Brighton Festival film screening celebrates learning disabled workers
Brighton Festival & Carousel’s Oska Bright Film Festival are presenting a special film screening event entitled Lose Your Head at Duke’s At Komedia on Wed 23 May, celebrating learning disabled workers in a selection of short films from around the globe.
Carousel’s Oska Bright Film Festival is the leading international festival of films made by, or featuring, people with learning disabilities. It is produced, managed and presented by a learning disabled team. The biennial Oska Bright runs over three days, shows 100+ films from around the world and welcomes 3,000 people. The next Festival is in 2019.
In non-festival years Oska Bright screens its award-winning films at cinemas and film festivals around the world, showcasing the talent of learning disabled creatives.
On Wed 23 May, as part of Brighton Festival, Oska Bright’s lead programmer Matthew Hellett will introduce his selection of films from past Festivals, responding to the theme of ‘Hard Work’, inspired by Guest Director David Shrigley’s book of the same title.
Matthew Hellett says: “There is a lot of effort and consideration that goes in to making films. Filmmaking is hard work in general, but being a learning disabled filmmaker is even more difficult. We’re marginalised in society and we have to carve out spaces for ourselves to show our work.”
The screening will include short film The Mask by Sharif Persaud, a unique look at autism, identity and Al Murray which picked up the award for ‘Best Story’ at an earlier Oska Bright Film Festival. Meanwhile, in the slice of life drama Checkout (USA), Kelly is a supermarket packer who knows she deserves promotion whereas Man Without Direction (Sweden) sees businessman Dante lost in a Lynchian nightmare.
Oska Bright Film Festival puts people learning disabled people where they should be, behind the camera and on the screen. By doing this, it hopes that people’s perceptions of who learning disabled people are and what they’re capable of will be challenged. It is part of arts organisation Carousel, championing learning disabled creative people in the City for over thirty years.
In Photos: Week 2
Leading disabled dance artist brings multi-sensory new work for babies to Brighton Festival
Leading UK disabled dancer Caroline Bowditch’s colourful and immersive new production for babies under one and their respective adults, Snigel and Friends, comes to Brighton Festival next weekend. Co-created by Caroline Bowditch and designer Laura Hook, Snigel and Friends is a piece of dance theatre that aims to redress the under-representation of disability-inclusive work for young people.
Caroline Bowditch says: “Since 2008 I have been working annually with Skanes Dance Theatre in Malmo, Sweden. Each year when I’ve visited, their Programmer, Liselotte, has talked about how difficult it is to find good quality dance work for young audiences and how it’s virtually impossible to find work that includes any form of body diversity…I started to question ‘Why weren’t disabled artists making work for young audience?’ I took this question to Fiona Ferguson in Jan 2017 and the project grew out of this.”
Bowditch is one of the UK’s leading disabled dance artists. Audience’s may be familiar with her previous works Proband, Leaving Limbo Landing and Falling in love with Frida as well as collaborative works for Scottish Dance Theatre: NQR and The Long and the Short of It. There are very few companies making work for children with disabled performers. Caroline has long been working with Imaginate on the Weren’t You Expecting Me Project, taking a closer look at the impact, if any, that this may have on disabled and non-disabled children, particularly looking at the effect on aspirations, self-esteem and overall perceptions of disability.
Snigel the inquisitive snail - played by Caroline - dances, sings and makes music with their insect friends, brought to life by dancers, Welly O’Brien and performer and musician Zac Scott. Performed in the traverse and with the audience encouraged to sit on the floor, Snigel and Friends is an immersive and intimate performance allowing children to interact with the performers up close.
Designer and Production Manager Laura Hook says: “There are very few shows that made specifically for babies this young. We worked with our ‘baby board’ to make sure we created the best possible environment for little ones to engage in the colours and live music of the undergrowth while interacting with the characters and the props. I created a set that is built in proportion to Caroline, which also means all the action happens at perfect baby height. The leafy canopy creates a magical world that allows the audience to relax in the undergrowth...It’s an exercise in mindfulness and diversity that allows a positive theatre experience for parents and their wee ones.”
5 things you didn’t know about Brighton Festival Chorus
We caught up with Brighton Festival Classical Programmer and long standing member of the Brighton Festival Chorus, Gill Kay to find out more about the prestigious choir...
- Brighton Festival Chorus was formed to sing in Brighton Festival in 1968, the second Brighton Festival ever. At the time there was a Hungarian musician who was working at the old Gardner Centre at the University of Sussex. He was quite well known as a chorus master, a man named Laszlo Heltay.
The festival approached Lazlo and asked whether he would form a chorus especially for the Brighton festival next year, as they wanted to put on a piece by William Walton as part of the programme. He agreed and auditioned a whole load of people and formed the BFC. He trained them to sing, and for their first ever concert in 1968 they sang William Walton’s Belshazzar's Feast. William Walton was still alive at this point, so he himself conducted. It was such a success, and the chorus were so brilliant under Lazlo’s directorship, that since then, Brighton festival chorus has performed at every single Brighton festival since.
Arguably Lazlo himself is the reason why BFC became so popular in the first place. He still ran the chorus when I first joined in about 1985 and he absolutely terrified me, he was terrifying, but he was brilliant. He would do things like move people around mid-rehearsal. When he did, it would sound like a completely different section. He just had a brilliant ear. He understood how to fine tune the big choral sound that over 100 singers can create.
- Brighton Festival Choir is very traditional in terms of its sound, and are brilliant at traditional British repertoire. The other thing that I think the BFC is excellent at is singing incredibly quietly. It really is the most exciting thing when one moment you’re listening to a 140-person strong wall of sound sing as loudly as they can, and the other to 140 people singing incredibly quietly. It’s pure magic. There is a certain quality that 140 people singing quietly has. It’s something other than just the volume, it creates a presence in the room, in the sound… It’s quite hard to explain
- In 2006, we performed Tavener’s three-hour long The Veil of the Temple with no interval. We took all the seats out of the Brighton Dome Concert Hall and had staging in the middle. It’s the most complicated score! Tavener has got specific parts for different areas of the concert hall. So, we had singers stationed at a north point, a south, west and east, and then on the central bit there was an 8-foot Tibetan horn on it, alongside temple bowls and a duk duk.
At the end of this piece – bearing in mind that this had already gone on for three hours nonstop – Tavener writes that another 500 singers to enter from all doors in the auditorium and come in and join for the last twenty minutes in a kind of Persian chant. We managed to get a whole load of choirs to join, about another 300 singers. At the end everyone just walked off singing this chant and disappeared into the bar. The audience were clapping and clapping. Tavener himself was there, and he walked on stage and the applause went on for about 15 or 20 minutes, it was phenomenal.
- We performed the War Requiem on Saturday 12 May as part of Brighton Festival. It is a requiem Mass, with some traditional Latin singing interspersed with Wilfred Owen war poetry. We wanted to make our version of the War Requiem quite unique by combining a French orchestra and a British orchestra and our chorus and the two soloists. We performed the War Requiem across Northern France in the last 25 years quite a few times, so in a way, this relationship that the chorus has got with northern France is really quite special.
- We'll be performing Belshazzar's Feast on Sun 27 May at 7.30pm. It's a particularly special one because not only is it is the 50th anniversary of the BFC, but it is also the 50th anniversary of that song. We have even booked the same Orchestra - The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - who played with us in 1958! We want to emphasise where BFC started, and celebrate where we are today.
A Weekend Without Walls
The annual free celebration of family friendly outdoors performance is back, promising a fun programme of acrobatics, aerial circus, dance, installations, music and theatre that is sure to thrill, inspire and entertain audiences of all ages. So gather your friends and family, don't forget to pack a picnic, and head outdoors...
Installation and family-friendly performance theatre
Bird in the Hand Theatre's The Bewonderment Machine
A brand new theatre company combining the talents of puppet maker and director Alison Duddle and puppeteer extraordinaire Mark Whitaker. The Bewonderment Machine is an artist-built cycle powered carousel with riding space for up to 10 small children. A quirky dreamscape and magical miniature theatrical flight.
Helen Eastman Production's Bicycle Boy A bicycle powered musical for children aged 6–10 and their families. Sam and Mike loved their bikes as youngsters and pretended to be superheroes. Now grown-up, they’re clearing out their grandad’s old bike workshop and sharing childhood dreams with laughs, songs, and percussion played on spare bike parts. A celebration of pedal power!
Ramshacklicious' The band at the end of the world! (Sat 26 May only)Raucous brass music, processing with a home-made, water spurting, flaming, roaming vehicle. A punk marching band existing within their very own miniature apocalyptic microclimate. These idiots are convinced that the end of the world is upon us – how do we take responsibility for the world we live in?
Travelling Light Circus' The Playground of Illusions Play with three giants' toys which each contain a visual or sound illusion! Inspired by steampunk and using vintage industrial machines to make quirky gadgets with levers to pull, buttons to push and pedals to press. An unforgettable and fascinating experience for all ages which will ignite your imagination.
Candoco Dance Company's Dedicated to… Critically acclaimed company of disabled and non-disabled dancers. This new duet choreographed by Caroline Bowditch, reveals the extraordinary bonds we make throughout our lives. A touching portrayal of female strength, support and friendship and how people come in and out of our lives and evolve and can shape us.
Flex Dance Company's WIREDA solo performance by George Williams who in 2015 became the first dancer with a learning disability to tour with the National Youth Dance Company of England. From the comfort of his bedroom George forges connections to all that is special to him: Music, games, the world-wide web and more. At times a hive of activity, at others a sanctuary, Everyday objects can become a playground. It’s hard to focus when you’re this wired!
Rosie Kay Dance Company's Modern Warrior (Sun 27 May only)Fast-paced urban takeover inspired by martial arts movies with exciting and dramatic sequences as two opposing groups meet in an epic stand-off. Pick a side, join either the Mods (Modernists) or the Trads (Traditionalists) and train to be a MODERN WARRIOR. Join in and become part of the action or simply watch as the legend unfolds. Rosie Kay Dance Company won Best Independent Dance Company in 2015 by the National Dance Awards and is nominated again for 2018 with winners announced on 19 February.
Hikapee's Look Up
A beautiful, highly visual and inspiring performance of circus, puppetry and theatre for families. When we are constantly glued to our mobile phones, what joy can we find when we dare to look up and appreciate nature.
Brighton Festival is part of Without Walls, the UK’s largest commissioner of outdoor arts shows, taking inspiring new work to audiences all over the country and beyond. Find out more: withoutwalls.uk.com
A Weekend Without Walls is supported by Southern Water
Kate Tempest debuts new album at secret Your Place gig
2017’s Guest Director Kate Tempest made a surprise return to the city on Sat 19 May for a secret gig as part of our Your Place initiative, performing an exclusive rendition of her unreleased new album in full at Hangleton Community Centre
Billed only as a ‘special guest’ at 5pm, the sold-out show rounded off a glorious sunny day of free entertainment for residents of the Hangleton area, presented by Brighton Festival and Brighton People’s Theatre. Tempest told the crowd that she was “thrilled to be back” and asked for no filming of the work from her upcoming third solo album. Tempest’s exclusive performance of the brand new work came after a barnstorming performance from Culture Clash, a training area for young writers and performers in the Brighton area, who performed a three way-battle of spoken artforms in Poets vs. Rappers vs. Comedians.
Kate Tempest commented: “This year I’ve come back to play a little unannounced gig at Hangleton Community Centre, which is one of my favourite places ever to play a gig, to be honest. I had this idea as part of my Guest Directorship that what would be the most exciting way to use that opportunity would be to bring some of what was happening in the Festival out to the communities around. And one of the most important things about that idea was that it had life after our year. It was such an exciting time for everyone, for the people that run the Festival to meet the community steering groups, and everyone was so blown away by how much enthusiasm and excitement there was. And now I’ve come back and it’s popping off basically, there’s a massive bandstand, everyone’s dancing, it feels really good here. I feel really chuffed and really happy to be back.”
Saturday’s line-up at Hangleton included a popular dance-a-thon through the decades from the Charleston to the Macarena with The Ragroof Players’ Happy Feet, as well as an interactive game zone for all ages with The Actual Reality Arcade. Brighton & Hove Music and Arts (who united with Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival last year) presented performances by inclusive music group Orchestra 360 and the dustbin-utilising Percussion Ensemble at Morag Myerscough’s touring Belonging Bandstand, and the Brighton-based all-female group Qukulele and Brighthun Voices’ showcase of the rich musical heritage of Hungary were other highlights on the day.
Hosted by local community centres, and programmed in collaboration with local residents and artists, Your Place brings a diverse line-up of free performances, workshops and activities to the Hangleton and East Brighton communities. Reflecting Tempest’s belief that “the arts should be in our communities, not only on elevated platforms or behind red velvet ropes”, the inaugural project in 2017 was a resounding success. Over 2,000 people took part in Your Place across the two weekends, and participants describing the experience as 'inspiring' and 'energising'.
Brighton Festival 2017 also heralded the Pay-It-Forward initiative (which continued this year), offering the chance to donate £5 on top of ticket prices which was match-funded to create a £10 Festival ticket voucher for someone unable to afford the opportunity. The response was phenomenal with over a thousand people choosing to pay tickets forward in the lead up to the Festival.
The East Brighton-based second Your Place weekend runs over Sat 26 & Sun 27 May and will see The Ragroof Players and Culture Clash return, along with free football sessions from Albion in the Community, a singing workshop with Banyan Tree Theatre Group, comedian Jo Neary’s new children’s show Peg in the Gallery, and much more. Go to brightonfestival.org/yourplace to find out more.
Brighton Festival Live: Ezra Furman
Ezra Furman will be live streamed from Sat 26 May at 8pm
Plus support from 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.
Fans of Chicago’s rock’n’roll hero will testify as to the electric energy of his live shows that teeter on the edge of hysteria.
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, AKA Beth Jeans Houghton, is a multidisciplinary artist and musician, working with animation, illustration, sculpture, video editing, songwriting and music production.
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.
Festival Hot Seat: Tangomotan
The passion and the power of Tango are given an audacious new dimension by Tangomotán, a dynamic quartet that is weaving new musical sounds into the Tango tradition. We caught up with the quartet to find out more.
Firstly, can you introduce your show and tell us what it is about?
Hola, we are Tangomotán. During a concert, we, the 4 musicians (2 women and 2 men), bring the audience into pure tango music sensations. Our show is about tango: how the traditional music sounds today, and how the new compositions describe modern life. We are trying to lead our music into the biggest vertigos.
Why should someone come and see your show?
Our music talks about the struggle in life, as it was in Argentina in the 19th century (birthplace of the tango). Along our multiple concerts, we experimented how this music expresses a universal feeling of human condition and its dilemmas, that reaches everybody's heart.
Where did the idea and inspiration come from?
The idea was to pursue the tango's story by adding new interpretations and new compositions. It was also the idea to mix people from different musical background having a common language of music in one band. Some musicians come from the tango, others from the classical music education and our roads cross a few years ago. The inspiration of this special sound mixes traditional tango music and uses the contemporary environment of each of us that come from France, Armenia, Finland and Argentina. Our music has no borders, and talks about everything.
Why do you think it’s an important story to tell?
We believe that it is important to touch people's heart and soul and give them energy, but we don't deliver any message. Our purpose is to give people energy by the vertigos. We want that our music gives them strength to dance with the life.
We play instrumental tango, far from traditional milongas, and we claim our affiliation to the modern instrumental music, which is something rare today, because we want to popularize and defend the sensation that comes out of pure music.
Why do you think it’s an important story to tell?
I think we get too wrapped up in the mundane bricks and mortar of the world, we forget
the possibility of the unexpected, the slightly out of the ordinary. Not the through-the-back-of-the-wardrobe fantasy of a children’s story, but the excitement of finding a spiralstaircase that leads down into the dark… and the ability to go have a look at what’s down there.
What sort of person is going to love this show?
All the music lovers (we hope)!!!
What’s going to surprise people about this show?
What's surprising nowadays is the universality of the tango and the energy of this music.
What does Brighton Festival mean to you?
It's a great opportunity to share our music in your festival. We are very eager to live our first favourite moments in Brighton Festival. Furthermore, Brighton is a cost and sea-side like Buenos Aires!
What are you most looking forward to in this year’s Brighton Festival programme?
We are excited to see a modern English production and to see Brighton for the very first time.
Brighton Festival Live: The World of Moominvalley
The World of Moominvalley will be live streamed from Sunday 20 May at 3:00 PM.
The World of Moominvalley with Philip Ardagh & Daniel Hahn
Join award-winning children's author, Philip Ardagh, and Daniel Hahn as they introduce The World of Moominvalley. This beautiful new book is filled with illustrated maps and family trees, facts about Moomin behaviour and habits, all you could wish to know about each beloved character, the world in which they live and their creator Tove Jansson. A family event for Moomins fans young and old.
Budding young artists selected to meet Brighton Festival Guest Director David Shrigley
A group of aspiring young artists, illustrators and graphic designers are to meet Brighton Festival 2018 Guest Director David Shrigley for an afternoon of coffee and conversation next weekend. The group of seven 16 to 19-year-olds have all been specially selected for the honour after successfully making the case for why the opportunity would be helpful to them.
Each year Brighton Festival invites a group of young people to join the Guest Director for an informal chat over a cup of coffee. Those who are interested in a career in the arts can ask questions, gain advice and learn invaluable lessons from a leading exponent of their field.
Many of these guests are starting their journey towards studying at University level, or A-Level, hoping to pursue a career in the arts. One applicant says: “Meeting Shrigley would be a great experience as I am currently studying at Brighton Met on an Art Foundation and will be going to University next year to study Graphic Design. Personally, I would be interested in finding out more about Shrigley’s experience at university seeing as he went to GSA (a university I have applied for) and more about how his practise has evolved since graduating”
Another’s application reads: “I was just seven-years-old when I discovered a postcard in a storage box belonging to my parents. I liked the image on the card immediately and promptly stuck it on my bedroom wall with Blu-Tack. I'm now a student at Goldsmiths University but when I go back to Brighton the card is still there, in pride of place above my bed. Yet it was only three years ago that I realised that this funny little plasticine face holding up a strange note to a lamppost was the work of David Shrigley.”
This year, this event will be hosted by David Shrigley, best known for his distinctive drawing style and works that make satirical comments on the absurdity of 21st-century society, Shrigley’s darkly humorous compositions reflect the inconsequential, the bizarre, and the disquieting elements of daily life. While drawing is at the centre of his practice, his work spans an extensive range of media including sculpture, large-scale installation, animation, painting, photography and music.
Widely admired by the art world and public alike, David Shrigley was nominated for the prestigious Turner Prize in 2013 for his solo show David Shrigley: Brain Activity at the Hayward Gallery. In September 2016, Really Good, a 7 metre-high elongated bronze sculpture of a thumbs-up, was unveiled as the latest incumbent of Trafalgar Square's Fourth Plinth - described as the ‘tallest and most positive yet’.
Brighton Festival Family Programmer says: “We are thrilled to see the return of our annual event where young people between the ages about 17 and 19, come along and meet our Guest Director, have a coffee and have the chance to ask questions. There are so many people doing witty, clever drawings inspired by Shrigley at art school at the moment. They want to meet him because they’ll in the same world, and they look up to him a lot. I’m really looking forward to the meeting, it’s always great.”
Festival show harnesses the power of the Tesla coil in electrifying multi-sensory performance
In XFRMR, Robbie Thomson uses the power of the Tesla coil to create a unique sensory phenomenon in a gig-cum-visual art performance as lively as electricity itself. Accompanied by live soundscapes inspired by the sounds of space weather and percussive sections rooted in industrial music and techno, XFRMR will be on at The Spire until Sunday 20th.
XFRMR is a live audio-visual performance which explores the creative possibilities of the Tesla Coil as a musical instrument. The technology is based on Nikola Tesla's 1891 design which was originally developed for long range power transmission. Tesla tamed lightning with his Tesla coil, a device that renders electricity visible. Now, more than a century later, Glasgow-based artist Robbie Thomson utilises the coil in a wholly unique way. By synthesizing the ever-changing sonic geometries of the apparatus to produce distorted tones and percussive stabs, XFRMR offers a glimpse into the subatomic relationships that govern the universe.
Housed in an imposing steel Faraday cage and accompanied by audio-reactive projections, the Tesla coil itself is a physical assault on the senses. The grid of the cage displays ever-changing geometries, as light seems to fuse with sound to make synesthetic patterns, in a unique sensory phenomenon.
This is Glasgow based artist, Robbie Thomson’s first ever Brighton Festival. He says: “I think people will be surprised by how musical the Tesla Coil can be, you can make it really expressive and create quite delicate timbres as well as distorted tones and harsh percussive stabs. I was interested in high voltage devices and so was drawn to using the Tesla coil on a visual level and from a historical perspective before I was really aware of its musical potential. The direct correlation of the sonic and visual elements and the real physicality of the coil as an electro-acoustic instrument (the air ionising to create sound and light) made it ideal to use in an artistic context.”
“The ways in which technology is being used to synthesise natural phenomena relates to so many aspects of where the frontier of science is at today. The boundaries between synthetic and natural worlds are constantly being tested (whether that be in artificial intelligence or nanotechnology) so it's interesting to consider the nature of electricity and invisible wavelengths within this context, as it is something that we usually either ignore or take for granted”
XFRMR is a Cryptic commission for Sonica in association with Cove Park. As an Associate Artist for Sonica, Robbie has toured worldwide with his kinetic sculpture, music and lighting design. XFRMR has toured extensively including sell out performances at Melbourne Festival and was selected for the Made in Scotland showcase during the 2017 Edinburgh Festival. His Cryptic projects have also been presented in Australia, France, Indonesia, South Korea, Mexico, the Netherlands and widely around the UK.
Over 60’s dance troupe recreates Pina Bausch's 1982 masterpiece – the NELKEN-Line - on Brighton's seafront
Three Score Dance, the Brighton-based contemporary dance company for over 60s, will re-create Pina Bausch’s masterpiece, The NELKEN-Line, with a team of around 200 volunteers along the Brighton beachfront this weekend (Saturday 19th May, 6.30pm) as part of Brighton Festival.
The legendary Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter sequence is from one of Pina Bausch’s best-known works, the 1982 piece Nelken, and features West End Blues by Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five.
The Three Score Dance company will be joined in the participatory performance by around 200 people, many of whom attended workshops to learn the four iconic movements led by Three Score Artistic Director Jason Keenan-Smith
The aim is to create the most fabulous and colourful NELKEN-Line on Brighton seafront, becoming a part of an exciting world-wide project run by the Pina Bausch Foundation and ARTE which invites people to submit their own NELKEN-Line video to the Foundation’s website.
In France, Ireland, Chile, Cyprus, Spain and Germany, dance lovers of all ages – professionals and amateurs – have responded to the call and danced their own individual NELKEN-Line, with performance videos from around the world posted on the NELKEN-Line website. Three Score has already uploaded their own Company version, the film made by Company member Vincent with long term collaborator DOP Patrick Duval.
Three Score Dance Volunteer Management Group member Vicki Crowther says: “Being part of Three Score Dance means we are standing up for the older dancer and we’re looking forward to leading a glorious celebration of Pina Bausch with people from all walks of life as we dance The Nelken Line along the beach from the i360 to the peace statue on Saturday.”
The company is led by Rehearsal Director, Jason Keenan-Smith, with professional choreographers commissioned to create bespoke pieces for performance. As an associate Brighton Dome company, Three Score have a history of commissioned pieces 50th Brighton Festival celebration Tall Tales - a special reconstruction from memory of a series of performed paintings believed to have been presented at some time during the Festival’s history.
Brighton Festival Live: The Last Poets
The Last Poets will be live streamed from 7.30pm on Tue 15 May
Legendary Godfathers of hip hop and creators of influential albums - The Last Poets (1970) and This is Madness (1971) – The Last Poets fuse politically outspoken lyrics with inventive percussion in an electrifying celebration of 50 years of the power of words and music. The Last Poets are modern day griots, with withering attacks on everything from racists to government to the bourgeoisie, their spoken word albums preceded politically laced R&B projects such as Marvin Gaye's What's Going On and foreshadowed the work of hard-hitting rap groups such as Public Enemy.
Now in a rare appearance, Umar Bin Hassan, Abiodun Oyewole and Donn Babatunde - legendary Godfathers of hip hop - bring an electrifying celebration of 50 years of powerful words and music to Brighton Festival.
In Photos: Week 1
Brighton Festival 2018 has had a fantastic first week! Here's a few photos from events in the last week. We're so excited to see what the next two weeks bring!
Photos by Vic Frankowski
Problem in Brighton
The Boy, The Piano and The Beach
The Arms of Sleep
Cuckmere: A Portrait
Morag Myerscough’s colourful touring bandstand comes to Brighton beachfront
Contemporary designer Morag Myerscough’s first ever mobile installation, Belonging - a bright, bold, touring bandstand - launches this weekend on the beach level next to the i360.
Co-commissioned by Brighton Festival and Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft, Belonging celebrates the spirit of seminal 1960s Los Angeles artist and nun Corita Kent whose work brought together a belief in the strength of creativity, togetherness, love and social justice
The specially-made bandstand will play host to a variety of music and activities programmed in conjunction with communities across Sussex. It will be adorned with a series of placards on the theme of ‘belonging’ drawn from conversations and workshops with communities across Sussex, based on assignments taken from Corita’s inspirational book Learning from the Heart (a blueprint for creative exploration and community empowerment, published posthumously in 1992).
Morag Myerscough says: “The Belonging bandstand is a project I have been wanting to do for many years. I have an obsession with bandstands. I love how they just stand in a place dormant for long lengths of time and then can be transformed by performance. They are beautiful empty and when a performance takes place people just gravitate towards it. I love that they are free for everybody to experience. I work a lot with communities on various projects. I find when people are involved in the creating and the making they connect so much more with the piece and ultimately the piece is their piece. I want it to belong to them and for everybody to own - it does not belong to me.
Belonging kicks off this weekend with a day of music curated by BIMM on Sat 12 May featuring a variety of local young musicians programmed by BIMM Brighton including The Yellow Bellies, Marius Bear, Stranger Girl, Megan Lara Mae, Hayley Harland and The Villas, from 12pm until 5pm. On Sunday, the Sussex Pistols Ceilidh band will be performing English and Scottish dance and ceilidh music throughout the afternoon (2-5pm).
The Belonging Bandstand will then tour to Your Place venues in Brighton and on to the South of England Show at Ardingly, Crawley Festival, Newhaven, Ditchling and Coastal Currents Arts Festival in Hastings, taking on a different local character with each new iteration as the placard formation of the crown is changed to show off the communities’ own designs, and as the bandstand is programmed with local performers.
The project accompanies the exhibition Get With The Action: Corita Kent, showing at Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft from 5 May – 14 October 2018. Corita was an American artist, a famously charismatic educator and a Roman Catholic nun based in Los Angeles during the 1960s. As an advocate for social justice, she believed in the democratisation of art, producing screen-printed posters and banners incorporating advertising slogans, song lyrics, biblical references and commercial design into her Warhol-inspired work.
There will also be a complementary exhibition, Belonging, featuring a commission reflecting on the concept of belonging in the museum’s Wunderkammer by Myerscough and Luke Morgan. A second edition of the duo’s Sign Machine (2016) will also be installed in the introduction space.
Belonging Bandstand Tour Dates
12/13 May: Brighton Festival, Beach Level (next to i360)
19/20 May: Brighton Festival, Your Place, Hangleton
26/27 May: Brighton Festival, Your Place, East Brighton
7-9 June: South of England Show
2-7 July: Crawley Festival
25 – 27 August: Newhaven (in association with Artwave)
1 – 9 September : Coastal Currents Arts Festival, Hastings/St Leonards
22 September: Ditchling (as part of Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft’s 5th birthday celebrations)
Brighton Festival Live: KAYA
Join us for an inside viewing of KAYA, a moving new performance that explores human experiences of displacement, drawing on the strength and resilience of those searching for belonging in a new community.
Ceyda Tanc is a Brighton-based choreographer creating dynamic dance influenced by her Turkish heritage and highlighting the intersection of modern Britain’s diverse cultures. With a unique movement vocabulary fusing traditional Turkish folk dance with contemporary styles, Ceyda’s work challenges gender stereotypes by utilising the virtuoso movements of male Turkish dancers for her all-female company, conveying striking shapes and an emotive and sensual energy.
Brighton Festival artist Theresa Lola wins African Poetry Prize
Brighton Festival artist Theresa Lola has won a prestigious Brunel International African Poetry Prize, scooping a major prize of £3000 aimed at the development, celebration and promotion of poetry from Africa. The Prize is sponsored by Brunel University London and the African Poetry Book Fund.
This year the judges decided to award the prize to the three poets they considered the most outstanding. Out of over 1,000 entries, the winners announced are Hiwot Adilow (Ethiopia), Theresa Lola (Nigeria), and Momtaza Mehri (Somalia). The trio will share the plaudits as joint winners, in keeping with the Prize’s project of supporting multiple voices from the African continent.
24-year-old Theresa (Nigeria) fought off stiff competition from over a thousand entrants, adding the prestigious title to her clutch of previous awards, including winner of Hammer and Tongue National Poetry Slam in 2017 and the London Magazine Poetry Prize 2016.Theresa is an alumna of the Barbican Young Poets programme. She was awarded an Arts Council/British Council International Development Grant to run poetry workshops at the Lagos International Poetry Festival in Nigeria in 2017. Theresa is also part of SXWKS creative collective and Octavia Women of Colour collective which is resident at the Southbank Centre in London. She is currently working on her debut full length poetry collection.
“Winning the Brunel International African Poetry Prize feels surreal, it is an unwavering highlight,” said Theresa Lola, who was first inspired to start writing poetry after a trip to the Lagos Poetry Festival when she was 12.
“To win the Brunel International African Poetry Prize feels like I am doing my job and responsibility as a poet and human in putting Africa forward where it rightly belongs.”
Brunel University London commented as follows: “This is an incredibly exciting time in the development of African poetry. We expect that many of the poets engaged in our impactful poetry initiatives will become the leading African poets of the future. Many of them are still very young, in their twenties, and we expect great things from them, but also those from poets who are older but still relatively new to publishing poetry. African poetry is now staking its claim on the global literary landscape. We are witnessing a quiet revolution.”
Theresa will be appearing at Brighton Festival as part of World Premiere & Brighton Festival Commission, Poets & Illustrators alongside Hollie McNish, Bridget Minamore and Toby Campion. For this one-off event, some of the finest, freshest poets around are paired with live illustrators for a sharp, straight-talking night of poetry, projection and experimental art exploring the theme ‘hard work’.
Brighton born circus performer returns to his roots for Big Top Spectacular as part of Brighton Festival
Brighton-born juggler Luke Hallgarten is performing as part of internationally renowned circus company NoFit State as part of the Festival with their dazzling new production LEXICON - a daring, seductive and contemporary take on the circus experience.
Juggler Luke Hallgarten graduated from the National Centre for Circus arts (NCCA) in 2015 with a first class honours degree and went on to study at Le Lido Centre des Arts du Cirque du Toulouse. Alongside the creation and tour of Lexicon, Luke is conducting a research project on creative language within circus, is touring with his own company London Beaches and touring his own solo piece just.what.
NoFit State Circus have been performing for over thirty years and today are the UK’s leading large-scale contemporary circus company. Created for a big top tent, Lexicon is a performance with a nod to the history and heritage of British Circus, crafted for a seated audience in the round and combining cutting edge technology with traditional circus skills.
Audiences are invited to take their seat in their tent on Hove Lawns for jaw-droppingly physical storytelling and a live score to lift the soul. Drawing inspiration from history, heritage and traditions, this show digs into the underground of memory and celebrates the past, present and future of this much-loved artform.
Luc Morris, Lexicon Communications and Marketing Officer says: ‘This year is the 250th anniversary of circus, which was created by a man called Philip Astley. We have wanted to pay homage to the man but also to 250 years of tradition and begin shaping the next 250 years of circus in the UK. There are many strands of inspiration behind LEXICON but the main one is about the heritage, and a group of people who have found each other in the circus and begin misbehaving.’
‘We love going to Brighton. We love this early period in the season, being by the sea and hopefully this year again, the sun. It’s a great place to kick off the touring season and the Brighton audience is a great one to perform to. There is also an air of nostalgia in Brighton with the pier, the arcades, the lawns which is particularly fitting to LEXICON, so we’re very excited to be presenting our new show there’.
LEXICON is running on Thu 3 - Mon 14 May at various times. Head to the LEXICON event page to find out more about ticket availability and times.
Brighton Festival Children's Parade 2018
Picasso’s Dove of Peace and Munch’s The Scream among the creations at the Children’s Parade 2018
Celebrating art from the likes of Picasso, Salvador Dali and many more, 20,000 people packed the streets on Sat 5 May as the 52nd Brighton Festival launched with the Children’s Parade.
The theme for the 2018 Children’s Parade was ‘Paintings’, inspired by Guest Director David Shrigley. Participants took inspiration from a wide range of well-known art from across the ages, including paintings by Alan Davies and Jean Michael Basquiat; Mae West by Salvador Dali; Surprised by Henri Rousseau; Mural by Joan Miro; and American Gothic by Grant Wood. The parade was led by this year’s Guest Director David Shrigley.
Jointly produced with award-winning community arts organisation Same Sky and supported by Yeomans Toyota Brighton for the second year and for the first time by the University of Brighton, the annual Children’s Parade officially launches Brighton Festival and has delighted participants and spectators for over 25 years. The largest of its kind in Europe, the parade is attended by around 5,000 children from schools and community groups from across the region and cheered on by many thousands of spectators.
Previous themes have seen children dress up as everything from letters of the alphabet and Brighton street names to books, mermaids and even slices of cake for the annual Children’s Parade.
One of the most spectacular community events in the UK, Same Sky spends six months working behind the scenes to create the Children’s Parade, with creative teams instructing teaching staff how to teach dance and parade chants, run free masterclasses, help develop design ideas and encourage imagination to flow.
If you missed it this year, you can see some of this year's creations in Brighton Dome's Cafe/Bar, entrance is via Church Street.
“We were hugely impressed once again with the ingenious ways in which schools have embraced the theme of the parade, choosing paintings by the likes of Salvador Dali, Matisse and many more. A fitting start to Brighton Festival!’ Andrew Comben, Chief Executive, Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival
Brighton Festival Live: The Boy, The Piano and The Beach
The Boy, The Piano and The Beach will be live streamed from 3pm on Mon 7 May
Slot Machine Theatre - The Boy, The Piano and The Beach
World premiere & Brighton Festival commission
A little boy is playing on the beach when, all of a sudden, he is magically transported to another world. His adventures through this enchanting land are packed full of extraordinary encounters with curious and mystical creatures. The question is: can the boy find his way back home?
This enchanting tale is told through puppetry, dance and light projections, all accompanied by stunning live music played on a grand piano. A sensory feast, the show will captivate children of six and upwards, who are welcome to stay and play after the performance to explore the dreamy world of the boy on the beach.
Brighton Festival Live: Cuckmere: A Portrait & Environmentalism
Cuckmere: A Portrait & Environmentalism will be live streamed from 7.30pm on Sat 5 May
Join us for a live screening of this powerful collaboration of film and live music.
Cuckmere: A Portrait
Ed Hughes -Composer
Cesca Eaton - Filmmaker
Score played live by The Orchestra of Sound and Light. For centuries the Cuckmere River has inspired artists, sheltered smugglers and preserved a host of rare wildlife as it charts a course through the evocative landscapes of southern England.
Filmmaker Cesca Eaton and composer/conductor Ed Hughes trace the changing moods of the Cuckmere, from its source in the High Weald to the sea at Cuckmere Haven.
Caroline Lucas discusses the future of the environmental movement with author Tony Juniper, whose new book, Rainforest, draws on his many years' experience as a frontline campaigner.
From the British Airways i360 to Brighton Museum - young musicians to pitch up in locations all over city for Brighton Festival
Brighton & Hove Music & Arts and Brighton Festival presents its annual feast of music from the next generation on Saturday 5 May. This showcase for young musicians will include music for all tastes, featuring the Brighton & Hove Big Band; unplugged pop and folk-inspired acts; and string quartets and chamber wind ensembles. Performances will be taking place at a variety of different locations, from high above Brighton in a British Airways i360 pod to busy, central Bartholomew Square.
Brighton & Hove Music & Arts provides high quality and inclusive music and arts education and performance opportunities for all children and young people across the city including music lessons, ensembles, projects, workshops, orchestras, summer schools and dance classes. BHMA is the lead partner of the award winning SoundCity, the Music Education Hub for Brighton & Hove. Working alongside the Brighton Dome & Festival, Glyndebourne, Rhythmix, University of Sussex, Royal Pavilion and Museums, representatives from Public Health and the Music Industry Their vision is for all children and young people in the city, whatever their background, to be able to engage with, to enjoy, and to be inspired by high quality music and arts opportunities.
For some high-flying fun, take a ride on the i360 with a String Quartet. The Quartet is made up of members from the prestigious Brighton Youth Orchestra String Ensemble. BYOSE is an award-winning course based ensemble that has performed several times at the Royal Albert Hall for the Music for Youth Schools Prom. They regularly collaborate with choirs and dance artists and once a year, have an intensive rehearsal and performance programme on the Isle of Wight. The ensemble has performed in such prestigious venues as the Japanese Embassy, Inveraray Castle in Scotland in addition to giving an hour long live performance on Classic FM.
There will be two flights open to the public, with the first at 11.30am and second at midday on Saturday 5th May, so book now to avoid missing out. Relax, sit back and enjoy the perfect backdrop of the beautiful city of Brighton and the stunning Sussex coastline – an experience that is certain to lift your spirits. These talented young performers are ones not to miss!
For something completely different, Brighton & Hove Youth Big Band will be performing a set between 1.30pm & 2.40pm on the 'pitch' outside Moshimo in Bartholomew Square. Playing soul, funk and classic big band, they’re sure to 'Brighton' up your day.
Brighton Children’s parade participants need not worry, as Brighton Museum and Dome Café Bar will also be showcasing performances throughout the afternoon! Brighton Museum’s south balcony will host Brighton & Hove Music & Arts' classical players between 2pm & 4pm, during the Museum’s 'Free for the Festival' Day. Explore the exhibitions whilst our players perform beautiful works ranging from Bach to Disney classics. Or, unwind between 2pm & 4pm with Brighton & Hove Music & Arts' contemporary acoustic stage in the Café Bar. Take the weight off your feet after a busy parade and enjoy the best of local singer-songwriters as they perform their own material mixed in with some covers.
Programmer Picks: Brighton Festival Theatre, Circus and Dance
As we head inexorably towards the start of the 2018 Festival, Sally Cowling, Associate Producer of the Brighton Festival, shares a final few picks of performances that just shouldn’t be missed…
I absolutely guarantee that you won’t have experienced anything like this before. I was blown away by this (pretty literally: ‘blaas’ means ‘blow’ in Dutch) when I saw it in Amsterdam eighteen months ago. Made by Dutch choreographer Boukje Schweigman, it’s choreography but not as you know it-not least because you don’t see the dancer who is performing for you! Instead you meet unearthly creatures that might or might not be sentient, that might or might not be friendly, that might or might not be reflecting your mood back at you… I can’t tell you much about the experience of this show without spoiling it for you but suffice to say that it is beautiful, immersive, playful and all-enveloping, a complete 360-degree sensory experience that leaves you reeling, but in the best, most exhilarating and, dare-I-say-it, spiritual sense. It’s one of those ‘only-in-the-Festival delights, so do go and experience it-it has a limited capacity so grab a ticket while you can!
The Humours of Bandon
For those of you who saw the fantastic, heart-rending piece of theatre, ‘Silent’ by Pat Kinevane a few festivals ago, you will have already experienced the brilliance of Fishamble, Ireland’s foremost new writing company. The Humours of Bandon also comes from the Fishamble stable and is also a brilliant one-person show, but the similarities very firmly stop there. This is written and performed by Margaret McAuliffe, a past Irish dance champion as well as a great writer and this is her story of thoroughly unhealthy competition amidst the wonders of Irish dance. It is a gorgeous, life-affirming, and wryly hilarious look at teenage obsession, whilst also being a tour-de-force of a performance with Margaret performing a multitude of characters whilst treating us to some exceptionally splendid dancing. This will simply make you feel better to watch; frankly it should probably be on prescription for mild springtime blues, because it’s a veritable tonic of a show. Neither experimental nor hard-hitting, just absolutely joyous.
Creation (Letters to Dorian)
For those of you who’ve previously come across the British/German collective, Gob Squad, you have probably already bought your ticket to see this most innovative, funny and experimental of companies. For everybody else, I encourage you to connect with this endlessly inventive company who this time around are working with local Brighton artists.
Reluctantly, occasionally defeatedly, but mostly defiantly middle-aged, the Gob Squad are exploring beauty and youth and art; what constitutes beauty, is it simply youth? What constitutes art, and does it have to be truthful? Do we, the audience change it just by watching? Incorporating their own and their guest performers’ lived experiences-including the brutally enviable experiences of ridiculously gorgeous young people positively flaunting their peachy, unblemished perfection- and moving between performance and live-edited filming, Gob Squad endlessly play with our perceptions and self-awareness in this frank, thought-provoking and funny examination of quite how much of our souls we would sell for eternal youth or at least for the appearance of it….
Your Place artist Kate McCoy on neighbourhoods, Pritt Sticks & shared landmarks
Your Place is a partnership project run by the Brighton Festival, Brighton People's Theatre and two resident led, community development projects on either side of the city: Due East and the Hangleton and Knoll Project. With a steering group of local people from both communities over the last year to co-programme and co-design Your Place for the 2018 Brighton Festival, this year's programme is full of brilliant shows and workshops.
Your Place 2018 Artist in Residence Kate McCoy has been leading a series of workshops known as Random Acts of Neighbourliness, which encourages participants to share experiences of their own neighbourhoods to create a ‘visual map’ of the area and to come up with creative ideas to get to know their neighbours and bring the community together. Kate tells us more about her exciting new role, and the ideas and artwork produced from her workshops.
I have a white square of fabric, thirty random objects and curiosity about how people feel about their neighbourhoods. I want to scratch the surface of the day to day and encourage people to think metaphorically and creatively about their experiences as being part of a community. The results of this activity will be an exhibition in each community created by the artist Luan Taylor as part of The Your Place weekends, which are a collaboration between the communities of Hangleton and Knoll and East Brighton, Brighton People’s Theatre and Brighton Festival.
I have been setting up in community centres, lunch clubs and youth drops in, asking people to sit down with me and create a visual map of their neighbourhood using objects to represent themselves, their neighbours and the landmarks and features that surround them. So, a Pritt stick has been a lamp post where young people hang out on the Knoll Estate, a bus stop in Whitehawk that can be seen from a living room window, and someone who works with the community, sticking people together.
Lots of people start by saying, “its too hard, I don’t know what to do!”, but once they get going, they express fascinating insights about how they see their world. The final part of the conversation has been about asking people to decide on a “random act of neighbourliness” something that could happen to bring the community closer together. The results have included; cleaning up dog poo and tidying up the bins, and a young man wanting a campfire outside his house. There has been the desire for coffee and cake mornings to bring people together, and to get rid of double yellow lines so that the children of elderly residents can visit more easily.
People have been so welcoming in both communities, open and even more creative than they thought they were and have made beautiful images and said thought provoking things that I hope you will come and see.
Being Your Place's artist in residence is my ideal job, I get to meet loads of different people in a range of settings and find out more about them creatively, connecting through laughter and conversation. I am also delighted that my company, small performance adventures, working in partnership with cascade creative recovery, are bringing our brand new performance The Washing Up, to both Your Place weekends. It’s been described as "bonkers and brilliant" and is a space where we explore this everyday activity through songs and scenes centred round our sink on wheels. (Marigolds not provided)’
Our local supporters' favourite Brighton Festival memories
We asked some of our local supporters for their favourite Brighton Festival memories. Here are their best bits.
The eclectic and interesting international film productions offered every year. They have always provided us with the chance to reflect on life and emotions from very different perspectives and cultures.
Maria Ansede - Cactus Worldwide
Main favourite memory is the wind almost blowing the roof off the Roundabout Theatre on Regency Square back in 2015!
David Toscana - Cin Cin
Many years ago, Donatello and Pinocchio sponsored The Rose Tattoo with Julie Walters and every evening before the performance she would come to eat with us and we were very proud to have her as a customer.
Sue Addis - Donatello
British Airways i360
The Children’s Parade for me is the moment that the city kicks into full festival spirit. It’s amazing to see so much creativity from our local school kids. I can’t wait to see what they make of this year’s theme!
Marie King - British Airways i360
We always remember the Children’s Parade which passes right by our restaurant and bar with the best view from our balcony. It always marks the beginning of summer and brings the sunshine with it, along with a whole month of buzzing street life.
Mike Dodd – Okinami