Brighton Festival 2018Public booking opens: Fri 24 Feb, 9am

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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 http://www.samesky.co.uk

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 www.joydivisionreworked.com

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.

In pictures: Week 2

After a spectacular start to Brighton Festival, week 2 did not disappoint. Highlights included the astonishing Knee Deep receiving standing ovations at the Theatre Royal, Magna Mysteria leading us on a journey of magic and mystery across Brighton, drama and magic in Bullet Catch in the Spiegeltent, and our guest director Michael Rosen at The Guardian Education Debate and in conversation with Judith Kerr.

Photos by Victor Frankowski except Bone Yard Tales by Dan Dennison

The most notorious finale in show business heads to Brighton Festival

A stunt so dangerous the even Houdini refused to attempt it will take place as part of Brighton Festival this week in Rob Drummond’s Bullet Catch.


The trick, which has claimed the lives of at least twelve illusionists, assistants and spectators since its conception in 1613 - is renowned for being the most daring, death-defying show on earth.

I aim to catch a bullet fired from an automatic pistol. I will catch that bullet using only my teeth,” explains Drummond.

During the show I bring out various documents including a mental health assessment that I have undertaken to make sure I am of a fit and stable mind to conduct the trick and my real will, which I draw up and re-date every night.”

The show - which has won both a Herald Angel Award and the Total Theatre Award for ‘Innovation, Experimentation & Playing with Form’ - follows the life and death onstage of famed bullet catcher, William Henderson, who died 100 years ago performing the trick.

Drummond plays modern day marvel William Wonder who presents a unique theatrical magic show featuring storytelling, mind reading, levitation, games of chance. One lucky audience member will even be selected to take the spotlight as the wonderful magician’s glamorous assistant.

Initially, what I wanted to do was see if I could integrate magic and theatre,” Drummond says.

An added aim was to make a relationship without the usual boundaries that you get on stage between the audience member and the performer.”

Bullet Catch plays at the Spiegeltent from Thursday 16 to Sunday 19 May at 7.30pm - for tickets, click here.

One Brighton Festival reviewer goes to all four of our Alexanderplatz screenings!

There is no deeper or more atmospheric evocation of the German Weimar era than the German television epic Berlin Alexanderplatz so it’s entirely fitting that we have programmed it this year for Brighton Festival.

Adapted from Alfred Döblin’s novel by Rainer Werner Fassbinder, the 15-and-a-half hour mini-series has become cult viewing since its 14 episodes were first aired in 1983.

And one valiant Brighton Festival critic is determined to see all 15 hours of the show. (That’s 15 hours to you and me)

Lizzie Tobin’s final review will appear on Guide 2 Brighton at the end of the month.

The complete series is being shown in four installments across the four weekends of the Brighton Festival.

This is an unmissable opportunity to experience a television classic on the big screen and there is still a chance to see the final two installments on the 19 and 26 May at the Duke of Yorks at 11am on each of the dates.

Fatboy Slim makes Brighton Festival appearance

Special guests announced for BUG: A Fatboy Slim Special

Norman Cook - Fatboy Slim himself - will join Skint Records' label boss Damien Harris and comedian Adam Buxton on Brighton Dome Concert Hall stage.

The special BUG event, which takes place on Monday 20 May, will celebrate the amazing contribution to the art-form of music videos by the superstar DJ, producer and artist.

Undoubtedly one of the giants of British dance music, the evening pays tribute to the remarkable music videos that emerged from the late Nineties onwards, where Fatboy Slim inspired some of the best directors to make what are regarded as some of the best music videos ever made.

These awe inspiring videos and nuggets of visual delight will be presented by comedian, writer, broadcaster, video director and YouTube comment wrangler Adam Buxton.

BUG began in April 2007 as a series of bi-monthly shows at BFI Southbank, and the first TV series of Adam Buxton’s Bug aired on Sky Atlantic last year. These celebrations of global creativity in music video have since become a phenomenon, as popular and brilliant as the visual ideas which the BUG team unearths. 

To book tickets, click here

Brighton Festival gets wordy on BBC Radio 4

Listen again to Guest Director Michael Rosen as he explores the German language on ‘Word of Mouth’ with some of our Brighton Festival guests.

This week our Guest Director Michael Rosen delved into the world of words in a unique Festival themed programme, chatting to Festival guests including Rachel Mars, star of ‘It’s the way you tell them’ and Valentijn Dhaenens who looks at speech making in SkAgen’s ‘Big Mouth’. You can also hear Michael in conversation with Judith Kerr.

Michael adds, "As a child, I was surrounded by people talking about words and language, my parents and brother spoke several languages. What's more the house always seemed to be full of people telling stories and jokes, many of which turned on some word-play or other.

I've been writing poems and stories since I was sixteen and if that doesn't sensitise you to how language is used then nothing will. So with all that, to present Word of Mouth feels like being at home. I love it."

Listen again here.

There are still plenty of wordy events to explore during the rest of Brighton Festival for all ages.

Sussex folk songs the inspiration for one of this week’s special shows

Sam Lee is taking folk back to its roots, and is redefining contemporary folksong in the process. He arrives for his Brighton Festival show this Tuesday at 9pm at All Saints Church in Hove.

Both a singer and a collector of songs, he has spent years searching the country for the Roma, Gypsy and Traveller communities, who have passed their songs down the generations for centuries – and gathered the songs that they have sung for him. Many of the songs to be played infact are descended from Sussex.

This collection formed the basis for his Mercury Music Prize- nominated debut album Ground of Its Own last year.

Sam Lee said, “Members of the gypsy community were not aware of how important the songs are to somebody like myself – although a lot of families are aware they are special and come from a time and way of life that doesn’t exist any more. “

“They say the world loses a language every two weeks,” says Lee. “It’s exactly the same [with songs] – they are little languages and melodies, beautiful rare endangered species which can be revived to some extent.”

Come see something special that’s been saved by Sam! Support comes from Thomas McCarthy. 

Flathampton does one better than an Oscar! They get an Argus Angel!

We were delighted when we found out Royal and Derngate would be bringing Flathampton to the Brighton Festival so it’s with great pleasure that we reveal they have won an Argus Angel for the show. Well done guys!

Flathampton takes you on an amazing interactive journey round the biggest playmat you will ever see – and then some!

Our visitors valiantly collected Flathampton money, spent it at the Flathampton shops, iced some Flathampton cakes and even tried their hands at working in the hospital, the makeover salon, the music shop and for Flathampton TV news. Some grownups even went to the Flathampton disco we heard.

The Argus Angel Awards were introduced in 2007 to award artistic excellence during the Brighton Festival. From theatre and dance to music, live literature and exhibitions – The Argus Angels are presented to artists and performers who truly stand out from the crowd.

The Argus team of critics are out each day reviewing events night and day to make sure they don’t miss any performance worthy of a handsome golden statue. Based on the famous Herald Angels of The Edinburgh Festival, the trophies are carved by hand and carefully flown down from Scotland in the suitcase of the sculptor himself. They are awarded for innovation, great work and originality.

Brighton Festival on BBC Radio 3

Listen again to Ailish Tynan and James Baillieu on In Tune 

Ahead of their intimate Brighton Festival performance at All Saints Church on Wed 15 May, opening our series of intimate concerts celebrating French chamber music, hear soprano Ailish Tynan and pianist James Baillieu perform some beautiful songs by Poulenc and Hahn for BBC Radio 3's In Tune. 

A must listen.

Listen again on BBC iPlayer >

In pictures: Week 1

From a uniquely visual staging of Britten's Canticles to the heart-stopping How Like an Angel via the incomparable town of Flathampton, take a look back at highlights from the first week at Brighton Festival 2013. There's plenty more where that came from.

All photos: Victor Frankowski


Vote for your favourite Brighton Festival show

It wouldn’t be a proper Brighton Festival without a vast range of exciting and exclusive awards up for grabs in May.

Both Brighton’s daily newspaper The Argus and weekly magazine Latest 7 give out a number of awards throughout May in recognition of artistic excellence - and you can vote for your favourite show to win one!

The Argus Angel Awards were introduced in 2007 to award artistic excellence during the Brighton Festival and the Brighton Fringe. From theatre and dance to music, live literature and exhibitions – The Argus Angels are presented to artists and performers who truly stand out from the crowd. Based on the famous Herald Angels of The Edinburgh Festival, the trophies are carved by hand and carefully flown down from Scotland in the suitcase of the sculptor himself. Back now for their seventh year, audience members can nominate their favourite performance for an Angel with the link below -

http://www.theargus.co.uk/brightonfestival/brightonfestivalfringe2013/argusangels/

Alternatively, if people see an event and want to vote immediately, they can also text the word ARGUSANGEL to 80360, followed by their nomination. Twitter-users can also nominate by using the hashtag #argusangel.

Taking into account hundreds of public nominations, Latest 7 magazine assemble a comprehensive judging panel of media experts to decide the winners of the annual Latest Awards. Voting is simple - visit http://thelatest.co.uk/festival-awards/ and click on the show you want to vote for. Shows are divided into fifteen different catagories; from Most Groundbreaking Act to Best Venue and Star of the Festival.

So if you were crazy about Cirkopolis, found Flathampton fabulous or marvelled at Mariele Neudecker, get voting!

EarFilms wins the first Argus Angel

We're only two days into Brighton Festival and the first Argus Angel already been awarded!

EarFilms are the first recipients of the prestigious award for the European Premiere of ‘To Sleep, To Dream’; a 3D playground for the imagination where you are blindfolded and hand over your senses over as a sonic story unfolds around you.

The Argus Angel Awards were introduced in 2007 to award artistic excellence during the Brighton Festival. From theatre and dance to music, live literature and exhibitions – The Argus Angels are presented to artists and performers who truly stand out from the crowd.

The Argus team of critics are out each day reviewing events night and day to make sure they don’t miss any performance worthy of a handsome golden statue. Based on the famous Herald Angels of The Edinburgh Festival, the trophies are carved by hand and carefully flown down from Scotland in the suitcase of the sculptor himself.

Daniel Marcus Clark of Earfilms said, "It's amazing for us to win and also to be included in Brighton Festival and to have this show to bring. The piece wasn't made without Brighton so it's huge for us to premiere it here.

Kim Protheroe, The Argus Features Editor, said: "These awards are for the truly exceptional performances and events we see during the festival period. These can range from a new performer with obvious talent and potential, to an established act that simply blows you away with their continued innovation and flawless execution.” 

Happy Birthday Michael Rosen

The author and poet celebrates with Brighton Festival 

Today was another fun filled morning at Brighton Festival full of a great range of events across our sun filled city but there was one very special occasion to celebrate in the Brighton Dome Corn Exchange– that was the 67th birthday of our Guest Director Michael Rosen which takes place on Tuesday.

After a sold out performance of ‘Bear Hunt and Chocolate Cake’ and another ever popular performance of ‘Big Book of Bad Things’ some of the best cake bakers in Brighton – Jan Hansen and Martha Sheppard of Catwalk Cakes, Bond Street– presented a Michael with a ‘bear hunt’ cake complete with chocolate teddy bears, sugar figures and lashings of chocolate icing.

The audience of children and mums and dads then sang a loud and cheerful round of ‘Happy Birthday’ to the birthday guest as the bakers took to the stage to surprise Michael with the delicious treat.

Michael joked, “Thank you! Twenty eight again?!”

Michael’s actual birthday is on Tuesday. Why don’t you send him a birthday tweet on his special day @michaelroseyes

You can get your own special cake by emaling info@catwalkcakes.co.uk for more details or visiting them in Bond Street, Brighton. 

Under the Shadow of the Drone location revealed

A chilling symbol of modern warfare will make an eerily silent appearance on Brighton's seafront this May.

Brighton Festival and Lighthouse can now disclose the location for Under the Shadow of the Drone, James Bridle’s outdoor drawing of a drone aircraft, as used by militaries around the world. This May his one-to-one rendering of a Reaper drone will incur into the everyday lives of residents on Brighton’s seafront Madeira Drive.

Under the Shadow of the Drone is designed to encourage people to imagine a military drone making a sudden appearance into the airspace of their own city and to confront the reality of what it might be like to experience a bombing raid carried out by a drone aircraft on their own community.

James Bridle strives to make these unseen, distant, destructive weapons more visible. Under the Shadow of the Drone brings the drone to the streets of Brighton.

Location: 5 minutes / 500 metres walk east from The Brighton Wheel on Marine Parade, towards Yellowave Beach Sports Venue. And then look down to Madeira Drive.

Longitude/latitude of the Drone site: 50.818463, -0.12926

Brighton Squad take on Brighton Festival in a unique writing challenge

The Brighton Squad, New Writing South’s resident young writers, have been given a fantastic opportunity to review shows in Brighton Festival.

The squad - a team of fifteen writers in their teens - will be watching a range of brilliant shows, concerts and events, and then writing up their thoughts for the public to read.

With Michael Rosen - a champion of children's writing - as the Festival’s Guest Director and such an amazing variety of events, they've been really spoilt for choice and will be giving their views on everything from gallery exhibitions to gigs, dance shows, literature events and theatre performances.

Their group leader Rosanna Lowe, said "The Brighton Squad are delighted to be seeing and reviewing shows at Brighton Festival. They're a very expressive group of young writers and they're ready to take on the Festival and give us their take on what the shows have made them think or feel.”

The writers will be given the same privileges as the press, and in return will post their reviews onto both the Festival’s website and the New Writing South website.

Brighton Festival's press team visited the Squad during one of their sessions earlier in the year to give them a taster of what it is expected from a Festival reviewer, and to talk about the range of fabulous shows they will be able to see.

By exploring a range of creative writing, from poetry to playwriting and lyrics to flash fiction, the Squad introduces young writers to a wide variety of writing styles whilst supporting the development of young writers in the region.

Visit our website during the Festival to see what they think of our shows. We will also be sharing them on our social media channels. Stay tuned!

An interview with Lola Arias

Brighton Festival will present the UK premiere of My Life After from Fri 24 - Sun 26 May. We spoke to Buenos Aires-based writer / director Lola Arias about the genesis of this uniquely personal response to the Argentina of her parents' generation.

My Life After reconstructs the lives of the parents of the actors in the play. How much input did the cast have?

When I started the research for the play, I had only the concept: a group of young people born during the Argentinean dictatorship reconstruct the life of their parents. With this idea, I started interviewing people. I chose these 6 performers - not all of them are professional actors - because of their stories. I wanted to have people with different backgrounds: Carla is a daughter of a soldier of the ERP (Revolutionary Army of the People) who was killed in combat, Vanina is the daughter of a policeman who worked under covered and participated in torture… All of the performers participated in the investigations of their own family story but the concept and the text is mine.

Do the personal stories change if a cast member is replaced? Or do actors inherit the story in the script?

No actor was ever replaced in this piece. If an actor can’t be part of a tour, the story is cut from the play. The concept is very important: everybody is telling his or her own story.

Is this documentary theatre, a historical investigation or a mixture of fact and fiction?

You can call it documentary theatre because the play is based in documents, facts from the past. But I call it theatre. The performers reconstruct the life of their parents through their own family photo album, letters, tapes... But there is also a lot of fiction in it. They do re-enactments of scenes from the past, based on what someone told them or blurry memories… The past is also a fiction that changes every time we transform it into a story to tell to others.

What are your memories of growing up in Buenos Aires?

I grew up in small house in the very centre of the city. My mother is a literature teacher, my father an architect. The brother of my mother was part of the guerrilla and went into exile in Brazil; the son of my father’s partner disappeared but we never spoke about it at home. So what I remember is this kind of unspoken fear.

Are the clothes, photographs, letters and other props used the genuine articles owned by the actors' parents?

Most of them are original objects. We travelled already to 22 festivals all over the world with a small box with photos, mini cars and some other small objects from the performers. There are also 400 items of clothes on stage. But this is too heavy to put on the plane!

My Life After will be performed in Spanish with English surtitles, why is it important to present the work in your native tongue?

It is the story of these people in Argentina and we speak Spanish! The fact that English became the global language of communication doesn’t mean every piece of art should be done in English… Would you make this question to an Argentinean film director? I guess no. Well, it’s the same. We speak our language and you can read the subtitles or… learn to speak Spanish!

What do you want British audiences to take away from the show?

I don’t have any kind of particular expectation about British audiences. I always expect that the piece creates some kind of reflection about how our private lives are also determined by politics. This is a very personal portrait of six young people from Argentina but it’s also a portrait about how is life under a dictatorship.

My Life After performs at Brighton Dome Corn Exchange from Fri 24 - Sun 26 May