Brighton Festival 2020Public booking opens: Wed 19 Feb, 9am

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Brighton Festival looks forward to 2021 with Lemn Sissay returning as Guest Director

Following Brighton Festival’s digital programme during lockdown, poet and author Lemn Sissay MBE has confirmed he will return as guest director in 2021. Brighton Festival at Home featured a selection of artists and events that were due to take place across the city in May. The alternative version attracted online audiences from across the world - from local school children and families taking part in their own mini children’s parade to Lemn Sissay’s live reading with viewers joining from Africa to America.




Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Festival said:

“We are delighted that Lemn has agreed to stay on as guest director and we are determined to plan ahead for next year with live events, as well as using the lessons learned from this digital experience. The public’s support, through donating back ticket purchases, making a voluntary donation or accepting a credit voucher, shows the level of affection for Brighton Festival. There has been a huge gap in the city’s cultural life this year and we want to deliver a Festival that is stronger than ever but is also responsive to how arts events will need to adapt to make audiences feel safe. Lemn’s artistic vision and the way he can speak to all of us about the things that really matter feels vitality important now. We can all look forward to Brighton Festival 2021 infused with his creative input and imagination.”

Due to the coronavirus crisis, Brighton Festival 2020 was cancelled for the first time in its 53-year history and as a registered charity, lost almost 65% of its income that would have come from ticket sales.

On his re-appointment as guest director, Lemn Sissay commented:

“This year has taught us that everything cannot be mended but the act of trying is everything. The arts bring people together, whether they are in a physical space or on a digital platform. Artists are resilient, creative and forward-thinking in making sense of the world and we can take this exciting opportunity to shape Brighton Festival for a brave new world. I’m honoured to see where it will take us and to be with you to experience it together.”

Lemn Sissay is a BAFTA nominated award winning writer, best-selling author, prolific speaker and performer who has inspired audiences across the world. He was the official poet of the London 2012 Olympics and his Landmark Poems can be found on the walls of hospitals, libraries, pubs, universities and train stations, bringing his writing to communities in public spaces every day.

Each year, Brighton Festival attracts over 150,000 visitors to its events across three weeks in May. It contributes significantly to the event and tourism economy in Brighton & Hove, alongside events such as Brighton Fringe, The Great Escape, Charleston Festival and Artists Open Houses. Established in 1967, it is the largest and most established annual multi-arts festival in England, a celebration of music, theatre, dance, art, film, literature, debate, outdoor and community events in venues and locations across Brighton, Hove and East Sussex. The Festival attracts the most exciting performers from across the globe, as well as promoting local artists and bringing fresh, challenging new work to the region.

Brighton Festival 2021 is due to take place from 1-23 May 2021, to help secure its future, donations can be made by Text BTNFEST to 70970 for £5 or 70191 for £10 or visit brightonfestival.org/donate

Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival Supports #FreelanceTaskForce

Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival is committed to supporting freelance theatre and performance creatives during these uncertain times. Along with more than 138 other arts organisations we signed this open letter and are offering a paid freelance contract for three months this summer.

The Freelance Task Force member has now been appointed, read more here. 

An Open Letter to Theatre and Performance Makers  

This is a letter to self-employed and freelance theatre and performance makers in the UK. To the actors, playwrights, directors, choreographers, stage managers, designers, stage crews and set-builders to name just a few.

We really miss being with you during this period of lockdown. Making theatre and performance is a collaborative endeavour, so we are particularly affected by having to be apart from one another right now. We’re not able to come together, in the same space, to share the experience of a live performance. We’re not able to practise and enjoy our artform in its most basic form.

It’s now looking increasingly likely that won’t be possible for months to come, and we recognise that many freelancers face real uncertainty about if and how they will be able to continue to work in theatre. 70% of people who work in theatre and performance in the UK are freelance or self-employed, and it’s for this workforce, in all its diversity and complexity, that the impact of the current situation is most acute.

During these past weeks we have had conversations with many of you to understand your needs and the ways you have been affected. We are writing to express our support for you, and to lay out some practical steps we are taking to improve the situation based on these conversations.

As well as exploring ways of producing work with freelancers during lockdown, and using this time to develop new projects with freelancers for the future, we are also are working together to coordinate our response to the government, to articulate clearly what we can offer and what we need.

Most urgently, we are calling for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme to be extended in line with furloughing, for all self-employed workers, and in the specific case of theatre and performance workers, until theatres are able to safely reopen. We also want to see criteria removed from the scheme which are stopping legitimate and much-needed claims.

Some of you are already involved in these conversations. We welcome your voices and need to hear from more of you in the conversations to come. Your unique networks, skillsets, perspectives, and ideas are vital to the entire sector, and we need to work with you in our response to this crisis.

Each of the organisations who’ve signed this letter are committed to reaching out to their family of self- employed and freelance theatre makers; listening to how this is affecting your work and lives, and to your needs and ideas for the future.

More than that, we want to facilitate the establishment of a national task force of self-employed theatre and performance makers. The purpose of the task force is to strengthen the influence of the self-employed theatre and performance community. It would create ongoing points of connection between freelancers and organisations, and amplify the voice of the self-employed in the conversations to come. To help establish the task force, each of the organisations signing this letter will support a freelancer to join the group, ensuring they are paid for their time.

We want to offer a message of hope and solidarity. Our well-practised ability to work together, to form connections, and build relationships will help us through this. One day, hopefully soon, we will all be able to meet together, as people have done for centuries, in a shared space, for a shared experience. In the meantime, we remain committed to working for you and with you towards a sustainable future for theatre and performance.

Interview with caravan showcase artist Andy Field

Andy Field is an artist, writer and curator and is one of the participating artists selected to take part in caravan, the biennial showcase of English performance as part of Brighton Festival. We spoke to him about how he’s adapted from creating a physical piece of theatre for an online audience.


Can you tell us about the show you were working on for caravan at the Festival? 

We would have been presenting a show called ‘News News News’. We were working with a group of primary school children who become a local TV news crew. The idea is that they make short films about news subjects that matter to them. We then use the films to form part of a live theatre show and the audience get to see behind the scenes and there is a live news broadcast that the children have made from a tiny child size studio on stage.

What was your reaction when you realised the Festival was being cancelled and your show wouldn’t be happening? 

We were pretty devastated. We love making this show and I was really excited to get to know the children. It’s always really exciting to be part of Brighton Festival as it’s so well known and full of interesting artists. In terms of the caravan showcase, a lot of what me and my partner, Beckie Darlington do relies heavily on working internationally to sustain ourselves. Caravan is an unparalleled chance of getting to meet people from around the world who might be interested in working with us. It isn’t simply about the money and the missed opportunity we’ve lost but also the future opportunities we were hoping might unfold as a consequence.


How important is a platform like caravan for emerging artists like yourself? 

The kind of work we make and for a lot of the other artists in caravan, it’s all about the live encounter, what it means to actually be there. Presenting that work to a carefully curated group of international professionals, who might be interested in supporting you, that opportunity is really important.

It’s really interesting to see the amount of resourceful and ingenious digital work that is taking place, but we work in live performance for a reason, it’s because we cherish that act of gathering and the political and artistic potential in that. Without it you can feel a bit bereft.

Do you think the digital version of caravan will be useful for connecting with producers internationally? 

Absolutely. The one thing that’s made us feel better about the loss of showing at Brighton Festival is how quickly, resourcefully and enthusiastically the curators of caravan have responded. The fact that they’ve tried to make the best of this situation and try to ensure that there’s still is an opportunity for those artists is really wonderful. I’m very grateful for them for putting the effort in to making this happen.

After the pandemic, I hope it will have a lasting impact in opening people’s eyes to new opportunities. Caravan have said to us there are people who would never have come to the live showcase because they were busy with other events or because they couldn’t afford the travel, who want to be a part of the digital version. It’s allowing us to connect with people who we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to if it wasn’t in a digital format.


As an artist how have you been coping with lockdown? Has it given you time to create new work or have you had to look at new ways to earn an income?

My partner and I have taken some of the ideas behind the show and turned it into a new project that children could do at home during lockdown.

We created the ‘News News News Reporters Club’, which is a free five-day activity pack that enables them to create their own DIY radio news show from their own home using just a pen, paper and a mobile phone. We provide an activity pack, some recordings to listen to and some news jingles to play with and children can make their own news show! Hopefully it gives them an opportunity to do something creative and reflect on what’s happening in the world in a playful way.

Check out the News News News Reporters Club Activity Pack here 

The response has been amazing. People have downloaded the pack from as far away as Australia, Brazil and China and then emailed it over to us. Just this morning we had a News show from a 6-year-old in Tasmania.

How have you been involved with caravan’s digital offer?

I’ve been asked to curate a series of podcasts to accompany the showcase that we’re calling Caravan Radio. One of the things you miss with the digital showcase is the opportunity to get to know each other as people. The aim of the podcasts is to provide a forum in which you can hear something a little more informal from the artists about their work and what they’ve been doing during this strange time. I’ve been curating and recording a series of conversations between caravan artists and interviews with different delegates all over the world.

The amazing thing about this pandemic is the fact that everyone in the world has been experiencing the same thing in different ways. Finding out how different people have been affected by this global crisis has been really interesting.

What are you hoping the new normal will look like?

From an artistic point of view, perhaps we wouldn’t take the value of social gathering for granted quite so much. The simple acts of human encounter that live performance is so good at, perhaps we would cherish that more having been starved of them for so long.

And is that what you’re looking forward to the most?

No, probably the kind of human encounter I’m looking forward to the most is just being able to sit in a pub garden in the sunshine and have a drink with my friends. Having a really good meal in a busy restaurant, simple things like that.

Find out more about Andy here 

Read an interview with caravan Director Gavin Stride here

Interview by Liberty-Rose Gatcombe, University of Brighton, Multi-media Broadcast Journalism student placement: @liberty3rose

Love Letters at Home will premiere at Brighton Festival at Home

Love Letters at Home will premiere at Brighton Festival at Home on Wed 20 May 2020. 

Fuel have announced a digital international tour of Uninvited Guests’ acclaimed show Love Letters Straight From Your Heart. The new digital version of the show Love Letters at Home will be performed live via Zoom to an audience of up to 90 (45 pairs) each night and will ‘visit’ 14 venues throughout the UK and beyond. 

Love Letters at Home is a joyful, open-hearted show that will help people feel connected at a time when many are isolated and missing their loved ones. First performed by Uninvited Guests in 2007, the original show was a critical hit and played to audiences at over 30 venues including Southbank Centre, RSC Stratford, Fierce Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe.

Directed by Paul Clarke and devised by performers Jess Hoffmann and Richard Dufty, Love Letters at Home is somewhere between a wedding reception and a radio dedication show. Before the performance, audience members are invited to send in music requests, dedications and declarations of love to those they care about past and present. These words are incorporated into each performance; dedications are spoken, toasts are made, speeches are given, songs are sung and dances danced. Every performance of Love Letters at Home is unique and collaboratively authored with its audience, who temporarily become a close community for the duration of the event.

Kate McGrath, Director of Fuel said:



‘A few weeks ago, we had an idea: could we bring Love Letters online? We found that this beautiful, moving show, which has always had the power to bring people together, translates brilliantly into a digital platform. Because the audience is at the heart of the production, the shared participatory experience comes close to recreating the feeling of a night out at a physical venue. It’s exciting that people all over the world will now be able enjoy this and I hope that it will go some way towards bringing people closer together.’

Love Letters at Home has been commissioned by First Art, a Creative People and Places project, as part of its Go the Distance remote festival for audiences in Ashfield, Mansfield, Bolsover and North East Derbyshire.

Love Letters at Home will premiere at Brighton Festival at Home on Wed 20 May 2020. Participant numbers to this event are limited. Fill in this form for a chance to be invited.

Interview with Director of caravan Gavin Stride

The caravan showcase has been run by Farnham Maltings within Brighton Festival since 2008 and introduces a curated group of England’s brightest performance artists and companies to festival organisers and programmers from around the world; with the ambition of developing new partnerships, collaborations and ways of working. 

Caravan was due to take place in this year’s Festival on 11 and 12 May but since the cancellation, caravan’s Director, Gavin Stride and the team at Farnham Maltings have worked to bring the event online. We spoke to Gavin about how they adapted quickly to the changing times.

You must have been devastated that caravan had to be cancelled as part of the Festival. How have you adapted to continue with caravan for delegates? 

Our initial response was ‘damn’ because it’s taken a lot of planning and a lot of work. And the artists see caravan as their chance to present to the world. But when I discussed it with the team they said ‘we can still make this happen’.

I should emphasise that whilst this is about adapting into a digital showcase, I think it’s been clear we don’t just want to dump stuff online and go ‘there you go there’s the digital version of that’. It’s still by invitation and it’s still about building relationships. The team has put loads of energy into trying to find the best way to keep that spirit of caravan which is about generosity and getting people to talk to each other. I’m really encouraged by the way they’ve responded to that challenge. I hope it feels human and I hope it feels like people are meeting people, not just sitting in front of a screen and consuming. 

How will the caravan digital showcase work?

It’s a mixture of platforms; some of it is being done on Zoom and Slack and it will give delegates a chance to arrange one to one meetings with an artist or a company they’re interested in talking to. We’ve created a website with all of the digital content that each of the artists has produced for delegates to look at in their own time and from that, hopefully a relationship will evolve.

We’re also hosting conversations that might emerge, it would be impossible to host an event now without discussing the current times we find ourselves in. We’ve got keynote speakers and artists will be presenting their future ideas and short pitches so that they can show the work they’re interested in making.

How many delegates have registered this year and where are they located? 

We’re fully booked with just under 100 delegates and we deliberately kept it that way. We wanted to create an event where people feel like it matters that they are there and are part of the dialogue. The idea is to make a community over the two days where people can get to know each other.

Delegates are joining from every part of the world: South America, USA, South East Asia. This year we’ve had more European contacts register than we’ve had in the past, there seems to be more of an appetite for forging relationships with English-based artists.

You spoke at the Festival launch back in February and mentioned that you’d received a huge response from artists to take part this year. Why do you think that is? 

Why are we getting more? I think people are becoming more savvy and actually we need it to create a range of different partnerships and to sustain ourselves and that’s even more true now. We are always curious to make sure that we get a mixture of artists that we think are the new talent, I think that’s what programmers and producers are interested in and look to us for the next generation of up and coming makers. The artists who might not have been selected for the British Council’s Edinburgh Festival showcase and we’re comfortable with that. But we’re also getting artists that are already known.

Paradoxically during this time of shut down, we’ve become very aware with how the world is inter-connected with each other. I hope we feel much more connected to a wider world. I think people are seeing and understanding the benefit of understanding their place in the world. Not just in a local sense.

Do you think that some positive will come out of this?

I think good can come out of this and it relies on us as a community, it’s not going to happen organically. 

We have got to be determined to take this moment. Nobody else knows what’s going on so it’s in our hands to be able to shape and articulate what we want the new order to look like.

I think what’s interesting is even if we go back to a live experience and I hope we do, there are human interactions that are particular and special and are really useful to building trust and being able to read each other. In the future we will always augment that with a digital dimension to bring people in who can’t physically be there.

If I have a position of influence, it is to make sure any power that we do accrue is passed on to artists and audiences and communities. If I can open doors then great, let's encourage other people through those doors.

Why is it important to give young artists a platform like caravan to get their work recognised? 

I think young artists come un-trapped by the history of expectations of what art should or shouldn’t be. There is a whole cohort of young artists coming through who are playing with form, content, style and it’s delightful to see.

But I’m not sure I can argue for a young artist over anyone. What I hope is that we move away from these hierarchies and see that we’re all capable of expressing who we are in all sorts of ways. I hope we can become curious in people who know how to make extraordinary art and connect with their audiences. It’s not about experience it’s about the originality and the quality of the idea.

How do you think the arts will cope with the aftermath of the pandemic?

I think this situation is ours for the making. I’m sure that artists at their best will find original and inspiring ways of responding. Making art and making sense of the world is a key quality of being human and people will find ways of doing that. It may not look like the old order and that’s OK.

If it means we end up sitting around a fire with a storyteller because that’s possible and exciting, then so be it. It’s not for me to say how artists will find that solution but I promise you they will.

Interview by Liberty-Rose Gatcombe, University of Brighton, Multi-media Broadcast Journalism student placement: @liberty3rose

Find out more about caravan here 

Read an interview with caravan artist Andy Field here

Socially Engaged Art Salon Exhibition Goes Digital

This May, Socially Engaged Art Salon’s (SEAS) latest exhibition, somewhere was due to take place throughout Brighton Festival. In response to the coronavirus crisis, the exhibition is now available online. Discover the exhibition here.

In 2019, SEAS commissioned artist Maria Amidu to create a new collaborative work framed by the themes of migration and displacement. The work began with a potluck meal at SEAS, entitled, a seat at the table for seven visual artists whose artistic practices have been influenced by experiences of ‘being from elsewhere’.

 

To catalyse the conversation during the meal Maria made place cards using envelopes she stencilled with the words: homeland, recipes, art, journeys, culture, identity and displacement, instead of the artists’ names. Each envelope contained a handwritten provocation. Midway through the lunch, Maria asked each artist to open their envelope and speak for five minutes about what their word evoked for them. The conversations that took place as a result were recorded. 



Listening to these conversations a few weeks later Maria wrote seven short texts using the process of free writing using one word from each of the artists' monologue as a starting point and writing within a self-imposed, 15-minute deadline. The prompt words from the recording and the provocations words from the meal were: cause (homeland); craving (recipes); urge (art); erasure (journeys); drops (culture); water (identity); and booklet (displacement). 

Central to the exhibition is somewhere, Maria’s resulting commission piece. Visitors to the site can watch one-minute, experimental films she created using a mobile phone, overlaid with the artists reading the texts.  Pages from the artist book and the original texts are also featured on the site.


somewhere is testament to the stories told during a seat at the table, by artists with migrant and refugee background and speaks to the troublesome, contingent and precarious nature of being from elsewhere.

On Sat 15 May, SEAS will be facilitating a Zoom meeting to discuss socially engaged art in the time of social distancing. They welcome those working in the creative industry to discuss how artists can engage with their communities while maintaining social distancing.  Register for the event here. 

Find out more about Maria Amidu: www.mariaand.co 


Brighton Festival Thanks Everyone At Home

1500 ticket buyers have donated back their ticket purchases to Brighton Festival after it was cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis. As a thank you for the public’s on-going support and generosity, Brighton Festival is offering a selection of free online events, featuring artists who would have performed in Brighton this May, along with contributions from artistic partners.

Brighton Festival at Home began with the Children’s Parade at Home on Sat 2 May and continues with live performances; family-friendly activities; artist masterclasses and a few surprise messages from famous faces, scheduled across digital platforms throughout May when the Festival would have been in full swing across the city.


This year’s Brighton Festival Guest Director, Lemn Sissay MBE will host an exclusive live reading and debate based on his best-selling memoir, My Name is Why. Reflecting on a childhood in foster care, self-expression and Britishness, Lemn will be in conversation with writer Hannah Azieb Pool, with questions invited from the public.

Brighton-based Rachel Blackman was due to perform the world premiere of her Festival commissioned show and will create a new adaptation live from her home. Tiny Failures will see Rachel interview a guest artist to recount their personal life disasters, in an uplifting and humorous look at how we can all take comfort from each other’s mistakes.


On Saturday 9 May at 10pm, Brighton Festival will partner with Sam Lee’s Singing with Nightingales, a live audio broadcast taking listeners on a journey into the Sussex woods to hear nightingale birdsong mixed with a real-time duet with guest musician Alice Zawadksi and a special poetry reading by Lemn Sissay.

I Fagiolini performs Monteverdi: The Other Vespers at Brighton Festival 2017

Comedians Sofie Hagen and Mark Watson give us a glimpse into how they’re coping with life in lockdown with short video sketches. Performance artist Rachel Mars reveals the secrets behind a celebrity love letter in an intimate late-night video chat with friends. British vocal ensemble, I Fagiolini will be offering a sing-along musical lesson with their performers led by acclaimed director Robert Hollingworth. Australian circus act Gravity & Other Myths share their acrobatic skills in a series of physical tutorials. Drag Queen Story Hour UK’s Aida H Dee will bring her own unique style with a fun and educational reading for families to enjoy together. And in an exclusive partnership with Fuel Theatre, the festival will be running a competition to win an invitation to take part in Love Letters Straight From Your Heart, a live participatory event in which the audience and actors offer dedications and declarations of love, past and present.

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Festival said:

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the way our audiences responded to the news of the festival’s cancellation. By donating in such numbers our community has shown how much the festival means to them and enabled us to look forward to the future with confidence that it will return. Although we can’t replicate the festival experience, we wanted to thank everyone for their support, connect online and keep the spirit of Brighton Festival alive. We are grateful to our guest director Lemn Sissay and the other artists who have offered to share their work digitally. The arts have the power to lift our spirits, inspire our imaginations and support our mental health during difficult times, and we hope online audiences enjoy a small part of the Festival at home this May.”

Brighton Festival is a registered charity and almost two thirds of the festival costs would have been covered by ticket sales. Brighton Festival at Home events are free to watch online and viewers have the option of contributing a suggested donation in order to help support the Festival’s future and its work with artists and community partner organisations.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic Brighton Festival 2020 was cancelled for the first time in its 53-year history. Scheduled to take place from 2 to 24 May 2020, the largest annual, multi-arts festival in England would have featured over 120 cultural events across the region, including 17 premieres, commissions, co-productions and many Festival debuts from international artists.

The biennial caravan showcase brings the best of new English performance online

The caravan biennial showcase of English performance as part of Brighton Festival, has brought its 2020 programme to digital platforms in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Shaped in the same spirit of informality and accessibility, the digitised showcase will test ways of developing an international dialogue that seeks to minimise the environmental cost of global travel associated with the event.

The showcase has been running within the Brighton Festival since 2008, and introduces a curated group of England’s brightest performance companies, to festival organisers and programmers from around the world; with the ambition of developing new partnerships, collaborations and ways of working. 

On Mon 11 and Tue 12 May, a series of live events will be hosted on Zoom for registered delegates including provocations from guest speakers, pitches of new work and one-to-one meetings with artists. Artist and writer Andy Field will provide a narration to the showcase by hosting caravan radio, a series of podcasts featuring interviews with the artists, audio excerpts and sound pieces with the intention of helping the delegates to deepen their understanding of the artists and their work in a creative way. Alongside this, the caravan team will facilitate connections and conversations between artists and delegates through a dedicated Slack account.

Farnham Maltings produced artists Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas said: 

“Right now it feels more important than ever for us to be able to connect with presenters and fellow artists and be part of our wider community. We are so excited to be part of caravan’s digital showcase experiment and are really looking forward to having the chance to share and discuss with colleagues and friends what our future might hold and how we might begin to plan for it.If the current crisis has taught us one thing, it is that everything is connected”


Gavin Stride, Director of Farnham Maltings and caravan commented: “Almost all the solutions to how we live better and more sustainable lives, will come from understanding our place in the world, being generous and collaborating. caravan is our attempt to create the conditions for this to happen, to create a grass roots set of international relationships.”


To centralise all the new activity, a dedicated website is being created in which delegates can find out about the selected artists, watch film footage, book for the Zoom events and one-to-one artist meetings. This information will be shared in advance of the two-day event.

Registration remains open for delegates to attend the digital showcase. Contact Hannah Slimmon, International Producer at hannah.slimmon@farnhammaltings.com to take part.

Watch Again: Ezra Furman

Watch Ezra Furman perform at Brighton Festival 2017 with Du Blonde & Honey Harper.

‘The kind of performer that makes you feel like a teenager all over again’ The Guardian

Tears. Heartbreak. Unbridled joy. Ezra Furman is the real deal.

His onstage presence, hook-laden garage-punk (think Jonathan Richman meets Spector-era Ramones meets the E Street Band), and confessional lyrics about sexuality, depression, faith and politics, have all earned him a legion of followers on both sides of the Atlantic.

Back with his newly re-christened band The Visions, and hot on the heels of the release of latest album Transangelic Exodus, this is a performer that must be seen to be believed.

Du Blonde

Du Blonde, AKA Beth Jeans Houghton, is a multidisciplinary artist and musician, working with animation, illustration, sculpture, video editing, songwriting and music production.

Honey Harper

Honey Harper is both an old and a new project. The songs were written in the past three years but they’ve been around for much longer. They resist temporality and eschew spatial specificity. Whether they were written on a lake in northern Ontario, a haunted hotel room in Atlanta, or in a car at 5AM in east London makes little difference as they all reside within. Honey Harper is intrinsically honest, pure, universal country.

Watch Again: Chineke!

At Brighton Festival 2019,  Chineke! brought their extraordinary energy and enthusiasm to the evening’s performance, taking us on a journey through the 1920s from New York to Weill’s Vienna.

Chineke!: Founded in 2015 by Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE, the Chineke! Foundation provides career opportunities for young Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) musicians in the UK and Europe.

Chineke!'s flagship ensemble is the Chineke! Orchestra which comprises professional musicians from across the continent and further afield, brought together several times a year to perform at leading festivals in England and abroad. As well as performing standard orchestral repertoire, Chineke! champions the works of BME composers both living and from the past.

Children’s Parade at Home Sat 2 May, 10.30am for 5 minutes

Help us keep the spirit of the Children’s Parade alive this year and have your own mini parades at home! 

All of us at Brighton Festival, and our artists at Same Sky were so sad to cancel this year’s Parade, that when received an email from Tobias at Balfour Primary asking if the parade could happen in a different way, we could not resist but do exactly that.

So, if you are from one of the 60 Brighton & Hove schools or thousands of children, teachers, parents, artists and volunteers who had already put in so much work into preparing for this year, then all of this love, creativity and imagination won’t be lost. 

And if you are not, don’t worry because everyone is welcome! Young and old, local or global, let’s ALL come together and get creative in this celebration of our children, their creativity and incredible imaginations.


Whether you want to conga around your kitchen, wave a flag from your window, blow a whistle from your balcony, shimmy in your sitting room or dress-up on your doorstep – there is no set theme and anything goes!

At 10.30am on the day, we will signal the start the mini parade by sharing a samba drumming call on social media.

Share your creativity on our socials 

Tag #ChildrensParadeAtHome and @brightonfestival (and your school if you like!)
 If you are not on social media you can send pictures to marketing@brightonfestival.org And don’t forget to join the event on Facebook.

Need some inspiration?

Same Sky artists have created free and easy tutorials to make something fun from recycled materials found around the house such as a broom puppet, trumpets, masks and hats.
Click here for the artist tutorials

Other ideas include:

  • Dress up, make costumes, puppets, a mask, a headband, face paints
  • Sing, shout, bang pots, make noise with whatever you have to hand
  • Dance, prance, and pose!  

We hope you have lots of fun and thank you for taking part!

Please help us spread the word
You can use this image (right click to download it) on your feeds to show you are taking part
Brighton Festival Children's Parade Take Part Too



















Brighton Festival & Same Sky’s Children’s Parade is kindly sponsored by Southern Water. 


Interview: Brighton Festival Photography with Summer Dean

Summer Dean is a freelance photographer/film maker and artist based in Brighton.
We caught up with her to find out what she’s doing to keep creative during lockdown and take a look back at some of her favourite Festival images from the last few years.

What is your role at Brighton Festival?

I’ve worked for the Festival since about 2013, just before I graduated from university and their marketing team commission me as a freelance photographer and film maker. Last year I brought together a small team of people to work with me to create content throughout the Festival. We were due to work on this year’s Festival but since it had to be cancelled I’m now working with the team on some other projects.

What inspires you about working with Brighton Festival?

For me, it starts with the fact that every performance and the Festival as a whole is the result of so many creative people coming together and making things happen. I get to see so many performances and meet artists from all over the world which is really inspiring to me.

I interview everyone from the artists to producers working behind the scenes. Having those candid chats with people before the show and getting insight into why they’re doing it, why it’s important to them. I also interview audiences after shows to film their reactions, seeing them so excited and knowing they’ve got something out of it, creatively or emotionally.

That whole process is such a beautiful thing because I get to meet different people and it’s so rewarding for the artists and Festival team to see what the public think of their performances.


What are the challenges you come up against as a creative freelancer?

It’s a whole process - finding work, building relationships with people and then producing the work. When you’re a creative freelancer, and it goes for these current challenging times, it’s about being able to build those relationships, have the motivation to do a good job and be creative with the results so that your client will also be happy, that’s a challenge.

What advice would you give young people looking to become a freelance creative?

During university and even before, anyone who needed anything photographing, I would offer to do it! I can trace back every job I’ve done to a time where I offered something to someone that no one else was offering. Whether it was just taking a job for experience or doing it for little or no money.

Then there’s making sure that you’re not getting exploited. That’s a really big issue at the moment. Don’t have a blanket rule of “I don’t work for free” because benefits aren’t always money. Benefits might be just making that relationship. It’s about simultaneously doing the job, doing it well but also building the relationship with the person you’re working for.

How are you dealing with being a creative freelancer since the Covid-19 pandemic?

I’m really grateful and lucky that I’m surrounded by a lot of creative people. One thing that’s quite interesting is a lot of the freelancers who are usually back to back busy from 6am to midnight, suddenly have all a lot of extra time. There’s an opportunity now to connect with them and come up with new ideas together.

I’ve just launched a TV channel called Rather Proper TV. I wanted to create a platform so people can still make content and share it if they want to. I’ve got a comedy show that I’m building up based on performers filming things around their house and reimagining their practice. How do you do a theatre show from your house? What does that look like? How is that for the audience?

If you would like to get involved with Rather Proper TV please email: contact@ratherpropertv.com

What tips do you have for anyone struggling to stay creative at the moment?

Something I’ve been trying to do is not put too much pressure on myself. It’s taken me a good two weeks to say do you know what, it’s OK to not be creative, I don’t have to be on all the time.

You don’t have to be creative all the time. You don’t have to have the next ground-breaking idea. You don’t have to have all the tech knowledge. Now is a time to learn new things, make connections and be yourself

Follow Summer Dean on Instagram
Check out Summer Dean's website 

Interview by Liberty-Rose Gatcombe, University of Brighton, Multi-media Broadcast Journalism student placement: @liberty3rose

Watch Again: DakhaBrakha

Watch again DakhaBrakha plus DJ set. Enjoy this Brighton Festival Exclusive, originally live streamed on Sun 10 May 2015.

Plumbing the depths of contemporary roots and rhythms, Ukrainian ‘ethnic chaos’ band DakhaBrakha creates a world of unexpected new music. Rooted in Ukrainian culture but fusing Indian, Arabic, African, Russian and Australian instrumentation, the quartet has created a truly trans-national sound. Expect moments reminiscent of Radiohead, Chicks on Speed and even Hip-hop.

With a name that literally translates as ‘give/take’, DakhaBrakha was created in 2004 at Kiev’s Center of Contemporary Art by avant-garde theatre director Vladyslav Troitskyi. Theatre has left its mark on the band, with a strong visual aesthetic remaining an integral part of its thrilling live act. 

Since its formation, DakhaBrakha has performed at festivals in over 30 countries, bringing Ukrainian melodies to the hearts and consciousness of Ukraine’s younger generation and music-lovers worldwide.

Thank you for your support

It is with great sadness that we have had to close the doors of Brighton Dome and cancel Brighton Festival in light of the current climate. As you can imagine, this wasn’t an easy decision to make but something we felt was right for not only our audience but staff and artists involved.

Since sharing this difficult news, we have been inundated with kind messages and words from members of the public. We wanted to take this time to say thank you!

Thank you for your thoughts.

Thank you for reaching out with kind words.

Thank you for continuing to support the arts.

Thank you from our CEO Andrew Comben:


The Arts and Culture sectors are going through a period of difficulty, as are other public venues. Most arts organisations, like ours, are charities, we are reliant on the talented artists who want to perform at our venue and the dedicated audiences who come along. With social-distancing and isolation becoming part of our day-to-day, how we keep the arts alive is changing. We are no longer able to pack the house out as we did before to share culture and creativity as a community! Now, we are relying on the support and kindness of the public to keep us going. In these dark moments, we want to create opportunities to keep the arts alive, we are working to find new digital ways to reach our audiences. And while we are hard at work with that, we are so grateful for all those who are quietly, or loudly, cheering us along. So far we have received a total donation of £2.5k from ticket purchases which shows the generosity of a community in need.

Below we have shared a few of our favourite words of encouragement that we’ve received in person, over email or on our social media platforms. This is our way of saying THANK YOU, to give a little back to you, and to keep those spirits high in these uncertain times.

We believe the arts inspire and change lives. And access to art for everyone is a universal human right. Now more than ever, art can lift our spirits, brighten our days and support our mental health. If you would like to see the ways to support Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival, take a look here.

We also want to say a special Thank You for those who have contributed directly over the past few days. Your generosity does not go unnoticed, we are blown away by your kindness.

A Special Thank You

Robert, Rachel and Trustees at The Chalk Cliff Trust
Mel at Amex
Susan at Rayne Foundation
Margaret Field at Nursing Association Trust

Thank You for your words of support 


“Thank you for the email about sadly cancelling Brighton Festival. We currently live in very strange and worrying times. The term ‘uncharted waters ‘comes to mind.

I purchased tickets for 10 events - 2 tickets for each event. I would like very much to donate the money from these tickets to the Brighton Dome charity and therefore do not require a refund. I’ve listed below the events I booked to make it easier for you to correlate this with your system. Hope it helps.” – Valleri, via email

“Thoughts and thanks to everyone involved in what promised to be another incredible May jam-packed with arts and culture from around our city, country and globe. I hope everyone will support in whatever way they can, be it kind words, deeds or donations #brighton #arts #culture” – Dom, via Twitter

“So sorry to hear this but clearly the right decision in the circumstances - sending [love] to all involved, including the lovely people @brightfest who make it all happen. Fingers crossed that 2021 can be a vintage year!” Dan, via Twitter

“I am so gutted that @brightdome @brightfest 2020 has been cancelled. What a huge loss for everyone in the #Brighton area and the artists who come from all over the world.” Charlotta, via Twitter

“This is very sad news. What a devastating impact this virus is having. I am so sorry for you, for Andrew and all the team. I’m also sorry for us - the Festival is an important part of our lives and a focal moment of the year. Of course we will donate our ticket payments as donations. Please let me know if there’s any other way we can support you. Take care.” - Diane via email

“We had naturally feared this would happen and we are so sad for you and everyone who puts so much time and effort into making it such a wonderful and unique event. Please send our best to Andrew and the team and hope you all stay well. Beat wishes.” Julia & Jon, via email

“I knew this was inevitable but it is still a shock. So much effort goes into the planning of the Festival, it must be heart-breaking. I do feel for all the artists, musicians and performer whose livelihoods are disappearing event by event, venue by venue. Be assured of the support of those of us who love the Festival and admire all your work for it. Best wishes.” – Betty, via email

“It is a sad time for us all and I am sorry to hear that the Brighton Festival has been cancelled. As a supporter I would like to be of help and am donating the cost of all of my tickets to the Festival. Good luck. Best wishes.” – Helena, via email

“Brighton Festival is so important to the city, of which we are proud to be a part. We’re sending our support and love to the team and all the artists involved. We will be here for you when the Festival is back up and running - I know we will need you more than ever.” Steven Marshall-Taylor, Head of Senior School, Brighton College

This is a truly inspiring selection of the wonderful, local and national support that we feel here at Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival. We believe that the arts can help the individual, inspire new ways of thinking and build an encouraging community. If you are interested in supporting us do take a look at our donation page.

Again, Thank You.

Watch Again: Kate Tempest plus REMI

Kate Tempest plus REMI was originally live streamed on Fri 26 May, 2017. Watch the full show now, from the comfort of your own home.
Contains strong language

Hot on the heels of a headline tour in support of second studio album Let Them Eat Chaos, Kate Tempest and her band brought a specially extended live show that kicked off the final weekend of Brighton Festival in fine style.

A poet, rapper, playwright, and impassioned performer, Kate Tempest is an artist who refuses to conform to genre boundaries. Whether it’s her self-performed epic poem Brand New Ancients (winner of the 2013 Ted Hughes Prize), her electrifying debut novel The Bricks That Built The Houses, or her Mercury Music Prize-nominated album Everybody Down, when you experience her powerful oratory, you’ll know why she is being hailed as the voice of a jilted generation.

Support comes from Melbourne MC REMI, who, with musical collaborator Sensible J, has become one of the fastest-rising hip-hop acts in Australia. REMI's sophomore LP Divas and Demons was released last year through his own label and included the widely loved single For Good featuring Sampa the Great.

Filmed and edited in partnership with Brighton Metropolitan College

Watch Again - Brighton Festival Live: Backbone

Watch Backbone this Easter Bank Holiday, live streamed originally on Thu 16 May 2019, 7.30pm

Sit back and enjoy some circus at home from Gravity & Other Myths
PLEASE NOTE: This recording has laser effects

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.

Winner of the Australian Dance Award (2018) for Outstanding Achievement in Physical Theatre, this is a stripped-back, raw showcase of human ability and connection. With a powerful live soundtrack and beautiful lighting design, expect ‘a genre-defying, thought-provoking, visual extravaganza…so intensely beautiful it makes you proud to be human.’(InDaily)

Gallery: Brighton Festival Brochure Covers 1967 - 1976

Look back through Brighton Festival's design history 

Check out the first ten years of Brighton Festival Programme Covers. 

Enjoy some graphic design through the decades, you can see more brochure covers here.



1967

1968

1969

1970

1971

1972

1973

1974

1975

1976


Brighton Festival 2020 is Cancelled for First Time in 53-Year History

It is with great sadness we announce that Brighton Festival 2020 is cancelled.

Based on the latest government advice around social distancing measures and the peak of the Covid-19 epidemic in the UK is projected to coincide with the timing of the Festival in May, all planned events have been suspended.

Brighton Festival was due to take place from 2 to 24 May 2020 and is the largest annual, curated multi-arts festival in England. This is the first time since the Festival has been cancelled in its 53-year history. Over 120 cultural events were scheduled across the region, including 17 premieres, commissions, co-productions and many Festival debuts from international artists. The annual Children’s Parade has also been affected and will not go ahead. Festival staff are working with artists and partners to discuss whether some events can happen at a later date or in a different way. Due to the scale of the festival and the inclusion of many international artists and touring companies, rescheduling the festival as a whole would not be feasible.

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Festival said:

“The Festival team is devastated that this incredible programme, led by Guest Director Lemn Sissay won’t happen this year and that audiences won’t experience the diversity of artists coming from across the world to our city. Lemn’s vision was to build an ‘Imagine Nation’ at Brighton Festival. It seems to us that we need imagination, creativity and the strength of our community now more than ever. We are exploring what might be the most creative contribution the Festival and its artists can make at this time and we will share more on this when we can.

“We are aware that the whole of society is being impacted by the coronavirus pandemic but also realise the profound affect it will have on the cultural sector and on the economy of our city, to which the Festival is such an important contributor. It is vital we work together to support our staff, artists and partners and that Brighton & Hove’s rich cultural life can survive and emerge from this challenge, so we all continue our contribution to the life and wealth of the whole region.”

Brighton Festival 2020 Guest Director, the acclaimed poet and author Lemn Sissay commented:

“The cancellation of Brighton Festival is a huge blow for us all but it’s also inevitable given the severity of what we all face. I believe artists have a role to play and a gift to offer and the creativity that is in us all reminds us of the preciousness and beauty of life. Let’s cherish that now and emerge from this with renewed humanity and strength.”

Customers who have booked tickets for events will be contacted by the Festival ticket office as soon as possible with refund information.

Brighton Festival is a registered charity and almost two thirds of the festival costs would have been covered by ticket sales. Ticket holders are being offered the option to donate some or all of their ticket purchase in order to help support the Festival’s future and its work with artists and community partner organisations.

Since it was first established in 1967, Brighton Festival has given artists and performers at the cutting edge of artistic practice and on the edge of society, the creative space to have their voices heard and to showcase new work.

Cllr Alan Robins, Chair of the Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee, Brighton & Hove City Council added:

“The cancellation of this year’s Festival is disappointing but inevitable given the current circumstances and is absolutely the right decision. We look forward to the Festival returning next year.”

Brighton Dome closed on Tue 17 Mar and is cancelling or postponing its events programme until further notice.

Brighton Dome Temporary Closure from Tue 17 Mar 2020

Following the UK Government’s new advice today to the public to avoid contact in social spaces including theatres, to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, Brighton Dome will be temporarily closed for events with effect from Tue 17 Mar 2020. Anyone with tickets to forthcoming events will be contacted and we will be working with artists and performers to reschedule as many dates as possible. We realise this is a huge blow to the arts in our city, but feel the health and safety of our audiences should take priority. Please bear with us as we put these plans into place and thank you for your understanding at this time.

Brighton Festival Brochure Covers: 1977 - 1986

Take a journey through Brighton Festival's design history 

Browse through our second decade of Brighton Festival programme covers. You can check out the first ten years here,

1977

1978

1979

1980

1981

1983

1984

1985

1986

Free Things to Do at Brighton Festival

Discover free events happening in Brighton and beyond throughout May at Brighton Festival.


Children’s Parade
Sat 2 May

Join fellow children, parents and teachers as we fill the city with a sea of colour and creativity! This year's theme is Nature’s Marvels, celebrating the wonders of flora and fauna from around the world.

Brighton Festival Children's Parade 2019
Washed Up Car-go
Sat 2-Sun 24 May

Artist Chris Dobrowolski’s playfully thought-provoking Washed Up Car-go features iconic Brighton landscapes, film, music, toy sea creatures and a lot of local pebbles to ask us to think about plastic pollution, consumerism and maritime art.  

The Young Americans
Sat 2-Sun 24 May

Today’s generation of Indigenous American artists take centre stage in this powerful new exhibition, co-commissioned by Brighton Festival and Rainmaker Gallery. Native artists from diverse tribal nations examine what it means to grow up in the contemporary United States with a display of fine art photography, printmaking and painting. Their explosive visual mix of techniques, experimentation and individual perspectives shatter clichéd perceptions of Indigenous art and life.


The Informals II
Sat 2-Sun 24 May

Artists Polina Medvedeva and Andreas Kühne present an interactive exhibition exploring music subcultures of Brighton, co-commissioned by Brighton Festival. Projections of video, text, music and dialogue tell stories of Brighton’s digital-savvy emerging talent who use musical culture to challenge stigmas and stereotypes at a time when politics is against them.
Come along to a live, improvised audio-visual performance on Wed 6 May, 5pm. The artists collaborate with local artists PhoneticBobbie Johnson, Ollie Hutchison and Marshall Mandiangu to create a collective portrait of, and give a platform to, Brighton’s extraordinary youth culture.



HALO
Sat 2-Sun 24 May

HALO is a large-scale immersive installation made by renowned Brighton-based artist duo Semiconductor following a residency at CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics. The duo are known for their innovative artworks which explore the material nature of our world and how we experience it through the lenses of science and technology, blending experimental moving image techniques, scientific research and digital technologies. Allowing us to look at and listen to this data gives audiences a sense of something bigger than themselves. The installation is a multi-sensory experience of matter formation in the early universe generated through projections and sound played out upon hundreds of vertical piano strings. To support this exhibition, The Lighthouse are producing a series of workshops.


Art of Attachment

Vincent Dance Theatre world premiere Art of Attachment commissioned by Brighton-based Oasis Project. The film installation combines sound and moving image, exploring the devastating impact physical, sexual and emotional abuse on women’s lives and the complex bond between substance misusing mothers and their children. Hard-hitting and deeply moving, Art of Attachment celebrates the resilience and resolve of women and children, whose stories demand to be seen and heard.


Arrivals & Departures
Sat 2-Mon 11 May
Friend’s Meeting House

YARA + DAVINA bring a public artwork about birth, death and the journey in between. Arrivals + Departures takes the recognisable form of an arrivals and departures board, displaying the names of people submitted by the public as a way of celebrating a birth (arrival) or commemorating a death (departure).Capturing both the joy and sadness of an arrival’s hall or departure lounge, visitors and passers-by can choose to contribute names to acknowledge, celebrate and commemorate. Names may range from the personal to the political, from our unsung personal heroes to national treasures, as they are shared on the large-scale artwork via a live interaction. 

A Simple Act of Wonder
Sat 2-Sun 24 May

During May, through a series of colourful, collaborative interventions, acclaimed artists Walter & Zoniel bring their attention and irrepressible energy to Fabrica and Moulsecoomb, asking how we connect with each other as individuals and communities.


In C by the Sea
Sat 2 May

To coincide with Terry Riley's 85th birthday and Kronos Quartet's performance at Brighton Festival, young musicians from Brighton & Hove Music & Arts and East Sussex Music along with members of Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra, will perform their interpretation of Terry Riley's iconic work, In C. This minimalist masterpiece for a flexible ensemble will see young musicians from across the region performing by the sea in locations including Brighton seafront.



A Weekend Without Walls | Crawley
Sat 9 May

Spend an afternoon at Queens Square, Crawley discovering exhilarating FREE and new pop-up performances from some of the UK’s most innovative outdoor companies. From hiphop to circus, come and enjoy these playful and uplifting shows for all the family. Discover the programme here.



A Weekend Without Walls | Brighton Beach
Sun 10 May

Spend an afternoon at Brighton beach discovering exhilarating FREE and new pop-up performances from some of the UK’s most innovative outdoor companies. From hiphop to circus, come and enjoy these playful and uplifting shows for all the family.


A Weekend Without Walls | The Level
Sat 23 & Sun 24 May

Spend an afternoon discovering exhilarating FREE and new pop-up performances from some of the UK’s most innovative outdoor companies. From an interactive augmented reality trail to inspiring dance there will be something to appeal to all. Discover the programme here. 


Discover events for £10 and under.

10 Must-see Art exhibitions in Brighton This May

Discover a range of art events and exhibitions happening in Brighton and beyond throughout May. 

Washed Up Car-go | Free
Sat 2-Sun 24 May
Hove Warehouse

Artist Chris Dobrowolski’s playfully thought-provoking Washed Up Car-go features iconic Brighton landscapes, film, music, toy sea creatures and a lot of local pebbles to ask us to think about plastic pollution, consumerism and maritime art.  


The Young Americans | Free
Sat 2-Sun 24 May
Phoenix Art Space

Today’s generation of Indigenous American artists take centre stage in this powerful new exhibition, co-commissioned by Brighton Festival and Rainmaker Gallery. Native artists from diverse tribal nations examine what it means to grow up in the contemporary United States with a display of fine art photography, printmaking and painting. Their explosive visual mix of techniques, experimentation and individual perspectives shatter clichéd perceptions of Indigenous art and life.


The Informals II | Free
Sat 2-Sun 24 May
The Lighthouse

Artists Polina Medvedeva and Andreas Kühne present an interactive exhibition exploring music subcultures of Brighton, co-commissioned by Brighton Festival. Projections of video, text, music and dialogue tell stories of Brighton’s digital-savvy emerging talent who use musical culture to challenge stigmas and stereotypes at a time when politics is against them.

Come along to a live, improvised audio-visual performance on Wed 6 May, 5pm. The artists collaborate with local artists Phonetic, Bobbie Johnson, Ollie Hutchison and Marshall Mandiangu to create a collective portrait of, and give a platform to, Brighton’s extraordinary youth culture.


HALO | Free
Sat 2-Sun 24 May
ACCA

HALO is a large-scale immersive installation made by renowned Brighton-based artist duo Semiconductor following a residency at CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics. The duo are known for their innovative artworks which explore the material nature of our world and how we experience it through the lenses of science and technology, blending experimental moving image techniques, scientific research and digital technologies.Allowing us to look at and listen to this data gives audiences a sense of something bigger than themselves.The installation is a multi-sensory experience of matter formation in the early universe generated through projections and sound played out upon hundreds of vertical piano strings. To support this exhibition, The Lighthouse are producing a series of workshops. 


Art of Attachment | Free
Sat 2-Sun 24 May
ONCA Gallery

Vincent Dance Theatre world premiere Art of Attachment commissioned by Brighton-based Oasis Project. The film installation combines sound and moving image, exploring the devastating impact physical, sexual and emotional abuse on women’s lives and the complex bond between substance misusing mothers and their children. Hard-hitting and deeply moving, Art of Attachment celebrates the resilience and resolve of women and children, whose stories demand to be seen and heard. 


Arrivals & Departures | Free
Sat 2-Mon 11 May
Friend’s Meeting House

YARA + DAVINA bring a public artwork about birth, death and the journey in between. Arrivals + Departures takes the recognisable form of an arrivals and departures board, displaying the names of people submitted by the public as a way of celebrating a birth (arrival) or commemorating a death (departure). Capturing both the joy and sadness of an arrival’s hall or departure lounge, visitors and passers-by can choose to contribute names to acknowledge, celebrate and commemorate. Names may range from the personal to the political, from our unsung personal heroes to national treasures, as they are shared on the large-scale artwork via a live interaction. 


A Simple Act of Wonder | Free
Sat 2-Sun 24 May
Fabrica Gallery & Moulsecoomb 

During May, through a series of colourful, collaborative interventions, acclaimed artists Walter & Zoniel bring their attention and irrepressible energy to Fabrica and Moulsecoomb, asking how we connect with each other as individuals and communities. 


The Sleeping Tree
Sun 2-Sun 24 May
Hove Warehouse

Yorkshire-based interactive arts studio, Invisible Flock will present the world premiere of The Sleeping Tree, an immersive, three-dimensional, audio-visual experience of one of the last great rain forests of North Sumatra, Indonesia. The installation conveys a powerful sense of this endangered environment, flooding the senses with heat, mist, humidity and captivating and microscopically accurate sounds of the jungle. You will follow a family of endangered Siamang Gibbons as they wake, roam across the jungle and return to their sleeping tree, one of the six majestic trees they have used for generations. 


Points of Departure
Thu 7-10 & Wed 13-Sun 17 May
Shoreham Port 

Ray Lee presents the world premiere of Points of Departure at Shoreham Port. Visitors are invited to take a walk through the atmospheric industrial landscape of Shoreham Port and experience the otherworldly sound and light installations. The installation is a series of giant towers holding suspended speaker cones which gradually swing higher and higher until each arm soars up over the heads of the audience ringing electronic tones. 


Discover the full programme here 

Free Day of Pop-up Performances Comes to Crawley This May

A Weekend Without Walls, an afternoon of free pop-up performances from some of the UK’s most innovative outdoor companies will take place in Queens Square, Crawley on Sat 9 May as part of this year’s Brighton Festival. 

From hip hop and circus to inspiring dance and an interactive augmented reality trail, the whole family will enjoy these playful and uplifting shows.

Roll Play – Prepare to be amazed by Simple Cypher’s latest outdoor creation Roll Play, which breathlessly fuses hip-hop and circus. Featuring Cyr wheel, group juggling, feel-good choreography and exceptional beats, three performers use intricate moves and agility to create a captivating, cheeky and effortlessly cool show challenging identity, status and societal roles

There Should Be Unicorns – Award-winning company Middle Child presents Luke Barnes’s There Should Be Unicorns, a family show about a young girl who sets out to change the world. Hip-hop, dance and theatre collide in this uplifting outdoor production, which asks: how can we be good when we’re caught up in what’s bad?

The Rascally Diner – Join Rufus Skumskins O’Parsley, a chef renowned for some of the world’s most disgusting dishes, for a TV special celebrating his restaurant’s 10th birthday. Inspired by the award-winning children’s book The Rascally Cake, LAStheatre’s family show for audiences aged five and above is full of fun, food and silly songs.


Councillor Chris Mullins, Cabinet member for Wellbeing at Crawley Borough Council, said:

“This is very exciting news for Crawley; it sounds like a wonderful free event for all the family. This is going to be a busy weekend for great events in the town as Run Gatwick returns for the third year on Sunday 10 May. There is no need to go anywhere else for your bank holiday weekend entertainment!”

Councillor Peter Smith, Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development, said:

 “I’m delighted that we will have the first-ever Brighton Festival event in Crawley this year. We are committed to enhancing our events programme and this exciting announcement reflects our desire to attract more people into our regenerated town centre.”

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Festival, added: 

“Bringing artists and communities together is at the heart of Brighton Festival so we're delighted to bring Without Walls to Crawley this year. The performances take place outdoors in Queens Square throughout the day so we hope visitors will stop by and enjoy some of the UK’s most innovative artists, all for free!”

A Weekend Without Walls comes to Crawley on Sat 9 May, The Level on Sat 23 & Sun 24 May and Brighton Beach on Sun 10 May. 

Invisible Flock premiere immersive rainforest installation at Brighton Festival 2020

Yorkshire-based interactive arts studio, Invisible Flock will present the world premiere of The Sleeping Tree in a disused warehouse space in Hove throughout Brighton Festival this May.  

The award-winning studio operates at the intersection of art and technology and makes innovative, participatory artworks that are experienced around the world. Drawing directly from the world around them the collective focuses on our emotional relationships to the natural world.

“We believe that art today must have a positive impact on society and the world we live in and as artists we have a responsibility to open up collective thinking and to build space for critical inquiry.”

Their recent works include Earth Tones, a global mapping project, capturing environmental data from a variety of landscapes at the forefront of climate change, whilst reimagining the information in multi-sensory art installations.

Their latest work, The Sleeping Tree is an immersive, three-dimensional, audio-visual experience of one of the last great rainforests of North Sumatra, Indonesia. The installation aims to emphasise the urgency of the threat to the Leuser Ecosystem, one of the most biodiverse environments on the planet.

Bringing UK audiences closer to the deforestation emergency in this distant and seemingly intangible ecosystem, the installation conveys a powerful sense of this endangered environment, flooding the senses with heat, mist, humidity and captivating and microscopically accurate sounds of the jungle. You will follow a family of endangered Siamang Gibbons as they wake, roam across the jungle and return to their sleeping tree, one of the six majestic trees they have used for generations.


The Sleeping Tree has been developed through intensive research living in the jungle with Siamang Gibbons. Invisible Flock have captured over 5000 hours of audio recordings of this rare species in its diminishing natural habitat, collecting scientifically valuable data on sound frequencies as well as the temperature and humidity within the jungle, which indicate the rapid changes taking place in this fragile ecosystem, as result of palm oil production.

The Sleeping Tree will open on Sat 2 May until Sun 24 May. Book your tickets here.

Discover more Art and Film events.

This event is kindly supported by Selective Asia 

£10 and Under Events at Brighton Festival

Discover a whole range of theatre, art, film, music, spoken word, dance and family events for £10 or under at Brighton Festival this May. 

The Sleeping Tree
Sat 2-Sun 25 May

Don’t miss out on this multi-sensory experience. Enter one of the last great rainforests of North Sumatra, Indonesia, and follow a family of endangered Siamang Gibbons as they wake, roam across the jungle and dutifully return to their sleeping tree, one of six majestic trees they have used for generations. As mist gently falls you are surrounded by vibrant projected 3D digital images: a visual banquet of flora and fauna unfolds, accompanied by captivating and microscopically accurate sounds of the jungle, and of the primates’ distinct calls.


Ali Smith
Sat 2 May

Guest Director of 2015, Ali Smith returns to Brighton Festival this year to discuss her season quartet Seasons – a series of novels starting in autumn and proceeding chronologically to the soon-to-be Summer. In conversation with author and translator Daniel Hahn, they will explore what has been lost, what was gained, what is true and what remains.

Photo by Antonio Olmos
Double Murder: Clowns/New Creation
Fri 1-Sun 3 May

The much anticipated new work from the celebrated choreographer (and our 2014 Guest Director) Hofesh Shechter OBE premieres right here in Brighton. The thrilling double-bill is an event of two halves each very different in mood. Performed by ten dancers, we begin with the pitch-black humour of Clowns and the New Creation is tender and fragile.


Superior: Angela Saini
Sun 3 May

Angela Saini’s third book, Superior, explores the twisted historical trajectory of race science and the sinister ways in which it is being repackaged by the far-right in the 21st century. Moderated by writer and broadcaster Colin Grant, Angela will shed light on enduring myths and the political motivations for them.


Time Shifts: Irenosen Okojie & Yara Rodrigues Fowler
Sun 3 May

Join authors of Butterfly Fish and Stubborn Archivist, discuss their debut novels moderated by world traveller and social commentator Naana Orleans-Amissah. 


The Patient Gloria
Tue 5-Sat 9 May

A wild and experimental extravaganza, this mash-up of re-enactment, real footage, lives experience and a punk gig was a must-see hit at last year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, inspired by the 1965 films Three Approaches to Psychotherapy. 


Jeremiah ‘SugarJ’ Brown: Likkle Rum with Grandma
Wed 6 May

Fusing poetry, performance and a Jamaican grandmother’s voice from a generation that’s rapidly being forgotten, Likkle Rum with Grandma comes to Brighton following sold out shows in London, which explores migration, displacement, loneliness and the importance of inter generational discourse. 


My Name is Why
Wed 7 May

Guest Director Lemn Sissay joins us to discuss his memoir My Name is Why with journalist and CEO of the Bernie Grant Art Centre, Hannah Azieb Pool. Lemn will reflect on a childhood in foster care, self-expression and Britishness. 


Brighton Festival Youth Choir
Wed 6 May

Brighton Festival Youth Choir present works by the celebrated Finnish choral composer, Mia Makaroff, Spes and Butterfly through to Blackbird by Lennon & McCartney. The concert will also celebrate some of the wonderful heritage of folk songs from the British Isles including Blow the Wind Southerly and The Last Rose of Summer.


Out of Chaos
Fri 8-Sun 10 May

Following the success of the sensational Backbone at last year’s Brighton festival, Gravity & Other Myths return with their boldest and most ambitious performance yet, telling the story of how things come together, moving between chaos and order. 

Gravity and Other Myths
Vintage Poets
Fri 8 May

Vintage, through its imprints Chatto & Windus and Cape, has been building a formidable list of poets who are pushing the envelope and engaging new readers. Join us as, Vintage present some of its new stars of the future including Romalyn Ante and Seán Hewitt.


Groove Baby: Groove into the Woods
Sat 9 May

Get ready to join your child on the dance floor as the Groove Baby Organ Trio bring to life the great Blue Note '60s era of soul-jazz, boogaloo, funk and hard bop. Step into the deep, dark woods for a fast-paced mix of storytelling, interactive music-making and solid groove, specially designed for children aged 3–7 years and their families. 


A Place in Time Evie Wyld & Niven Govinden
Sat 9 May

Join the author of The Bass Rock, Evie Wyld and This Brutal House, Niven Govinden as they explore their power to address injustice.


Tribes: David Lammy
Sat 9 May

Member of Parliament, David Lammy joins us to discuss his new book, Tribes, which explores how our human need to belong manifests in positive and negative ways.


One Two Three Four: The Beatles In Time with Craig Brown
Sat 9 May

Crag Brown’s hilarious new book – part biography, part memoir, part anthropology is a fascinating examination of The Beatles phenomenon. Join Craig as he shares some of his sublimely strange finding from this new biography. A must for any Beatles fan. 


Travelling Traditions
Sun 19 May

After a hugely successful debut last year, we continue our Travelling Traditions events exploring the enduring DNA of storytelling. This year we are lucky to welcome four of the most compelling writers of our times - George Szirtes, Preti Taneja, Olivia Sudjic & Romesh Gunesekera.

News News News
Sun 10 May

News News News is a television news show made by children for adults, recorded in front of a studio audience and broadcast live on the internet by children from Benefield Primary school in Portslade.


BIG UP!
Sun 10 May

Come and watch as Theatre-Rites & 20 Stories High create a world full of joy and chaos, where objects come to life and everything is possible. BIG UP! is perfect for little people who want to be big, and big people who just might have forgotten how to play.


Pecho Mama: Medea Electronica
Sun 10 May

Pecho Mama’s bold and genre-defying debut, Medea Electronica is a powerful and deeply moving retelling of an ancient Greek tragedy set in the technological turbulence of '80s rural England. Staged amidst searing live electronica and progressive rock gig, this is the heart-stopping story of a family caught in the brutal throes of a marriage unravelling.


Undersong
Mon 11 May

In the critically acclaimed Undersong live singers build vibrant a Capella music and movement as they bring to life a series of brand-new compositions. Voices weave amongst the audience, from a whispered duet to a screaming mob, moving between tender and expansive.


The End
Tue 12 May

In this new piece created in collaboration with Laura Dannequin, Bert & Nasi dance the end of their relationship, imagining how a future without each other might look. Projected onto a screen above the stage, two parallel narratives run alongside each other: the end of the Earth and of their collaboration. A poignant, sad and funny account of the ongoing ecological crisis.


Civilisation
Tue 12 May

A day in the life of a woman following a tragic event. An experiment in theatrical realism and contemporary dance. Jaz Woodcock-Stewart from award-winning company Antler collaborates with choreographer Morgann Runacre-Temple.


Take 5
Wed 13 May

This May we bring together five of the most compelling poets on stage, Hibaq Osman, Laurie Ogden, Amina Jama, Debris Stevenson & Zena Edwards for an evening of spoken word. 


Royal Philharmonic Orchestra: Brighton Festival Chorus
Thu 14 May

Two great ensembles are reunited for a concert and a trio of internationally acclaimed soloists for two contrasting masterworks.

The Lost Decade: Polly Toynbee
Thu 14 May

After a decade dominated by inward-looking rhetoric, the UK ended the decade on the path to an unclear Brexit, with thousands reliant on food banks for everyday sustenance. In conversation with long-time collaborator David Walker, The Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee dissects the dark decade that was.


Hot Brown Honey
Thu 14-Sat 16 May

The award-winning firecracker of a show, Hot Brown Honey turns up the heat at Brighton Festival. This genre-defying mix of cabaret, music and dance will make you laugh until you cry.


Lime Time
Thu 14 May

We bring together major prize-winning poets, Valerie Bloom, John Agard and Grace Nichols as well as T.S. Eliot Prize winner Roger Robinson for an evening of spoken word performance. 


The Time Has Now Come: New Habesha Visionaries
Fri 15 May

Spend an evening with some of Ethiopia and Eritrea's new visionaries, Maaza Mengiste, Hannah Azieb Pool & Aida Edemariam.


Alain Mabanckou
Sat 16 May

Join prolific Congolese journalist and author, Alain Mabanckou as he discusses the death of Comrade President Marien Ngouabi.


Jacqueline Wilson
Sun 17 May

Discover how Jacqueline Wilson started her writing career and find out more about her latest book, Love Frankie.

Jacqueline Wilson
New Writing South Statement Kit de Waal
Sun 17 May

The New Writing South Statement provides a platform for an eminent writer to share ideas, articulate passions, and initiate a debate on aspects of the power and position of literature in the world. Writer, activist and Common People editor Kit De Waal to deliver the New Writing South 2020 Statement on democracy and the literary landscape.

Kit de Waal
Time Capsules
Sun 17 May

We invite you to experience the joys of the short story with two of its finer practitioners in the UK – Courttia Newland and Lisa Blower – together on stage for the first time, chaired by writer and primary school teacher Luan Goldie.


SLIME
Mon 18-Fri 22 May

Enter the undergrowth to SQUISH, SQUELCH and PLAY your way through this hilarious, surreal show for 2–5 year-olds and their families, told with a handful of words and a whole lot of SLIME. Including a stay and play with slug’s 'slime' in the giant garden.


Bromance
Tue 19-Sat 23 May

Award-winning smash hit Bromance lands at Brighton Festival, a fusion of high energy physical heroics and breath taking form.


How to Be Autistic: Charlotte Amelia Poe
Thu 21 May

Self-taught artist Charlotte joins us, in conversation with Naana Orleans-Amissah to share their journey through school to adulthood, challenging neurotypical narratives of autism as something that needs ‘fixing’. 


Kronos Quartet
Fri 22 May

This May, Kronos Quartet brings a multimedia production, incorporating music sounds harvested from space as NASA’s Voyager probes hurtled past Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. A sensational sonic and visual experience, you shouldn’t miss.


Drag Queen Story Hour UK
Sun 24 May

Following Aida's huge success at Brighton Dome last autumn, she returns with Drag Queen Story Hour UK for Brighton Festival 2020. With a burst of energy and a fabulous look, Aida has been delighting children across the country with her high energy, high fashion and wonderful approach to making your favourite stories come alive.


In Translation: Rodaan al Galidi & Alia Trabucco Zerán 
Sun 24 May

In Translation presents two moving writers: Rodaan al Galidi, author of Two Blankets, Three Sheets, a quietly powerful story set in The Netherlands and narrated by Karim, who endures the limbo of eight years in an asylum centre; and Alia Trabucco Zerán, whose The Remainder, shortlisted for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize, dissects the repercussions of a brutal dictatorship on a new generation. Chaired by Jonathan Reeder.


Don’t miss our range of 21 free events.

Discover our Young Readers programme and Classical Lunchtime programme – all events are £10 or under.