Photography: Jamie MacMillan

Outdoor and Community Highlights: Brighton Festival 2024 celebrates community with fun, accessible and inclusive events across the city and beyond

Outdoor, Announcements, Outdoor, Accessible performances

With more free and pay-what-you-feel events than ever, this year’s Festival invites everyone to experience the hope, wonder and magic of the arts in a city-wide celebration of community from 4-26 May 2024. Explore our highlights... 

Photography: Jon Archdeacon

The Great Outdoors

Throughout Brighton Festival (4-26 May), the beautiful Royal Pavilion Gardens will be home to free, interactive installation 100 Miles of String from local arts organisation Leap Then Look. Everyone can have a go: have fun weaving and winding thousands of metres of string, working together to create a temporary, everchanging community landmark.

Head Over Wheels

We welcome back outdoor arts specialists Without Walls with a series of free, exciting pop-up performances across Brighton and Crawley. Highlights include:

The premiere of Anchored In Air (18-19 May): a gravity-defying aerial theatre show combining mesmerising circus, dance, spoken text and music. Brought to you by disabled and non-disabled company Head over Wheels.

From 25-26 May, street theatre experts, Bureau of Silly Ideas, invite you to a world of fun, stunts and circus in their action-packed seaside arcade with an environmental twist, Island Storm.

Ancient Giants

In Ancient Giants, 25-26 May, an extraordinary fusion of puppetry, dance, storytelling and martial arts bring Gods and demons to life in a spellbinding, family-friendly street theatre show. From innovative South Asian-led arts collective, Inspirate.

British-Caribbean choreographer, Jeanefer-Jean Charles MBE, tells a story of lost languages, longing and belonging through traditional Caribbean choreography, contemporary dance and an original music score in Patois from 18-19 May.

Photography: Matt Jolly

Award-winning experimental brass band Perhaps Contraption and Deaf & BSL poet Zoe McWinney present their jubilant parade, The Journey, from 18-19 May. A unique blend of physical theatre, signed poetry and mime form their hopeful promenade piece celebrating the power of community.

Elsewhere, three professional actors with learning disabilities tell a powerful story about climate change through intricate choreography and original music in Birdie (25-26 May). From leading learning disability performance and live arts company Mind the Gap.

Racquets Ready!

All ages and abilities can join in with award-winning, community-based Brighton Table Tennis Club’s mass participation event, AllStars Extravaganza

The free all-dayer will re-create the Corn Exchange’s table tennis past with a modern twist – plus the potential to win a Guinness World Record for the largest number of consecutive players in a table rally! You may even find yourself up against the UK’s Paralympic gold medallist Will Bayley...

Ooze Machines

Art And Installations

Free art and installations include Neolithic Cannibals: Deep Listening to the Unheard, from 4-19 May. Artists and campaigners Class Divide worked with young people in Whitehawk and East Brighton to amplify their voices and create a sound art piece inspired by Neolithic sounds.

Multi-award-winning visual artist and quantum physicist, Dr Libby Heaney’s Ooze Machines (4 May-30 June) uses the motif of slime to explore concepts including the microscopic world and big tech. Featuring immersive video, glass ‘slime’ sculptures and a playable experience. For all ages.

Photography: Nic Sandiland

Take your chances in the spotlight at An Elevated Platform from choreographer and artist duo Flexer & Sandiland. Step up and ‘perform’ to an audio of adoring ‘fans’ who react to your every movement – the more energetic, the wilder the approval... but any slowing down will be met with discontent from the admiring crowd. For all ages.

Food And Film

Enjoy community group Brighton People’s Theatre’s new ‘inclusive’ and ‘warming’ production Born & Bread 17-19 May.

Inspired by conversations with over 100 Brighton residents about what it means to call the city home, the play is set in a community kitchen and explores themes of migration, friendship and loneliness. With live cookery from food waste organisation The Real Junk Food Project Brighton, the audience will be served fresh soup and bread – included in the pay-what-you-feel ticket price.

Inspired by 1930s GPO Film Unit films that celebrated day to day life in the UK, Brighton Festival has commissioned new films with the same mission – to see ourselves ‘As We Really Are’, at work and play. Come along to the screening on 20 May, featuring a panel discussion with this year’s Guest Director, award-winning author and screenwriter Frank Cottrell-Boyce, and former Guest Director, Turner Prize nominated artist David Shrigley. 

Photography: Rosie Powell

The Magic Of Movement

Brighton-based youth dance company Project Female present an electrifying triple bill on 11 May. Triptych mixes contemporary dance and Hip Hop with multimedia, spoken word and innovative dance technology to amplify the dancers’ voices and their call to make the world a better place. Made in collaboration with celebrated Hip Hop dance theatre company Boy Blue’s Young Artists, who will also perform.

The Rainbow Butterfily, photography: Jodie Canwell

Brighton Festival brings exciting colour and movement to young children with two family dance shows, in partnership with Brighton’s South East Dance. On 27 May, dancers shimmy through the audience at The Sticky Dance, intertwining sticky tape into a beautiful tapestry and inviting everyone to groove along with them.

Inspired by the lifecycle of the butterfly, join Maja in The Rainbow Butterfly on a joyful, transformational journey as they explore the world and outer space on 18 May. Blending aerial circus, dynamic contemporary dance and storytelling, audiences are invited to celebrate imagination, ourselves and Mother Earth.

TV Dinners

More Dates For The Diary

4 May – The Children's Parade. Kicking off Brighton Festival with a fiesta of colour, costume and live music around Frank Cottrell-Boyce’s chosen theme: Dream Again. All ages.

4-11 May – TV Dinners. UK artist, Susannah Hewlett, presents her free exhibition. Packed with comedy and mixed-media, don’t miss her two lively performances; Dinner for Two (6 May) and The Great British Cack Off (5 May).

4-26 May – Children's Illustration Exhibition. Celebrating the wealth of talented children's book illustrators in Brighton, Hove and close by, local gem, The Book Nook, will display a selection of their work in a free exhibition during the Festival.

4 May – 1 Sep – Days Of Wonder. A free exhibition celebrating early cinema and film making, inspired by the remarkable film and media collections held at Hove Museum of Creativity and Screen Archive South East.

5 May - Festival of Ideas: Bird Bath Dawn Chorus Breakfast. Transforming beautiful buildings into restorative spaces, pause, rest and ‘bathe’ in the sound of local birdsong. A collaboration with the School of Media, Arts and Humanities, University of Sussex.


100 Miles Of String is sponsored by Southern Housing New Homes

Children's Parade sponsored by Brighton Girls and Same Sky Brighton

Without Walls is sponsored by Graves Son & Pilcher

Neolithic Cannibals is in partnership with Lighthouse

Ooze Machines is co-presented with Phoenix Art Space

Project Female is co-presented in partnership with Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts

Brighton Festival has been awarded £10,000 Big Give match-funding to help with increased costs of free events. Donations by the public made to Brighton Festival via the Big Give from 19-26 March will unlock this funding and help raise £20,000. Click here to donate to Brighton Festival’s free events programme.

Explore the full programme

Brighton Festival 2024