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: 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.
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: 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.
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
You can find generous offers from all of these companies and more on our Local Discounts page
Festival regular and former Guest Director Hofesh Schecter brings bold new work to Brighton Festival 2018
We caught up with internationally celebrated choreographer Hofesh Shechter to discuss his latest work, Grand Finale, a bold new piece featuring 10 dancers and six musicians.
As concisely as possible, can you describe Grand Finale?
Grand Finale is a work for ten dancers and six musicians, with a beautiful set made by Tom Scott, and beautiful lighting design made by Tom Visler. It’s very hard to describe, but the work is a very multi-layered piece that has a lot of music, a lot of movement, a lot of different layers and elements to it. In general terms, it deals with that feeling of something coming to an end, and with how maybe people deal with that feeling on a personal level.
Where did the idea and inspiration for the piece come from?
The idea and inspiration for Grand Finale, like always when I make work, comes from around me and inside me. I look at the things that interest me or bother me or excite me or are bubbling inside me; questions and feelings; and ideas and playfulness... I bring those ideas to the studio, explore them with the dancers. The inspiration is from a very immediate reality around and inside me
Grand Finale has been described as ‘a vision of a world in freefall’. What drew you to this theme at this particular moment? Are you commenting on our current contemporary landscape?
I think what drew me to deal with that particular feeling of a lack of control or something coming to an end, is that feeling that I think a lot of people have at the moment that things in the world are getting out of hand, and out of control. Whether that’s true or not, whether things are actually falling apart or whether it’s just part of a cycle of panic I don’t know. I wanted to try revealing that layer of confusion around that feeling
How and where will the piece be staged?
The piece will be staged in the Brighton Dome.
This will be the final performance of Grand Finale following a successful tour. Has the piece changed or developed during the touring process?
Throughout our tour of Grand Finale, which has been a very long one, we’ve tweaked the work all time, we keep on trying to make it better. Whenever I have spare studio time I try to make some adjustments, editing, corrections and so on. We are constantly working on the piece.
Grand Finale is a very complex piece, we could work on it for ten years and still not completely finish it. However, the heart is there, and the focus is good, but the feeling that it could be more focused and become more powerful and more concise is still there too!
What do you hope audiences will take away from the piece?
We’re bringing the work to Brighton where we’ve performed many times. The Brighton audience is very familiar with my work, and I think it’s quite close their heart. I hope that people really connect to Grand Finale.
Some people could come out of the performance and say something like “ah, there’s no hope”, and some people could come out and say, “wow that’s really invigorating", and that there’s something about human spirit, the fighting human spirit that is “really inspiring”. So obviously I’ll be happy if people experience that very powerful feeling, but I’m fine if people feel despair as well. Despair is an important step towards hope, you know? An important step towards doing something, so I’m fine with either! One way or another, it’s nice when people have a response to your work.
You have a long history with Brighton Festival as Associate company and then as Guest Director in 2014. What does it mean to you to be back at Brighton Festival for this commission?
We’ve been associate company at the Brighton Dome, and I was Guest Festival Director a few years back, so Brighton is a very special place to us. Like I said before, I feel quite close with the audience there – a lot of people have reached out to me – who I don’t know personally, but that atmosphere, that feeling that we are coming home, that we are coming back after a long tour of work is very special. It’s always very special to be in Brighton and I’m sure it’s going to be a very energetic and buzzy performance – so I’m really looking forward to it.
Spotlight on Contemporary Music at Brighton Festival: Part Two
From jazz to alt-rock to folk, we've got some epic gigs coming up this May. We shine a light on just a few of the many amazing contemporary music events at this year’s Festival.
Deerhoof + s t a r g a z e
Deerhoof, an american experimental rock group, was formed in San Francisco in 1994. In a career that has spanned nearly 25 years and showing no signs of letting up, these revered rockers seem to change course on every album they release, displaying breathtaking originality, and creating a genre all of their own.
In an exclusive performance from Brighton Festival, they will be collaborating with orchestral collective S t a r g a z e. In the first half, Deerhoof’s founding member and drummer Greg Saunier presents special compositions for individual musicians based on tracks from the seminal 1993 album In on the Kill Taler by post-hardcore band Fugazi. The second half sees Deerhoof perform songs from their extensive back catalogue, before members of S t a r g a z e rejoin the band onstage for a stunning finale. Take a look at ticket availability for Deerhoof.
Xylouris White is firmly rooted in the past and future. Playing Cretan music of original and traditional composition, the band consists of Georgios Xylouris on Cretan laouto and vocals and Jim White on drum kit. Xylouris is known and loved by Cretans and Greeks at home and abroad and has been playing professionally from age 12. Jim White is an Australian drummer known and loved throughout the world as the drummer of Dirty Three, Venom P Stinger and now Xylouris White. For the last four years these two men have been performing as Xylouris White, the culmination of 25 years of friendship forged through music and place. Now they’re back with their third album Mother, more elegant and thoughtful than its predecessors yet still retaining a palpable spirit of adventure. Take a look at ticket availability for Xylouris White.
This Is the Kit
This Is The Kit is the musical project of Kate Stables, one of the most thrilling voices in contemporary folk, and whoever joins her! In a special one-off event for Brighton Festival - Kate joins forces with multi-talented orchestral collective S t a r g a z e - one of today’s most adventurous ensembles. Retaining the intimacy of its well-loved predecessor 2015’s Bashed Out, This is the Kit and S t a r g a z e will perform a specially re-imagined version of Kate’s latest 2017 album Moonshine Freeze, the paris-based songwriter’s loosest, wildest music to date.Take a look at ticket availability for This is the Kit.
Played Twice: Miles Davis Kind of Blue and Electric Miles: Miles Davis through the ‘70s
If you haven’t been to east London’s joyous concept night Played Twice, now's your chance. The concept is simple: take a landmark album, listen to it all the way through, then hear a top-notch band reinterpret that same recording live on stage. And if this is your first time, they don’t come more masterly than Miles Davis’s pioneering jazz fusion . The band will be led by David Okumu of The Invisible and features Byron Wallen on trumpet. Take a look at ticket availability for Played Twice's performances.
Problem in Brighton
First there was a Problem in Toulouse, then there was a Problem in New York, and now that problem is coming to Brighton. Well, Hove actually. Problem in Brighton is an alt-rock/pop pantomime written and directed by Guest Director David Shrigley exclusively for Brighton Festival. Shrigley's artwork is brought to life by the Problem Band (led by Brighton musician Lee Baker) using instruments created from his illustrations. Take a look at ticket availability for Problem in Brighton.
Brighton Festival invites audiences to celebrate UK Pay-It-Forward Day
In celebration of UK Pay-It-Forward day on Sat 28 April 2018, Brighton Festival is inviting audiences to join the global philanthropic movement and enable more people to enjoy ticketed events at Brighton Festival. This is the second year that the scheme has run following a phenomenal response last year, with over a thousand people choosing to pay tickets forward in the lead up to Brighton Festival.
Those booking tickets for Festival events are given the option of paying an extra £5 (or an amount of their choosing) as they complete their purchase, which Brighton Festival will match fund in order to give a free Pay-It-Forward Festival Ticket Voucher to someone who may otherwise be unable to experience Festival events.
All Brighton Festival ticketed events have Pay-It-Forward Vouchers available to book online or in person. The vouchers will be distributed at Your Place (our community-led, free performance programme in Hangleton and East Brighton running over two Festival weekends), local schools and through our partner community organisations.
Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival says: “From our regular free participatory events such as the annual Children’s Parade, City Reads and Young City Reads, Weekend Without Walls and Your Place – two weekends of free cultural events programmed by and for the communities of East Sussex and Hangleton, to our partnership with Brighton City College to live-stream many of our shows to audiences around the world for free, Brighton Festival has always been dedicated to making the arts accessible for all. This year’s Brighton Festival is our most diverse and wide-ranging Festival yet, with more opportunities than ever for everyone to get involved and participate. Last year we introduced Pay-It-Forward and were overwhelmed by the generosity and enthusiasm of our audiences. A donation of £5 on top of the price of your tickets is matched by Brighton Festival to create a free ticket voucher for someone unable to afford the opportunity. We want Brighton Festival to be for everyone, and by contributing in this way you can help us make it even more accessible.”
Nadine Strasman, Chair of the Sussex Syrian Community Group, who were recipients of the scheme last year says: “The Pay-It-Forward Scheme has enabled the Syrian members of the community and their children to attend a number of events in Brighton Festival last year. This experience has helped the community members to learn about the British culture and has made them feel welcome and included. Many thanks for the generosity of people who donated the tickets and for organising the scheme. Without those tickets people would not have been able to attend any events in Brighton Festival. We look forward to attending more events in the forthcoming festival.”
The inspiration for Pay-It-Forward comes from the global international Pay-It-Forward Day, which is now in its 11th year, and hopes to inspire millions to experience the power and positive energy of giving by buying something in advance for someone else. Pay-It-Forward is about all people, from all walks of life giving to someone else and making a positive difference. At last count, there were more than 5 million people in 80 countries around the world participating on the Pay-It-Forward Day.
More than half of the ticketed events in Brighton Festival 2018 have prices generally available for £10 or less. There are also 15 free events and workshops including Weekend Without Walls (Sat 26 May, Easthill Park, Portslade and Sun 27 May, Beach Level by the i360) and visual art installations at Fabrica Gallery, on the Beach Level by the i360 and Phoenix Gallery running throughout the Festival.
Programmer Picks: Brighton Festival 26 Letters
26 Letters is our annual celebration of children's books, which this year has just as many pictures as words! Hilary Cooke, Creative Learning Producer of the Brighton Festival, shares some of her top picks.
Pongwiffy v Magenta Sharp
Live drawing is one of my favourite things and author Kaye Umansky is accompanied by not one, but two of her illustrators at this event! Ashley King has created the witty images for Kaye’s new Witch for a Week series and Katy Riddell has illustrated the new editions of the much loved Pongwiffy books. The first of this series was published in 1987 and they are now reaching a new generation of young readers. (Katy, incidentally, is a second generation illustrator as she is the daughter of former Children’s Laureate and Brighton resident, Chris Riddell). With Kaye’s warm humour, spellbinding story telling and Ashley and Katy’s competitive drawing skills, this promises to be a wonderful witchy event. (Plus, audience dressing up is encouraged which is always a good thing).
Peter Bunzl’s books, Cogheart and Moonlocket are set in an imaginary Victorian world where the smoky sky is filled with the transport du jour, the airship. Featuring intrepid Lily, her friend Robert and Malkin the mechanical fox, the books are thrilling adventures with extraordinary originality. I’m looking forward to hearing about Peter’s background as a film maker and animator, and finding out how this has influenced his work. I believe that Malkin, the clockwork fox was influenced by Star Wars’ R2D2 and CP30 so I’m curious to discover how futuristic space movies inspired his unique Victorian steampunk world.
The Funny World of Alex Milway & Gary Northfield
There will be more live drawing in Alex Milway and Gary Northfield’s event (can you tell I’m a fan?) but with a more comic book style. These two author illustrators are also great friends which leads to a fantastic on stage rapport. Both Alex and Gary have taken part in our Adopt an Author scheme, (in fact Alex is an Adopted Author again this year), and any class who had the good fortune to adopt either of them will know how inspiring they are as well as being really, really good fun.
Jacqueline Wilson needs little introduction! It is a pleasure to welcome her back to Brighton Festival to hear about her brand new book, Rose Rivers as well as her many other titles. She always attracts a wide age range with her new readers and her devoted twentysomething fans. Jacqueline‘s events are a masterclass in simplicity; when she sits on stage before a concert hall audience it feels as if she’s chatting to you one to one over a cup of tea. She has such a natural, relaxed way of speaking about her books and is both honest and unpatronizing when describing her often hard-hitting subject matter.
Tales from Moominvalley
I love the work of Tove Jansson (for adults and children), and it will be such a pleasure to hear author and Moomin afficianado Philip Ardagh talk about his beautiful book Tales from Mominvalley. He will be in conversation with writer, translator and, (most importantly), fellow Moomin fan, Danel Hahn. The book is a real labour of love and has immense detail about all things Moomin. There is nothing else quite like the Moomin stories in children’s literature – peopled (Moomined?) with eccentric, strange and delightful characters. Because of their enduring appeal. I’m expecting to see quite as many adults as children at this event, keen for a deep dive into Moominvalley.
Competition: Win 2 tickets to Adam and a meal for two at Terre à Terre
Adam is National Theatre of Scotland’s remarkable and life-affirming production about one trans man’s powerful true story - and the winner of a clutch of awards at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017, including Scotsman Fringe First, Herald Angel and Scottish Arts Club Awards. You can learn more about the show by clicking here.
For the first time, Adam is coming to England (as part of Brighton Festival) and we've teamed up with Terre à Terre, one of Brighton's favourite vegetarian restaurants, to offer you a delicious opportunity.
All you need to do is answer the questions on this form, and we will enter you into our competition to win a pair of tickets to Adam's premiere England performance (9 May) and a 3 course meal for two (including a carafe of wine) at Terre à Terre.
Competition will close at 10am on Wed 2 May, and the winner will be contacted later that day.