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Brighton Festival scoops the award for Leisure and Tourism at Sussex Business Awards

Last week Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival were awarded the Sussex Business Awards title for Leisure and Tourism.

The awards, which took place in the Brighton Dome Corn Exchange, were attended by over 500 businesses from across Sussex.

2013 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the competition. Celebrating business excellence across Sussex, the Sussex Business Awards is the longest established scheme of its kind in the county.

Andrew Comben, CEO, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival, said, “We were delighted to receive to the award for leisure and tourism last week at the Sussex Business Awards. The award is a recognition of the dedication and hard work that our teams put in and also how Brighton Festival 2013 was received and regarded across the region. In 2013, Brighton Festival had a three fold increase in audiences and made a multi million pound contribution to the local economy. It was terrific to pick up the award on behalf of everyone involved in the festival from across our organisation. It was also a great pleasure to host the awards in our own venue for the first time and we greatly enjoyed welcoming the county’s business people to Brighton Dome for a very special evening.”

Hofesh Shechter's Sun Photos & Reviews

We’re more than a little excited about the arrival of Hofesh Shechter’s Sun here next May. The show has garnered a lot of press since making its international debut in Melbourne and subsequently making its UK premiere at Sadler’s Wells, London. We’ve been keeping up with the reviews to see what we can expect when it concludes its first world tour at the opening weekend of Brighton Festival 2014.

Recognised as one of the UK’s most exciting contemporary artists, Shechter is renowned for creating raw, physical live contemporary dance pieces set to his own, highly-charged, atmospheric musical scores and from what we’ve seen and read, you won’t be disappointed.

‘It's like ballet gone feral’ The Guardian

'Hofesh Shechter's latest work points fingers at the world's ugly injustice in a skewed, sometimes nightmarish, way. His movement has a primal, hypnotic power' London Evening Standard

Hofesh on Sun in the Metro:

‘Some people come and hope it’s Political Mother 2, I know that. However, other people will hope for something new. That’s what I’m interested in. The experience of Sun will be very different but you can sense that it’s my work – I want the work to reach out to people. I want it to connect.’

'Although just 75 minutes straight through, it would take a week to list every one of Sun’s vignettes in detail – there are dozens, each one, thanks to razor-sharp sound- and lighting-cues, cutting with Hitchcockian speed and brio to the next.' The Telegraph

Hofesh's eponymous company is a Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival resident company, and the brand new work Sun – co-commissioned by Brighton Festival – will open our three week arts extravaganza on Sat 3 May 2014 when it comes ‘home’ at the conclusion of its first world tour. In an interview with the Metro Hofesh spoke about his Guest Directorship of Brighton Festival 2014

‘The opportunity to bring works from dance to music to theatre, to be able to create an event, that’s really exciting. The work that inspires me is the work that asks you to commit yourself to it – and when you do that, you get something back. There has to be an honesty about it.’

Children’s Parade 2014 theme announced

Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival and arts organisation Same Sky are delighted to announce the theme for the 2014 Children’s Parade is the ‘The Arts’, with differing sections of the parade focussing on different genres including dance, theatre, film, visual arts and books.

For the first time ever, the organisation will join forces with Brighton & Hove Music & Arts - the music education hub whose key mission is to enhance and further develop music education across the city - to instate a Children’s Parade Musician in Residence who will visit numerous schools to encourage young people to explore different musical styles.

Almost 5,000 children from a record 83 schools and community groups across the region take to Brighton’s streets for the parade in May, watched and cheered on by more than 20,000 people. Jointly produced with award-winning community arts organisation Same Sky, the Children’s Parade has delighted participants and spectator for over 25 years and officially launches Brighton Festival - England’s largest multi-arts festival - on the first Saturday in May.

Each year the parade celebrates a different imaginative theme. Previous years have seen participants dress up as everything from letters of the alphabet to Brighton street names.

For more information, please visit

Brighton Festival announces choreographer Hofesh Shechter as Guest Director 2014

Critically-acclaimed choreographer, musician, composer and performer will shape Brighton Festival 2014’s programme of events

Renowned for creating raw, physical live contemporary dance pieces set to his own, highly-charged, atmospheric musical scores, Hofesh Shechter is seen as one of the UK’s most exciting contemporary artists. His eponymous Company are a Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival resident company, and their brand new work Sun – co-commissioned by Brighton Festival – will open the three week arts extravaganza on Sat 3 May when it comes ‘home’ at the conclusion of its first world tour. 

Hofesh Shechter said, ’Brighton has a magic to it that no one can explain. Finding a place where one can develop and grow artistically is a delicate thing, an important thing. Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival have been an inspiring, energising and encouraging place for my company and me in the last 5 years. We’ve enjoyed the buzz, the lightness, energy, and the unexplainable essence of Brighton. We have resided in its cultural heart - Brighton Dome, and the pulsating artistic heart of the Dome is the annual Festival. I'm so excited and honoured to have been invited to lead on this inspiring event and I feel a rush of excitement about the ideas I can contribute. To be asked to lead this amazing event in 2014, to be asked to inspire, energise, encourage... well, delighted, is just a boring word.

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Dome & Festival said, ‘We’re very pleased that Hofesh Shechter is our Guest Director for Brighton Festival 2014. As the artistic director of our resident company Hofesh Shechter Company, it has been exciting for us and our audiences to experience first-hand his ascent to becoming a major force on the international contemporary dance scene. Hofesh’s instinctive understanding of Brighton and our Festival has been a great starting point for our planning, and I feel it’s particularly pertinent that he steps into the role in 2014 following a highly successful five years of working together. Hofesh’s appointment as Guest Director continues a trend set by his predecessors – his work and creative vision contains that rare quality and sense of adventure that sparks the imaginations of a much wider audience beyond his own discipline. With such an eclectic artist at the helm, Brighton Festival 2014 is set to be a very exciting one indeed.

Hofesh Shechter’s appointment as Guest Director is the culmination of a five year relationship between the choreographer and the organisation. Fresh from being named the first resident company at Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival in 2008, Hofesh Shechter Company’s dramatic Brighton Dome Concert Hall debut In your rooms / Uprising was followed by back-to-back world premières of two specially-commissioned works; The Art of Not Looking Back (Brighton Festival 2009) and Political Mother (Brighton Festival 2010). In 2009, Brighton Festival also commissioned Hofesh’s Bangers and Mash; a youth community project featuring over 100 young dancers and musicians, and in 2013 Brighton Festival commissioned Nomad Land; a collaborative dance and film project that explored the energy and complexity of male relationships. Brighton Dome has also played host to evenings of brand-new work choreographed and presented by Hofesh Shechter Company dancers called In Good Company and, following its international success, the return of Political Mother to the venue in 2012.

Brighton Festival - an annual celebration of music, theatre, dance, circus, art, film, literature, debate, outdoor and family events - will take place in venues across the city and beyond from 3 to 25 May 2014. 

Learn more about our new Guest Director Hofesh Shechter. Watch the trailer for Sun, which has been  described as 'utterly disarming… delightfully eclectic' DanceTabs. Read the full review here.

Live_Transmission: Joy Division Reworked tours the UK this autumn

Critically acclaimed Brighton Festival 2012 commission embarks on 11-date tour in September

Following its sell-out world premiere at Brighton Festival in 2012, Live_Transmission: Joy Division Reworked - an electro-orchestral and visual reinterpretation of one of the UK’s most influential bands - will begin its debut UK tour at Royal Festival Hall, London on Saturday 21 September.

A truly unique spectacle, the show is an audio-visual collaboration between electronic music pioneer Scanner, Heritage Orchestra, and visual artist Matt Watkins. Rather than classical interpretations or cover versions, Live_Transmission dismantles Joy Division's visual and musical motifs to create a hugely powerful immersive event that pays homage to the signature spirit that defined the group as one of the world’s most progressive bands.

‘If Curtis hadn’t died you can’t help but wonder if this the kind of thing they would be doing today’ The Independent

The musicians - including Three Trapped Tigers’ drummer Adam Betts and guitarist Matt Calvert, Ghostpoet bassist John Calvert, conductor Jules Buckley and the Heritage Orchestra - perform between two huge screens that capture the projected artwork of Matt Watkins. These vast visuals complement the orchestra by switching between clarity and chaos.

A performance that not only respects the ground it dares to tread but also ventures into new cross-genre artistic territory, the show recently made its international debut at the Sydney Opera House in May 2013 for the Vivid LIVE festival.

Tour dates are as follows:

21st Sept - London Royal Festival Hall

23rd Sept - Nottingham Royal Concert Hall

24th Sept - Northampton Royal & Derngate

25th Sept - Bristol Colston Hall

26th Sept - Cambridge Corn Exchange

27th Sept - Basingstoke The Anvil

28th Sept - Birmingham Symphony Hall

29th Sept - Salford Lyric Theatre - The Lowry

30th Sept - Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

1st Oct - Edinburgh Usher Hall

2nd Sept - Gateshead The Sage

For more information, visit

The Latest Festival Awards: Brighton Festival triumphs!

Performers, directors, artists and more came together at the Latest Music bar on Monday 3 June for The Latest Festival Awards

Celebrating the best of Brighton Festival, Brighton Fringe, £5 Fringe Awards and the Artists Open Houses 2013, the awards show marked the perfect ending to another fabulous festival-filled May.

Brighton Festival were privileged to win the prize for the best children’s event (Flathampton), best classical event (How Like an Angel), best international act (Casus’ Knee Deep) and best outdoor event (Figures Libres: KompleXKaphaarnauM)

Brighton Festival also took second and third – so the entire catergory of prizes in fact – for outdoor work, where praise also went to Kaarina Kaikonnen’s Time Passes by and theatre spectacular A High Street Odyssey. Awards were also made to Brighton Festival acts Sam Lee and Daniel Kitson.

For the first time too, the festival’s Guest Director was awarded for outstanding contribution to the Festivals in May. This accolade for Michael Rosen comes hot off the heels of his Argus Angel in the final week of the Festival.

Sixteen awards were up for grabs on the night in total and Britain’s Got Talent star Lynn Ruth Miller provided comic relief.

You can read more about the event by visiting here.

Michael Rosen wins Argus Angel

Michael Rosen has been awarded an Argus Angel after leaders of the city’s arts scene hailed him as the greatest Guest Director to date.

The 67-year-old children’s author has been a constant presence over the last three weeks and involved in many shows.

From lending his hands and eyes for the Festival front cover to leading hundreds of youngsters in creating a new piece of music in The Great Enormo, he has secured himself as a fans’ favourite.

Jon Barrenechea, the manager of the Duke of York’s cinema, praised him for his “accessibility” across the three weeks.

He said: 'A lot of these people seem to live in their ivory tower that they have constructed, but he verymuch lives in the real world.

'Of all the guest directors he has certainly been the most accessible. I’ve seen him walking around and chatting with people – he has been great.

'He can talk and relate to people of all ages. The Argus Angel is thoroughly deserved.'

Laurence Hill, the manager of Fabrica gallery in Duke Street, said that his popularity with all ages was key.

He added: 'Because he is so well-known in a kind of democratic way I think he engaged and has been more accessible than others have been.

'He is very deserving of an Angel.'

Among the events the London-based writer has been involved in include his In Conversation with veteran author Judith Kerr, the screening of his favourite book Emil and The Detectives and a debate on the future of education staged by The Guardian.

He has also appeared on various national TV and radio shows promoting both the Festival and the city.

Duncan Hall, an entertainment reporter for The Argus, said: 'His character and personality has been imprinted across the programme and I can’t think of anyone who has had such a major influence on what is going on.

'He has been everything a guest director should be. It has been a pleasure having him here in Brighton.'

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of the Festival, said: 'He has entertained, educated and moved audiences of all ages during his time in Brighton.

'Michael has the infectious energy of a polymath and is curious about and interested in everything – he has been perfect for such an eclectic and wide-ranging festival as ours. Thank you Michael.'

Geoffrey Bowden, the chair of Brighton and Hove City Council’s culture committee, said: 'His energy and enthusiasm has been truly phenomenal. He has set a high benchmark for future guest directors to aim for. The Argus Angel award is well deserved.'

The outgoing mayor of Brighton and Hove, Bill Randall, who led the Children’s Parade with the Guest Director, added: “He has been fantastic.

'His enthusiasm and passion should be applauded and he richly deserves an Argus Angel.'

Ben James, The Argus
Visit The Argus website here

Vote for your favourite event of Brighton Festival 2013

If you've seen something you've really enjoyed, don't forget to cast your votes in The Argus and Latest 7 awards.

Each year The Argus awards one Argus Angel to a show voted for by the public. They have already awarded well-deserved Argus Angel awards to EarfilmsPaul LewisWe're Gonna DieFlathamptonAngelique KidjoKnee Deep and The Tiger Lillies

Now is the chance to vote for your highlight. With shows such as How Like an AngelCirkopolis and Bigmouth amongst many others to choose from it could be a difficult decision!

You can nominate your favourite performance via The Argus website or by texting ARGUSANGEL to 80360 followed by your nomination. Twitter users can also nominate using the hashtag #argusangel.

See here for details of how to cast your Latest 7 vote online. Be quick, voting closes at the end of this week.

We know we've had a great time and we hope you have too...

In pictures: Week 3

In the final week of Brighton Festival 2013, there were adventures by bicycle over the South Downs while The Flaming Lips brought the house down at Brighton Dome...

Photos by Victor Frankowski and Dan Dennison

Music legend celebrates his birthday at Brighton Festival

Herbie Flowers - the Sussex-based musician renowned for his bass guitar, double-bass and tuba playing - turned 75 in style on Sunday 19 May at a special Brighton Festival Birthday Jazz Breakfast in The Spiegeltent.

The show, which featured Flowers playing alongside respected jazz saxophonist Stan Sulzmann, pianist Mark Edwards and drummer Malcolm Mortimore, also saw Brighton Festival Chorus perform a number of songs before singing a very special version of Happy Birthday. Flowers was then presented with a bass guitar-shaped cake, based on a guitar he’d bought from New York in the 1960s, from Flutterby Bakery.

Highly regarded as one of Britain's best-known session bass-players, Flowers has worked alongside the likes of David Bowie, Sir Elton John, Sir Paul McCartney and famously recorded the iconic bass line to Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side.

Herbie returns to The Speigeltent for one final Brighton Festival jazz breakfast performance on Sunday 26 May at 11am - for tickets, click here.

His annual Rockshop - an intensive week long music course for young musicians aged 14 - 19 - takes place at Brighton Dome from July 29 to 2nd August. For more information, please click here.