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Five of the best…Female Filmmakers at Brighton Festival

After picking up a lifetime achievement award at the European Film awards last year, the amazing and iconoclastic French filmmaker Agnes Varda commented by saying ‘What I have noticed is that it is very sweet to receive this award but when I see the nominees here, I feel there are not enough women...I think more women should be included. I know a lot of very good female directors and women editors and I would like them be more represented and helped by the European film academy.’

We agree – and to mark International Women’s Day this Sunday we thought we would shine a light on five of them – who all happen to feature in this year’s Brighton Festival programme...

Agnes Varda

Often dubbed the ‘Godmother of the French New Wave’ the varied and brilliant career of Agnes Varda has spanned six decades. Her films, photographs, and art installations focus on documentary realism, feminist issues, and social commentary - with a distinct experimental style. We are delighted that the 86-year-old filmmaker and artist will be curating an installation in the Brighton University Gallery which will be open throughout the Brighton Festival 2015. We’ll also being showing many of her ground-breaking films such as the 60th anniversary screening of La Pointe Courte (1955) on Sun 3 May at Dukes at Komedia at 1.30pm and a 30th anniversary screening of Varda’s Vagabond (1985) at The Duke of Yorks on Sun 10 May, 1.30pm.

Carol Morley

British film director Carol Morley first came to prominence with her documentary The Alcohol Years, a BAFTA nominated film that was later released on DVD to critical acclaim. The film was nominally an autobiography but became as much about the people in it as Morley herself - and was seen to define the era and place in which it was set (Manchester in the 1980s). We will be bringing a screening of her acclaimed 2011 film Dreams of a Lifewhich explores mysterious the life and death of Joyce Vincent. Morley will also take part in a Q&A session after the screening on Mon 11 May at Dukes at Komedia.


Clio Barnard

Winner of various awards, British filmmaker Clio Barnard’s most recent film The Selfish Giant, about two boys who scavenge to survive on a Bradford estate, has been called 'a Kes for the 21st century'. For Brighton Festival 2015 we revisit her acclaimed debut feature The Arbor (2010) to Dukes at Komedia on Mon 18 May, 6.30pm. The film focuses around the life of the late Bradford playwright Andrea Dunbar. Barnard will also part in a post screening discussion.


Joanna Hogg

Joanna Hogg is an utterly distinctive figure in contemporary British cinema, making thoughtful, provocative arthouse movies about the lives of bourgeois characters. Her films are intimate, closely focused character studies that probe away at the behaviour and discontents of her protagonists in a forensic but quietly comical fashion. We are delighted that Joanna Hogg, will be taking part in a Q&A discussion at the Dukes at Komedia on Sun 17 May following a screening of her film Archipelago (2010) at 1.15pm. The film surrounds Edward (Tom Hiddleston) and his family as they have a get-together before he departs for a volunteering trip to Africa.


Sarah Wood

Sarah Wood has been working in the British film industry for over 10 years and has won several awards for her work. Her latest film projects have all been an exploration into ideas of the archive using found footage. Wood will be joined by film-maker Lucy Harris in this year’s visual art event at the Onca Gallery. Commissioned by Brighton Festival and a Brighton Festival Exclusive A Murmuration explores the natural world especially the relationship between art and nature in collaboration with writers Helen MacDonald and Olivia Laing.

By Charlotte Newell

Be part of the action and volunteer with Brighton Festival 2015

Volunteer with England's biggest mixed arts Festival and be at the heart of the action. Find out more at our volunteer drop-in session on Tue 10 Mar. 

Pop in and see us on Wed 10 Mar, 6-8pm at the Brighton Dome Café-bar and learn all about volunteering at Brighton Festival 2015. 

You could be writing engaging #BF2015 tweets, meeting and greeting the public or even liaising with the performers and artists themselves. What better way to spend a sunny May than being at the centre of Brighton’s cultural map whilst gaining work experience?

Find out more about volunteering here or join our Facebook event for more details.

The lovely Alice from OfBooks.org’s has written about her experience of volunteering at Brighton Festival 2013 check it out here.

The drop in session will take place at Brighton Dome, Church Street, Brighton, BN1 1UE..Click here for more venue information.

Welcome to Brighton Festival

'Imagine the world seen from the eye of a bird'. 'Imagine the borders between the artforms'. 

Our amazing Guest Director for Brighton Festival 2015 Ali Smith shares with us her thoughts and excitement for this year's festival

Brighton Festival 2015 Teaser Film

'Imagine the world seen from the eye of a bird. Imagine the borders between the artforms'. Our amazing Guest Director for Brighton Festival 2015 Ali Smith shares with us her thoughts and excitement for this year's festival.

Brighton Festival 2015 highlights

Re-live some of the highlights of Brighton Festival 2015 - with award-winning author Ali Smith as Guest Director - ahead of next year’s 50th celebrations. The milestone year is a major landmark in the Festival’s history and promises to be its most ambitious yet.

Brighton Festival 2015 Trailer

This Brighton Festival 2015 we continue our tradition of celebrating and showcasing incredible art with three weeks of spectacular exclusives, premieres, commissions and groundbreaking performances from across the globe. In this trailer our Guest Director Ali Smith introduces Brighton Festival 2015 and invites you to “Imagine the borders between the artforms… so that poetry meets music meets theatre meets dance meets thought meets sculptural meets rhythm meets fiction meets the natural world.”

Film by Hoi Poilloi

Read more about the making of this trailer.

Brighton Festival 2015 launches with award-winning author Ali Smith as Guest Director

Brighton Festival - the largest and most established annual multi-arts festival in England - has launched today with award-winning Scottish author Ali Smith as Guest Director.

Recently named winner of both the Costa Novel award and Goldsmiths Prize for boldly original fiction, Smith has established herself as a pioneer of form; fearlessly pushing the boundaries of the novel with a deftness and accessibility that has earned her a reputation for being both vitally inventive and scrupulously playful.

Over the three-week Festival - which runs from 2-24 May 2015 - many of Ali Smith’s ideas, interests and passions will be explored in a programme which spans music, theatre, dance, visual art, film, literature and debate from a wide range of national and international companies and artists; from a rare UK visit by 86-year-old legendary film maker and artist Agnès Varda to rising stars Kate Tempest, George the Poet and Hollie McNish.

With three central themes at its heart - Art and Nature, the Crossing Places between art forms, and Taking Liberty - this year’s Brighton Festival challenges visitors to look again, featuring an eye-opening array of artists and performers with the power to deliver the world we think we know to us re-seen, renewed, with a visionary twist in the tale.

Posing questions about whether life imitates art or art imitates life, Art and Nature is explored in a host of events including an exclusive nightingale walk, with Mercury-nominated folk singer Sam Lee; an immersive multi-screen film installation of Marcus Coates’ entitled Dawn Chorus, featuring singers who uncannily recreate birdsong and bird movement; a discussion of the urgent conservation issues that face us today with celebrated author and bird enthusiast Margaret Atwood and her partner and fellow writer Graeme Gibson; and Fleeting, an outdoor spectacular over the West Pier by And Now, in which hundreds of individual points of fire create shapes and swathes of glowing light and shade.

Central to the programme is the notion of Crossing Places - where poetry meets music meets theatre meets dance – from works that defy categorisation such as The Measure of All Things, a new live cinema performance by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Sam Green to Claudia Molitor’s part installation part performance Vast White Stillness in the maze of tunnels beneath the Old Ship Hotel. In Being Both, acclaimed mezzo soprano Alice Coote, English Concert’s Harry Bicket and Susannah Waters stage a theatrical journey into the heart of Handel’s sublime vocal music, which, in a nod to Smith’s own prize-winning work How to Be Both, explores and challenges the experience and perception of gender.

Set against the backdrop of the General Election, Liberty, equality and freedom is celebrated in all its shapes in an astonishing cutting-edge line-up of artists, performers, thinkers and commentators - all contemporary game changers in their chosen forms. These include Liberty Director and author Shami Chakrabati who hosts an evening in celebration of the Human Rights Act featuring a dazzling collection of writers and performers such as Billy Bragg, Neil Bartlett, Rachel Holmes and Jackie Kay; Tony award-winning playwright Richard Nelson who brings the European premiere of his highly acclaimed four play cycle The Apple Family Plays from The Public Theater, New York; award-winning Pakistani/British author Kamila Shamsie; celebrated Russian-American journalist, author and activist Masha Gessen, Turkish writer Elif Shafak and Turner Prize nominated artist Nathan Coley, whose new commission Portraits of Dissension explore ideas of unrest, edge and shift, space and occupation.

Other highlights include Peter Strickland’s daring masterpiece The Duke of Burgundy accompanied by a one-off live performance of its seductive score by Cat’s Eyes - the collaborative project of The Horrors’ frontman Faris Badwan and Italian-Canadian singer and composer Rachel Zeffira; a series of screenings and accompanying talks by prominent female directors including Joanna Hogg, Carol Morley and the legendary Agnès Varda who will also create a special installation at Brighton University Gallery for the duration of the Festival; the English premiere of Vanishing Point & National Theatre of Scotland’s The Beautiful Cosmos of Ivor Cutler, a homage to one of Scotland's most likeable, most individual and most unexpected 20th century figures; a new lecture specially commissioned for Brighton Festival by acclaimed author Jeanette Winterson OBE on the practices and craft of writing; the UK premiere of Lucia’s Chapters of Coming Forth by Day, a theatrical ode to the life - and afterlife – of Lucia Joyce, the adored daughter of James Joyce created by legendary New York theatre ensemble Mabou Mines; the UK premiere of The Forgotten / L’Oublié(e), the directorial debut of Raphaëlle Boitel, one of the most remarkable performers on the European visual and physical theatre scene; and Laurie Anderson: All the Animals, a specially curated performance by one of America’s most daring creative pioneers.

Ali Smith says:

“It's tremendously exciting to have been asked to help programme the 2015 Brighton Festival. I'm delighted and honoured – what a gift, to be asked to do this, imagine – the biggest international multi-arts spectacular in England. I've always loved Brighton's sense of fun and friendliness, its vibrant open-mindedness, the way it opens to sky, the way the rest of Europe is so close it's almost visible. It's a city that's always known how to live on the edge, a place full of endless energy, argument, possibilities, light. No matter the wildness or mildness of the weather, no matter the zigzag of zeitgeist elsewhere north or south of it, Brighton is always itself, and always uniquely welcoming.”


Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival says: “Ali Smith, as Guest Director this year, has been a wonderful inspiration to us all in programming the festival. In her writing, Ali is renowned for pushing form and working with her has taught us to think differently about how we programme and the work that we bring. She has also brought an incredible range of artists to the festival who are responding to the world in a particular way, both people she knows well, and also people she has loved for many years and perhaps longed for an opportunity to work with - from Agnès Varda to Elif Shafak, Jeanette Winterson, Margaret Atwood and Mabou Mines - the list is long and extensive and I think thrilling. I look forward to welcoming audiences to experience another exciting and innovative month of events in May.”

Hedley Swain, Area Director, South East, Arts Council England, said: “Brighton Festival puts the city in the spotlight as a centre of arts excellence, not just in the South East, but nationally and internationally, and we are proud to be a major funding partner. It brings vast numbers of people to the town to enjoy a wide ranging and exciting programme of arts exhibitions, performances, talks and much more. Brighton Festival continues to reflect the vibrancy of Brighton & Hove itself – it is a place where artists and artistic organisations blossom and flourish. Brighton Festival’s value to the city and the region extends beyond entertainment and inspiration – it also provides a significant economic boost for local businesses as artists and audiences travel from near and far to become involved.”

The seventh Guest Director of Brighton Festival, Ali Smith takes on the mantle from visual artist Anish Kapoor (2009), musician Brian Eno (2010), Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi (2011), actress and human rights campaigner Vanessa Redgrave (2012), poet, author and former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen (2013) and choreographer, composer and performer Hofesh Shechter (2014) in shaping the three-week programme of cultural events.

Established in 1967, Brighton Festival has a rich history of pushing boundaries. In its inaugural year the programme controversially included the first ever exhibition of Concrete Poetry in the UK, alongside performances by Laurence Olivier, Anthony Hopkins and Yehudi Menuhin. Now one of Europe’s leading arts festivals for artists and audiences, Brighton Festival is known for commissioning and producing an ambitious programme that aims to make the most of the city’s distinctive cultural atmosphere. It has been widely recognised for presenting exciting site specific work, thought provoking debate and newly commissioned works.

The annual celebration of music, theatre, dance, circus, art, film, literature, debate, outdoor and family events will take place in venues across the city and beyond from 2 to 24 May 2015. Brighton Festival 2015 features 396 performances taking place across 150 events including 42 exclusives, premieres and commissions.

-ENDS-

For further enquiries, please contact our press team:

Emma Robertson, Head of Press & PR - emma.robertson@brightonfestival.org | 01273 260 803

Chris Challis, Senior Press Officer – chris.challis@brightonfestival.org | 01273 260838

Anna Whelan, Digital Officer – anna.whelan@brightonfestival.org | 01273 260825

Ticket Office - 01273 709709 | brightondome.org

Follow us on Twitter - www.twitter.com/brightdome (@brightdome)

Join our Facebook fan site - www.facebook.com/brightondome

Listen to our monthly podcast - http://soundcloud.com/brighton-dome


NOTES TO EDITORS

Download the press release here

About Brighton Festival:

• Brighton Festival is England’s most established annual mixed arts Festival which takes place across three weeks in the city each May. It is a major milestone in the international cultural calendar and in 2013 achieved a new record audience reach of 468,000

• Brighton Festival attracts inspiring and internationally significant Guest Directors who bring cohesion to the artistic programme with British sculptor Anish Kapoor as inaugural curator in 2009 followed by the Godfather of modern music Brian Eno in 2010, the Burmese Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in 2011, actress and Human Rights campaigner Vanessa Redgrave in 2012, poet, author and former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen in 2013 and choreographer, composer, musician and performer Hofesh Shechter in 2014.

• Brighton Festival is an innovative commissioning and producing arts festival, offering an ambitious programme that makes the most of the city’s distinctive atmosphere

• Brighton Festival includes visual art, theatre, music, dance, circus, books and debates, family friendly events and outdoor performances throughout the city including site-specific and unusual locations.

• Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival produces the annual Brighton Festival and also manages the three venues of Brighton Dome year round.

About Ali Smith

• Ali Smith was born in Inverness in 1962 and lives in Cambridge

• Her first book, Free Love, won the Saltire First Book Award

• Hotel World (2001) was shortlisted for both the Orange Prize and the Man Booker Prize in 2001 and won the Encore Award, the East England Arts Award of the Year and the Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year Award in 2002

• The Accidental (2005) won the 2005 Whitbread Novel Award and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize and the Man Booker Prize

• How to be both (2014) was named winner of The Goldsmiths Prize and the Costa Novel award and shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Folio Prize.

• Ali Smith’s numerous other acclaimed novels, short story and essay collections including Like (1997); Other Stories and Other Stories (1999); The Whole Story and Other Stories (2003); Girl Meets Boy (2007); The First Person and Other Stories (2008); There But For The (2011) and Artful (2012)

• Ali Smith, was made a CBE in the 2014 New Year's Honours list.

Brighton Festival 2015 announces full programme of events

Clear your diaries in May as England’s largest mixed arts festival returns with award-winning author Ali Smith as its Guest Director

Brighton Festival – under the watchful eye of award-winning author Ali Smith as this year’s Guest Director – has announced its full programme of events.

Over the three-week Festival - which runs from 2-24 May 2015 - many of Ali Smith’s ideas, interests and passions will be explored in a programme which spans music, theatre, dance, visual art, film, literature and debate from a wide range of national and international companies and artists; from a rare UK visit by 86-year-old legendary film maker and artist Agnès Varda to rising stars Kate Tempest, George the Poet and Hollie McNish.

With three central themes at its heart - Art and Nature, the Crossing Places between art forms, and Taking Liberty - this year’s Brighton Festival challenges visitors to look again, featuring an eye-opening array of artists and performers with the power to deliver the world we think we know to us re-seen, renewed, with a visionary twist in the tale.

Ali Smith says: “It's tremendously exciting to have been asked to help programme the 2015 Brighton Festival. I'm delighted and honoured – what a gift, to be asked to do this, imagine – the biggest international multi-arts spectacular in England. I've always loved Brighton's sense of fun and friendliness, its vibrant open-mindedness, the way it opens to sky, the way the rest of Europe is so close it's almost visible. It's a city that's always known how to live on the edge, a place full of endless energy, argument, possibilities, light. No matter the wildness or mildness of the weather, no matter the zigzag of zeitgeist elsewhere north or south of it, Brighton is always itself, and always uniquely welcoming.”

Posing questions about whether life imitates art or art imitates life, Art and Nature is explored in a host of events including an exclusive nightingale walk, with Mercury-nominated folk singer Sam Lee; an immersive multi-screen film installation of Marcus Coates’ entitled Dawn Chorus, featuring singers who uncannily recreate birdsong and bird movement; a discussion of the urgent conservation issues that face us today with celebrated author and bird enthusiast Margaret Atwood and her partner and fellow writer Graeme Gibson; and Fleeting, an outdoor spectacular over the West Pier by And Now, in which hundreds of individual points of fire create shapes and swathes of glowing light and shade.

Central to the programme is the notion of Crossing Places - where poetry meets music meets theatre meets dance – from works that defy categorisation such as The Measure of All Things, a new live cinema performance by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Sam Green to Claudia Molitor’s part installation part performance Vast White Stillness in the maze of tunnels beneath the Old Ship Hotel. In Being Both, acclaimed mezzo soprano Alice Coote, English Concert’s Harry Bicket and Susannah Waters stage a theatrical journey into the heart of Handel’s sublime vocal music, which, in a nod to Smith’s own prize-winning work How to Be Both, explores and challenges the experience and perception of gender.

Set against the backdrop of the General Election, Liberty, equality and freedom is celebrated in all its shapes in an astonishing cutting-edge line-up of artists, performers, thinkers and commentators - all contemporary game changers in their chosen forms. These include Liberty Director and author Shami Chakrabati who hosts an evening in celebration of the Human Rights Act featuring a dazzling collection of writers and performers such as Billy Bragg, Neil Bartlett, Rachel Holmes and Jackie Kay; Tony award-winning playwright Richard Nelson who brings the European premiere of his highly acclaimed four play cycle The Apple Family Plays from The Public Theater, New York; award-winning Pakistani/British author Kamila Shamsie; celebrated Russian-American journalist, author and activist Masha Gessen, Turkish writer Elif Shafak and Turner Prize nominated artist Nathan Coley, whose new commission Portraits of Dissension explore ideas of unrest, edge and shift, space and occupation.

Other highlights include Peter Strickland’s daring masterpiece The Duke of Burgundy accompanied by a one-off live performance of its seductive score by Cat’s Eyes - the collaborative project of The Horrors’ frontman Faris Badwan and Italian-Canadian singer and composer Rachel Zeffira; a series of screenings and accompanying talks by prominent female directors including Joanna Hogg, Carol Morley and the legendary Agnès Varda who will also create a special installation at Brighton University Gallery for the duration of the Festival; the English premiere of Vanishing Point & National Theatre of Scotland’s The Beautiful Cosmos of Ivor Cutler, a homage to one of Scotland's most likeable, most individual and most unexpected 20th century figures; a new lecture specially commissioned for Brighton Festival by acclaimed author Jeanette Winterson OBE on the practices and craft of writing; the UK premiere of Lucia’s Chapters of Coming Forth by Day, a theatrical ode to the life - and afterlife – of Lucia Joyce, the adored daughter of James Joyce created by legendary New York theatre ensemble Mabou Mines; the UK premiere of The Forgotten / L’Oublié(e), the directorial debut of Raphaëlle Boitel, one of the most remarkable performers on the European visual and physical theatre scene; and Laurie Anderson: All the Animals, a specially curated performance by one of America’s most daring creative pioneers.

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival says: “Ali Smith, as Guest Director this year, has been a wonderful inspiration to us all in programming the festival. In her writing, Ali is renowned for pushing form and working with her has taught us to think differently about how we programme and the work that we bring. She has also brought an incredible range of artists to the festival who are responding to the world in a particular way, both people she knows well, and also people she has loved for many years and perhaps longed for an opportunity to work with - from Agnès Varda to Elif Shafak, Jeanette Winterson, Margaret Atwood and Mabou Mines - the list is long and extensive and I think thrilling. I look forward to welcoming audiences to experience another exciting and innovative month of events in May.”

The annual celebration of music, theatre, dance, circus, art, film, literature, debate, outdoor and family events will take place in venues across the city and beyond from 2 to 24 May 2015. Brighton Festival 2015 features 396 performances taking place across 150 events including 42 exclusives, premieres and commissions.

Spreading our Wings with Brighton Festival 2015 Branding

As we swoop headfirst into another jam-packed year of festival goodness we thought we’d tell you a bit more about Brighton Festival 2015’s avian branding.

You may have noticed our yellow, big bird, but there’s no hint of Sesame Street about it. Working with our Guest Director Ali Smith and agency Johnson Banks to create this striking, bespoke identity has been a lot of fun.

Drawing inspiration from Ali’s words and this year’s theme has led us to our final design. See Ali Smith’s welcome for the full introduction to the concepts behind this Festival’s programming, which include Art & Nature, Crossing Places and Taking Liberty.

Our designer’s Johnson Banks spoke of their inspiration and direction, ‘This year’s image was inspired by guest director Ali Smith’s words and thoughts on her themes for the festival. She says ‘Imagine the world seen from the eye of a bird’, and talks specifically about swifts as they migrate to the UK in May. This fits perfectly with the time of year the festival takes place.

We felt swifts were also a great analogy for the artists coming together from all over the world to perform at the festival. So we imagined how Brighton could look from a swift's perspective. As it flies overhead it casts a yellow shadow of the city itself on the ground. The swift graphic is designed with flexibility in mind, to ‘fly' over various parts of Brighton from the sea, to its parks, to the lanes and streets. For the principal image, we enjoyed the harsh contrast of the swift’s vibrant colour against the stark concrete street, perhaps symbolising the diversity of the festival itself.’

Here’s a little insight into the design process...


So now you know - why not take inspiration and enjoy the view at this year’s Brighton Festival? See the full and fantastic line-up here.

New sponsors announced as Brighton Festival 2015 launches full programme of events

A plethora of new sponsors have pledged to support Brighton Festival as award-winning Scottish author Ali Smith takes the role of Guest Director in its 49th year.

Southern Water, Gatwick Airport ,The Montefiore Hospital, Riverford Organic Farms and solicitors Griffith Smith Farrington Webb will sponsor a number of differing events, including Gauge (2 – 24 May); an interactive arts installation in Circus Street Market created by artists and scientists, and the popular Children’s Parade, which opens the three-week long celebration of culture across the city and beyond.

Stephen Spears of Riverford Organic Farms said ‘we at Riverford Organic Farms are supporting the wonderful Children’s Parade this year. Riverford delivers organic fruit, veg, dairy, deli and meat to your door - through this sponsorship we hope to promote the benefits of delicious, pesticide and chemical free produce to families across Brighton, Hove and Sussex.’

They join the likes of University of Sussex, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Mayo Wynne Baxter, Class of Their Own, DMH Stallard, Nutshell Construction, SELITS, GM Building, Brighton and Hove Jobs.com, Echo Video, Grandad, Hoi Polloi, IEP Financial, Midnight Communications, Moshimo, MyHotel, One Digital, Terre a Terre, WSP in sponsoring the largest and most established annual multi-arts festival in England.

Martin Williams, Partner at Mayo Wynne Baxter solicitors who have been sponsors since 2011 said 'the exposure of our name alongside prestigious events is very important for our profile. Clients remark positively on our involvement with Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival, which helps cement our position in the city.'

Each year, Brighton Festival attracts inspiring and internationally significant Guest Directors who bring cohesion to the artistic programme. Recently named winner of both the Costa Novel award and Goldsmiths Prize for boldly original fiction, Brighton Festival 2015’s Guest Director Ali Smith has established herself as a pioneer of form; fearlessly pushing the boundaries of the novel with a deftness and accessibility that has earned her a reputation for being both vitally inventive and scrupulously playful.

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival said ‘We wouldn't be able to present the sheer number of quality performances, installations and exclusive talks that make up Brighton Festival without the help of sponsors, many of whom also support the work of Brighton Dome year-round. It is thanks to their continued help that we can make Brighton Festival unique and the city itself such a magical place to be in May.’

During Brighton Festival - which runs from 2-24 May 2015 - many of Ali Smith’s ideas, interests and passions will be explored in a programme which spans music, theatre, dance, visual art, film, literature and debate from a wide range of national and international companies and artists.

Sponsoring Brighton Festival and Brighton Dome allows businesses to raise their profile, reach new customers, and meet corporate social responsibility objectives. To find out more, please contact Kata Gyongyosi on 01273 260 810 or click here.

Peacock Poetry Prize to return in Brighton Festival 2015

Annual creative writing competition takes theme of ‘birds’

Brighton Festival 2015 has announced the return of the popular Peacock Poetry Prize. The annual creative writing competition, produced by Brighton Festival and Brighton, Hove & Sussex Sixth Form College (BHASVIC), asks local poets aged between 7 - 18 years to explore and respond to a specific theme in an imaginative and inventive way. Submissions are divided into three age groups - those writers aged between 7-10 years, 11-14 years and 15-18 years old.

This year’s is ‘birds’; a subject chosen by Brighton Festival 2015 Guest Director Ali Smith.

As Ali Smith writes -

Who were the first singers?

What direct link back to the days of the dinosaurs can we see all round us in the air, in the trees, on the ground, every day?

What has bones that are hollow to make themselves even lighter?

Birds. They're waiting in the wings.

What kind of creature – apart from people in an aeroplane, I mean – can fly for miles but be completely asleep all the way?

Which ones can fly backwards, and which can beat its wings 50 times a second?

Which can fly underwater?

Which can fly nearly a thousand miles a day?

Which helped with the war effort in both the first and the second world wars, and were even given medals for their service?

And here's a question as old as the birds : why did that chicken cross the road?

A charm of chaffinches, a chime of wrens, a colony of gulls, a congregation of eagles, an exaltation of larks, a flamboyance of flamingos, a gaggle of geese, a glittering of hummingbirds, a gulp of swallows, a huddle of penguins, a kettle of hawks, a murder of crows, a murmuration of starlings, a paddling of ducks, a quarrel of sparrows, a wisdom of owls.

Spread your wings.

Pippa Smith, Head of Creative Learning at Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival said, ‘the Peacock Poetry Prize is always a wonderful opportunity for young people to get involved with Brighton Festival. I’m always taken aback at the number and range of submissions we receive, and this year I hope Ali Smith’s theme of ‘birds’ will see our young writers’ imaginations soar into the clouds to produce some wonderful poetry.’

Chris Thomson, Principal at BHASVIC said ‘the Peacock Poetry Prize is a wonderful way of bringing the writing talents of young people from all across Sussex to a focus; encouraging them to engage with the Festival’s theme and to look on themselves as practitioners as well as participants in this world-class arts festival on their doorstep.’

Finalists of the competition are treated to a reception during Brighton Festival in May, at which the winners are announced.

To enter, budding bards are invited to email your entry (including your name and age) by Monday 20 April to writing@brightonfestival.org with ‘Peacock’ in the subject line, with no more than 3 entries per person and a maximum poem length of 40 lines.  

Click here to download an entry form

Click here for useful tips and competition rules

Young City Reads 2015 title revealed

William Sutcliffe’s Circus Of Thieves and the Raffle of Doom chosen for annual children's reading project.

Collected Works CIC and Brighton Festival are delighted to reveal that William Sutcliffe's Circus of Thieves and the Raffle of Doom has been chosen as the 2015 Young City Reads book for children across Brighton & Hove.

Circus of Thieves and the Raffle of Doom tells the funny and heartwarming tale of Hannah, whose life is boring, boring, boring… until she meets Billy Shank, his astonishing camel Narcissus, and a host of other bizarrely brilliant members of the circus. But all is not as it seems; Armitage Shank, evil ringmaster and Billy's surrogate father, has a dastardly plan involving light-fingered thievery. Can Hannah and Billy stop his stinking scheme before it's too late…

'I’m thrilled to be chosen for Young City Reads, and not just because I like any excuse to visit Brighton. An initiative like this, that encourages children and adults to enjoy books together, and that gathers a community to enjoy the written word in a spirit of inter-generational fun, is exactly what every children’s book writer dreams of participating in.' William Sutcliffe, Young City Reads author

The concept of Young City Reads is simple - one book, by one author, is selected for the whole community to read, explore, discuss and creatively engage with. The brainchild of Brighton based award winning literary organisation Collected Works CIC – a social enterprise devoted to promoting shared reading in the community – Young City Reads was established in 2013, when broadcaster and former children’s laureate Michael Rosen (that year’s Guest Director of Brighton Festival) agreed to champion the project. Michael Rosen has praised the scheme for ‘inventiveness and simplicity’ in its approach to encouraging children and young people to read for pleasure’

‘The more we read, and the earlier we start reading, the wider and more fruitful the big wide world becomes and the more thoughtful and versatile our understanding of it. Young City Reads is a gift to young minds….’ Ali Smith, Guest Director, Brighton Festival 2015

The initiative invites primary school teachers and classes to register online for free and agree to read the Circus of Thieves and the Raffle of Doom together in class. Throughout the project, participating classes will receive weekly e-bulletins which will include bite-size Circus of Thieves and the Raffle of Doom quizzes, puzzles and fun activities to complete. Visit cityreads.co.uk to sign-up and get reading!

‘Young City Reads has become an integral part of Brighton Festival; to see the city’s young people come together to read one book is always an exciting prospect – involving city-wide discussion, exploration and creative engagement. With award-winning author Ali Smith as Brighton Festival 2015’s Guest Director, the written word plays a very important role in this year’s full programme of events, and Sutcliffe’s tale of a truly unique – and incredibly mischievous – circus promises to be a great fit given the number of extraordinary performances, stories and characters than head to Brighton & Hove in May.’ Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival

Young City Reads 2015 will conclude on Wednesday 20th May 2015 at a special Brighton Festival event featuring William Sutcliffe and illustrator David Tazzyman.

Honours and awards for Brighton Festival 2015 Guest Director

Brighton Festival 2015’s Guest Director receives New Years Honour and is named winner of the novel category in the 2014 Costa Book Awards.

We’re only six days into the New Year, but Brighton Festival 2015’s Guest Director Ali Smith is already making headlines.

On Wednesday 30 December 2014 it was announced that the Scottish writer was to be made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire – or CBE – in the New Years Honours list for her distinguished and innovative contribution to literature.

As if to underline this contribution, last night Ali Smith was announced as the winner of the Costa Novel award for How to be both.

“I’m completely amazed to have won the category – and really delighted. The category shortlist was such a very good one, I felt lucky enough just to be on that. I can’t quite believe it.” – Ali Smith

The novel will now join the winners of the other four categories – the Costa First Novel award (won by Emma Healey’s Elizabeth is Missing), the Costa Poetry award (won by Jonathan Edwards’s My Family and Other Superheroes), the Costa Biography award (won by Helen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk and the Children’s Book award (won by Kate Saunders’ Five Children on the Western Front) – in competing for the Costa Book of the Year award.

The overall winner will be decided by a panel of judges chaired by the author Robert Harris and announced on Tuesday 27 January 2015.

Brighton Children’s Parade 2015 theme announced

Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival and Same Sky are delighted to announce that the theme for the 2015 Children’s Parade is ‘taking flight’.

Supported by local businesses Class of their Own and Riverford, the annual parade marks the start of Brighton Festival – three weeks of unrivalled live performance and art installations across the city and beyond – and is attended by almost 5,000 children from 83 schools and community groups from across the region; each dressed in costumes they have specifically designed and made for the event.

The parade – which takes place on Saturday 2 May 2015 – also sees thousands of spectators take to Brighton’s streets to cheer on those taking part.

Each year the parade celebrates a different imaginative theme. Previous years have seen participants dress up as everything from letters of the alphabet and Brighton street names to books, mermaids and even slices of cake. This year’s event will ask those involved to explore the idea of taking flight – be that flights of fancy, the flight of birds, the process of flying or the act of leaping into the unknown.

Pippa Smith, Head of Creative Learning, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival says: 

‘Taking flight symbolises the many imaginative leaps and creative flights of fancy that teachers, parents and children invest in the Children’s Parade each year. This year we will be exploring everything from Pegasus to phantom jets and sparrows to spaceships.’

‘Taking inspiration from Brighton Festival 2015 Guest Director Ali Smith’s deep fascination with birds and other migratory patterns, the leading section will represent the huge variety of bird life that exist on our planet, while subsequent sections will represent flying machines, flight, fantasy and fable and Bugs, bees and butterflies.’

Jointly produced with award-winning community arts organisation Same Sky, the Children’s Parade has delighted participants and spectators for over 25 years and officially launches Brighton Festival - England’s largest multi-arts festival - on the first Saturday in May.

Following last year’s inaugural partnership, the organisers will once again join forces with Brighton & Hove Music & Arts - the music education hub whose key mission is to enhance and further develop music education across the city. This year they will be working with young people to create Brighton’s first Balkan Brass Band which will feature in the parade.

Peter Chivers, Head of Brighton & Hove Music and Arts, Brighton & Hove City Council says: ‘The annual Children’s Parade is one of the highlights in our cultural calendar and a celebration of the creative talents of children across the city. This year’s Parade is set to be another triumph and SoundCity is delighted to be creating an exciting new music project for 2015.

One of the most spectacular community events in the UK, Same Sky spends six months working behind the scenes to create the event, 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.

John Varah, Artistic Director, Same Sky says: Same Sky is delighted to continue its long partnership with Brighton Festival and with all the schools who have come to trust our artistic and management skills as we work together to deliver an annual celebration which announces the beginning of the Festival.’

The event will be sponsored in 2015 by Class of Their Own - who return for a second year as sponsors of the event – and Riverford Organic Farms.

Class of their Own’s Tanya Petherick and Sam Thomson says: ‘We are continuing our support is it is such a fantastic community event and further develops our links with children, parents and local schools. We look forward to seeing you on the day.’

Stephen Spears from Riverford Organic Farms says: ‘We at Riverford Organic Farms are supporting the wonderful Children’s Parade this year. Riverford delivers organic fruit, veg, dairy, deli and meat to your door. Through this sponsorship we hope to promote the benefits of delicious, pesticide and chemical free produce to families across Brighton, Hove and Sussex.’

Brighton Festival announces award-winning author Ali Smith as Guest Director for 2015

Brighton Festival - the largest and most established annual multi-arts festival in England - is delighted to announce that the 2015 Guest Director is award-winning Scottish author Ali Smith.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of Smith’s winning of the Goldsmiths Prize 2014 - a new literary award for boldly original fiction that sets out to recognise work that opens up new possibilities for the novel form - for her latest novel How to be Both which was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2014.

Recently described as an ‘heir to Virginia Woolf’, Smith has established herself as a pioneer of form – fearlessly pushing the boundaries of the novel with a deftness and accessibility that has earned her a reputation for being both vitally inventive and scrupulously playful. Her latest novel is her most experimental and idiosyncratic yet; borrowing from painting's fresco technique to make an original literary double-take, it is a fast-moving genre-bending conversation between forms, times, truths and fictions.

Smith’s numerous other acclaimed novels, short story and essay collections include The Accidental (shortlisted for the Man Booker and the Orange Prize), Hotel World (shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Orange Prize) and There but for the.

Established in 1967, Brighton Festival has a rich history of pushing boundaries. In its inaugural year the programme controversially included the first ever exhibition of Concrete Poetry in the UK, alongside performances by Laurence Olivier, Anthony Hopkins and Yehudi Menuhin. Now one of Europe’s leading arts festivals for artists and audiences, Brighton Festival is known for commissioning and producing an ambitious programme that aims to make the most of the city’s distinctive cultural atmosphere. It has been widely recognised for presenting exciting site specific work, thought provoking debate and newly commissioned works.

The seventh Guest Director of Brighton Festival, Ali Smith takes on the mantle from visual artist Anish Kapoor (2009), musician Brian Eno (2010), Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi (2011), actress and human rights campaigner Vanessa Redgrave (2012), poet, author and former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen (2013) and choreographer, composer and performer Hofesh Shechter (2014) in shaping the three-week programme of cultural events.

On her role and her thinking behind Brighton Festival 2015 Ali Smith says:

“Imagine the world seen from the eye of a bird. Migrating birds are born naturally equipped with maps that even new-born birds know how to follow, maps of landscapes with no borders. Birds with nothing but the urge to flock together, get there, be here now. Imagine the borders between the artforms. Imagine them opened, crossed, melted, made invisible, so that poetry meets music meets theatre meets dance meets thought meets sculptural meets rhythm meets fiction meets the natural world. I'm a fan of the unexpected connection, the crossing places between the art forms, the place where they meet, open to each other and fuse into something more.
The word festival comes from the place where the word for feast crosses into the word for joyful, happy, honouring, celebratory. The word Brighton, in the month of May: that means festival.”

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival says: “We are delighted to have welcomed Ali Smith on board as Guest Director for Brighton Festival 2015. Her contribution brings a new focus for us, at the same time as continuing the tradition of prominent artistic figures who have brought their particular knowledge and experience of the arts to the programme. At once deeply playful and deeply serious, Ali Smith brings a sensibility which perfectly mirrors the ambition of Brighton Festival – a willingness to take imaginative risks, defy genres, push boundaries and celebrate a love of art in all its infinite forms and varieties. I am certain that Ali Smith will bring a very special element to next year’s Festival and I look forward to welcoming audiences to experience it in May.”

The annual celebration of music, theatre, dance, circus, art, film, literature, debate, outdoor and family events will take place in venues across the city and beyond from 2 to 24 May 2015. Full programme details including events in which Ali Smith will be participating will be available at the launch on Wednesday 18 February 2015.

Brighton Festival 2015: 2-24 May 2015
Programme Launch: Wed 18 February 2015
Ticket Office: 01273 709709
Twitter: @brightfest


Download the Press Release (Word doc)


Notes to editors:

About Brighton Festival:

• Brighton Festival is England’s most established annual mixed arts Festival which takes place across three weeks in the city each May. It is a major milestone in the international cultural calendar and in 2013 achieved a new record audience reach of 468,000

• Full programme details will be announced on Wednesday 18 February 2015

• Brighton Festival attracts inspiring and internationally significant Guest Directors who bring cohesion to the artistic programme with British sculptor Anish Kapoor as inaugural curator in 2009 followed by the Godfather of modern music Brian Eno in 2010, the Burmese Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in 2011, actress and Human Rights campaigner Vanessa Redgrave in 2012, poet, author and former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen in 2013 and choreographer, composer, musician and performer Hofesh Shechter in 2014.

• Brighton Festival is an innovative commissioning and producing arts festival, offering an ambitious programme that makes the most of the city’s distinctive atmosphere

• Brighton Festival includes visual art, theatre, music, dance, circus, books and debates, family friendly events and outdoor performances throughout the city including site-specific and unusual locations.

• Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival produces the annual Brighton Festival and also manages the three venues of Brighton Dome year round

About Ali Smith

• Ali Smith was born in Inverness in 1962 and lives in Cambridge

• Her first book, Free Love, won the Saltire First Book Award

• Hotel World (2001) was shortlisted for both the Orange Prize and the Man Booker Prize in 2001 and won the Encore Award, the East England Arts Award of the Year and the Scottish Arts Council Book of the Year Award in 2002

• The Accidental (2005) won the 2005 Whitbread Novel Award and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize and the Man Booker Prize

• How to be both (2014) was named winner of The Goldsmiths Prize and shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

• Ali Smith’s numerous other acclaimed novels, short story and essay collections including Like (1997); Other Stories and Other Stories (1999); The Whole Story and Other Stories (2003); Girl Meets Boy (2007); The First Person and Other Stories (2008); There But For The (2011) and Artful (2012)

Brighton Festival announces award-winning author Ali Smith as Guest Director for 2015

Brighton Festival - the largest and most established annual multi-arts festival in England - is delighted to announce that the 2015 Guest Director is award-winning Scottish author Ali Smith.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of Smith’s winning of the Goldsmiths Prize 2014 - a new literary award for boldly original fiction that sets out to recognise work that opens up new possibilities for the novel form - and her nomination for the Costa Book Award for her latest novel How to be Both which was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2014.

Recently described as an ‘heir to Virginia Woolf’, Smith has established herself as a pioneer of form – fearlessly pushing the boundaries of the novel with a deftness and accessibility that has earned her a reputation for being both vitally inventive and scrupulously playful. Her latest novel is her most experimental and idiosyncratic yet; borrowing from painting's fresco technique to make an original literary double-take, it is a fast-moving genre-bending conversation between forms, times, truths and fictions.

Smith’s numerous other acclaimed novels, short story and essay collections include The Accidental (shortlisted for the Man Booker and the Orange Prize), Hotel World (shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Orange Prize) and There but for the.

On her role and her thinking behind Brighton Festival 2015, Ali Smith says:

'I'm a fan of the unexpected connection, the crossing places between the art forms, the place where they meet, open to each other and fuse into something more. The word festival comes from the place where the word for feast crosses into the word for joyful, happy, honouring, celebratory. The word Brighton, in the month of May: that means festival.'

Established in 1967, Brighton Festival has a rich history of pushing boundaries. In its inaugural year the programme controversially included the first ever exhibition of Concrete Poetry in the UK, alongside performances by Laurence Olivier, Anthony Hopkins and Yehudi Menuhin. Now one of Europe’s leading arts festivals for artists and audiences, Brighton Festival is known for commissioning and producing an ambitious programme that aims to make the most of the city’s distinctive cultural atmosphere. It has been widely recognised for presenting exciting site specific work, thought provoking debate and newly commissioned works.

The seventh Guest Director of Brighton Festival, Ali Smith takes on the mantle from visual artist Anish Kapoor (2009), musician Brian Eno (2010), Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi (2011), actress and human rights campaigner Vanessa Redgrave (2012), poet, author and former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen (2013) and choreographer, composer and performer Hofesh Shechter (2014) in shaping the three-week programme of cultural events.

Ali Smith continues: “Imagine the world seen from the eye of a bird. Migrating birds are born naturally equipped with maps that even new-born birds know how to follow, maps of landscapes with no borders. Birds with nothing but the urge to flock together, get there, be here now. Imagine the borders between the artforms. Imagine them opened, crossed, melted, made invisible, so that poetry meets music meets theatre meets dance meets thought meets sculptural meets rhythm meets fiction meets the natural world. 

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival says: 'We are delighted to have welcomed Ali Smith on board as Guest Director for Brighton Festival 2015. Her contribution brings a new focus for us, at the same time as continuing the tradition of prominent artistic figures who have brought their particular knowledge and experience of the arts to the programme. At once deeply playful and deeply serious, Ali Smith brings a sensibility which perfectly mirrors the ambition of Brighton Festival – a willingness to take imaginative risks, defy genres, push boundaries and celebrate a love of art in all its infinite forms and varieties. I am certain that Ali Smith will bring a very special element to next year’s Festival and I look forward to welcoming audiences to experience it in May.'

The annual celebration of music, theatre, dance, circus, art, film, literature, debate, outdoor and family events will take place in venues across the city and beyond from 2 to 24 May 2015. Full programme details including events in which she will be participating will be available online on Wed 18 Feb 2015.

Brighton Festival Highlights - Day by Day

What a smashing Festival. We loved every second and we loved sharing it with you. We thought we’d have little reminisce with some of many Brighton Festival highlights and some of the wonderful comments we received.

Day 1
Hofesh Shechter leads the Children’s Parade to the beat of his own riff ably supported by the Mayor
Over 1000 people visit Nowhere & Everywhere at the Same Time No.2, on its opening day
Enjoyed the William Forsythe pendulum installation at Circus St so much we went twice today! The kids were captivated too” - Jon
Sun comes home to Brighton
Yvonne says: “Received strong dose of Sun at brightfest and spent the night dreaming of sheep. Stunning production.”

Day 2
Murikamification picks up passers by to follow this amazing dancing and then join hands for a circle dance and wins an Argus Angel
12 year old boy says: “I don’t know what it is - but I like it. This is just hardcore Parkour – he ends like a majestic swan"
Art and Sound installations draw the crowds to great acclaim: Jessie says: “LOVED the Zimoun: Sound in Motion exhibition nice to be reminded that things can be beautiful in all kinds of ways”
Hofesh Shechter reveals all in Sun Dust 
“Enjoying @brightfest this weekend. Hofesh Shechter demonstrated what his dancers are actually listening to whilst dancing. Amazing” - audience member tweet

Sun Dust

Day 3
Daily Telegraph describes opening weekend of the Festival as “visionary” – we are chuffed!!

Day 4
Turner prize winner Martin Creed and his band deliver an off-beat performance and Opus No.7, another Argus Angel winner, continues to delight

Day 5
Talvin Singh’s Bombay Talkie blows the audience away…
Rowan says: “Heart melted & mind blown watching Bombay Talkies for @ Brightfest. Talvin Singh is the coolest guy I've ever seen. Roopa Panesar - just wow.”

Day 6
We welcomed Cheek By Jowl to Theatre Royal with Tis Pity She’s a Whore the audience said:
“absolutely tremendous, fantastic, thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed it.. If you are going to see anything through the Festival, this is the one to see!”


Day 7
Down By the Greenwood Side opens in Lewes in the disused Harvey’s Brewery depot and wins an Argus Angel 45 years after it premiered at Brighton Festival on the West Pier
“A gripping show” Richard Morrison, The Times****

Day 8
Invisible Flock’s Bring the Happy open their happy memory collecting shop at Onca gallery.
543 happy memories are collected over 10 days

Day 9
Legend of Hamba’ world premieres in Pavilion Gardens
Sir Harrison Birtwistle celebrates his 80th birthday
Gavin Henderson Antiphonies are performed in the Pavilion Gardens and Action Hero attract the crowds for more free events with Slap Talk

Day 10
Whilst Zara McFarlane is the big jazz star of the Festival at TOM – she says “Definitely the best weekend of the year so far @brightfest”
Ours was the Fen Country expands to fill the Corn Exchange part of the caravan showcase

Day 11
Hauschka puts his pianos through their paces and his performance is one of the 12 shows that are live streamed
Catch 22 opens at Theatre Royal with a WW2 bomber right across the stage!

Hauschka

Day 12
Brian Lobel opens his poignant installation Mourning Glory in the Founders Room
Hofesh’s dancers return with the wonderful In Good Company

Day 13
Wild Justice from Hydrocracker claims another Argus Angel
Lost Dog premiere their Festival Commission Like Rabbits – which they are!
David McCandless fills the Concert Hall and shares data stories about “the new soil” revealing whether toast or porridge is more popular (its toast by a mile) – George says “informative, beautiful & fun. Wish I could do a Venn diagram of it”.

Day 14
Our lunchtime concerts continue to delight: “Just been to a piano recital by the superbly gifted Jonathan Biss - definitely the highlight of my #BrightFest so far!”
Jeremy Deller shares his Desert Island Pics
Whilst Gruff Rhys finds his inner animal - “Charming, funny & beautiful musical journey with Welsh adventurer John Evans & the captivating vocals of Gruff Rhys"

Day 15
ZOO use a prepared piano in their enhanced dance with John Cage for 5 year olds
‘Safe House’ wins an Argus Angel described as, “Innovative, graceful, effective, well staged, clever. Loved it. Come back to brightfest again”.

Enhanced Dance to Disguised Music

Day 16
Ida Barr mashes things up outside the Brighton Dome Studio Theatre
Brian Lobel performs ‘Purge’ - “Purge- stunning, funny, insightful, heartfelt. Off to complete my own purge and can't wait”
Cat Power brings her extended song set to Brighton Dome
“An artist at the peak of her powers”, Caroline Sullivan, The Guardian****

Day 17
The Epicene Butcher wins another Argus Angel
“Loved The Epicene Butcher. Sometimes hilarious, sometimes moving, always engaging”
Peaches brings the Theatre Royal house down 
“What a woman. What a show”, Caroline Sullivan The Guardian

Peaches Christ Superstar

Day 18
Tipping Point opens including a live performance and our Visual Art installations continue to entice and excite.

Day 19
Circus Feria Musica mesmerise with Sinue 
 Laurence says:“Amazing show - playful, exhilarating, funny, beautiful”. 
“I leave the theatre as if I have just emerged from a flotation chamber.”  - The Circus Diaries

Day 20
The Sleeping Army march primary schools into the Brighton Dome Concert Hall for Francesca Simon’s Young City Reads talk.
Flown fuses comedy, music and circus to fill the Theatre Shakespeare’s Globe brave the elements in Much Ado About Nothing … and win

Day 21
Dark & Stormy mini crime fest weekend opens
Bring the Happy Live uses the record breaking 543 memories to create their live wedding/wake show
Emmylou Harris makes a special visit for a sold out Brighton dome Concert Hall gig
One Million takes Black Rock by storm with 60 local young people in the cast

Credit: Dan Dennison

Day 22
Munch!’ shares out some waffles to an appreciative audience
The Philharmonia Orchestra and Brighton Festival Chorus on stunning form in the Brighton Festival exclusive concert which had a staggering 237 performers and then the 23 strong string section give a spine-tingling late night performance of Strauss’s Metamorphosen the atmospheric Circus Street Market.

Day 23
Spies: Fact & Fiction sees Stella Rimington admitting to reading the odd spy novel under her desk in her younger days
26 Letters leaves us believing in Unicorns and wins another Argus Angel
People enjoyed a last dance in the Forsythe installation – record-breaking last day with 1280 visitors – also wins final special critics choice Argus Angel
Hofesh Shechter finishes with his closing night joke, with Les Slovaks performing their improvised Opening Night

William Forsythe Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time No. 2

We'lll finish up with this wonderful tweet now: “In fact, I think this year's @brightfest is one of the best yet. Excellent programme of events”

WHAT A FESTIVAL! We had a lot of fun! Thank you all and thank you for your feedback!

We’ll see you next year - 2 – 24 May 2015

‘Visionary’ Brighton Festival 2014 comes to a close

Brighton Festival 2014 - with critically acclaimed choreographer, dancer, musician, composer and performer Hofesh Shechter at the helm as Guest Director - came to a close this week. Described as ‘visionary’ by the Daily Telegraph, the wide-ranging programme of quality performance, visual arts, literature and debate from international, national and home-grown companies and artists has been acclaimed by audiences, artists and critics alike, with attendance across the Festival exceeding 81% of capacity.

With Hofesh Shechter as Guest Director, this year’s Brighton Festival programme was truly genre defying; and featured the highest number of premieres and commissions to date, including the world premieres of Vanishing Point’s Tomorrow and Lost Dog & Lucy Kirkwood’s dance piece Like Rabbits, alongside UK premieres of international theatre company Berlin’s multi-media work Perhaps All the Dragons and contemporary circus from Feria Musica in Sinué

Opus No.7 by acclaimed Russian theatre director Dmitry Krymov - which also had its UK premiere at the Festival - received 4 stars across the board from all the major broadsheet critics. Matt Trueman, writing in the Daily Telegraph, described the work as ‘visionary stuff, utterly singular’; Lyn Gardner in the Guardian said it was ‘unbearably poignant’, ‘visually stunning’ and ‘more like alchemy than theatre’; Dominic Maxwell in The Times praised the work for being ‘merry and macabre in a memorable mix’; while Maxie Szalwinski, in the Sunday Times referred to the piece’s ‘almost paranormal intensity’ and William McEvoy in The Stage described it as ‘unforgettable’.

One of the Festival’s biggest hits was William Forsythe’s interactive choreographic installation Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same time, no.2 in Circus Street Market with more than 12 500 visitors dancing in the piece during the three week period. Visitors described it as ‘amazing’, ‘hypnotic’ and ‘better than brilliant’, popular social networking site Instagram spread word about the installation to 32million international followers via its weekly ‘ArtThursday’ blog and a video documenting its installation attracted 60 000 views.

The 80th birthday of legendary composer Sir Harrison Birtwistle was celebrated with a series of events, headlined by a revival of his 1969 Brighton Festival commission Down by the Greenwood Side. Set in a disused brewery depot in Lewes, this unique production continued the Festival’s tradition of pioneering site-specific and immersive performances in unusual locations.

Other Brighton Festival 2014 exclusives included a new visual arts co-commission by Yinka Shonibare MBE titled The British Library, which has now been extended until 22 June due to popular demand, Tangled Feet’s immersive, free outdoor performance One Million and much more.

Brighton Festival also played host to an eclectic mix of names across contemporary music; from iconic country music singer Emmylou Harris to a rare live performance from Cat Power and a tour de force performance from Peaches in her one woman rendition of Peaches Christ Superstar – of which Caroline Sullivan in the Guardian wrote simply ‘what a woman. What a show.’

The books and debate strand of the programme boasted a number of high-profile events included a sell-out lecture by best-selling author and designer David McCandless, conversations with Irvine Welsh, Jeremy Deller, Viv Albertine alongside discussions and talks about maths, migration and dementia.

Events for all the family this year included a UK premieres of Tanzfuchs Produktion’s dance extravaganza Munch! for the under 4s and Enhanced Dance to Disguised Music; Belgian choreographer Thomas Hauert’s first piece for young people accompanied by a prepared piano soundtrack by John Cage. Meanwhile, on film the Cinema of Childhood (throughout May) - curated by Mark Cousins - looked at the depiction of children in cinema.

In a continuation of the Festival’s dedication to making the arts accessible for all, 2014 saw 13 shows - including six Brighton Festival exclusives like Wim Vandekeybus in conversation with Hofesh Shechter and a debate on immigration chaired by Simon Fanshawe - live-streamed to audiences around the world, for free. Brighton Festival 2014 also saw the launch of a new initiative Collidescope. Designed for artists and creators to intensively engage with the Brighton Festival programme, the scheme offered seven artists who have been making work for at least five years the opportunity for peer-to-peer creative development, with the goal of potentially creating new marriages of minds for future explorations.

As Guest Director, Hofesh Shechter followed in the footsteps of visual artist Anish Kapoor (2009), musician Brian Eno (2010), Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi (2011), actress and human rights campaigner Vanessa Redgrave (2012) and poet, author and former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen (2013) in shaping the Brighton Festival programme. Resident in Brighton throughout the month, Hofesh was actively engaged in the programme – attending countless events and appearing in many, including leading in-conversations with Williiam Forsythe, Wim Vandekeybus and Yinka Shinbare. He also challenged audiences to respond to the world’s ugly injustices in the Brighton Festival co-commission Sun which “came home” to Brighton after touring globally.

This year’s Brighton Festival featured 448 performances and 147 events in 34 venues across the city. In total there were 37 premieres, exclusives and co-commissions and 26 free events. 

Yinka Shonibare MBE’s 10,000 book installation ‘The British Library’ extended due to popular demand

Brighton Festival and HOUSE, Brighton’s festival of visual art and domestic space, are delighted to announce that YinkaShonibare MBE’s The British Library - a dramatic sculptural installation which responds to the immigration debate has been extended due to popular demand. The installation, which was co-commissioned by HOUSE and Brighton Festival 2014, will now remain open to the public until Sunday 22 June.

Yinka Shonibare The British Library
Photo: Victor Frankowski

Presented in the former Reference Library in Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, once the stable block for the Royal Pavilion, The British Library is comprised of over 10, 000 books bound in Shonibare's trademark African Dutch wax batik fabric. Printed in gold foil on the spines of 3,500 of the books are the names of notable British cultural figures; either immigrants themselves or descendants from an immigrant family, including examples of those who have actively opposed immigration. The names –including Henry James, T S Eliot, Hans Holbein, Helen Mirren, Tony Blair, Kazuo Ishiguro and Nigel Farage - appear individually on the books, which are arranged on the original wood bookcases of the dramatic Edwardian library - a space used for almost 100 years by writers, historians, academics and local residents.

Yinka Shonibare MBE says, “Whilst the installation is a celebration of the ongoing contributions made to British society by people who have arrived here from other parts of the world or whose ancestors came to Britain as immigrants, it does not exclude the points of view of those who object to it. The British Library is inspired by the current debates about immigration and the public response to the new presence of Romanians in Britain. In creating the piece I thought about the space – a Library - and I surrendered to the space and let the space be my muse.”

Yinka Shonibare at Brighton Festival

The British Library was created partly in the artist’s studio and largely in the Library itself with the assistance of over 60 volunteers drawn from the local community.

Yinka Shonibare The British LibraryPhoto: Victor Frankowski

In pictures: Week 3

From Peaches' one woman rendition of Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar to Invisible Flock's collaborative map of memories for Bring the Happy, take a look at our gallery of some of the highlights of the third and final week of Brighton Festival 2014.

Photos by Victor Frankowski and Dan Dennison

William Forsythe's Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time No. 2. attracts thousands

Over 5,000 people have already visited Circus Street Market to see William Forsythe’s installation Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time No.2 - including the American choreographer himself, who experienced the piece ahead of his own Brighton Festival event.

Throughout May the derelict Circus Street Market site near Grand Parade will play host to the unique choreographic art installation. Co-programmed by South East Dance as part of Brighton Festival, the work asks audiences to move between hundreds of delicate pendulums, each swinging in timed sequences. Becoming dancers themselves, their strides and side steps produce a lively, intricate and unique choreography.


William Forsythe has been credited with moving the focus of dance from the classical tradition to a dynamic 21st century art form, exploring the idea of movement in its widest context. He is one of the world’s most celebrated choreographers.

'Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time No. 2, an installation by choreographer and artist William Forsythe, comprises some 400 swinging pendulums, suspended from an automated rig in an empty old marketplace in Brighton, England. You can think of it like a daunting booby trap or an elaborate heist movie security system. Just like Indiana Jones and Catherine Zeta Jones before you, the objective is to pass through unscathed.' Wired 

Film by Shy Camera.
The installation is open daily until Sun 25 May, 11am – 7pm (Mon – Sun) and 11am – 8pm (Thu). Entry is free.


Brighton Festival’s free visual arts programme also includes The British Library by Yinka Shonibare MBE (3-25 May), a new sculptural installation which explores the impact of immigration on British culture and considers notions of territory and place, cultural identity, displacement and refuge; Zimoun: Sound in Motion at Brighton University Gallery (Mon 5–Sun 25 May), Kathy Hinde’s Tipping Point at Brighton Dome Founders Room (20–24 May) and Jacob Dahlgren’s Heaven is a place and The Wonderful World of Abstraction (3 May–25 May) at Fabrica. 

In pictures: Week 2

Author and designer David McCandless shared his passion for the merging of design, information, text and story in Information is Beautiful, there was music from Will Gregory Moog Ensemble, Gruff Rhys and Hauschka, Brian Lobel explored loss and connections in Mourning Glory and Purge, we experienced dance and theatre with In Good Company, Like Rabbits, Talk to the Demon and Enhanced Dance to Disguised Music, and Metro-Boulot-Dodo's ground-breaking cross-artform work, Safe House combined live performance, site-specific installations, visual art and new media. 

Photos by Victor Frankowski and Dan Dennison

New London Consort: The Tempest in Musick

Join us to celebrate the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth and years of diverse and imaginative adaptations of his most magical masterpiece.

One of the world's leading early music ensembles, the versatile New London Consort explores a uniquely wide and colourful repertoire of Renaissance and Baroque music. The principal artists, all established soloists in their own right, share a rare unanimity of purpose and style, resulting in the New London Consort's undisputed reputation for artistry, flair and virtuosity. Preparations have been underway for their Brighton Festival performance of Music for The Tempest which premiered at Cité de la Musique in Paris on 2 April 2014.


Shakespeare’s The Tempest has been adapted numerous times and lends itself to artists as inspiration, who frequently forge it in new styles and formats: in music, at least 46 operas by composers such as Halévy, Fibich and Adès; orchestral works by Tchaikovsky, Sullivan and Honegger; and songs by such diverse artists as Ralph Vaughan Williams, Michael Nyman and Pete Seeger; in literature, Shelley's poem With a Guitar, To Jane and W. H. Auden's The Sea and the Mirror; novels by Césaire and The Diviners by Margaret Laurence; in paintings by Hogarth, Fuseli, and Millais; and on screen, ranging through a hand-tinted version of Herbert Beerbohm Tree's 1905 stage performance, the science fiction film Forbidden Planet in 1956, Peter Greenaway's 1991 Prospero's Books featuring John Gielgud as Prospero, to Julie Taymor's 2010 film version which changed Prospero to Prospera, played by Helen Mirren.

Now, the New London Consort present all the music written for the 17th- and early 18th-century revivals of the play, creating a dramatic collage of enchanting symphonies, songs, choruses and dances, including daring instrumental music by Locke, Draghi's evocative character dances, contrasting versions of Ariel's songs, Purcell's 'Dear pretty youth' and the exquisite Masques of Devils and of Neptune & Amphitrite by Humfrey and Weldon.

Revelling in the power of nature and the supernatural, an ensemble of 11 singers and a colourful late-Restoration theatre band evoke the exuberance of London's playhouses around 1700. Take a musical voyage into the sound-world of the Restoration theatre with The Tempest in Musick.



Listen to the ravishing and seductive echo song – which features Ferdinand and Ariel

Listen to The Tempest on the France-Musique website (available for streaming until the end of the month) here.

A beautiful and evocative picture which will be projected behind the orchestra during the performance. The designer Cam Pickering is only 18 and already promised to a great career, whether as an artist, musician and/or DJ. 


Get your ticket for the UK premiere of The Tempest in Musick here.

Plans makes its world premiere at Brighton Station

Brighton & Hove’s Three Score Dance Company – a dance company for the over 60s – performed the world premiere of a new co-commission Plans made by former Hofesh Shechter Company dancer James Finnemore amongst the hustle and bustle of Brighton Station this weekend.

Crowds, commuters and tourists came to a standstill as the eighteen dancers performed throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday in a flash-mob.


Three Score Dance Company is the vision of two local women, Saskia Heriz and Christina Thompson, both of whom have been inspired by the work of The Company of Elders; a dance company for the over 60’s resident at the internationally renowned Sadler's Wells Theatre in London. Although many members of Three Score Dance Company have had no prior dance training, their wealth of life experience brings a unique quality to their work. The company is lead by Rehearsal Director, Jason Keenan-Smith, with professional choreographers commissioned to create bespoke pieces for performance.

Three Score Dance Company is supported by South East Dance in association with Brighton Dome with additional funding from Sport England. 

Hear more about Plans and Three Score Dance in this Podcast, where we talk with the co-founders of Three Score Dance Saskia Heriz and Christina Thompson.


In pictures: Week 1

Harvey's Depot in Lewes was the location for Sir Harrison Birtwistle's dark chamber opera Down by the Greenwood Side, we saw talks with artist Yinka Shonibare MBE, William Forsythe and musician Ben Watt, 26 Letters took over the Sallis Benney and there was music from jazz/Baroque fusion with Louis Sclavis and Amarillis Ensemble through to Indian classical music with Talvin Singh.

Photos: Victor Frankowski, Dan Dennison and Agata Rybicka