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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.

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.

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

#ThatChangedMyLife film project launches in Brighton & Hove

Residents to reveal how art and culture changed their life 

Whether it’s a theatre performance that moved you to tears, a music gig that left you speechless or a book that made you look at the world differently, throughout May members of the public are being asked to discuss how arts and culture matter to them in a new film project called That Changed My Life.

Devised by the What Next? South East group – which is comprised of a range of arts organisations large and small across the region – the project aims to highlight, advocate and celebrate the strong engagement with the arts, particularly by residents in Brighton and Hove, by allowing a wide range of people to tell their story and create an online archive of proof.

Participants are invited to film themselves discussing a song, movie, performance, comic, song, book or work of art that has meant something special to them. The change it made in their life may be small - it cheered them up or was a shared experience with someone important to them – or it may be lifelong.

The film can be recorded on anything; a video camera, a phone, a webcam. Submissions should be uploaded to YouTube with your name, the name of the artist or event and #thatchangedmylife in the title.

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival says: ‘What Next is a fantastic opportunity for those involved in arts and culture to collaborate with each other in a spirit of generosity. We hope people will get involved with the That Changed My Life project and help us make the argument for having art in everyone’s lives’.

Those interested in taking part without the access to video-making equipment are invited to the Victorian Bathing Machine in New Road any weekend (12-5pm) in May during Brighton Festival, where a volunteer will shoot and upload their video. The New Road bathing machine will also serve as a video booth throughout the month.

Matt Adams, Co-founder Blast Theory says: ‘Artists are under pressure in the UK with cuts from the government, the Arts Council and local authorities. That Changed My Life is a chance for everybody to share why art and culture matter so much to so many people. Most of us have had a special encounter in our life with, for example, a book or play, where everything seemed different afterwards. For me, it was seeing An Inspector Calls at the age of 13: it opened my eyes to the fact that adults can lie! I hope everyone will take the chance to share that moment for them. It takes a couple of minutes to film yourself on a phone and upload it to YouTube and there already some fantastic videos online.’

The What Next? Movement exists to create a national conversation on new ways to champion arts and culture. The South East group aims to build a What Next? South East forum where interested people can come and talk about what’s going on locally in the arts (policy, infrastructure etc) on a regular basis, acting as both a networking opportunity, an information sharing hub and a place to create collective actions.



Why the sheep?

Many of you have been asking why we’ve chosen a sheep to represent Brighton Festival 2014.

Initially, inspiration was gleaned from seeing Hofesh Shechter’s Sun and spying this lovely fella in the production.


Since our Guest Director Hofesh Shechter was going to bring Sun ‘home’ to Brighton on the conclusion of its first world tour, it seemed appropriate we should celebrate this and work from it as a starting point. As the idea grew other elements were added – had you noticed the fleece is made up of dancers? Our sheep was designed to celebrate and symbolise many of the strands and themes that are important to this year’s Festival and to convey the sentiments of our Guest Director Hofesh Shechter. We wanted everyone, from anywhere of any background to be able to ‘flock to the arts’, which Hofesh can explain more succinctly…

‘I always loved performing in festivals. It’s a place where everyone is an outsider and – immediately – nobody is. A place of gathering, where cultures and society can be questioned, celebrated and ridiculed, a space where we restructure the world the way we want it – a great festival feels like a country all of its own. It’s been my quest to bring as many disruptive voices, imaginative and interpretative responses to the world we live in – as many black sheep as possible to our newly formed republic.’

If you’d like to know more about the illustrator, Chris Kasch then head this way.

If you missed the spectacular Sun at our opening weekend, don’t panic - there’s heaps more fantastic dance and performance to come. Take a look at this video from our Dance programmer Cath James - Programme Director at South East Dance and leads Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival Dance Programming.


Brighton Festival Opening Weekend 'Visionary'

Brighton Festival 2014 kicked off with a bang last weekend with a plethora of visual art, music, dance and theatre shows and performances. Here's a selection of responses to them...

Sun, by Hofesh Shechter, is a spare, eloquent and emotive work.
Fringe Review

Brighton Festival, opening weekend, review: 'visionary'
Telegraph

Hofesh Shechter's Sun

Dmitry Krymov got the Brighton Festival off to a super start with Opus No.7, his take on art's duty during atrocities.
Telegraph

Bonanza was beautiful, heartbreaking and hauntingly poignant. Honestly created and right up my street. Nice one. #rapidreview
- @hkoopa

#RapidReview Simon thacker brilliant this lunchtime. Wonderful combination of instruments. Emotional and fabulous to listen to
- @cde5527

Opus No. 7

what happens to the hope at the end of the evening: The rage and fear of Tim’s character is, in many ways, more identifiable than Andy’s cool detachment, an inevitable response to an alienating, alienated world which perhaps, as the Mayans suggest (and Andy explains) actually did end in 2012, the process of dissolution beginning invisibly, interminably. In such a world, the theatre as a place to briefly come together, discarding those anxieties like un-needed shoes at the door, has never felt more beautifully idealistic.
Total Theatre

Nowhere and everywhere at the same time is a #BrightonFestival must. Fun, meditative, beautiful, simple. #RapidReview
- @greenandtidy

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

Loved Opus No 7 @brightfest An extraordinary theatrical experience. Both visually spectacular and quietly moving #rapidreview
- @posier

One

@brightfest Just seen Mani Soleymanlou's One. Charismatic, moving and funny exploration of one's identity. Thought-provoking. #RapidReview
- @markosmond2

#RapidReview Without doubt, @viv_albertine gave the finest commentary on the punk era I've ever heard. Witty, insightful and honest.
- @Lawz_tweets

Opus No 7 makes its wild ideas potent and surprising, mixing the merry, the musical and the macabre in the most memorable way.
Times

#RapidReview what a treat to hear @viv_albertine in conversation today. Open, honest and galvanising. #BrightonFestival
- @jotulloch101


Great fun in Brighton today #childrensparade #lovebrighton 
- ‏@littlejasminSPA

Brighton Festival Picks: Heidi Kuisma

We asked a selection of Brighton dwellers, Brighton lovers and Brighton businesses to give us their Brighton Festival picks. Here Brighton based photographer, Heidi Kuisma shares her highlights...

I moved to Brighton in the beginning of March. With Brighton Festival, Brighton Fringe and Artist Open Houses launching today, I could not have picked a better time.

There are so many different events and things I want to see and experience that it’s difficult not to feel little overwhelmed by the incredible choice from Dance and Visual Art to Theatre and Film. It wasn’t easy, but I managed to choose my top 5 picks from Brighton Festival.

Martin Creed Band, Mind Trap
I lived in Scotland for thirteen years and I think I would be breaking some sort of law if I didn’t include Martin Creed in my top Festival Picks. Luckily I’m also keen to see a show which The Guardian describe as 'Like something between Steve Reich and The Ramones’. Surely you can’t go wrong with a combination like that? I guess I’ll find out soon enough.


A film by Wim Vandekeybus, Blush
After seeing the trailer for Wim Vandekeybus’ Blush I knew straightaway it would be a must see for me. What makes it interesting to me is to see how a more traditional dance performance has been translated into a film. The trailer shows a glimpse into a rather dark and moody world which I’m looking forward to immersing myself into during the hectic month of May.


Zimoun (Bern), Sound in Motion
Festival brochure promises that Zimoun’s Sound in Motion will make us ‘re-evaluate the relationship between the visual, sonic and physical elements of a space.’ The work has been specially created for the space it’ll be shown at so I’m really looking forward to seeing and experiencing it. I’ve seen couple of clips of Zimoun’s work online and it’ll be great to see it in a space where I can fully appreciate it. Plus work that combines plastic bags, cardboard boxes, old furniture, ventilators, speakers and microphones is one not to be missed!


Jacob Dahlgren, On Balance
Jacob Dahlgren’s work The Wonderful World of Abstraction reminds me of Nicholas Hlobo’s work I saw in The Bluecoat at Liverpool Biennial 2010. Both artists have used ribbon in a very similar way and seeing it in Fabrica is the only way to determine whose work I like the most. That said, I really like artwork that can be experienced with several senses, touch and experience fully by moving through it.


William Forsythe, Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time No. 2
Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time No. 2 is another installation the audience can become if not part of at least the force behind it. The work features hundreds of pendulums which move and react to how people move in the room. I’m sure I’ll be visiting this work several times so that I can experience it with different number of people. 


Brighton Festival 2014 begins!

Brighton Festival 2014 - with critically acclaimed choreographer, dancer, musician, composer and performer Hofesh Shechter at the helm as Guest Director - begins on Saturday 3 May 2014 as 5,000 children from 83 schools and community groups across the region take to Brighton’s streets for the annual Children’s Parade.

Watched and cheered on by more than 20,000 people, the parade - now the largest of its kind in Europe - takes ‘The Arts’ as its theme and kicks off a packed three weeks of wide-ranging quality performance, visual arts, literature and debate from international, national and home-grown companies and artists.


This year’s Brighton Festival programme is particularly genre defying and features the world premieres of both Vanishing Point’s Tomorrow and Lost Dog & Lucy Kirkwood’s dance piece Like Rabbits, alongside UK premieres of Opus No.7 from Russian theatre director Dmitry Krymov, choreographer Wim Vandekeybus’ visceral Talk to the Demon, international theatre company Berlin’s multi-media work Perhaps All the Dragons and contemporary circus from Feria Musica in Sinué.


Other Brighton Festival 2014 exclusives include Tangled Feet’s immersive outdoor performance One Million, a new visual arts co-commission by Yinka Shonibare MBE titled The British Library, William Forsythe’s hypnotic installation Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time No.2, New London Consort’s classical musical voyage into Shakespeare’s mysterious play with The Tempest In Musick and much more. This year’s programme also celebrates Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s 80th birthday with a series of events, including a revival of his 1969 Brighton Festival commission Down by the Greenwood Side set in a disused brewery depot in Lewes.


Brighton Festival also plays 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 raucous show from Peaches in Peaches Christ Superstar. The books and debate strand of the programme boasts a number of high-profile events including conversations with Irvine WelshJeremy DellerEdmund White and Viv Albertine alongside discussions and talks about migration, maths, data and dementia.


Events for all the family this year include 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 which is accompanied by a prepared piano soundtrack by John Cage. Meanwhile, on film the Cinema of Childhood - curated by Mark Cousins - looks at the depiction of children in cinema, is suitable for the whole family to enjoy together.

As Guest Director, Hofesh Shechter follows 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. He will challenge audiences to respond to the world’s ugly injustices in Brighton Festival co-commission Sun which “comes home” to Brighton after touring globally.

Hofesh Shechter said, ’Brighton has a magic to it that no one can explain. Finding a place where one can develop and grow artistically is a delicate thing, an important thing. Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival have been an inspiring, energising and encouraging place for my company and me in the last 5 years. We’ve enjoyed the buzz, the lightness, energy, and the unexplainable essence of Brighton. We have resided in its cultural heart - Brighton Dome, and the pulsating artistic heart of Brighton Dome is the annual Brighton Festival. It's been a privilege to have been part of the planning for this inspiring event and I feel a rush of excitement about sharing our programme with audiences in Brighton and beyond.’

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


Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival, said, ‘We’re thrilled that Hofesh Shechter is our Guest Director for Brighton Festival 2014. Hofesh’s instinctive understanding of Brighton and our Festival means it is particularly pertinent that he steps into the role in 2014 following a highly successful five years of working together. Hofesh’s creative vision and energy contains that rare quality and sense of adventure that sparks the imaginations of a much wider audience beyond his own discipline and encourages us all to try something new. With such an eclectic artist at the helm, Brighton Festival 2014 is set to be a very exciting one indeed and I am delighted to be welcoming so many brilliant artists to our city this Spring.’

Hofesh Shechter’s appointment as Guest Director is the culmination of a five year relationship between the choreographer and the organisation. Fresh from being named the first resident company at Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival in 2008, Hofesh Shechter Company’s dramatic Brighton Dome Concert Hall debut In your rooms / Uprising was followed by back-to-back world premières of two specially-commissioned works; The Art of Not Looking Back (Brighton Festival 2009) and Political Mother (Brighton Festival 2010). In 2009, Brighton Festival also commissioned Hofesh’s Bangers and Mash; a youth community project featuring over 100 young dancers and musicians, and in 2013 Brighton Festival commissioned Nomad Land; a collaborative dance and film project that explored the energy and complexity of male relationships. Brighton Dome has also played host to evenings of brand-new work choreographed and presented by Hofesh Shechter Company dancers titled In Good Company and, following its international success, seen the sellout return of Political Mother to the venue in 2012.

Brighton Festival Picks: Jonathan Granger

We asked a selection of Brighton dwellers, Brighton lovers and Brighton businesses to give us their Brighton Festival picks. Jonathan Granger who is currently studying in Sussex University shares his highlights...

What do I hope to see this year at Brighton Festival? I don’t even know where to begin!

With such a vast selection of artforms, it would be an understatement for me to list my top three choices.

To keep it short and sweet, I’d have to say, first and foremost, that I’m most looking forward to the dramatisation of Joseph Heller’s “Catch 22”. I’m actually in the middle of reading the book, and now find myself very curious as to how the intriguing slow-paced narrative might translate to theatre. I don’t want to ruin the surprise, so I’ll just leave it there, but if the performance enchants me like the novel did; then I’ll be sure to get my money’s worth.


I’ve got to say – I’m a sucker for film. Cinema, to me, is the most visually appealing art form because it most accurately portrays situations and emotions. I hope that “Willow and Wind” by Mohammed-Ali Talebi proves that a deep message can be conveyed across the simplest of storylines. The plot is as follows: a school window is broken, and the children can’t concentrate because the rain keeps coming in. I’m hungry to find out how this story might unfold, and greatly anticipate its screening on the 19th of May.


Finally, my love for Jazz can only be satisfied by the French trio: Louis Sclavis and Friends. Renowned leaders in the French jazz scene; Louis Sclavis and friends are sure to leave you in a cigar and brandy kind of mood. So if you’re looking for some relaxing tunes, I really recommend getting tickets for what’s going to be a memorable performance.


So there you have it, my top three picks for Brighton Festival. I greatly look forward to being there, and hope to experience a vibrant atmosphere at one of Britain’s most acclaimed art festivals. 

Brighton Festival Picks: La Choza

We asked a selection of Brighton dwellers, Brighton lovers and Brighton businesses to give us their Brighton Festival picks. La Choza, Brighton’s first authentic Mexican Street Food restaurant share their highlights...

The Children’s Parade
One of our favorite annual events that the Brighton Festival puts on, is the children's parade. There is always a theme, and all the schools participate whole heartedly the streets become awash with little cuties dressed up as lady birds, giants or beatles banging drums, singing and generally creating a carnival atmosphere in the heart of Brighton. Whats not to like!


One Million
The out door free event that Brighton put on are always a winner. This show looks like it's going to be a massive visual spectacular, we are dying to check out Tangled Feet's theatrics and pyrotechnics.


Murikamification
We like the look of this event as it sound surreal, taking dance into the street and making the world a theater of its own. Playing without the boundaries of the stage and bringing art into the streets.


Breakin' Convention
This promises to be an evening of of Hip Hop Heaven, we are looking forward to seeing street dancers from around the globe as well as some local talent. Can’t wait.


An interview with Dmitry Krymov

Featuring larger-than-life puppets, duelling pianos, living walls and blizzards of newsprint, Dmitry Krymov’s Opus No. 7 (3 - 8 May) is theatre on an epic scale.

On the eve of their arrival in Brighton, The Argus newspaper’s Duncan Hall spoke to Dmitry about the show and what audiences can expect

What made you want to link the experiences of the Jews of Eastern Europe with the life and career of Shostakovich in Opus No 7? When did you first make that link?

I had two absolutely separate ideas a long time ago. One was about the Bible (for some reason there men always bore men). The second one was about Shostakovich, his ingenious martyrdom under the government's oppression. I had them written on different pieces of paper that were placed in different places. Once, when I cleaned up my apartment, I saw both these papers in front of me, and I thought ‘it's interesting to do a two act performance. One about the great people, that feels bad, and the other one about the great man, who also feels bad’. So, the idea to comprise the big and the small - one human being and a People, one man and his past, artist and music, man and death, man and his motherland, mum and so on - was the main idea for this work… the stepping stone for it.

How did the work develop? Did you originally envisage Opus No 7 as a whole piece, or did it come together separately?

Yes, I envisioned one piece made of two parts. The work on the two parts was parallel; there were two different set-designers and two composers working separately on each act. They were not really interested in anything outside their parts. And the idea of it as a whole was only in my head, only during the last period of our work we had started to combine these two parts into one piece.

 Why did you pick those two pieces of music by Shostakovich - the Piano Trio no 2 and the Seventh Symphony? Are they two works which have a particular significance for you?

No, nothing personal or of particular significance. Both these pieces are simply works of genius, and both are very theatrical… and in the Trio there is also an evident Jewish theme, which helps combine the two parts.


Opus 7 was developed with former student designers from your course at the Russian Academy Of Theatre Arts (GITIS) - are they still involved in this touring version? How much has the piece changed since it was first performed in 2008?

The set-designers of the performance are two of my former students, they were on the 3rd year at the Academy at the moment, and this work was their diploma work in GITIS. The actors are the same throughout the years… and I hope, that the performance is too. There is one exception, though: Shostakovich's part together with Anya Sinyakina will be played by one more actress, Maria Smolnikova. Both are spectacular.

Your work has been described as "genre-blending" - is it important to you that your work doesn't get compartmentalised?

Yes, I like it a lot.

How much has your early career as a set designer influenced your stage work as a director? Do you see design and direction as being part of the same job?

What you are in the present directly comes out of what you have been in the past. A man is a unity. He consists of his past at 85% and of his present at the remaining 25%, but it is hard for me to take a look at myself from the side. I think, that it naturally looks as a kind of large compote.


What made you return to the stage after 12 years working as a visual artist?

It was a pure chance… like when you are walking a wide street and suddenly you come across a friend of yours, who asks you to look into a small sideway. You walk in there out of curiosity, and it turns out that it's so interesting there that you don't ever return to your broad street any more. The initial cause of everything is curiosity.

 What was your experience of working with the Royal Shakespeare Company like on A Midsummer Night's Dream (As You Like It) in 2012? Were they supportive of such a dramatically different reading?

The people there are wonderful. When I said to Michael Boyd - their artistic director at the time - that I am a bit afraid of doing my piece on the same stage where Peter Brook staged his ingenious version of A Midsummer Night's Dream, he put my hand on my shoulder, smiled and said 'don't worry, do whatever you want'. It was a gesture of an experienced psychotherapist.

Are you looking forward to bringing your work to Brighton? Where has Opus 7 been performed before? What challenges do you face taking in to different venues?

Opus 7 was performed in New York, Lyon, also in Germany, Poland, Finland and Estonia. We were worried because of the new audiences; whether they will understand the performance, one that we did not intend to tour and that we did for ourselves and for our own pleasure… but so far, everything has been well, fingers crossed!

What do you have planned for the future?

Oh, I am afraid to talk about it...

Dmitry Krymov was speaking to Duncan Hall, Features writer at The Argus. For more Brighton Festival interviews and news stories, visit The Argus.