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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.’