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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.

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.

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.

Brighton Festival Picks: Street Diner

We asked a selection of Brighton dwellers, Brighton lovers and Brighton businesses to give us their Brighton Festival picks. Street Diner, Brighton’s only weekly street food market have been impressing Brighton with tasty delights for just over a year - here are their highlights... 

We love the Brighton festival. Spring’s in the air, summer’s on its way, and there’s always a real buzz about the city. Along with the Brighton Fringe, Artists Open Houses and The Great Escape, you can’t move in May without bumping into a performance, a band, an exhibition, an outdoor happening. This year, we’re really looking forward to:

Flown at the Theatre Royal 
There’s been an amazing explosion of circus/cabaret/theatre crossovers in the past few years. Last year we saw the incredible Knee Deep by Casus at the Theatre Royal – returning this year as part of the Fringe to the beautiful Spiegeltent – and it blew our minds. Flown by Pirates of the Carabina (great name!) looks to do the same. A show about what goes wrong when you’re not ready for a show to start, it promises choreographed chaos, aerialists, acrobats and stunt artists, with live music. It’s got a flying ironing board. Our kind of show.

One Million at Black Rock
As market people, we love being outside, and we always love the huge outdoor performances at Brighton Festival. This one looks brilliant – the fantastic Tangled Feet working with a huge cast of local young people. Acrobatics, music, massive contraptions, an open sky, the seafront and fireworks. We always take a little flask of something naughty to sip on, and a pocket of our favourite nibbles. What’s not to love? What’s more, it’s free!

Tomorrow at Brighton Dome Corn Exchange
Vanishing Point always produce extraordinary, beautiful, dreamlike work – we caught their show Interiors at the Lyric Hammersmith about 5 years ago, and it was wonderful – and this brand new exploration of ageing looks brilliant. It’s always exciting to see a world premiere. Ageing is something that happens to all of us. This promises to be a moving meditation on growing old and needing to be cared for – and our need to care. If you’ve never caught their work before, give it a try. The kind of show that stays with you long after it ends.

Peaches Christ Superstar at the Theatre Royal
Who doesn’t love a bit of Peaches? She’s sexy, she’s provocative, she’s stupidly talented. And she’s single-handedly performing the whole of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Jesus Christ Superstar – just her, and a piano. You don’t have to love Lloyd Weber – and we don’t, generally – to know this is going to be exquisite. And beautiful. If just a bit bonkers.

Ida Barr’s Mash Up at the Brighton Dome Studio
Christopher Green is a genius of many personas. Try and catch him at the Spiegeltent as his alter ego, country singer Tina C – she’s insanely funny. For this show, he’s donning the frocks and wigs that make up Ida Barr – ‘the world’s only old-time music hall artiste turned Rap superstar’. Think Dame Edna meets “Marie Lloyd meets Missy Elliott” (as The Guardian puts it). She calls it Artificial Hip Hop. We couldn’t be more excited. And it’s on a Sunday afternoon. So you can pop down the pub for a roast. Pure Festival joy.

Peacock Poetry Prize Update

Pippa Smith, our Head of Creative Learning, tells us more about this year's Peacock Poetry Prize.

The preliminary judging took place yesterday and the finalists’ poems have now been sent off to the Senior Judge, poet Rachel Rooney, who will chose the outright winner in each category. To be announced on Fri 23 May.

The judges consisted of senior staff from Brighton Festival and Senior Teachers of English from BHASVIC (who support the prize each year)

The five of us spent a lot of time considering the poems, individually reading them before the meeting; and then deliberating with one another as we championed our favourites. There were over ninety poems and we have just twelve finalists to select (six younger children and three from each of the two older age groups) ; so some sad decisions had to be made. All the people who didn’t get through to the finals will get a personal certificate and in some cases a note of the judges’ comments – particularly in situations where we would like to urge the poets to come back next year!

The finalists are a worthy bunch with some serious poets amongst them particularly amongst the older age group (19 -25). All the judging was done anonymously so the Bhasvic staff cant wait to see if any of their own students were in the final selection.

One 8 year old was of particular interest – his vocabulary and grasp of structure was so sophisticated that the judging team decided it might be a good idea to check with his mum that it really was his own work!

This is what she said :

Yes, the poem was his own work. I will tell you how it happened... He was given the task for homework by his school (Brighton College) on the subject of 'belonging. He chose a topic, one very close to his heart, frogs (he spends almost all of his summer looking for marsh frogs). We sat down and looked through a book of poetry that Theo had, to get a feel for different styles. We both noticed a nice one, I think by Ted Hughes, where he began each stanza with the same word for each of the first three lines. Theo thought this would make a good model/basis to hang his poem on. As he knows a lot about frogs, I encouraged him to imagine himself into the role and he began writing it. I told him to spice up his language by looking in the Thesaurus (something they are strongly encouraged by school to do).

Words like 'daystar' he hadn't heard before, but liked so much, he used instead of 'sun'. All the other words he knew, some he probably wouldn't have thought of had it not been for the Thesaurus!!

Anyway, he will be thrilled! He reads an awful lot (currently The Lord of the Rings) and enjoys nature whenever he is not at school! One more thing, he became 9 last Sunday (27th)!
Yours, (his mum)

The Teaches of Peaches - 6 Things You Need to Know About Peaches

An unlikely scenario: Andrew Lloyd Webber's rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar performed by one woman accompanied by a single piano. Even more unlikely when that woman is Peaches, the electro-rock provocateuse who has made sexual frankness her calling-card.

This extraordinary show, Peaches Christ Superstar, comes to Brighton Festival this May. It's a performance that will be a revelation to anyone who saw her film Peaches Does Herself at Brighton Dome last December as it brings out Peaches' emotional and dramatic power.

From the outset of her career, Peaches has endeavoured to challenge social norms throughout a variety of artistic disciplines. Naturally a lot has snuck under the radar and with this in mind, here’s six things you may not have known about Peaches:

  • She became the poster girl at the forefront of the ‘Electroclash’ genre, which is actually now recognised in dictionaries:

a type of electronic music, originating in the first decade of the 21st century, that combines modern techno with synthesizer music characteristic of the 1980s

  • The 'Electroclash' genre died a pretty swift death and Peaches now claims to be the queen of ‘Electrocrap’.

  • F*** the Pain Away has been used throughout a myriad of pop culture and perhaps most surprisingly of all ended up as a catwalk soundtrack for both Prada and Givenchy in 2001. The song has since featured in Lost in Translation and South Park.

  • Peaches was one of the first women to work with Cynthia Plaster Caster, who famously makes plaster molds of musician’s genitals. Her chest was molded and joined an illustrious troupe of sexual organs including donations from Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa.

  • Before deciding to pursue music on a full time basis, Peaches was a children's music and drama teacher at a Jewish primary school.

  • Peaches was born Merrill Beth Nisker. Her pseudonym is derived in reference to Four Women by Nina Simone at the end of which Nina shouts 'my name is Peaches'.

Peaches Christ Superstar will be shown at Theatre Royal Brighton on Mon 19 May. Peaches' tribute to a score she has loved since she was a teenager is a chance to see the star and the musical in an entirely new light. 

Brighton Festival Picks: Alex Leith, Viva Brighton Magazine

We asked a selection of Brighton dwellers, Brighton lovers and Brighton businesses to give us their Brighton Festival picks. Here Alex Leith of Viva Brighton Magazine shares his highlights...

When I heard the name of this year’s Guest Director of Brighton Festival, I guess I wasn’t the only person to think ‘Hofesh who?’ But, having since interviewed Mr Shechter, I think he constituted a bold choice by the organisers, a real outsider who has made ‘outsiders’ the theme of the Festival. I must admit that apart from a few visits to Sadlers Wells over the years, I haven’t really directed much of my attention towards the contemporary dance scene, but I’m really looking forward to seeing the Hofesh Shechter Company perform Sun on Saturday 3rd. Hofesh promises it to be a dark, hard-hitting piece about alienation. You can read the interview in the May issue of Viva Brighton Magazine.

Hofesh Shechter Brighton Festival Sun

Another interviewee in the same edition is Yinka Shonibare, of Fourth-plinth-fame, who has turned the old reference library in Brighton Museum – which I used to frequent to research historical pieces for Viva – into a colourful installation piece on colonialism, called The British Library. He’s covered thousands of books with his trademark ‘African’ fabrics, which are actually designed in Indonesia and made in Holland, and demonstrate how globalisation means that nobody is truly from one just place any more. On the spines of the books are written the names of various immigrants and descendants of immigrants some of which – Mick Jagger and Helen Mirren for example – are quite surprising. We’ve dedicated the centre spread of the mag to a close up of this work and it looks like it’s going to be stunning.

I was watching Later... with Jools Holland the other day, and was delighted to see that Zara McFarlane was among the guests. She’s a soul-fuelled jazz singer who brings to mind Ella Fitzgerald or Billie Holliday, and she performed a nuanced and powerful rendition of Junior Murvin’s Police and Thieves, then did some improvisation with the compere playing the piano. Wow. She’s performing at The Old Market on the 11th.

Zara McFarlane at Brighton Festival 2014

There are some interesting people being live-interviewed, including musician/author Ben Watts (we got there first, as you’ll see in the May mag), Slit guitarist Viv Albertine (ditto) and (filth-y) novelist Irvine Welsh. And talking one-to-ones, one event I’ll certainly clear the diary for is the New Writing South annual lecture from Lynn Barber, Britain’s most well-respected newspaper interviewer. We were chuffed when she agreed to let the tables be turned on her, in our Festival special edition… and our writer Steve Ramsey certainly gave as good as he got.

So those are the main set pieces that I’m looking forward to come May. But the real beauty of Brighton Festival (and all the other offshoot events) isn’t about what you’re expecting to enjoy, but what takes you by surprise. Which is one reason I’ve made a pledge to do at least one Festivals-related thing every day, throughout the three weeks of the year that Brighton gets turned into the cultural capital of the country*. I’m hoping that most of those surprises will be positive ones…

*minor exaggeration alert

Peacock Poetry Prize: The Youthful Poet

Victoria York is administering the Peacock Poetry Prize for Brighton Festival 2014. The Prize is supported by Brighton Hove & Sussex Sixth Form College. In celebration of the number of high quality entries the Prize has received this year Victoria wrote this article in celebration of The Youthful Poet.

Wisdom is often said to be an ingredient of good writing, and one assumes that with wisdom comes the experience of having lived a long and fruitful life. Yet the proverb 'age and treachery will overcome youth and skill' sits uncomfortably with me. A simple look at some of our best loved poets and you see that it is youth and talent that often go hand in hand. A Google search quickly found me many literary greats whose work had the strength to survive beyond their short lives disputing Stanislaw Jaenzy Lec's idea that 'youth is a gift of nature but age is a work of art'. Their poetic accomplishments are celebrated long after they’ve deceased, opening up the question of poetry’s relationship with youth and proving that those on the other side of thirty are capable of achieving literature worth celebrating.

If I think about it, I would not consider John Keats to have been particularly young when reading his work. The way he describes the bright star’s eternal lids and the aches of love so evidently felt and read between the lines of his poems, evoke maturity and experience. Keats however, died at the age of 25. This was a man (not far off being a boy) that existed and still exists forever ageless within his poetry, opposing the fact that age is relevant at all. It proves that children, teenagers and young adults are exposed to the very same beats and rhythms of life and can offer a perspective beyond innocence and naivety that would be so quickly associated with youth. This is not a matter of offering 'a voice of a generation', any person, young or old, big or small, can resonate with a good poem, just as any person young or old, big or small, can write a good poem. AA Milne wrote my favourite poems from childhood despite the fact that he was an adult. And why shouldn't it work the other way?

Unfortunately young people aren’t always encouraged to celebrate their own talents, thinking that time and experience will give them artistic development and improvement. Emotions can often be dismissed with comments like 'oh darling you are too young to experience THAT' when from my first-hand experience it is during youth when things are the most intense and so much feels amplified. The list below should be enough to inspire those that do write, that they can write and sit among the greats. There are no boundaries and there should be no limits. Submit your words and your work could be applauded, long after the standing ovation sits back down.

See below for small extracts from some of the world’s best loved, young poets. Can you think of any youthful poets whose work you love? 

John Keats (died aged 25)

Bright Star
No--yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever--or else swoon to death.

Fragment: Modern Love
And what is love? It is a doll dress'd up
For idleness to cosset, nurse, and dandle;
A thing of soft misnomers, so divine
That silly youth doth think to make itself
Divine by loving, nad so goes on
Yawning and doting a whole summer long

Wilfred Owen (Died aged 25)

The Anthem for Doomed Youth
What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.

Sylvia Plath (Died aged 31)

I was ten when they buried you.
At twenty I tried to die
And get back, back, back to you.
I thought even the bones would do.
But they pulled me out of the sack,
And they stuck me together with glue.
And then I knew what to do

I Am Vertical
Compared with me, a tree is immortal
And a flower-head not tall, but more startling,
And I want the one's longevity and the other's daring.

Doom of Exiles
Backward we traveled to reclaim the day
Before we fell, like Icarus, undone;
All we find are altars in decay
And profane words scrawled black across the sun.

Thomas Chatterton (Died age 17)

A New Song
A blame me not, Broderip, if mounted aloft,
I chatter and spoil the dull air;
How can I imagine thy foppery soft,
When discord's the voice of my fair?

Help us do more...

Did you know that we run a comprehensive outreach arts programme in order to encourage participation?

During the festival we deliver:

- The Children's Parade, the annual grand opening of the Brighton Festival which involves nearly 5,000 children from over 80 schools.

- Adopt an Author, a project which links children from local schools with well-known authors in order to promote literacy and the love of books.

- many free events during the Brighton Festival so everyone can get involved, look out for Safe House on 17 May at Hove Park and One Million on 23 & 24 May at Black Rock, Madeira Drive

Throughout the year we deliver::

- the Umbrella Club, a new project which is for children with life- shortening conditions. It allows access to the arts through the provision of free tickets and participation in the arts through workshops.

- a ground-breaking arts programme called Miss Represented which works with vulnerable young women within youth services across the city. It aims to inspire these young women to work towards a more positive life trajectory.

You can make a donation of £2 or more - It’s easy

Text BDFL14 £2 to 70070

Thank you

Video Playlist: Dance at Brighton Festival 2014

Discover Dance at Brighton Festival 2014

A plethora of Dance shows from internationally celebrated names to emerging artists are all part of Brighton Festival 2014. You can expect shows from William ForsytheWim Vandekeybus, Les Slovaks, and this year’s Guest Director, Hofesh Shechter amongst plenty of others. Why not take a moment and enjoy a taster of some of the incredible and awe inspiring shows we have in store for you:

Video Playlist: Art at Brighton Festival 2014

Discover Art at Brighton Festival 2014

Minimalism, simplicity, repetition - all themes of this year’s Brighton Festival Art programme. Do not miss work by Yinka Shonibare MBEZimounJacob DahlgrenKathy Hinde and many more. Get a glimpse into the world of the artists and their work here:

Introduction to Young City Reads & The Sleeping Army at Brighton Festival

What is Young City Reads?

Imagine sharing a book with your best friend, your teacher, your family or your bus driver. Reading a book together is a fun experience. Everyone should try it!

Children's author Francesca Simon (creator of the fantastically fiendish Horrid Henry series) invites you to join us in a citywide read of her book The Sleeping Army from now until Thu 22 May 2014.

Young City Reads is for everyone: whether you're an avid adventurer, budding bookworm or a simply terrific teacher... even Mums and Dads can join in. It doesn't matter who you are, Young City Reads is about opening up the world of words and ideas to everyone.

Collected Works CIC is the award winning reader development organisation behind Young City Reads 2014 and will be delivering the project as part of Brighton Festival this year.

Here are the people behind the organization:

Sarah Hutchings - Artistic Director

Sarah studied Theatre and Drama at University, and always knew her job would have to involve books and writers in some way. She was taught to read at home by her mum (who was a teacher) and remembers what enormous pleasure learning to read gave her. What she loves most about working on Young City Reads is being able to share that joy of reading with others.

Favourite Children’s Book(s): It was a toss up between To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. Both books were read at school and made a lasting impression.

Favourite Adult Books: The Bone People by Keri Hulme and Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban both life changing in their own way...

Young City Reads Sarah Hutchings

Vicky Tremain - Project Manager

Vicky has worked for Collected Works since Spring 2012 and runs a variety of arts projects across the city, many of them with children and young people. She also loves making music, eating peas and reading (of course!)

Favourite Children’s Author: Definitely Roald Dahl whose books taught her that she'd better be good.

Favourite Adult Authors: Too many to name them all, but favourites include: Russell Hoban, Flann O'Brien and Terry Pratchett.

When she was 16 Vicky read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams and realised that sci-fi is most definitely not just for boys.

Young City Reads Vicky Tremain

Clare Hankinson - Arts Admin Assistant

Clare lives in Brighton and works for various arts organisations. She is particularly interested in working on projects that aim to engage more people in culture and the arts.

Favourite Children’s Book: Princess Smartypants by Babette Cole - because it's really funny and she loves the illustrations.

Favourite Adult Book: To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. Clare likes it because although not that much happens it's all about family and the small things in life that mean so much to us.

Young City Reads Clare Hankinson

Adam Stower - Illustrator (The Sleeping Army)

Adam Stower (pictured on top of the page), the exceptionally talented illustrator behind this year’s Young City Reads title (Francesca Simon’s The Sleeping Army) has been drawing ever since he was old enough to hold a crayon.

Adam grew up in Switzerland by Lake Zurich and went to a boarding school in Norfolk during term time. He studied illustration at Norwich Art School, gaining a first class degree and went on to complete a Masters in Narrative Illustration at University of Brighton, and has lived in Brighton ever since.

Four things every Young City Reader needs to know about Adam:
His favourite author is Roald Dahl.
He has worn a beard for so long he can’t remember what his face underneath looks like.
His favourite food is freshly baked bread. Oh….and biscuits, let’s not forget the biscuits.
He’s appearing with Francesca Simon at Brighton Dome Concert Hall on Thu 22 May at 1.30pm as part of Young City Reads at Brighton Festival. Find out more information here.

Video Playlist: Film at Brighton Festival 2014

Discover Film at Brighton Festival 2014

During this year’s Brighton Festival films from different countries across the world look at the depiction of children in the cinema. Little Fugitive from America, Hugo and Josephine from Sweden, Children in the Wind from Japan and Mark Cousin’s A Story of Children and Film are just some of the highlights. We also get into the mood of all things Dark & Stormy with the original Brighton RockDown TerraceLayer Cake Tea Party and more. Here’s a little taster:

Peacock Poetry Prize asks young writers to explore the theme of ‘belonging’

The Peacock Poetry Prize - an annual creative writing competition produced by Brighton Festival and Brighton, Hove & Sussex Sixth Form College (BHASVIC) - is asking Sussex poets aged between 8 - 25 years to respond to the theme ‘belonging’.

The theme, linked to Brighton Festival Guest Director Hofesh Shechter’s new work Sun, asks budding bards to question what keeps us grounded and together, and to consider where we really belong in 2014.

Submissions will be divided into three age groups - those writers aged between 8-14 years, 14-18 years and 18-25 years old. Finalists will be invited to a special celebratory event during Brighton Festival, with some fantastic prizes up for grabs to the writers of the best entries.

‘The Peacock Poetry Prize has gone from strength to strength since we started it four years ago,’ says Pippa Smith, Head of Creative Learning at Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival.

‘The quality of work submitted is always astounding and we hope the poets pursue their dreams of making careers from their writing.’

'The idea for the prize sprang from some typically imaginative thinking within our outstanding English and Media Departments and was met with an equally enthusiastic response from the creative, dedicated staff at Brighton Festival,' said Chris Thomson, Principal at BHASVIC.

'We aim to get young people writing right across Sussex, encourage 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.'

Click here to download an entry form. 

Deadline for entries: Mon 21 Apr 2014

Video Playlist: Theatre at Brighton Festival 2014

Discover Theatre at Brighton Festival 2014

Old and new stories are brought to life in a variety of exciting approaches and languages in this year's Brighton Festival Theatre programme, jam-packed with premières and exclusives. Here's a little video playlist taster to get you in the mood for May. Unmissable shows include Opus No. 7OneBonanzaTis Pity Shes a WhoreCatch 22Ida Barr's Mash UpTomorrow, The Epicene ButcherBring The HappyMuch Ado About Nothing, What Happens to Hope at the End of the Evening and plenty more... 

Video Playlist: Contemporary Music at Brighton Festival 2014

Discover Contemporary Music at Brighton Festival 2014 

Brighton Festival 2014 offers an exciting and eclectic selection of contemporary music. Here’s a little flavour of some of the goodness you can expect from this year’s line-up. Expect spectacular shows from PeachesCat PowerEmmylou HarrisGruff RyhsMartin Creed BandZara McFarlane and many more.

In Pictures: Brighton Festival 2014 Launch

On Tue 25 Feb we were delighted to launch Brighton Festival 2014. The full and fantastic Brighton Festival programme was released and Members' and Supporters joined us to get Brighton Festival off  to a smashing start. Here are a few photos to give you a flavour of the night and the fun that is yet to come this May. 

Brighton Festival Brochure 2014

The Brighton Festival 2014 brochure

Andrew Comben Brighton Festival

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival introduces Brighton Festival 2014 Guest Director Hofesh Shechter

Hedley Swain Arts Council Brighton Festival

Hedley Swaine, Area Director South East at Arts Council England takes to the stage

Members and Supporters enjoying the new Brighton Festival brochure

Brighton Festival Launch

The Launch in full swing

Guests were treated to a spectacular flash-mob by Guest Director Hofesh Shechter and his eponymous company Hofesh Shechter Company. 

Hofesh Shechter Company Brighton Festival

Hofesh Shechter Company Brighton Festival

Launch 3

All photos by Victor Frankowski

Brighton Festival reveals brochure cover for 2014

Brighton Festival - an annual celebration of music, theatre, dance, circus, art, film, literature, debate, outdoor and family events – launches today and will take place in venues across the city and beyond from 3 to 25 May 2014.

This year Brighton Festival again worked with Johnson Banks to create the visual identity for 2014’s event. The image shows a black sheep on a green background with the sheep’s fur made up of tiny dancing figures.

Michael Johnson, of Johnson Banks, says: “When we were discussing the theme for the 2014 Festival, a recurring motif was a sheep. Partly because 'Sun' features cut-out sheep, carefully choreographed across the stage, and also because we felt a black sheep nicely mirrored Hofesh's outsider's view of the world we live in. Visualising a black sheep whose fur turns into dancers proved to be very difficult - luckily Chris Kasch was up to the task. Although he did say painting it gave him multiple migraines.

The sheep was painted by Chris Kasch. He is a UK based illustrator who has built an impressive and varied clientele throughout his 16 year career. He has produced work for national newspapers, magazines and well known names such as Saachi and Saachi, The Royal Mail and IBM.

The 2014 Guest Director of Brighton Festival 2014 is critically acclaimed choreographer, musician, composer and performer Hofesh Shechter. His eponymous Company are a Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival resident company, and their brand new work Sun – co-commissioned by Brighton Festival – will open the three week arts extravaganza on Saturday 3 May when it comes ‘home’ at the conclusion of its first world tour.

Brighton Festival 2014 launches with Guest Director Hofesh Shechter

Today Brighton Festival 2014 launches, with critically acclaimed choreographer, dancer, musician, composer and performer Hofesh Shechter at the helm as Guest Director.

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.

Over the three-week Festival many of Hofesh Shechter’s interests and passions will be explored in a wide-ranging programme which spans music, theatre, dance, visual art, film, literature and debate from a wide range of national and international companies and artists.

With Hofesh Shechter as Guest Director, this year’s programme is particularly genre defying – from the UK premiere of Opus No.7 from Russian theatre director Dmitry Krymov, to William Forsythe’s hypnotic Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time No.2, to a new co-commission by Yinka Shonibare MBE; called The British Library. 2014 also heralds the return of international theatre companies Berlin and Vanishing Point to Brighton and we host an eclectic mix of names across contemporary music from Peaches to Emmylou Harris. Hofesh challenges us to respond to the world’s ugly injustices in Brighton Festival co-commission Sun which “comes home” to Brighton after touring globally, whilst one of his inspirations - and fellow choreographers - Wim Vandekeybus, interrogates the misuse of power and the abuse of social media as we host the UK premiere of Ultima Vez’s Talk to the Demon.

As ever Brighton Festival kicks off with the Children’s Parade - the largest event of its kind in Europe - produced by Same Sky. Events for all the family this year include a UK premiere of Tanzfuchs Produktion’s dance extravaganza Munch! for the under 4s and the UK premiere of Zoo, 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.

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 and to today reveal the programme of events for May. 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.’

Brighton Festival - an annual celebration of music, theatre, dance, circus, art, film, books, debate, outdoor and family events - will take place in venues across the city and beyond from 3 to 25 May 2014.

Hedley Swain, Area Director, South East, Arts Council England, said: ‘This year’s Brighton Festival is once again an exciting prospect as critically-acclaimed choreographer, dancer, musician and composer Hofesh Shechter takes on the role of Guest Director. His artistic vision will bring an exciting edge to this year’s programme, which spans multiple art forms. Brighton Festival very much reflects the vibrancy of Brighton & Hove itself – it is a place where artists and artistic organisations blossom and continue to flourish. Brighton Festival’s value to 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.’

Nowhere & Everywhere at the Same Time No.2

For the duration of Brighton Festival 2014, Circus Street Market was transformed into a dancing installation by American choreographer William Forsythe. The choreographic object saw thousands of visitors and was awarded a Critics' Choice Argus Angel award.  

Film by Shy Camera

Video: Brighton Festival 2014 teaser

Just a taste of what Hofesh Shechter and the Brighton Festival team have in store for 2014.

Filmed and produced by Fat Sand Productions. 

Video: Brighton Festival 2014 montage film

A taste of what's in store for you at Brighton Festival 2014.

Film by Echo Video

Arts Accolade for 80 local schoolchildren for their contribution to Brighton Festival Children’s Parade

On Tuesday 4th February, over 80 local schoolchildren from Westdene and Fairlight Primary schools will visit Brighton Town Hall to receive their Arts Award from The Right Worshipful the Mayor of the City of Brighton & Hove, Councillor Denise Cobb.

The children gained their Arts Award - a nationally recognised qualification for young people’s achievement through the arts - as part of their contribution to the 2013 Brighton Festival Children’s Parade. The award recognises their success in areas of art, design, creativity and music and is a fitting reward for their hard work and in helping to ensure that the 2013 parade was a vibrant celebration of the collective creativity of the city.

For over 25 years the Children’s Parade has opened Brighton Festival, with local school children stepping into show stopping costumes they have designed and made themselves. It is the largest annual children’s event in the UK and is produced on behalf of Brighton Dome and Festival by community arts organisation, Same Sky. In 2013, poet, writer, broadcaster, former Children’s Laureate and Arts Award Champion, Michael Rosen guest-directed Brighton Festival and inspired the theme of the parade which was the alphabet.

With the additional support from Artswork – the national Youth Arts Development Agency and South East Bridge Organisation - Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival and Same Sky were able to include Arts Award in the parade for the first time, with many more schools signing up to deliver the award as part of their parade contribution for 2014. 2014’s theme for the Children’s Parade is “the arts”.

Michael Rosen, talking about Arts Award - 'I like the way Arts Award is based on a reflective model of learning, encouraging teachers and leaders to focus on children and young people as individuals and as creative artists in their own right. Arts Award is a flexible framework, rather than a set curriculum, which ignites ideas rather than dictating answers.' 

This year’s ‘big read’ revealed! Young City Reads returns to Brighton Festival 2014

Brighton Festival and Collected Works CIC (the organisation behind Brighton & Hove's City Reads) are delighted to reveal the title selected for this year's ‘big read’ for children is The Sleeping Army by Francesca Simon.

Young City Reads launches on World Book Day (06 March) and will finish on 22 May with a very special Brighton Festival event for schools featuring the bestselling author whose book is this year’s focus. More news on that following the Brighton Festival launch on Feb 25.

The concept of Young City Reads is simple: one book by one author is selected for the whole community to read, discuss, debate and enjoy. Primary schools are being invited to register online to read the book together in class and to participate in a range of special activities.

Francesca Simon said: ‘What a thrill to have all of Brighton & Hove reading The Sleeping Army and then coming together at the end to discuss it – I can't wait to talk about the book and meet all my readers at the event in May. What a brilliant way to bring a city together and support reading’

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival said: “We are delighted that Young City Reads will return as part of Brighton Festival in 2014. Celebrating literature in this way provides a unique opportunity for children to creatively engage in the arts. I’m sure Francesca Simon’s inventive reworking of the Norse myths will fascinate and inspire young readers across the city”

Sarah Hutchings, Artistic Director, Collected Works CIC, added, “Young City Reads is all about reading for pleasure. It encourages children to learn through their enjoyment of literature. There is a power in sharing books and stories together, and the younger we start the more fulfilling our lives will be.”

Be part of HOUSE 2014

The deadline is fast approaching...

HOUSE 2014 Artist Commissioning Opportunity

In partnership with Brighton Festival, Lighthouse and University of Brighton, Photoworks and The Regency Town House.

HOUSE is Brighton & Hove’s annual visual arts event concerned with the commissioning of new work in partnership with Brighton Festival. HOUSE utilises domestic and unusual spaces to situate work throughout the city.

HOUSE 2014 invites outline proposals from artists based in the South East region, including London, for a series of commissions to be realised in May 2014.

Head to the HOUSE website to download a brief and application form.

Deadline for submissions: 17 Jan 2014