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 Welsh, Jeremy Deller, Edmund 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.