Brighton Festival 2019Public booking opens: Fri 24 Feb, 9am

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Five Minutes With Abi Radford: Marketing Coordinator of Best of Brighton Holiday Lettings

We spoke to Abi Radford, Marketing Coordinator with sponsor Best of Brighton Holiday Lettings to find out her thoughts about the Festival and what it represents.

Firstly, how would you describe Brighton Festival in three words?

Exciting. Inspiring. Fun!

What are you looking forward to seeing this year?

I’m excited about Backbone, not only to see what these talented performers can do, but also because of the live soundtrack and lighting design. I’m also looking forward to Flight, which I imagine will be quite moving.

What impact do you think the Festival has for visitors and for you?

The buzz that the Festival brings to Brighton during May is electric! I feel it myself and so does everyone I speak to about it. We have a lot of visitors who stay in our properties throughout the Festival because they are attending events. They are amazed at the choice and variety and always say they will be back again next year.

Find out more about Best of Brighton Holiday Lettings visit their website. Interested in becoming a Brighton Festival sponsor? See our Support Us page

What’s on: Theatre at Brighton Festival

We have a huge variety of theatre coming to Brighton Festival. We welcome performers from near and far to celebrate the power of storytelling through performance. Here's what's coming up...

Flight
Sat 4-Thu 23 May

Flight brings you up close and intimate to this heart-breaking story in a unique, deeply individual experience. Seated in your own personal booth, you will watch the action unfold on images and models slowly moving in front of you, with speech and music conveyed through your own individual headphones.

Read our interview with Artistic Director of Flight to find out more


Cooped
Wed 22-Sun 26 May

As Spymonkey celebrate its 20th anniversary, don’t miss the opportunity to catch the show which made them an international comedy sensation - Cooped.

Read our interview with Spymonkey to find out more


A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Thu 23-Sat 25 May

Bring a chair or, a blanket and enjoy a glorious May evening watching one of Shakespeare’s best-loved plays in this enchanting, open air performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.


True Copy BERLIN
Thu 23-Sun 26 May

Based on the true story of possibly the most successful art forger in the world, BERLIN uses its genre-curious style to expose the hypocrisy of the art world.


Another Star to Steer By
Sat 25-Sun 26 May

Andrew McCaldon’s Another Star to Steer By will be premiering at Brighton Festival this May.

One day Maya packs her bag, ready to say goodbye to her home. As she leaves, she finds a little paper boat and begins a very big adventure! Join Maya on a magical journey as she sets sail on a voyage full of sea-soaked folktales, discovers fabulous creatures, meets legends of far-flung oceans, and begins searching for her own story out on the rolling waves.

Our exciting storytelling show for primary children (6+) and their adults can come to you! Our paper boat will sail into your School, Library, Community Centre or Church Hall and our actors will present a 45-minute show just for you and your community. Become a Brighton Festival promoter – just get in touch and tell us you would like the show at your place and we will help you make it happen! The show is available 20 – 24 May with performances in the morning and afternoon to suit your timetable. Please contact: paperboat@brightonfestival.org 


BOYS
Sat 25-Sun 26 May

The PappyShow celebrates male tenderness, silliness, vulnerability and community with a cast of young men of colour from England, BOYS gives us a window to share their experiences, their hopes, families and globe-spanning heritage.

Read our interview with The PappyShow to find out more about BOYS 

Review: 'Vox Motus have succeeded in turning an awful reality into a poetic tragedy, both poignant and heart wrenching'

As part of our long-standing partnership with University of Sussex, we’re collaborating with students to review Brighton Festival shows and report on events happening across the city.

Our first guest review is by Charlotte Gray, a first year student, BA (Hons) International Development and Anthropology. Here’s what she thought of Flight by Vox Motus.

Recently, I had the privilege of seeing Flight, an intricate moving diorama created and performed by Glasgow based company, Vox Motus. Upon arriving at King Alfred Leisure Centre, I had no idea what to expect. However, having only read outstanding reviews, I knew I was going to be immersed in something different from anything I had seen before. At the beginning, different groups were taken into a room to wait before each person was taken to their individual seat inside a dark cubicle. I was given headphones with soft music playing, and instructions to get close.

Immediately, the experience became incredibly personal. The story is based on playwright Oliver Emanuel’s adaptation of Caroline Brothers' novel Hinterland. It began by introducing Aryan and Kabir, two Afghan brothers at the start of their ambitious journey from Kabul to London. I was immediately drawn into a miniature world of carefully created wooden figures arranged into elaborate scenes. The figures of Aryan and Kabir were depicted travelling by boat, train, on foot, and in the backs of lorries as they battle storms, imprisonment, and various other extreme situations that many migrants face.

Each scene was crafted with the utmost intent. Simple images with purposeful lighting established each setting beautifully. Gripping sound effects accurately established the mood of each scene, whether dreamlike or eerie. Additionally, childlike voices truly made this experience both genuine and imaginative. In addition, sitting in a rotating chair made it more of an interactive experience, as I was able to move with the models as they drifted past.

 Vox Motus have succeeded in turning an awful reality into a poetic tragedy, both poignant and heart wrenching.

In just an hour, Flight emotively illustrates themes of economic migration, modern-day slavery, sexual abuse, capitalism, and hope. The exhaustion and hardship the boys face during their gruelling two-year journey attempting to cross borders into Europe is incredibly realistic.

One aspect that particularly stood out to me was the creative decision to depict border control guards as seagulls; their loud dissonant squawking in place of speech – entirely unintelligible to the poor protagonists in an allegory for the French-Afghan language barrier – profusely exemplified the fright and anxieties they felt losing their liberty. The sympathy this draws is heart-wrenching. The story is mercilessly immersive, forcing the viewer to involve themselves in the plight of young refugees in a way that media coverage can never do.

The craft and skill used to create such a simple yet graphic portrayal of Aryan and Kabir’s story is done to an exorbitant quality. Vox Motus have created a microscopic world to portray issues far bigger and provide an extremely confrontational experience. It becomes almost hard to believe that you are watching miniature models instead of real people. At the end of the performance I left in tears, wishing it wasn’t over. My expectations were exceeded, and I was left speechless. I would highly recommend seeing Flight, it was truly unforgettable.

For your chance to see this unique show during its run at Brighton Festival, visit the Flight event page.

Book now to see Flight at Brighton Festival

Five Minutes with: Candice Edmunds - Flight

This May, Scottish theatre company Vox Motus bring critically-acclaimed production Flight to Brighton Festival.

Flight brings you up close and intimate to this heart-breaking story in a unique, deeply individual experience. Seated in your own personal booth, you will watch the action unfold on images and models slowly moving in front of you, with speech and music conveyed through your own individual headphones.

We chat to Artistic Director, Candice Edmunds to find out more… 

Firstly, can you introduce us to your show and tell us what it is about?

Flight is based on the novel Hinterland by Caroline Brothers. It tells the story of two young brothers travelling alone, on foot, from Afghanistan to London. Their journey is an odyssey: a tale of ever-changing fortunes that is in turns life affirming and horrifically brutal. It is a tale of love, brotherhood, the remarkable resilience of those fleeing turmoil, and the power of imagination.


Flight
is a unique audience experience. Audience members sit in individual booths as a series of 200 handmade diorama revolve before their eyes. The story and soundtrack unfold through a pair of headphones.

Why should someone come and see your show?

Flight is rewarding on so many levels. The story is current, relevant and heart-wrenching. The ‘staging’ and design are completely unique. The experience is individual and immersive. We have been delighted time and again by those who came to engage with the ‘form’ and lost themselves completely in the story, and those who came to hear the story and were blown away by the design and the audience experience.

Where did the idea and inspiration come from?

Initially we were inspired by Caroline’s novel ‘Hinterland’, and what (in 2011, when it was published) felt like the ‘under-the-radar’ story of unaccompanied refugee minors. Over the years that we developed Flight the narrative around refugees and asylum seekers in the UK became increasingly divisive and agenda-driven. We wanted to find a storytelling form that would bring this back to the truly personal: just you (the audience) and the brothers journeying together. Our world in miniature was born out of desire to create a one-to-one experience that played with form, challenged us as artists, and enriched the story and themes. We wanted to make something that was full of imagination that honoured the bravery and resilience of children who flee their homes in search of a safe haven.

What sort of person is going to love this show?

Because of the mix of forms/disciplines, Flight appeals to both theatre audiences and those who would be more inclined to engage with visual art/digital art/cinema. The sound design and sound-track are also exceptional in their own right and open the experience up to music audiences. It is a brilliant show for teenagers, and we can provide some excellent resources for teachers to encourage class discussions around the subject matter.

What will surprise people about this show?

We have found that audiences have been completely floored by the emotional impact of the story. They come because they have heard of this wildly original carousel of diorama, and don’t expect a series of 3-D models to be so emotionally devastating.

Buy tickets to Flight or discover more theatre events happening this May 

What’s on: Dance events at Brighton Festival

We have a wide-range of award winning and rising dance performers coming to Brighton Festival. We welcome performers from around the world to celebrate the power of storytelling through performance. Find out what's coming up...


Still I Rise

Theatre Royal Brighton: Wed 22 May
Connaught Theatre, Worthing: Thu 23 May

TRIBE//’s all-female cast perform Still I Rise inspired by African-American writer, singer and activist Maya Angelou. Still I Rise is about resilience, equality, being unapologetic for who you are, and rising. Expect a powerful, absorbing and emotive show.


Not Today’s Yesterday
Thu 23 May

Award-winning artist Seeta Patel and choreographer Lina Limonsi join forces, creating a one-woman politically charged dance blending classical Indian dance (Bharatanatyam) and contemporary dance.

★★★★★ ‘This is outstanding, innovative, must-see dance’ – Adelaide Now ‘An unmissable treat’ – British Theatre Guide

Find out what to expect, in our interview with Seeta Patel


Varhung: Heart to Heart

Fri 24 & Sat 25 

Taiwanese Tjimur Dance Theatre presents a richly patterned, open-hearted performance that shows how the Paiwan people, not used to discussing private feelings, use artforms to bring them to the surface. Experience a deeply emotional and open-hearted performance.


SESSION
Thu 23 May-Sun 26 May

Part gig, part social and part dance party, the show is led by an ensemble of young dances who move across hip hop, contemporary folk and Afrobeats – celebrating community, youth and belonging. Join us for a high-energy night of dance and live music!




Five Minutes: Stile Antico: Songs of Longing and Exile

Award-winning early music vocal ensemble Stile Antico joins with remarkable Syrian oud performer Rihab Azar for a unique collaboration inspired by the challenges faced by today’s refugees and migrants. We learn more about the creative process and inspiration behind Songs of Longing and Exile

Firstly, can you introduce us to your show and tell us what it is about?

The programme focuses on the theme of exile and displacement. We have used 16th century music to create a new work of art by adding texts based on first-hand accounts by contemporary migrants. These will be interspersed with music from Syrian-born Oud player Rihab Azar. The programme will be accompanied by projections and specially designed lighting, to give a unique and immersive experience, culminating in a work written specially for Stile Antico and Rihab Azar by the legendary composer Giles Swayne.

Why should someone come and see your show?

This show will be a unique fusion of old and new music, a conversation between Eastern and Western cultures, exploring one of the most urgent issues of our times.

Where did the idea and inspiration come from?

We were researching a programme of a capella 16th century music on the theme of exile. John Dowland was famous for his expressive and ‘melancholy’ music, and spent much of his life in exile from his homeland. We opened that programme with the first of his seven Lacrimae pavans, the famous song ‘Flow my tears’. It got us wondering about the possibility of adding texts to the other six pieces in Dowland’s collection and that lead us to the poet Peter Oswald. He created some extraordinary lyrics using first-hand accounts of modern-day migrants. We were keen to intersperse the Dowland works with music from the Middle-East and were thrilled to be able to collaborate with virtuoso Oud player Rihab Azar.

What sort of person is going to love this show?

Lovers of music of all types, people interested in issues around migration, anyone with a social conscience!

What sort of person is going to love this show?

I think people will be surprised by the beauty and emotion of Dowland’s music, the way old music and new lyrics can work together whilst also challenging each other, and the virtuosity and expressiveness of Rihab Azar’s Oud playing!

Watch our interview with Gill Kay to learn more about our classical music programme 

Five Minutes with Gravity & Other Myths: Backbone

We snatched five minutes with internationally renowned circus company, Gravity and Other Myths (GOM) to find out more about the folks that tumble, flip and literally walk across each other's heads in Backbone - their newest, most dazzling show ever. 

Firstly, can you introduce us to your show and tell us what it is about?

Backbone is GOM’s second international touring work. It premiered as part of the 2017 Adelaide Festival and since then, it has taken the world by storm! The work examines human connection and strength in all its forms; physical, emotional, collective and individual.

Why should someone come and see your show?

Not only is Backbone filled with dynamic, exciting, high level group acrobatics but it touches audiences, young and old in a deeper way. GOM’s work has always focused on group dynamic’s, trust and camaraderie and Backbone is no different. The connection the artists on stage hold is engaging and infectious.


Where did the idea and inspiration come from?

Strength, of all kinds, is inherent in acrobatics so we found it an interesting topic to deconstruct and explore using physicality and acrobatics.

What sort of person is going to love this show?

GOM creates work for everyone to enjoy so no matter how old you are, if you have seen countless circus shows or none at all, this show will be for you!

What will surprise people about this show?

The satisfying and beautiful amalgamation of ground-breaking acrobatics, detailed design and production and real humans performing onstage, being themselves.

Five Minutes with Laura McDermott: Creative Director for Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, University of Sussex

'Founded in 1961, the University of Sussex has a rich heritage in creating and supporting the arts. We are a major sponsor of Brighton Festival, and have a programming partnership. We have co-commissioned performances, and each year we work together to select a programme of events to be hosted at Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts (ACCA).'

Firstly, how would you describe Brighton Festival in three words?

Effervescent. Communal. Discovery.

What are you looking forward to this year?

I am genuinely excited about all three performances that we are hosting at ACCA:  Séancers from Jaamil Olawale Kosoko; Superhoe, a collaboration between Talawa Theatre Company and Royal Court Theatre; and Belgian company, Berlin is bringing the UK Premiere of True Copy about the real-life art forger, Geert Jan Jansen.

Nicôle Lecky in Superhoe

Jaamil Olawale Kosoko performs Séancers

Elsewhere, I can’t wait to see Session on the Brighton seafront. It’s a high- energy dance piece to live Afrobeats, performed by a group of young women. I’m also looking forward to My Left Right Foot: The Musical at the beautiful Theatre Royal, and I am so excited to see Neneh Cherry. She is on fire right now and her new album is amazing.

SESSION performed by Still House and Empire Sounds

What impact do you think the Festival has for visitors, Brighton residents and for you?

There is so much energy in the city in May. Everyone comes out to play and to explore, enjoying the longer days and the sunshine. People are more adventurous and willing to try new things. It’s an incredibly social time. Brighton Festival has always stood for internationalism and experimentation. It brings artists from all over the world to be here in dialogue with our city and residents.

Interested in becoming a Brighton Festival sponsor? See our Support Us page. To learn more about University of Sussex and their longstanding partnership with Brighton Festival, see their sponsor page.

Children's Parade 2019

Brighton Festival 2019 opened last weekend with the annual Children's Parade.  Spectacular costumes represented the theme 'Folk Tales from Around the World', making the parade a vibrant burst of colour and creativity. 

This year, 58 schools and 3,473 children took part with the help of over 1,000 parents and carers.

Leading the way, Downs View School showcased Why Mosquitoes Buzz In People’s Ears followed by Moulsecoomb Primary School with The Hunterman and the Crocodile.

children's parade brighton festival moulsecoom downs view

St Luke's Primary School created a striking sculpture of Anansi the Spider, complimented by the childrens' eye catching costumes


anansi the spider brighton festival children's parade


Elm Grove Primary School created an impressive giant Pied Piper

children's parade brighton festival elm grove primary school pied piper

Another wonderful highlight was Stargirl by Harbour Primary School

children's parade brighton festival harbour primary stargirl

Relive all the fun by watching our Children's Parade highlights video:




What's On: Must-see Events This Weekend at Brighton Festival

We’ve got a jam-packed weekend coming up for you! From free theatre and circus events, classical music to family-friendly events – we’ve got it all. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s happening…

Without Walls
Sat 11 May
If you’re looking for a full day of free, family-friendly activities, look no further than Without Walls, a fantastic line up of inventive and entertaining performances suitable for all ages. With circus acts, theatre, music and lots of opportunities to join in the fun, there’s no excuse not to head down to Brighton beach this Saturday.

Curiouser
Fri 10-Mon 13 May
Inspired by classic fairy-tale Alice in Wonderland, this interactive performance takes parents and children alike on a transcendent journey down the rabbit hole. Using live performance, hand-drawn projection, music, dance and more, artists Flexer & Sandiland have created a portal to a magical world.

Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs)
Wed 8-Sat 11 May
Based on John Gay's The Beggar's Opera, Kneehigh's wild reinvention of this classical musical satire is bursting with wit, wonder and weirdness. Kneehigh’s extraordinary cast of actor musicians shoot, hoot and shimmy their way through this twisted morality tale for our times. Acting their socks off are a group of hyper-talented actor-musicians, using a range of instruments along with their own voices and theatrical skill, you won’t be in danger of boredom, even if you’re well-versed in the story.

Apples and Snakes Apples and Snakes Storycraft with Jum Faruq
Sun 12 May

A mix of puppetry, craft and superb storytelling, this hands-on event is the perfect way to entertain youngsters and get their creative brains ticking. A fun, chilled way to indulge in some bonding time with your little ones.

Eye to Eye
Sat 11-Sun 12 May
Join us for the world premiere of the highly-anticipated new show from Sheila Hill, an autobiographical chorus-based work about motherhood and childhood.

Shapeshifters
Sun 12 May

Zawe Ashton, playwright, actress and author of Character Breakdown – a book that chronicles her life in front of the camera since age 6 – discusses this age-old art with Candice Carty-Williams, whose fictional character for her debut novel, Queenie, is a skilled shapeshifter.

Flight
Sat 4-Thu 23 May
Flight brings you up close and intimate to this heart-breaking story in a unique, deeply individual experience. Seated in your own personal booth, you will watch the action unfold on images and models slowly moving in front of you, with speech and music conveyed through your own individual headphones.

Read our interview with Artistic Director of Flight to find out more

Travelling Traditions
Sat 11 May

Most migrants will tell you that no matter how far you go, you carry a seed of your origins with you. Storytelling is one of the most enduring of these seeds and in Travelling Traditions we celebrate these subtle echoes of home that add nuance to the work of some of the key writers of our times. Focusing on East Africa and Latin America, we are privileged to have Nikesh Shukla, Laia Jufresa, Chloe Aridjis and Sulaiman Addonia – all writers whose work is textured by the traditions of their region of origin.

Holly Smale
Sun 12 May
Holly Smale, the award-winning author of the bestselling Geek Girl series, will be at Brighton Festival to talk about her new series The Valentines.

City Reads 2019
S.K. Perry's lyrical meditation on loss, Let Me Be Like Water, is this year's BIG READ for Brighton & Hove. Widely celebrated on its release, Fiona Mozley, author of the Man Booker shortlisted Elmet, praised the Brighton-set novel for its "beautiful reflection on love grief and friendship." Join author S.K. Perry for an intimate conversation, marking the finale of City Reads 2019.

Marmen Quartet 
Fri 10 May
Performing some of the work of Haydn and Debussy for your enjoyment, the Marmen Quartet are a masterful and glorious talent. Fresh from their success in Royal Overseas League Competition, the four musicians are here to transport you into a blissful dream of sound.

Marmen Quartet at Brighton Festival

Unseen Mentor
Fri 10 May
For many writers, an unseen mentor is a shadow behind the scenes, providing words of encouragement, criticism, and improvement. Jacob Sam-La Rose has been the unseen mentor for a great number of successful poets. Having worked with Barbican Young Poets and Flipped Eye publishing, he has overseen the creative journeys of many poets you would surely have heard of. Now, for Brighton Festival 2019, he has brought together three of his mentees: Miriam Nash, Gabriel Akamo, and Bella Cox.

Jon Ronson: Tales from The Butterfly Effect & The Last Days of August 
Fri 10 May, 8pm
Much loved for his podcasts The Butterfly Effect and The Last Days of August, Jon Ronson is coming to Brighton Festival 2019 with a new show based around the curious experiences he’s had in relation to the world of porn. Based on subject matter from his podcasts, Ronson has devised a new, totally unheard-before show featuring audio, video, and spoken word.

Brighton Youth Orchestra
Sun 12 May
Fiesta of Music from around the World featuring works by Sibelius and Berlioz, as well as music from Greek Dances, traditional Zimbabwean songs and prolific film composer John Williams, BYO will be joined by players from its Junior Orchestra (BHJYO) and Youth Philharmonia (BHYP).

If you fancy exploring art across the city- don’t forget that Distorted ConstellationsIron Men and Current Affairs are on all festival-long!

Want to hear more about what’s happening at Brighton Festival? Follow us on InstagramFacebook or Twitter to keep up-to-date. 

Five Minutes with Flexer & Sandiland: Curiouser

Curiouser is a wild journey deep down into subterranean caves, through leafy forests and high up into the starry night sky. Adults become little and children become great in this interactive imaginary world of ever changing proportions. For a peek behind the curtain of this exciting and innovative show, join us for a quick five minute chat with creators Yael Flexer and Nic Sandiland. 

Firstly, can you introduce us to your show and tell us what it is about?

Yes, it's a show for children and their adults which takes them on a colourful escapade of curiosity and wonder. The intimate audience of up to 30 people are guided by two friendly dance-performers delving into magical caves, exploring leafy forests, and soaring through starry night skies. Along the way they meet playful characters, loosely inspired by the children's classic Alice in Wonderland.

Curiouser is an international collaboration of dance & digital media between local artists Flexer & Sandiland and the Norwegian company Dybwikdans - both renowned for their intimate immersive works for young audiences. It’s an interactive performance where you can choose to sit back and watch or get involved.

Why should someone come and see your show?

It’s a great space to be with your children, coming into an immersive projection environment sitting on velvet cushions, watching professional dancers up close as well as observing your own child at play. Fantastic music composition that is suitable for adults and children completes the magical experience.

It’s also a great space to be in as a child, lively and calm at different points with lots of surprising creatures and digital elements. Children are taken seriously in this event, they interact with the performers, they are asked many questions, and these sometimes define what path the show will take.

Where did the idea and inspiration come from?

The show is loosely inspired by how Alice in Wonderland plays with size and scale - the possibility of imagining that you can be both big and small, animal or human. We are interested in the exchange between adults (parents and carers) and their children, as well as how although one might be younger and the other older, they are both there for each other and support one another in different ways. We are also interested in making immersive work where the body and senses are primary in experiencing and understanding the show (rather than necessarily following a narrative structure). We have done this before with adult shows and it seemed the perfect mode for making work for children. Finally, as parents who normally make shows for adult audiences, we wanted to make something that are kids could also enjoy and to create through their eyes.

What sort of person is going to love this show?

A 3 to 6-year-old that either enjoys getting involved and dancing, or a child who prefers to take it all in by watching and who might be drawn by the digital elements.

Also parents, grandparents and carers who want to have a moment to share and just ‘be’ with their children, escaping into an other-worldly place, either getting involved or simply sitting back on cushions and observing the show or their own child at play.

What will surprise people about this show?

Some unexpected animated creatures, tape measures and mysterious bowls! Also, the fact that the children’s choices can sometimes dictate the path of the show.

To secure your place on this eclectic adventure, check out our Curiouser event page!

Festival Standby in Advance now available

For the first time £10 Festival Standby tickets can now be booked in advance for a selection of Brighton Festival events


£10 Festival Standby tickets are now available to book in advance for the following shows:

Flight | Outre Mémoire | Songs of Longing and Exile | Chamber Music Will Ashon with Kevin Le Gendre | Flavour Migration | Superhoe | Dream Mande: Djata |Trap Town | Salomé | Ko Saba and Ariwo | Varhung: Heart to Heart | BOYS

Keep an eye out as more are made available throughout the Festival.

Festival Standby tickets are available to under 26’s, over 60s, JSA/ESA or Universal Credit, registered disabled/DLA or PIP, Equity/ BECTU/SDUK, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival Members, Brighton Festival artists and those with Pay-It-Forward vouchers. Please bring some proof of eligibility with you to the venue and when collecting tickets.

Five Minutes with Jaamil Olawale Kosoko: Séancers

Performance artist Jaamil Olawale Kosoko conjures themes of paranormal activity, loss and resurrection as he explores black identities through his work. In his new show Séancers, Kosoko draws on his own experiences, including the deaths of family members, as well as inspiration from other art forms in a piece that brings together movement, song, spoken word and a live score from Bessie award-winning composer Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste. We sat down with Jaamil to learn more...


Firstly, can you introduce us  to your show and tell us what  it is about? 
Séancers is a work that considers alternative ways in  which we hold space for loss. And essentially how we  fill the space of loss.

Why should someone come  and see your show?  
To learn how loss can possibly generate new pathways to understanding the self, others, and the  process of the world. Holding space for mourning and  grief while also creating space for celebration in the  presences of community feels important in this moment.

Where did the idea and inspiration come from?  

My previous piece #negrophobia was described as a  kind of séance as I toured it throughout Europe over  the past couple years. It felt like a natural  progression to lean more into themes of paranormal  activity, loss, and resurrection as it relates to Black  identities. Black conceptual technologies such as  ‘fugivity’, ‘afro-pessimism’, and ‘intersectionality’  (Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw) have given me a deeper intellectual framework to ground the ideas and  metaphors that are situated inside my new work,  Séancers. Lastly, the work has literally become a way  for me to stay in close relationship to my dead family.  I’m the only living member of my immediate family.  Have a listen to an interview I recently did ​here​.

 What sort of person is going to love this show?

I am consistently surprised with the people who seem to really connect with the show. Queer/trans communities, older people, academics, students, black folks, poets, visual artists.

What will surprise people about this show?

Imagery and poetic metaphor, some fun costumes, kisses.

Find out more about Séancers and book your tickets today. 

Highlights: Brighton Festival Opening Weekend

We had a wonderful opening weekend at Brighton Festival. Check out what we got up to...

Discover what is happening this weekend at Brighton Festival 

Free things to do at Brighton Festival

Art can happen anywhere, and this May we have plenty of free events happening around Brighton & Hove. From dance and theatre, art exhibitions to workshops - we've got it all. Get out and explore!

Without Walls
Sat 11 May

Head outdoors for a free afternoon of family-friendly performances:

Initiative.dkf – Scalped

A dance theatre exploration of fashion and conformity, life and otherness through an exhibition piece on Black women’s hair; Scalped channels global icon Grace Jones in a performance that is an affirmation of liberation and defiance.

Talawa Theatre Company – The Tide

A dinghy is washed up on a shore, carrying the hopes, aspirations and dreams of its passengers as they clamber out onto land. Co-created by writer Ryan Calais Cameron and choreographer Jade Hackett, The Tide unpicks the stories and imagery of the most pertinent issue of our era: migration.

Justice in Motion – On Edge

An international cast, including leading parkour athletes, marry exciting choreography and athletics to ask what freedom really means. Join them before their stunning On Edge performance to explore the sensational freedom of moving around the parkour construction site!

Motionhouse – Wild

What is it to be wild? This daring new dancecircus production explores our disconnect with the natural environment. In our increasingly urban lives, is the wild still shaping our behaviour? Where do we belong? Do we choose to survive as a lone wolf or engage with the pack and the tribe? 


Our Place: Manor Gym & Hangleton Community Centre
Sat 18 May & Sat 25 May

Join us at Manor Gym and Hangleton Community Centre for a community takeover – bringing local residents’ FREE family-friendly theatre, dance, music, games and workshops.

Some of our favourites:

Upswing – Catch Mewill be one of many performances popping up in community spaces throughout the Festival. A playful, dynamic pop-up style performance and installation blending dance, acrobatics, object manipulation and installation.

Brighton Puppetry School Workshop - An introduction to the art of bringing puppet characters to life – no experience necessary. You’ll learn some key puppetry skills, play with a variety of puppets, make some short scenes and have some fun.

Herringbone Arts Treasures - Everyone has some special treasure that they keep close to their hearts. In this interactive trail and workshop children and their families are invited to discover some treasure, and have fun making small replicas of your own family treasures to put into your own tiny treasure box!

Explore the full programme 


Distorted Constellations
Sat 4-Sun 19 May

Distorted Constellations is an exhibition that uses sound, projections and holograms to immerse the audience in the imagined landscape of the artist’s brain.  The audience will experience a mythical version of how Ebizie sees the world, entering an alternate Afrofuturist (a black perspective on the politics and culture of science fiction and technology) reality, inspired by research into the neuroscience of perception and drawing on rituals of African origin.

Sat 18 May

Thingumajig Theatre’s new night-time street act, giant illuminated creatures. As they gather a crowd, they clear a space to perform their otherworldly ceremony. Using music, song and shadow puppets, they tell stories of lost homes, impossible migrations and seeds of hope before continuing the journey into their hauntingly beautiful dreamworld of the night.


Museum of the Moon
Fri 17 – Mon 20 May

Hanging in Queens Park, Museum of the Moon will offer a unique experience free for all. Whether you plan to explore the surface with your family, or enjoy a lunar picnic, don’t miss your chance to be beneath the moon.


Iron Men
Sat 4 – Sun 26 May

Fotatala King Massassy’s artistic mission is to shine a light on the extraordinary talent and strength of working-class citizens engaged in everyday activities. His photographs are an intriguing mixture of spontaneity and staged composition, each taken with the intention of prompting curiosity from the spectator. This exhibition, titled Iron Men, focuses on Bamako’s iron workers, showcasing the amazing feats they perform daily, without recognition, and giving them a new brand as true ‘magicians of metal’.


Current Affairs
Thu 18 Apr–Mon 27 May 

Taking over Fabrica’s Regency chapel, the Incredibly beautiful, yet politically charged, Ghanaian artist Serge Attukwei Clottey’s large-scale Afrogallonism pieces are constructed using discarded 20-25 litre yellow jarry cans. The use of these cans touches on global issues of plastic waste, but also explores his personal and political narratives rooted in histories of colonialism, trader and migration.



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Five Minutes with Season Butler: The New Dystopians

What does a new dystopia look like? Two hugely-anticipated debut novels – Cygnet by Season Butler and The Farm by Joanne Ramos – give us a glimpse of what unsettling futures might await us in an age of easy travel and endlessly accessible technology. Brighton Festival welcomes both authors for an in-depth discussion about the future in the one-time-only event The New Dystopians. We had a chat with Season Butler about what audiences can expect. 

Firstly, can you introduce us to your show and tell us what it is about?

I will be talking about my debut novel, Cygnet, a coming-of-age story grounded in some of the most urgent issues of contemporary life including climate change, addiction, precarious work and housing, and radical approaches for life-making for people with marginalised identities.

Why should someone come and see your show?

Many people feel that the present is edging on (or has already tipped into) a dystopian moment. I hope that my novel gives voice to the anxieties and redemptive potential of the contemporary moment.

Where did the idea and inspiration come from?

Years ago I was listening to a Radio 4 programme about people whose homes are threatened by coastal erosion and the lack of political and infrastructural support around this heart-breaking issue. It struck me as a really apt metaphor for the alienation people feel from the promises of security people invest in, only to find the lives they worked to build, along with the literal ground beneath them, falling away. I was also inspired by theorist Lauren Berlant’s writings, particularly Cruel Optimism and the idea of the “situation tragedy” as well as Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything and Simone de Beauvoir’s The Coming of Age.

What sort of person is going to love this show?

Lovers of new literary fiction; anyone concerned about the real lived experience of climate change and those who want to make radical social changes to prevent its worst effects; people coming-of-age into adulthood or coming-of-old-age; social justice activists; lovers of Black women’s fiction and writing by people from marginalised communities.

What will surprise people about this show?

While many of my early readers perceive Cygnet to be based in a dystopian near-future, it is actually based in the very recent past.

Five Minutes with Sheila Hill: Eye to Eye

Writer and theatre-maker Sheila Hill was intrigued to find herself craving music during her pregnancy in 1998. That experience, and the rollercoaster of the first seven years of her son’s life, became the foundation for Eye to Eye: an extraordinary musical collaboration about motherhood.


Firstly, can you introduce us to your show and tell us what it is about?

Eye to Eye is an autobiographical chorus-based work about motherhood and childhood – based on two real-time voices, mine and my son’s, spanning seven years from mid-pregnancy, to the start of school, and a little beyond. The text is an edit of my notes and writing from that time, set to music by Howard Skempton with jazz interludes by Byron Wallen.

Why should someone come and see your show?

To see an interesting new performance work. To see the combination of two polar opposite music worlds. To see one of our most dazzling soloists and performers: Melanie Pappenheim. To see a chorus of mothers and children – a lovely thing in itself. To reflect on and connect with a work about the most primal of relationships.


Eye to Eye's chorus of local women and children rehearse at Glyndebourne

Where did the idea and inspiration come from?

Being pregnant, and finding, weirdly, that I was craving music.

What sort of person is going to love this show?

I hope everyone. High end music, arts and performance audiences. Followers of new work. Music-lovers. Local people. Friends and families of the singers.

What will surprise people about this show?

It’s about all of us. ‘You know, everybody in the world used to be a child, or is a child.’

Eye to Eye takes place Sat 11 May, 7.30pm and Sun 12 May, 2.30pm at Brighton Dome Concert Hall. Book tickets for this very special event here.

Discover more Contemporary Music events happening at Brighton Festival this May.

Win a Luxury Weekend for Two to Celebrate Brighton Festival!

In association with our media partner The Arts Desk we are offering the chance to win an amazing Brighton Festival weekend.

The prize package includes:

• A two night stay at Birch in the Lanes, courtesy of Best of Brighton Holiday Lettings, a spacious, centrally-located apartment right in the heart of the famous Lanes.

• A free three-tier afternoon tea at Terre a Terre, Brighton's iconic acclaimed restaurant where vegetarianism is more about indulgence than abstinence.

• Dinner for two at Bill’s Brighton where the delicious evening menu caters for every dietary requirement including vegan, vegetarian and avoiding gluten.

• A pair of tickets to the following Brighton Festival events:

Fri 24 May

6.30pm: Pack a picnic tea and head down to the St Nicholas Rest Gardens for an evening of Shakespeare in the open air with one of the Bard’s most popular plays A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

10.30pm: Go on a late night adventure to Black Rock near Brighton Marina for an extraordinary large-scale spectacle, with light, sound and pyrotechnics to conjure the visceral reality of war in Silence 

Sat 25 May

2pm: Treat yourself to a very special dance experience from one of Taiwan’s premier dance companies Tjimur Dance Theatre and their beautiful piece Varhung: Heart to Heart

8pm: Singer songwriter and superstar Neneh Cherry takes to the Brighton Dome stage to share her exciting latest album Broken Politics.

Sun 26 May

2.30pm: Round of your weekend by exploring what it means to be a man with this cast of young men of colour from England, celebrating male tenderness, silliness, vulnerability and community in The PappyShow’s BOYS.

Enter this competition by entering your details here for a chance to win this fantastic break for two over the closing weekend of Brighton Festival (Fri 24 – Sun 26 May). Closing date is midnight on Sun 12 May.

Please read the terms and conditions here

Five Minutes with Kneehigh: Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs)

Kneehigh are back with their theatrical tour-de-force Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs). Based on John Gay's The Beggar's Opera, Kneehigh's wild reinvention of this classical musical satire is bursting with wit, wonder and weirdness. Kneehigh’s extraordinary cast of actor musicians shoot, hoot and shimmy their way through this twisted morality tale for our times. We have a quick chat with Kneehigh to find out more...

Firstly, can you introduce us to your show and tell us what it is about?

Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs) is Kneehigh’s version of The Beggar’s Opera. It takes the characters from John Gay’s infamous musical satire and drags them kicking, screaming into the 21st century. In our take, Macheath the Highwayman is now a contract killer and the Peachums are nefarious corporate monsters who order the assassination of Mayor Goodman – the last good man in town. When Mac puts a bullet in him and his dog (he was a witness) it triggers a series of events that brings everything down!  

Why should someone come and see your show?

Good question! Why not sit at home and watch Netflix instead? Well, I would argue that Dead Dog in a Suitcase is worth seeing for a number of reasons. It’s Kneehigh. It’s directed by founder Mike Shepherd. It’s set in a wildly entertaining and wildly theatrical world (one not too different to our own) and it’s LIVE - you will see, hear and feel things no box set can provide! It has an incredible new score by composer Charles Hazlewood which stylistically tumbles through ska, dub step, death metal, you name it. The extraordinary band of actor-musician-singers shoot, whoop and shimmy their way through the story in a way that has to be seen to be believed. And it’s a piece about now. As Macheath hollers into the void towards the end of the show: “BRING IT DOWN! AND START IT ALL AGAIN!” I think we can all agree with that sentiment right now.  


Where did the idea and inspiration come from?

Charles Hazlewood brought us the idea of doing The Beggar’s Opera. He’d done it three or four times before and was always dissatisfied. He thought Kneehigh would do it well. I think his instincts were bang on. I took the characters from the original and gave them a new context. Mike and I were watching a lot of Breaking Bad when we were making it and that, coupled with the state of the world back in 2013-14 (ahh, those happy, simpler days – remember them?), fed into building a new story that become about morality. How can you be good in a world that’s gone bad? And can the world be bad? Or is that just us anyway?  

What sort of person is going to love this show?

Anyone who’s living in this world right now who’s dealing with the ludicrousness of this insane times will love it.

But not babies. It’s too loud for them. 

What will surprise people about this show?

That it’s really funny. 

Buy tickets for Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs)


What's on: Must-see children events at Brighton Festival

Calling all young folk! Make Brighton Festival part of your journey. Music, art, theatre, dance, spoken word – it’s all waiting for you, with voices from around the world or right next door. Here are some of our favourites…


Our Place – MHangleton
 Sat 25 May

In partnership with Brighton People’s Theatre, Due East, Hangleton and Knoll Project and the community steering committee to create a community takeover. This year the communities are bringing FREE family-friendly theatre, dance, music, games, activities and workshops to East Brighton. View the full programme here.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Thu 23 – Sat 25 May

Shakespeare’s magic-filled comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream is performed in the open air by The Lord Chamberlain’s Men. Bring a chair or a rug to enjoy a glorious May’s evening watching one of Shakespeare’s best-loved plays. Experience this enchanting performance, overflowing with Elizabethan costumes, fairies, sprites, dukes, confused lovers and music and dance.


SESSION
Thu 23-26 May

Join us for a high-energy night of dance and live music. Led by an ensemble of young dancers who move across hip hop, contemporary folk and Afrobeat’s, celebrating community, youth and belonging. 

Another Star to Steer By
Sat 25 - Sun 26 May

Another Star to Steer By is a magical 45-minute play (for audiences of 6+) celebrating the special power of storytelling, using drama, humour, audience participation and singing.

Read our interview with writer Andrew McCaldon


A Jar of Pickles and a Pinch of Justice
Sat 25 May


Chitra Soundar has collected and retold some ancient trickster tales from India in which young Prince Veera and his friend Suku get into a pickle or two. The king is away, and they have the power to run his kingdom! What will they do? Come and listen to Chitra bring these stories alive in Brighton. 

Tomorrow: a story from Syria
Sat 25 May

Come and hear Nadine tell the story of a brave young boy called Yazan from her book Tomorrow, and join in some fun art activities too!

Discover all the Young Brighton Festival events. Look out for the Young Brighton Festival symbol to help you find that events that are for you. 

Note: For further information on Age Guidance recommendations - please check specific event page for more information

Who are The Storytelling Army?

Ahead of this year's intimate storytelling events in Queen's Park and Worthing Pavilion Cafe, Stef O’Driscoll from nabokov tells us more about these special events that join people from all walks of life in enjoying a simple meal together and hearing each others stories

Who are you and what is Storytelling Army?
I am Stef O’Driscoll a theatre director and the Artistic Director of nabokov. nabokov is a theatre company that celebrates the infinite array of lives and stories of our nation. nabokov locate and collaborate with a diverse range of exceptional voices across artforms including music, spoken word and theatre reinventing the theatrical experience so anyone can enjoy live performance and tell stories.

We believe that everyone has a story and everyone deserves a platform for theirs to be heard. The Storytelling Army is a community initiative, a collective of people from all walks of life who create and perform their own stories in the hope that by doing so we will cultivate more empathy and understanding for each other. The participants we are working with have come through the Cascade Creative Recovery and AudioActive.

Cascade Creative Recovery is a not-for-profit community centre and café for Brighton & Hove. Run by, and for, people with experience of active recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, the charity provides a supportive peer-led space, informal access to information, and a range of creative courses, workshops and social activities and AudioActive is a ground-breaking music organisation that works with young people at the meeting point of technology and contemporary urban culture. It sees music as a tool for social change, education and personal development.

Check out these organisations they are doing AMAZING things.


Where did the idea for Storytelling Army come from?
The Storytelling Army was created by nabokov in 2017 to fulfil Guest Director Kate Tempest’s vision of a more inclusive Brighton Festival. Myself and Kate bashed out some initial ideas over a cuppa and then nabokov evolved them into the Storytelling Army that stormed the streets of Brighton with pop up performances that took place all over town including at the train station, bus stops, pavilion gardens and on the pier. 

This year we were inspired by the Guest Director Rokia Traoré’s commitment to stripping storytelling back to its bare essentials which sees people gather in an intimate setting—outdoors around a fire in a Brighton park, or indoors in Worthing overlooking the beach—enjoying a simple meal together and hearing each others’ stories.

What work has been going on with Cascade Creative Recovery and AudioActive?
Through a series of workshops we have been working with incredible guest storytellers whether they are singer songwriters, MC’s, rappers, poets or playwrights to support the groups to create and tell their own stories.

Guest Storytellers include Deefa MC, Brodie McBride, Cecilia Knapp, Paul Cree, Sophie Ellerby, Simon Longman, Yomi Sode and Adam Kammerling.

The workshops consist of creative writing, storytelling and performance exercises. Some of the participants have never done anything like this before. Some have written but never performed and some are Brighton and Worthing based artists. It is a real diverse bunch of humans showing up and getting honest and speaking their truth. You are in for a treat.


What can audiences expect to experience at the Storytelling Army performances?
You can expect true stories being performed. You can expect to experience stories through spoken word, rap and songs, and to enjoy a meal that is cooked in front of you whilst all of this is happening. You can expect a community for one night whose foundations are built on sharing. Sharing food and sharing stories. You can expect to either be in an outdoors setting around a fire in Queens Park, Brighton on the 18th May or overlooking the sea at the Worthing Pavilion Cafe Bar on the 19th May.

And in return we expect a supportive kind audience.

Tell us a little about the theme of food and its link with the Storytelling Army event? What makes this event unique?
Chef and storyteller Omar Jowar helped nabokov realise this year’s food-themed event. Our relationship to food tells us so much about our roots and heritage, our health awareness, our politics and our relationships with people.

'When my parents came to Britain they brought very little with them, three children and a better life ambition. My mother carried the stories passed to her in a pink exercise book, with loose, turmeric stained pages, so that they slightly resembled those treasure maps we made at school. Tea stained, like the pages of the empire we read about the history books. In them she brought cardamom, cloves, peppercorns, allspice, turmeric, dried limes, she carried cinnamon in sticks and ground so we as children would never be ground, so we might remember the places we had never been old enough to live. A borrowed heritage. That would help bridge us being somewhere in between Palestinian and British. To then go on and share the story of how green our falafel is. This was our gift to tell this new world where we had been' Omar Jowar

We have partnered with Brighton and Hove Food Partnership and the Kitchen Academy who are incredible organisations who help people learn to cook, grow their own fruit and veg and connect over shared meals, and they tackle critical issues such as food waste and food poverty. The Food Partnership also run the new Community Kitchen, a cookery school on Queens Road. Classes cover everything from patisserie to fermentation, Indian street food to dim sum, including sessions with Jethro from Kitchen Academy who is cooking the events' delicious food. All profits from the Kitchen support cookery activities for vulnerable people in the community.


What's included in the ticket?
An experience of stories from people from all walks of life, a simple tasty meal and beautiful music.

Who should I bring along?
Your friends, partner and family members. Anyone who loves stories. Anyone who loves food. Apart from younger humans below 14+ as the content of the stories can be of an adult nature or may go over their heads.

Do you have to participate or can I sat back and watch others?
You can participate as you wish but I hope when the audience are given the opportunity to connect with someone they don’t know they take it and share a part of them, just as the storytellers have so generously shared with them. What if the worse thing that could happen? On the 18th we are outdoors so please bring a blanket to sit on. 

Tickets are still available for The Storytelling Army at Worthing Pavilion Café Bar on Sun 19 May, 4pm, with the £4 ticket proceeds go to AudioActive and Cascade Creative Recovery. 
Book now via Worthing Theatres Box Office



Co-presented with Worthing Theatres
Supported by Brighton and Hove Food Partnership, and Higgidy

Five Minutes with Takashi Kikuchi: The Nature of Why

Merging dance and live music into an epic performance, The Nature of Why brims with emotion and physical beauty. Commissioned by Unlimited, the show features a cinematic live-score from Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory, an ensemble of musicians from The British Paraorchestra and four extraordinary dancers.

Taking inspiration from the unconventional curiosity of Nobel prize-winning theoretical physicist, Richard Feynman, the show explores his search for meaning in the world around us through nine distinct and emotive movements. 

Viola player Takashi Kikuchi came by to tell us even more… 


Firstly, can you introduce us to your show and tell us what it is about?

The Nature of Why is a collaboration of music and dance that has been created by Will Gregory, a leading British contemporary composer. Most of the performers in the show have some form of disability and are members of the British Paraorchestra.

Although the music is of a classical style, the atmosphere that it creates is different to a traditional classical concert as both the musicians and the dancers move around the stage and encourage the audience to do the same. The whole performance is carried out alongside a series of questions and answers, which always lead to a further question - “why” - representing our common sense of curiosity.

Why should someone come and see your show?

It is a completely different type of performance. The music, dance and emotion that come with it are shared between the musicians, dancers and audience leaving you energised and with your senses stimulated.

Where did the idea and inspiration come from?

Will Gregory took his inspiration from Richard Feynman, the Nobel prize-winning theoretical physicist. He also took inspiration from the musicians and dancers taking part over several workshops where they were asked to try out a number of musical patterns in collaboration with particular dance movements. In the workshops they were also asked to offer their own input and provide ways of supporting each other, some of which were related to their disabilities.

What sort of person is going to love this show?

I believe that those who enjoy a beat, feeling the harmony of musicians and exploring something new will love this show, whether they want to join in and dance or just stand back and absorb the atmosphere.

What will surprise people about this show?

How the individual performances of both the musicians and dancers come together in one large ensemble.

Get making with Our Place Creative Makers

We recently visited an Our Place Creative Makers Workshop at Hangleton Library to find out how the local community is responding to this year's craftivism project. 


We spoke to Sara Gregory who has been attending the Creative Makers workshops with her children.

Can you tell me a bit about the piece that you’ve made and your craftivism message?
The first one I made was ‘Everyone’s an artist’ because I feel quite strongly about the democracy of art. Art belonging to everyone. Some people are ‘artists’ and therefore what they create is more important. There are people who can do brilliant stuff, but they do it privately… I think, also, a lot of people don’t realise what they’re capable of, maybe they didn’t have a good experience of art at school or they just didn’t get a good art or textiles education. And so many people don’t know what they’re capable of! I think it’s so important to try and get people to realise what they can do.

What’s so great about these workshops is that you bring people who wouldn’t try it normally and give them a chance to have a go. This isn’t something I tend to do. I do sew but I basically sew costumes for kids school plays and things. But sewing something like this is very different.


And it’s nice that you’re able to do it with your children as well. Have they enjoyed it?
I’ve been stunned by how much they’ve enjoyed it. Finlay had trouble getting into it to start with, but once he did he REALLY got into it. We got home and after an hour or so he and his sister both asked if they could do some more. And when we went off to bed we sat there reading Harry Potter and they’re both sat there stitching while I’m reading to them.


What does it mean to the community to have this kind of activity?
I think it’s so important. For the young people it’s important because there’s not enough importance given to arts activities or textile activities in schools these days. My older ones are lucky in that they actually do textiles, which quite a few secondary schools don’t seem to do. It’s an afterthought now, it’s not considered academic and there’s no time for it in the curriculum. I find that so upsetting. I think it’s important to give children the opportunity to try the arts.


Has it made a difference to your life that will continue beyond the project?
Yeah I think definitely. Certainly Finlay has found it a good way to relax, because he gets quite stressed at times and it’s a good outlet for that.

Do you think it will be hard to 'gift' your piece to the installation project after you’ve spent so long working on it?
Not really. I’m one of the people that runs the Hangleton Rocks Group so I’m very much used to working for ages on art and then dumping it somewhere for someone to find. I’m all for art that you give away. It’s a similar philosophy.


Rhianydd Summersett, a member of the Hangleton Our Place Steering Committee, said:

'It’s been a great project for the local community because it’s brought local families together. As you can see today in this room there’s lots of families turned up. It gives them something to do.

Everyone who’s taken part in the workshops have really enjoyed it. We’ve had such a varied age range, from older people going to the lunch club to now, the children. So it’s been great seeing different people’s reactions. Some of the older ladies had previously sewn and hadn’t done it in years, they really enjoyed getting back into sitting and sewing.'


Get making

You can find out more about Our Place Creative Makers here.
There's still time to get involved and make a piece of craftivism yourself to be included in the final installations at Our Place in East Brighton (Sat 18 May) and Hangleton (Sat 25 May).

Download your 'how to' makers guide

Pick up a FREE craftivism makers kit at...
Hangleton: Hangleton Community Centre / St Richard's Community Centre / Hangleton Library / Hangleton and Knoll Project Youth Workers

East Brighton: The Manor Gym / Whitehawk Inn / Whitehawk Library / Wellsbourne GP Surgery


The Creative Makers project is produced in association with Brighton People's Theatre, the Hangleton and Knoll ProjectDue East and the Hangleton & East Brighton Our Place Steering Groups

Supported by


The History of Brighton Festival from 1814–1967 by Phillip Morgan

Long-standing employee of Brighton Festival, Phillip Morgan presented a special talk on our history at our Taster Day earlier this month. Phillip shares ten interesting facts about the Festival...


1. The first ever Brighton Festival was held in 1814, the festival took place on the Prince Regent’s birthday at the Level and was very different to the Festival we know today. The event was a free, but ticketed, dinner that guests were required to bring their own cutlery to and be cleanly apparelled for.

2. The dinner that was served at the first Brighton Festival was with the true old English fare of roast beef and plum-pudding, garnished with a suitable number of hogsheads filled with ale and brown stout.

3. There were 7,930 attendees at the first ever festival, they were seated at sixty-five double rows of tables, adapted for the one hundred and twenty-two guests at each.

4. One notable attendee of the festival was Phoebe Hessel who was the oldest person there at ninety-nine years old! Phoebe is known for having had disguised herself as a man to serve in the British Army, she lived to the age of 108 and there is now a monument to her in St Nicholas churchyard!

5. The day ended with a well-attended show at the theatre, where God Save the King verse and chorus made up part of the performances.


6. In 1869 the Brighton Festival that we know today began to take shape. Austrian pianist, composer and promoter Mr Kuhe gave a series of fifteen grand orchestra concerts at the Grand Theatre, then in 1870 the shows were moved to the Dome and named as the Brighton Festival.

7. Unfortunately, by 1883 the festival was to be terminated as Kuhe was unable to make a profit off the shows, however he continued to produce individual concerts in Brighton.

8. Fifteen years later in 1908 Joseph Sainton was appointed as the musical director of a new municipal orchestra that consisted of forty permanent players. The Brighton Corporation decided to establish a festival once the new orchestra was created and it ran until 1914, being one of the very few British festivals to continue after the outbreak of war.

9. The last of Sainton’s festivals in 1914, included a commission by composer Hubert Parry, a symphonic poem entitled From Death into Life.


10. The Brighton Festival was reopened in 1967, the opening of the Festival featured Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius. which had also opened the 1909 Festival when the concert had been hugely popular, causing excited queues of patrons to gather right down to the promenade, hundreds of which had to be turned away. The Brighton Gazette said of the concert: “It seemed the realisation of a musical apocalypse the rendering in music of the vision of St John the Divine. It is hard in mere words to justify such a statement but there were many, for all that one knows a majority, in that great audience who for once felt themselves carried out of themselves by some influence which transported them far above the confines of this earth.”

Find out more about Phillip Morgan’s fondest memories of Brighton Festival or learn more about our history 

Five Minutes with: Andrew McCaldon: Another Star to Steer By

Another Star to Steer By is a brand new live show celebrating the power of storytelling for children 6+ and their family.  Ahead of the premiere, we chat to writer Andrew McCaldon to find out more about the show... 

Firstly, can you introduce us to your show and tell us what it is about?

Another Star to Steer By is a magical 45-minute play (for audiences of 6+) celebrating the special power of storytelling, using drama, humour, audience participation and singing.

As 12-year-old Maya prepares to leave her home and travel to a new part of the country, she is looked after by her estranged and eccentric Auntie, known as ‘Oh-My’. Maya is angry and nervous about leaving her friends and the world she knows behind. Oh-My begins telling Maya stories from around the world about adventures at sea. At first Maya refuses to listen but she gradually gets drawn in to Oh-My’s wonderful folktales. She and Oh-My form a new friendship and Maya discovers that every journey is the start of a new adventure. What will happen in the next chapter of Maya’s story? That’s up to her to decide.  

Why should someone come and see your show?

Because it’s a piece of theatre that will transport you all around the world and deep under the sea on many different adventures. And because you’ll get to sing, let your imagination take flight, and become part in the adventures yourself.  

Where did the idea and inspiration come from?

I wanted to write a piece of work about folktales from around the world and discover how they can help us in our lives. The two characters in the play live by the sea in Brighton and so I thought tales about the sea would be interesting to explore. 

What sort of person is going to love this show?

Any child (over the ages of 6) and accompanying adults who love hearing stories and want to discover where the very first stories came from, who the Blue Men of the Minch are, and how to escape Jormungand, the Norse sea serpent. 

Our exciting storytelling show for primary children (6+) and their adults can come to you! Our paper boat will sail into your School, Library, Community Centre or Church Hall and our actors will present a 45-minute show just for you and your community. Become a Brighton Festival promoter – just get in touch and tell us you would like the show at your place and we will help you make it happen! The show is available 20 – 24 May with performances in the morning and afternoon to suit your timetable. Please contact: paperboat@brightonfestival.org 

Discover more Young Brighton Festival events