work is striking and contrasts with the wooden church interior of Fabrica. Serge uses his artwork to comment on the global issue of plastic waste and the sheer volume of material used in the jerry can tapestry perfectly captures this idea as it spans almost the entire gallery floor. To add to the interactive nature of the show, there is a table full of information about the artist and his exhibition, as well as a book intended for visitor input asking questions such as “How would you feel if there were no fish left in the ocean?” which has provoked some thoughtful answers.

On the other hand, Phoenix Gallery have adopted a ‘white cube’ approach to display the works of Iron Men.

Self-taught photographer King Massassy has used metal workers from Malian capital city Bamako as the subjects of his collection. The workers have been strikingly photographed in black and white which allows the sparks and smoke of their work to really stand out against dark backdrops with each photograph intimately focusing on an individual worker face on. 

Accompanying the photographers are short pieces of text comprising of Malian sayings, such as ‘Be quiet as the grandson of the donut seller’ and ‘If the bear was a sign of wisdom, the goat would be banned from consumption’ which give visitors a glimpse of the day-to-day culture of Bamako. King views the photographs as a portal into the soul of Malian people, allowing the visitors to interact with the subjects just by looking.

King comments that the workers in his photographs excel in the art of recycling metal, much like Serge does with plastic in his jerry can tapestries, which highlights the importance of the environment in the two artist’s works. 

In both exhibitions the artists reference and welcome us into their home countries while delivering international environmental messages.  

Everything You Need to Know About 'FREE': Our Place's New Musical Inclusivity Project

If you haven't yet heard of Our Place, Brighton Festival's community outreach programme that became a community-run mini festival of its own, you're missing out on a load of fantastic and totally free events taking place over two weekends in Hangleton and Whitehawk. Even more exciting - this year, Brighton & Hove Music & Arts have announced that a number of young musicians from their free drop-in sessions are performing as 'FREE', an eclectic, diverse range of musical styles from this generation's budding talents. 

Sat 18 May

Young musicians aged 13-19 from SoundCity Drop-in sessions are performing as part of The East Brighton Our Place community takeover event held at Manor Gym. Catch the group performing a live ‘SoundCity Drop-in showcase‘ onstage from 3:30 – 4:30pm in the Green Space. Artists will be performing a diverse mix of incredible music including original material and covers from rap and rock through to acoustic solo, electronic beats and beyond!

Sat 25 May 

Members from ‘U Studios 2’ drop-in sessions will be performing at the West Brighton Our Place community takeover event from 6:30 – 7:30pm. Artists will be showcasing the amazing music they have created including Hip-Hop, Grime and Trap beats, plus live rapping and a young women’s vocal group!


(Above: Laura Grunwald)

The SoundCity Drop-in and U Studios 2 are free music sessions for young people. Established in 2018, they are part of a four-year programme fully funded by Youth Music and as part of the national initiative Alliance for a Musically Inclusive England. The programme aims to offer 13-19 year olds living in the East and West Brighton areas greater inclusion & access to music making activities that are responsive to their unique interests and needs.

East Brighton’s SoundCity Drop-ins, held at Greater Brighton Metropolitan College’s Wilson Avenue site, are delivered by a creative team of Music leaders from Brighton & Hove’s Music Education Hub SoundCity, local charity AudioActive, and The Brighton Metropolitan College.

West Brighton’s U Studios 2 sessions held at Hangleton Community Centre & Knoll Park pavilion are delivered by music leaders from Brighton & Hove’s Music Education Hub SoundCity, local charity AudioActive & youth workers from The Hangleton & Knoll Project.

Our Place

To read more about Our Place's journey since its beginning in 2017, see our blog post 'From Your Place to Our Place', featuring a great video of past years' events. 

For information on how to attend Our Place, see the Hangleton Our Place event page, or the Whitehawk Our Place event page

What's On: Must-see Events This Weekend at Brighton Festival

We’ve got an exciting weekend ahead! From free community events, classical music to theatre and dance – we’ve got it all. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s happening…

Flight
Sat 4-Thu 23 May

Flight brings you up close and intimate to this heart-breaking story in a unique, deeply individual experience. Seated in your own personal booth, you will watch the action unfold on images and models slowly moving in front of you, with speech and music conveyed through your own individual headphones.


My Left Right Foot: The Musical
Tue 14-Sat 18 May

After sell out success at the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe, My Left Right Foot makes a visit to Brighton Festival. Irreverent, uplifting and provocative, it is a must-see for lovers of humorous musicals.


Backbone

Wed 14-Fri 17 May

The internationally renowned circus company, Gravity and Other Myths, takes the concept and perception of strength and (literally) tosses it into the air. In this ‘dazzling and warm hearted’ performance (The Independent), individual and collective resilience is tested as the company tumble, backflip and walk across each other’s heads – Backbone explores the limits of emotional and physical endurance.


Séancers

Thu 16-Fri 17 May

Join performance artist Jaamil Olawale Kosoko at Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts  as he explores black identities through a piece that brings together movement, song, spoken word and a live score.

Learn more about Jaamil's inspiration behind the show 


Young Glyndebourne Young Artists

Fri 17 May

As part of Glyndebourne’s commitment to supporting the development of young singers, the international opera company works with Jerwood Arts to provide innovative training and performance opportunities for selected members of the acclaimed Glyndebourne Chorus. This special concert from this year’s Jerwood Young Artists features excerpts from across the operatic repertoire.

Chamber Music Will Ashon with Kevin Le Gendre
Fri 17 May

A conversation on a new biography of the Wu-Tang Clan’s iconic hip hop album with Will Ashon and music journalist Kevin Le Gendre

Brighton Festival Youth Choir Under the Moon
Fri 17 May

Inspired by the Museum of the Moon, our choir have assembled an eclectic songbook of moon music ranging from classical to jazz.


Museum of the Moon
Fri 17-Mon 20 May

Hanging in Queens Park, Museum of the Moon will offer a unique experience free for all. Whether you plan to explore the surface with your family, or enjoy a lunar picnic, don’t miss your chance to be beneath the moon.

Learn more about the inspiration behind Museum of the Moon

credit Ed Simmons and Visit Greenwich

Flavour Migrations
Fri 17 May

Masterchef winner, Shelina Permalloo joins us to discuss how heritage, family and travel has shaped her cooking

Songs of Longing and Exile
Fri 17 May

Award-winning early music vocal ensemble Stile Antico joins with remarkable Syrian oud performer Rihab Azar for a unique collaboration inspired by the challenges faced by today’s refugees and migrants.

Find out more about Stile Antico's creative process and inspiration 


Our Place – Manor Gym
Sat 18 May

In partnership with Brighton People’s Theatre, Due East, Hangleton and Knoll Project and the community steering committee to create a community takeover. This year the communities are bringing FREE family-friendly theatre, dance, music, games, activities and workshops to East Brighton. View the full programme here.


Giraffes Can’t Dance 20th Anniversary Dance Party
Sat 18 May

Join illustrator Guy Park-rees, as we celebrate 30 years of the classical picture book Giraffes Can’t Dance. There will be drawing, reading and, of course dancing!

Bad Nana with Sophy Henn
Sat 18 May

Come and met the creator of Bad Nana, author and illustrators Sophy Henn. There will be laughs, live drawing and lots of opportunity to join in.

Nick Sharratt: The Cat and the King
Sat 18 May

Meet the hilarious heroes of Nick Sharratt’s first-ever chapter book, The Cat and the King. Nick will be telling all, and drawing lots of funny picture too!

Ghost Caribou
Sat 18 May

Thingumajig Theatre’s new night-time street act, giant illuminated creatures. As they gather a crowd, they clear a space to perform their otherworldly ceremony. Using music, song and shadow puppets, they tell stories of lost homes, impossible migrations and seeds of hope before continuing the journey into their hauntingly beautiful dreamworld of the night.


Little Green Pig AMPLIFIED
Sat 18 May

Young people from Brighton & Hove take to the stage with unique tales to tell, the performers inhabit public space and amplify their words as never before. AMPLIFIED is part TED Talk, part YouTube confessional, but ultimately a celebration of the human story.

Dream Mande: Bamanan Djourou
Sat 18 May

Our Guest Director, Rokia Traoré joins us again to present emerging Malian musicians with a new take on traditional music. Prepare to hear five musicians and six female singers, led by Rokia, deliver adaptations of traditional Bambara songs, popular Fresh and international tunes as you’ve never heard them before.


Groove Under the Sea
Sun 19 May

Structured around movement and adventure and played by professional jazz musicians, Groove Baby is not your average kiddie jam! Created by Cameron Reynolds as a special hybrid performance for 3 to 7 year-olds and their carers, it incorporates appropriately themed storytelling that engages kids.

Joseph Coelho
Sun 19 May

Join children's author and poet Joseph Coelho as he shares from two of his picture books: Luna Loves Library Day about a young girl's magical experience reading books in her local library with her father; and IF ALL THE WORLD WERE…, a story about a girl’s love for her storytelling grandfather. Joseph will also help you create a whole new poem!


Groove Into Space
Sun 19 May

Designed to give parents an opportunity to get out and see a top concert while entertaining the little ones, Groove Baby avoids dumbing down and instead focuses on making each themed live gig as fun, engaging and exciting as possible for children. 


Cerrie Burnell – The Girl with the Shark’s Teeth
Sun 19 May

Join former CBeebies presenter Cerrie Burnell as she presents her magical novel The Girl with the Shark’s Teeth. Cerrie will share her top storytelling tips, and inspire children to go on their own creative writing adventures.

Superhoe
Sun 19-Tue 21 May

Following its sold-out run in London, Superhoe comes to Brighton Festival. A one-woman show by Nicôle Lecky in collaboration with Royal Court Theatre and the first black-led theatre company Talawa Theatre Company.


The Storytelling Army – Worthing
Sun 19 May

Join people from all walks of life in an intimate setting overlooking the beach to enjoy a simple meal together and listen to stories surrounding the theme of food and flavours that people have experienced; stories of where they come from; places they have been; or the places they dream to taste.

Find out more about The Storytelling Army and what they do 


Writing Big Themes for Small People
Sun 19 May

Writers who have taken on these themes – Sita Brahmachari, Joseph Coelho and Alan Durant – discuss with author Giles Paley Phillips why they did, the way children have responded and how stories and poems can help them and their grown-ups through difficult times.

Ruby Wax
Sun 19 May

Writer, comedian and mental health activist Ruby Wax takes a look at How To Be Human in an increasingly automated world. In this follow-up to her sell-out shows Sane New World and Frazzled, Wax is joined by a monk, Gelong Thubten and a neuroscientist Ash Ranpura who help us understand the mind and how our brains make us, well, us. 

If you fancy exploring art across the city- don’t forget that Distorted Constellations, Iron Men and Current Affairs are on all festival-long!



Lydia Wilkins: How to make Events Accessible and Autism-Friendly

Recently we spoke to Lydia Wilkins, a journalist and occasional blog writer who was diagnosed with autism just before her sixteenth birthday. Hearing from Lydia about the various changes events organisations could implement to make their performances more accessible to those with invisible disabilities, like Autism, mental health issues, and physical handicaps, was enlightening. Lydia feels strongly about the progression events organisations need to be making to accommodate those with disabilities. Here are her thoughts on the changes that should be implemented to allow equal access for everyone:

'Two months shy of my sixteenth birthday I was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome - now referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder. To me it was simply just a label - literally nothing had changed - it was just another word to describe myself.

Even though that was just over four years ago, at times I still find attending events a bit of a struggle sometimes. I love attending concerts - Queen and Adam Lambert anyone? - as well as plays; I regularly review exhibitions and other artistic shows. I love going to “In conversation with..” events, often talking to my favourite writers during or after.

But noise can be an issue for me, as I lack a filter for it. For this reason, I looked at the adjustments venues could make for people with invisible disabilities, such as myself and others. 

Relax The Atmosphere

Sometimes venues can have a very regimented atmosphere; you have to be in one place, you can’t move, and sometimes social expectations are not necessarily obvious. (I was once tutted at, because I made a dash for the loos mid-performance, thinking I was going to be sick.) The more you try not to rattle your delicious confectionary, the louder it seems to be.

The regimented atmosphere could be more relaxed - or at least the expectations made more obvious. Brighton Festival offers relaxed performances - meaning that there’s an open-door policy, a ‘safe space’ available, changes made to lighting, and visual stories are available. 

If you’re attending a performance, be kind in your criticism; someone may be perceived as misbehaving, but they may not necessarily be behaving like that deliberately. This might actually be their means of coping with an overwhelming experience.

Another Star To Steer By (One of our Relaxed Performance shows)

(Above: Another Star to Steer By offers a Relaxed Performance)

Cover All Ages

Autism does not stop at eighteen. It does not stop at twenty-one, either. As I’ve grown older, I have seen more adjustments be made, such as at cinemas; the only thing is, typically they cover only up to a certain age.

As an adult, I quite like the cinema - but sometimes, there aren’t Autism-friendly screenings for a film I wish to see. But they are for a CGI animation for people under the age of eighteen.

If you have a variety of performances for various ages, make sure accessibility is available for all of them. While it’s amazing that accessible performances and events are becoming more commonplace, accessibility needs to be for everyone. 

Normalise Anything Tactile

Sometimes aides are used while at a performance; I quite liked having a purse in my bag that changed colour, thanks to the sequins on it (you swiped your hands up and down). Many case studies show that when autistic people have various aides with them while going out - such as fiddle pencils, fidget spinners or dice, particular toys, etc. they feel more comfortable.

Normalising people bringing these aides (or even providing them) could be really useful; some may feel they’re being stared at, such as if they’re stimming. Brighton Festival offers Touch Tours, which allow for ‘tactile introductions to the set, costumes, props, instruments - and even some of the actors or musicians - before or after the show.’

A Midsummer Night's Dream (One of our Touch Tours performances)

(Above: A Midsummer Night's Dream offers Touch Tours before the performance)

Make Print Dyslexia Friendly

I have a friend who has Dyslexia; at times they struggle, simply because the type may not necessarily be clear enough. If you produce materials such as tickets, menus, programmes, why not make them Dyslexia-friendly?

Have A Safe Space

Safe spaces could be useful for many people with a variety with invisible disabilities; for me, noise can be incredibly overwhelming.

Lets try something; wherever you are reading this, what can you hear? Within a reasonable distance, you may hear a keyboard tapping (if you’re at work), a murmur of voices, possibly a phone ringing. Now, open that wider; can you hear the chairs scraping, voices in the room, the birds outside singing? This is all the while being aware of the change in flickering lights, the doors opening and closing, the shuffling of people moving about.

While at theatres, or concerts, there is so much noise; I lack a filter for it. It’s difficult to deal with, and once it gets to a certain point, it can lead to a meltdown. I would love it, personally, if venues had a ‘safe space’ - somewhere which is quiet, away from the hubbub, just for me to calm down. 

Distorted Constellations (Features an 'antesensory chamber' designed for neurodivergent people)

(Above: Distorted Constellations features an 'antesensory chamber' designed for neurodivergent people to have a calm place of retreat)

Train Staff To Be More Aware

At times I have thought that staff could have better awareness of invisible disabilities; to give an example, at times when someone has found out I am Autistic, they automatically raise their voice. They become loud and patronising while talking to me – neither of which are helpful or necessary adjustments.

Why not allow someone with an invisible disability to be involved with the training? 

To find out more about access at Brighton Festival visit our Access Page.
Read more from Lydia on her blog Mademoisellewomen.com

Brighton Festival's Relaxed Events

It's important to us that everyone who wants to get involved in Brighton Festival is able. This is why we sought out Lydia Wilkins' opinion on how to create an accessible range of events so that everyone is able to find something they will enjoy. We have helpfully compiled a list of the Festival's ‘Relaxed Events’, specifically curated and developed for audiences with Autistic Spectrum Conditions, learning disabilities, or just for anyone who prefers a calmer way of engaging:

My Left Right Foot: The Musical

A hilarious satirical performance about a local amateur dramatic theatre troupe under pressure to conform to the new ‘equalities agenda’. The group decide, misguidedly, to put on a show about ‘the disabled’. What follows is a laugh-out-loud disaster as the actors stumble through ideas of political correctness, missing the mark entirely. This is a fun and thoroughly entertaining show, taking place in Theatre Royal Brighton under relaxed performance conditions – meaning audiences are able to move around and make noise as they watch.

My Left Right Foot scene

For more information about My Left Right Foot: The Musical, visit the Brighton Festival event page! This performance is also captioned, high audio content, and translated into BSL.

Groove Under The Sea

Groove Baby is a colourful, very musical experience, featuring a live band and lots of audience interaction. You and your little ones can steer the submarine’s story and get fully immersed in a truly incomparable show. 


“Normalising people bringing tactile aides [to performances] - or even providing them - could be really useful. I loved Brighton Festival’s idea of offering Touch Tours (more information here), which allow for “tactile introductions to the set, costumes, props, instruments - and even some of the actors or musicians - before or after the show.” - Lydia Wilkins.

For further info about Groove Under the Sea, check out the Brighton Festival event page! This performance is available for Touch Tours. 

(For another chance at grooving in non-relaxed conditions, check out Groove Baby’s Groove into Space!)

Another Star to Steer By

This theatrical storytelling performance tells the tale of Maya, who climbs aboard a small boat to embark on a very big adventure! Join Maya as she ventures across oceans, encounters mythical creatures, and learns some important lessons. This is a highly visual performance with lots of room for audience members to gasp, shout out, and show their appreciation!


To learn more about Another Star to Steer By, visit the Brighton Festival event page! This performance is also translated into BSL.

To find out more about Brighton Festival’s efforts to make this year accessible to everyone, take a look at our Access page, where you can download PDF’s, listen to an audio guide of our brochure, and lots more.

Read Lydia’s full article: How to make Events Accessible and Autism-Friendly.

Brighton Festival Live Streams: Incredible Events to Watch Wherever You Are

You can’t always make it to all the events you’d like to go to – but with Brighton Festival Live Stream we’ve got you covered.

In partnership with Greater Brighton Metropolitan College and their incredible staff and students, we stream some of our exciting events so you can watch them live from wherever you are, or later in your own time. Click on the ‘Get Notified’ button on the events you want to watch. Here’s a quick rundown…


Backbone
Wed 15 May 7.30pm
Backbone explores the limits of emotional and physical endurance. A stripped-back, raw showcase of human ability and connection. With a powerful live soundtrack and beautiful lighting design.


Flavour Migrations
Fri 17 May 8pm

Get some cooking inspiration from Masterchef winner Shelina Permalloo. She’ll be discussing how her culture, heritage and loved ones have shaped her cooking.


Dream Mandé: Bamanan Djourou
Sat 18 May 8pm

Once again Rokia Traoré will be performing at Brighton Dome’s Concert Hall. Prepare to hear adaptations of traditional Bambara songs, popular French and international tunes as you’ve never heard them before.



Malian Dance Night

Mon 20 May 7.30pm

This is an evening of dance you will not want to miss. Enjoy a special presentation of three new dance pieces by Mali’s next generation of extraordinary choreographers.


Ariwo and Resonators
Wed 22 May 8pm

Take your ears on a musical adventure. You’ll be listening to rural west African heritage with the energy of the vibrant city of Bamako with a mix of other genres such as jazz, electronic and Cuban rhythms.


Chineke!
Thu 23 May 7.30pm

Chineke! bring their extraordinary energy and enthusiasm to this evening’s performance, taking us on a journey through the 1920s from New York to Weill’s Vienna.


Varhung: Heart to Heart

Fri 24 May 8pm

Experience Ancient Taiwanese culture traditions brought up to date by one of the Pacific Island’s premier indigenous dance-theatre companies Tijmur.


BOYS

Sun 26 May 7.30pm

Celebrating male tenderness, silliness, vulnerability and community with a cast of young men of colour from England, BOYS is a joyful and tender dance that hopes to unravel preconceptions and uncover the endless possibilities that can make up a man.


Né So - Rokia Traoré

Malian musician and Brighton Festival Guest Director, Rokia Traoré shares her highly personal sixth album, Né So, an unmissable experience. 


Five Minutes With Abi Radford: Marketing Coordinator of Best of Brighton Holiday Lettings

We spoke to Abi Radford, Marketing Coordinator with sponsor Best of Brighton Holiday Lettings to find out her thoughts about the Festival and what it represents.

Firstly, how would you describe Brighton Festival in three words?

Exciting. Inspiring. Fun!

What are you looking forward to seeing this year?

I’m excited about Backbone, not only to see what these talented performers can do, but also because of the live soundtrack and lighting design. I’m also looking forward to Flight, which I imagine will be quite moving.

What impact do you think the Festival has for visitors and for you?

The buzz that the Festival brings to Brighton during May is electric! I feel it myself and so does everyone I speak to about it. We have a lot of visitors who stay in our properties throughout the Festival because they are attending events. They are amazed at the choice and variety and always say they will be back again next year.

Find out more about Best of Brighton Holiday Lettings visit their website. Interested in becoming a Brighton Festival sponsor? See our Support Us page

In Rehearsal: A Midsummer Night's Dream

The Lord Chamberlain's Men will soon appear at Brighton Festival, with their interpretation of Shakespeare's magic-filled comedy A Midsummer Night's Dream. 

Following weeks of rehearsals, this production is shaping up to be a highlight of this special celebratory year of both their 15th birthday and 425 years since The Lord Chamberlain's Men were first formed. 

We captured some of the magic in rehearsals, giving audiences a small insight into what to expect...

Performers stretching on the floor

Cast member reading a script

Cast members standing together reading scripts

Cast members smiling during rehearsal

Cast member rehearsing an emotional scene



A Midsummer Night's Dream
presented by The Lord Chamberlain's Men

Thu 23 - Sat 25 May | St. Nicholas' Rest Garden

Set to be a wonderful event for all the family, enjoy this open-air performance in the beautiful leafy surroundings of St Nicholas’ Rest Garden, located in the heart of Brighton’s city centre. Pitch up with a chair and bring a picnic if you like.

What’s on: Theatre at Brighton Festival

We have a huge variety of theatre coming to Brighton Festival. We welcome performers from near and far to celebrate the power of storytelling through performance. Here's what's coming up...

Flight
Sat 4-Thu 23 May

Flight brings you up close and intimate to this heart-breaking story in a unique, deeply individual experience. Seated in your own personal booth, you will watch the action unfold on images and models slowly moving in front of you, with speech and music conveyed through your own individual headphones.

Read our interview with Artistic Director of Flight to find out more


Cooped
Wed 22-Sun 26 May

As Spymonkey celebrate its 20th anniversary, don’t miss the opportunity to catch the show which made them an international comedy sensation - Cooped.

Read our interview with Spymonkey to find out more


A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Thu 23-Sat 25 May

Bring a chair or, a blanket and enjoy a glorious May evening watching one of Shakespeare’s best-loved plays in this enchanting, open air performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.


True Copy BERLIN
Thu 23-Sun 26 May

Based on the true story of possibly the most successful art forger in the world, BERLIN uses its genre-curious style to expose the hypocrisy of the art world.


Another Star to Steer By
Sat 25-Sun 26 May

Andrew McCaldon’s Another Star to Steer By will be premiering at Brighton Festival this May.

One day Maya packs her bag, ready to say goodbye to her home. As she leaves, she finds a little paper boat and begins a very big adventure! Join Maya on a magical journey as she sets sail on a voyage full of sea-soaked folktales, discovers fabulous creatures, meets legends of far-flung oceans, and begins searching for her own story out on the rolling waves.

Our exciting storytelling show for primary children (6+) and their adults can come to you! Our paper boat will sail into your School, Library, Community Centre or Church Hall and our actors will present a 45-minute show just for you and your community. Become a Brighton Festival promoter – just get in touch and tell us you would like the show at your place and we will help you make it happen! The show is available 20 – 24 May with performances in the morning and afternoon to suit your timetable. Please contact: paperboat@brightonfestival.org 


BOYS
Sat 25-Sun 26 May

The PappyShow celebrates male tenderness, silliness, vulnerability and community with a cast of young men of colour from England, BOYS gives us a window to share their experiences, their hopes, families and globe-spanning heritage.

Read our interview with The PappyShow to find out more about BOYS 

Review: 'Vox Motus have succeeded in turning an awful reality into a poetic tragedy, both poignant and heart wrenching'

As part of our long-standing partnership with University of Sussex, we’re collaborating with students to review Brighton Festival shows and report on events happening across the city.

Our first guest review is by Charlotte Gray, a first year student, BA (Hons) International Development and Anthropology. Here’s what she thought of Flight by Vox Motus.

Recently, I had the privilege of seeing Flight, an intricate moving diorama created and performed by Glasgow based company, Vox Motus. Upon arriving at King Alfred Leisure Centre, I had no idea what to expect. However, having only read outstanding reviews, I knew I was going to be immersed in something different from anything I had seen before. At the beginning, different groups were taken into a room to wait before each person was taken to their individual seat inside a dark cubicle. I was given headphones with soft music playing, and instructions to get close.

Immediately, the experience became incredibly personal. The story is based on playwright Oliver Emanuel’s adaptation of Caroline Brothers' novel Hinterland. It began by introducing Aryan and Kabir, two Afghan brothers at the start of their ambitious journey from Kabul to London. I was immediately drawn into a miniature world of carefully created wooden figures arranged into elaborate scenes. The figures of Aryan and Kabir were depicted travelling by boat, train, on foot, and in the backs of lorries as they battle storms, imprisonment, and various other extreme situations that many migrants face.

Each scene was crafted with the utmost intent. Simple images with purposeful lighting established each setting beautifully. Gripping sound effects accurately established the mood of each scene, whether dreamlike or eerie. Additionally, childlike voices truly made this experience both genuine and imaginative. In addition, sitting in a rotating chair made it more of an interactive experience, as I was able to move with the models as they drifted past.

 Vox Motus have succeeded in turning an awful reality into a poetic tragedy, both poignant and heart wrenching.

In just an hour, Flight emotively illustrates themes of economic migration, modern-day slavery, sexual abuse, capitalism, and hope. The exhaustion and hardship the boys face during their gruelling two-year journey attempting to cross borders into Europe is incredibly realistic.

One aspect that particularly stood out to me was the creative decision to depict border control guards as seagulls; their loud dissonant squawking in place of speech – entirely unintelligible to the poor protagonists in an allegory for the French-Afghan language barrier – profusely exemplified the fright and anxieties they felt losing their liberty. The sympathy this draws is heart-wrenching. The story is mercilessly immersive, forcing the viewer to involve themselves in the plight of young refugees in a way that media coverage can never do.

The craft and skill used to create such a simple yet graphic portrayal of Aryan and Kabir’s story is done to an exorbitant quality. Vox Motus have created a microscopic world to portray issues far bigger and provide an extremely confrontational experience. It becomes almost hard to believe that you are watching miniature models instead of real people. At the end of the performance I left in tears, wishing it wasn’t over. My expectations were exceeded, and I was left speechless. I would highly recommend seeing Flight, it was truly unforgettable.

For your chance to see this unique show during its run at Brighton Festival, visit the Flight event page.

Book now to see Flight at Brighton Festival

What’s on: Dance events at Brighton Festival

We have a wide-range of award winning and rising dance performers coming to Brighton Festival. We welcome performers from around the world to celebrate the power of storytelling through performance. Find out what's coming up...


Still I Rise

Theatre Royal Brighton: Wed 22 May
Connaught Theatre, Worthing: Thu 23 May

TRIBE//’s all-female cast perform Still I Rise inspired by African-American writer, singer and activist Maya Angelou. Still I Rise is about resilience, equality, being unapologetic for who you are, and rising. Expect a powerful, absorbing and emotive show.


Not Today’s Yesterday
Thu 23 May

Award-winning artist Seeta Patel and choreographer Lina Limonsi join forces, creating a one-woman politically charged dance blending classical Indian dance (Bharatanatyam) and contemporary dance.

★★★★★ ‘This is outstanding, innovative, must-see dance’ – Adelaide Now ‘An unmissable treat’ – British Theatre Guide

Find out what to expect, in our interview with Seeta Patel


Varhung: Heart to Heart

Fri 24 & Sat 25 

Taiwanese Tjimur Dance Theatre presents a richly patterned, open-hearted performance that shows how the Paiwan people, not used to discussing private feelings, use artforms to bring them to the surface. Experience a deeply emotional and open-hearted performance.


SESSION
Thu 23 May-Sun 26 May

Part gig, part social and part dance party, the show is led by an ensemble of young dances who move across hip hop, contemporary folk and Afrobeats – celebrating community, youth and belonging. Join us for a high-energy night of dance and live music!




Five Minutes with: Candice Edmunds - Flight

This May, Scottish theatre company Vox Motus bring critically-acclaimed production Flight to Brighton Festival.

Flight brings you up close and intimate to this heart-breaking story in a unique, deeply individual experience. Seated in your own personal booth, you will watch the action unfold on images and models slowly moving in front of you, with speech and music conveyed through your own individual headphones.

We chat to Artistic Director, Candice Edmunds to find out more… 

Firstly, can you introduce us to your show and tell us what it is about?

Flight is based on the novel Hinterland by Caroline Brothers. It tells the story of two young brothers travelling alone, on foot, from Afghanistan to London. Their journey is an odyssey: a tale of ever-changing fortunes that is in turns life affirming and horrifically brutal. It is a tale of love, brotherhood, the remarkable resilience of those fleeing turmoil, and the power of imagination.


Flight
is a unique audience experience. Audience members sit in individual booths as a series of 200 handmade diorama revolve before their eyes. The story and soundtrack unfold through a pair of headphones.

Why should someone come and see your show?

Flight is rewarding on so many levels. The story is current, relevant and heart-wrenching. The ‘staging’ and design are completely unique. The experience is individual and immersive. We have been delighted time and again by those who came to engage with the ‘form’ and lost themselves completely in the story, and those who came to hear the story and were blown away by the design and the audience experience.

Where did the idea and inspiration come from?

Initially we were inspired by Caroline’s novel ‘Hinterland’, and what (in 2011, when it was published) felt like the ‘under-the-radar’ story of unaccompanied refugee minors. Over the years that we developed Flight the narrative around refugees and asylum seekers in the UK became increasingly divisive and agenda-driven. We wanted to find a storytelling form that would bring this back to the truly personal: just you (the audience) and the brothers journeying together. Our world in miniature was born out of desire to create a one-to-one experience that played with form, challenged us as artists, and enriched the story and themes. We wanted to make something that was full of imagination that honoured the bravery and resilience of children who flee their homes in search of a safe haven.

What sort of person is going to love this show?

Because of the mix of forms/disciplines, Flight appeals to both theatre audiences and those who would be more inclined to engage with visual art/digital art/cinema. The sound design and sound-track are also exceptional in their own right and open the experience up to music audiences. It is a brilliant show for teenagers, and we can provide some excellent resources for teachers to encourage class discussions around the subject matter.

What will surprise people about this show?

We have found that audiences have been completely floored by the emotional impact of the story. They come because they have heard of this wildly original carousel of diorama, and don’t expect a series of 3-D models to be so emotionally devastating.

Buy tickets to Flight or discover more theatre events happening this May 

Five Minutes: Stile Antico: Songs of Longing and Exile

Award-winning early music vocal ensemble Stile Antico joins with remarkable Syrian oud performer Rihab Azar for a unique collaboration inspired by the challenges faced by today’s refugees and migrants. We learn more about the creative process and inspiration behind Songs of Longing and Exile

Firstly, can you introduce us to your show and tell us what it is about?

The programme focuses on the theme of exile and displacement. We have used 16th century music to create a new work of art by adding texts based on first-hand accounts by contemporary migrants. These will be interspersed with music from Syrian-born Oud player Rihab Azar. The programme will be accompanied by projections and specially designed lighting, to give a unique and immersive experience, culminating in a work written specially for Stile Antico and Rihab Azar by the legendary composer Giles Swayne.

Why should someone come and see your show?

This show will be a unique fusion of old and new music, a conversation between Eastern and Western cultures, exploring one of the most urgent issues of our times.

Where did the idea and inspiration come from?

We were researching a programme of a capella 16th century music on the theme of exile. John Dowland was famous for his expressive and ‘melancholy’ music, and spent much of his life in exile from his homeland. We opened that programme with the first of his seven Lacrimae pavans, the famous song ‘Flow my tears’. It got us wondering about the possibility of adding texts to the other six pieces in Dowland’s collection and that lead us to the poet Peter Oswald. He created some extraordinary lyrics using first-hand accounts of modern-day migrants. We were keen to intersperse the Dowland works with music from the Middle-East and were thrilled to be able to collaborate with virtuoso Oud player Rihab Azar.

What sort of person is going to love this show?

Lovers of music of all types, people interested in issues around migration, anyone with a social conscience!

What sort of person is going to love this show?

I think people will be surprised by the beauty and emotion of Dowland’s music, the way old music and new lyrics can work together whilst also challenging each other, and the virtuosity and expressiveness of Rihab Azar’s Oud playing!

Watch our interview with Gill Kay to learn more about our classical music programme 

Five Minutes with Gravity & Other Myths: Backbone

We snatched five minutes with internationally renowned circus company, Gravity and Other Myths (GOM) to find out more about the folks that tumble, flip and literally walk across each other's heads in Backbone - their newest, most dazzling show ever. 

Firstly, can you introduce us to your show and tell us what it is about?

Backbone is GOM’s second international touring work. It premiered as part of the 2017 Adelaide Festival and since then, it has taken the world by storm! The work examines human connection and strength in all its forms; physical, emotional, collective and individual.

Why should someone come and see your show?

Not only is Backbone filled with dynamic, exciting, high level group acrobatics but it touches audiences, young and old in a deeper way. GOM’s work has always focused on group dynamic’s, trust and camaraderie and Backbone is no different. The connection the artists on stage hold is engaging and infectious.


Where did the idea and inspiration come from?

Strength, of all kinds, is inherent in acrobatics so we found it an interesting topic to deconstruct and explore using physicality and acrobatics.

What sort of person is going to love this show?

GOM creates work for everyone to enjoy so no matter how old you are, if you have seen countless circus shows or none at all, this show will be for you!

What will surprise people about this show?

The satisfying and beautiful amalgamation of ground-breaking acrobatics, detailed design and production and real humans performing onstage, being themselves.