Brighton Festival 2018Public booking opens: Fri 24 Feb, 9am

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Brighton Festival Reveals Young City Reads Author and Title 2019

Brighton Festival and Collected Works CIC are delighted to reveal that Onjali Q. Raúf’s The Boy at the Back of the Class has been chosen as the 2019 ‘big read’ for children across Brighton & Hove, Sussex and beyond.

The start of the ‘big read’ is on World Book Day, 7 March 2019. At Brighton Festival on 22 May 2019, the Young City Reads live event takes place at Brighton Dome featuring author, Onjali Q. 

The Boy at the Back of the Class (which has been long listed for the Blue Peter Book Awards and nominated for the Carnegie Medal 2019) is the story of new boy Ahmet, a refugee from Syria. It is told from the point of view of one of his classmates who goes to great lengths to make friends and give Ahmet a sense of belonging. The unexpected adventure that follows strikes the perfect balance between humour and poignancy, topped off with a terrific twist. The result is an unforgettable story that will find a home in the heart of every child. Onjali Q. Raúf portrays the refugee crisis through the eyes of a child in a way that’s accessible, warm and funny. It’s a story about friendship and how naturally children celebrate, rather than fear, all our differences.

Onjali Q. Raúf is Founder and CEO of Making Herstory -  a human rights organisation working with other movements to end the abuse, trafficking and enslavement of women and girls in the UK and beyond.

Author of The Boy at the Back of the Class Onjali Q. Raúf says:

‘I am utterly thrilled to have ‘The Boy at the Back of the Class’ chosen for Young City Reads! It is such an honour. I hope all human ‘beans’ (of every age!) reading and engaging with it, reach its end feeling a little more understanding and hopeful about what we can all do to ease the plight of refugee children the world over. Sometimes the best, most joyous things start with a story, and my deepest wish for this book is that it helps inspire lots of interesting discussions and ideas about one of the biggest humanitarian crises of our times. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping to make this happen.'

Sarah Hutchings, Director of Collected Works CIC added:

'Onjali Q. Raúf’s book has all the qualities that we look for – empathy, kindness, adventure and humour. In 2018, nearly 2,000 children took part in the project with 1,438 coming to the final event at Brighton Festival. I know that our Young City Readers will love getting to know Ahmet and his friends.'

Primary school teachers and classes are invited to register online (for free) and agree to read The Boy At The Back of the Class together in class from March to May 2019. The Class Teacher or Head Teacher can complete a sign-up form on the City Reads Website. 

Throughout the project, participating classes will receive free weekly e-bulletins which will include bite-size literacy resources and fun activities to complete.

Singers sought for new choral work as part of Brighton Festival 2019

Brighton Festival and Glyndebourne are bringing together an intergenerational chorus of women and children for a new choral work in Brighton Festival 2019.

The piece will will focus on the nature of motherhood and childhood, and will be conducted by Sian Edwards. We are looking for singers to bring this piece to life and we will be auditioning in the following age brackets:

Glyndebourne Youth Opera 1 (aged 9-13)

Adult female voices (aged 21 or over)

Family groups are encouraged to apply as this work is an exploration of the relationship between mothers (of any age) and their children and grandchildren.

How to Take Part

Auditions will take place on Sunday 30 September at Glyndebourne. You will audition in small groups and are not expected to prepare any material in advance, although you will be asked to sing briefly on your own at some point during the audition.

Dates and Times

If you are successful you will be expected to attend all rehearsals and performances.

Sun 30 Sep: 10:00 – 16:00 Auditions – Glyndebourne

Sat 27 Oct: 10:00 – 16:00 Project Launch Weekend TBC

Sun 28 Oct: 10:00 – 16:00 Project Launch Weekend TBC

Rehearsals: March – May – download a full project schedule below

Performance: May (as part of Brighton Festival)

Head to www.glyndebourne.com/education/take-part/eye-to-eye/ to download a project schedule and sign up.

Image credit: James Bellorini

Attractor: Participants sought to take part in immersive dance show

Brighton Festival is seeking people to participate in a unique ecstatic music/dance ritual.

Indonesia’s tour-de-force music duo Senyawa have joined forces with Melbourne's choreographic luminaries Lucy Guerin and Gideon Obarzanek, and two of Australia’s leading dance companies, Dancenorth and Lucy Guerin Inc to take you on a trance-noise odyssey!

We are seeking people (14+) to participate on stage during the final 15 minutes of the 60 minute performance. There are no prior skills required: we want people from all demographics and walks of life with a willingness and excitement to explore! You will only be required to commit to one session on any of the days, however if you are interested in attending more than one session we would love to have you! Get in quick to secure your desired date and time as there are only 20 spaces for each session.

The rehearsal sessions will take place on.

Tuesday 15th May

18.00 – 19.00

Wednesday 16th May

18.00 – 19.00 

Attractor will be performed in the Brighton Dome concert hall on Tuesday the 15th and Wednesday the 16th of May at 8pm. If you can volunteer an evening or several over May we'd be delighted to hear from you. Please email artisticplanning@brightondome.org and add 'Attractor' in the subject line and let us know which date you are avaliable for.

Senyawa’s performance reinterprets the Javanese tradition of entering trance through dance and music as a powerful secular present-day form. Their sound borrows from the metal bands they listened to as teenagers – Black Sabbath, Metallica, Iron Maiden – and Indonesian ritual and folk idioms. Their music and performance is influenced by forces in nature to take the audience into a transformative state outside of organised belief systems.

As the performance unfolds, Senyawa’s unique fusion of hand-made electrified stringed instruments with opera style and heavy metal voice slowly builds to a euphoric pitch. The exceptional dancers are propelled into wild physical abandonment and ecstatic release. The demarcation between dancer and non-dancer, audience and performer and the professional and the amateur dissolves as the performance transitions into a large-scale dance event.

For more information, see the Attractor event page or read our festival Hot Seat interview. 

Last chance for children & young adults to submit poems for Brighton Festival 2018’s Peacock Poetry Prize

The Peacock Poetry Prize is an annual competition to encourage young writers to explore the written word from a creative point of view. The aim is to get young people writing right across Sussex and encourage them to engage with the theme of ‘hard work’, a subject inspired by Guest Director David Shrigley’s book of the same title.

The competition is open to residents of Brighton & Hove, East and West Sussex aged 11 - 19. Submissions are divided into four age groups: 11-13 years, 14-16 years 13-16 years and 17-19 years.

Whether completing an assignment, building a relationship or breaking a habit, we all work hard on aspects of our daily lives. Each budding writer may submit up to three poems with a maximum length of 20 lines per poem.

Pippa Smith, Brighton Festival’s Children and Family Producer, says:

"The Peacock Poetry Prize offers a great opportunity for young people to have their writing seriously appraised and appreciated. Our panel of judges reads and discusses every poem and it is always a struggle to decide which of our many talented entrants will be invited to the finalists’ award party where the winners are announced."

William Baldwin, Principal of Brighton Hove & Sussex Sixth Form College, says:

"BHASVIC is proud to be sponsoring the Peacock Poetry Prize. Poetry is imaginations language, helping us understand and appreciate the world around us. A great poem can describe what we ourselves have no words for. As poetry is such a universal vehicle of human expression it is vital that we continue to nurture a love for it in the younger generation."

The competition is open to residents of Brighton & Hove, East and West Sussex. Each budding writer may submit up to three poems with a maximum length of 14 lines per poem. Entries must be emailed, together with full name, age and date of birth to peacock@brightonfestival.org or posted to Peacock Poetry Prize, Brighton Festival, 12a Pavilion Buildings, Castle Square, Brighton BN1 1EE.

The deadline for entries is Mon 16 Apr 2018. Finalists and their friends and relatives will be invited to a reception in Brighton Dome when the winners of each age category will be announced.

Festival Hot Seat: Attractor

Indonesia’s music duo Senyawa joins forces with two of Australia’s leading dance companies, Dancenorth and Lucy Guerin Inc to take you on a trance-noise odyssey in Attractor. Choreographers Lucy and Gideon give us the low-down on this exciting new performance.

Firstly, can you introduce your show and tell us what it is about?
Attractor is a work where dance and music propel each other into heightened experiences for performers and spectators. Its a collaboration with Indonesian music duo Senyawa. Eight dancers are swept up by the energy of the music that in turn responds to their physical abandonment.

Senyawa reinterprets the Javanese tradition of trance through dance and music as a powerful, secular, present-day form. Their unusual sound borrows from the metal bands they listened to as teenagers – Black Sabbath, Metallica, Iron Maiden – and Indonesian ritual and folk idioms.

20 completely unrehearsed audience members volunteer to join the artists on stage. This participatory act of doing dissolves the demarcations between dancer and non-dancer, audience and performer, professional and amateur

How and where will the work be staged?
Attractor will be presented at the Brighton Festival in the Brighton Dome Concert Hall.

It begins with the two musicians and the dancers setting up in a circle centre stage. The music propels the dancers into movement and the musicians respond to the physical intensity of the dancers creating a visceral experience for the audience. About two thirds of the way through, twenty members of the audience get up from their seats and make their way to the stage where they join the dancers and become an integral part of the performance.

These participants are volunteers that sign up to be part of the show beforehand. They arrive before it starts and are fitted with in-ear devices. When the time comes, they are verbally directed through their ear- pieces to go onstage and guided through a series of instructions to perform a dance that merges with the professional dancers. There are no prior rehearsals.

Why should someone come and see your show?
We think audiences will be truly inspired by Attractor. This is a work that blurs the line between performer and spectator, creating an empathetic and intense experience for the viewer. The energy and skill of the dancers is not just an opportunity to sit back and watch, but to engage with the way that dance and music can enliven and transform us.

Where did the idea and inspiration come from?
Gideon Obarzanek (Director/Choreographer) first met Indonesian music duo Senyawa in Yogyakarta in 2014, and travelled with them to a remote village in far eastern Java to observe a traditional trance ceremony. After two nights of prayers and offerings to the dead, dancers entered a state of trance through a series of astounding performances. Some time after that, Gideon was reflecting on his many years of creating virtuosic stage productions with highly trained dancers, in contrast with his early experiences of dance. These took place on kibbutz in Israel where he grew up as a child doing folk dancing, where participation was privileged over performance.

As contemporary artists performing to secular audiences, Rully, Wukir (Senyawa) and Gideon discussed their interest in traditional music and dance. They pondered why they and other non-religious people are drawn to this type of ceremonial performance and concluded that dance and music can create transcendent states for participants, through which they become a part of something bigger than themselves. Making Attractor comes from a shared interest to construct rituals for non-believers.

What’s going to surprise people about this show?
This show is surprising on several levels. Senyawa’s music is completely captivating and like nothing you’ve heard before. It’s an impossible blend of heavy metal, noise, throat singing, operatic vocals and traditional music that somehow results in a unique coherent sound. The dancers are virtuosic in their immersion in the choreography and music and their commitment to the intensity of the show.

But perhaps the most surprising element is when 20 audience members get up out of their seats, walk on stage, and join the dancers . This breaks down the barrier between audience and performer and unites 30 people onstage in a shared experience as they collectively succumb to the inherent power of the experience. The remaining audience have a strong empathetic connection as they watch people like themselves in this exhilarating predicament. People are often amazed by the fact that the audience participants who join the dancers onstage have no prior rehearsal and are doing the show for the very first time.

What does Brighton Festival mean to you?
Brighton Festival is an event we have heard about for years but have never experienced. To us, it inspires thoughts of an innovative artistic program linked to the places, culture and people of the city. We have high expectations!

What are you most looking forward to in this year’s Brighton Festival programme?
We are really looking forward to seeing what’s happening in contemporary UK performance and the international work that’s in the program. Coming from Australia, it’s a great opportunity to immerse ourselves in the festival atmosphere of Brighton and understand its identity and future visions. We are also thrilled that Brighton audiences will have the chance to see Attractor.

Head to our event page to find out more about ticket availability.

Artist’s blog: Rachel Blackman, theatre artist, performer and somatic educator on Collidescope

As applications are open for Collidescope 2018, we asked a former participant to reflect on her experiences of Brighton Festival’s Artist development programme


Collidescope offers a chance for a group of mid-career artists from various disciplines, to experience a large chunk of the Festival program, it is also a chance to rub shoulders with like minds, engage in a series of facilitated workshops exploring the work we’ve seen, sharing some of the work we make as well as meeting some of the Festival’s visiting artists. It is a brilliant opportunity and I’m still unpacking the myriad ways in which it has impacted my practice. More on that later.

That year, 2016, my year, we were blessed on several counts. We were ‘shepherded’ through our experience by Dramaturge Lou Cope and Arts Producer Richard Kingdom. Their presence and vast expertise offered the experience coherence, opened pathways of enquiry, brought inspiration and generally encouraged a great vibe. I think my year was fortunate also, because there was rich diversity: of age, disciplines, cultural backgrounds and themes in the room, which made for juicy engagement and feisty conversations.

I also felt fortunate because the guest director was Laurie Anderson who I much admire. I hoped I’d get a chance to meet her as I was looking forward to normalising an experience I’d had a few years before that I felt vaguely embarrassed about.

Anderson was an important early influence for me. I first came across her at 15 and was struck by her ele-gant originality. Self-directed and self-resourced. Eloquent. Ungendered. Anti-establishment. Prolific. Per-formative. She was beautiful too, but people loved her not for her beauty but her intelligence and her origi-nality. I may have been a bit in love with her…

Skip to 2012 and I have a piece of my work in the Brighton Festival that year, so they invite me in for an interview with Brighton Festival Radio. I get into the lift and who is standing beside me, but Laurie Anderson.

I don’t get star struck very often. I’ve grown up around famous people most of my life and fame isn’t, in itself, impressive to me. But every now and again, I get a massive body of work / art crush on someone and I can’t remember what ‘normal’ behaviour looks like. Arthur Miller would have been on that list, Pina Bausch, Joseph Cambell, Meryl Streep and perhaps incongruously, Vaclav Havel. I think I’d be OK with the Dalai Lama. I was fine with Keanu.

Aaaanyway, so here I am in a lift with Laurie Anderson. Just me and Laurie and I’m thinking, you know I’m sure I could just say,

Hey Laurie, thanks for your work, it has been a powerful influence on me.
Or, hey Laurie, I’m a fan. I hear you build your own kit? … AWESOME . Tell me about New York in the 80’s. And you were the first woman I ever heard who used male voice filters in performance and you were still, just, you, somehow - you know?

Or even,

Hey, know what? i know all of the words to ‘Let x = x’ and I - I feel - feel like - I am - In a burning building. And … and… I love the way you use language so sparely and what you leave out and how you leave enough space for us to fill in an idea of a persona. I love its theatricality. Do you see it as theatrical?’ and and anyway… Tai Chi hey? *sigh*

That kind of thing.

Instead I stare at my shoes and fall profoundly silent. I can’t seem to lift my gaze from the floor and the awkwardness of the moment pans eons.

Then the lift doors open, and we exit together. It turns out we are both going to be interviewed by Brighton Festival Radio at the same time. How unbearably awkward and I avoid her eye contact, but in my peripheral vision I notice that she acknowledges me briefly and I realise it would have been fine to say hi after all - what an idiot - and the whole bottom falls out of the floor. And I manage to keep walking. And I try to do it in a way that I’m hoping is reminiscent of how I might normally do it. But I am malfunctioning robot doll thing.

I get through it.

Then I’m doing Collidescope in 2016 and Anderson is the guest director.

I enter in to it in between things in my life. I haven’t made a full-length piece of work for two years and it is bugging me. I have experienced some big changes in my personal life and I’m not sure what I am at the moment, so I turn up with imposter syndrome. I have this feeling that when I begin making again, I want it to be different - but I don’t really know what that means yet. I have an idea pressing against me - it is about a white Australian family crossing a desert in a little car and the spirits of the land leaking in and tearing the family apart (but in a good way) and it being a metaphor for the un-sustainability and precariousness of the way we are living in relation to the planet… but I don’t know where to start.

All well and good.

I think the problem is that the piece needs to be a film and I’m not a film maker. But then I see Lola Aria’s Minefield, and Yuval Avital’s Fuga Perpetua, both of which blow me away in unexpected ways. Both working with non-actors. Both dealing with real world subject matter. Not my usual fare. Not the kinds of things i would have instinctively chosen from the program to watch. in fact, things I saw in the program and thought, well I’m not going to enjoy those.

So, I am smacked in the face by my preconceptions.

And slowly, slowly over months and months, I realise the problems I am facing are more meta and way more personal. They are to do with acknowledging that my themes are changing on some deep, level and that I can no longer continue as I have been. That what draws me now is real life stories. The dawning reali-sation that it is time to start turning up in my own work - even if only as a voice. (I had only ever played fic-tional characters and happily disappeared behind them - how can I tell a story about Australian whiteness without also acknowledging that i am that? That I am part of that story). And for the first time, I want to en-gage with social realities. This is all NEW.

So now the bigger and thoroughly more exciting question is ‘HOW?’

So, it’s still 2016. And I’m with some of my Collidescope buddies in a gutted church listening to Lou Reed’s pack of guitars and amps feeding back and mutating into the darkness. The Drones. And amongst us, is the quite recently bereaved Laurie Anderson standing just over there and lots of other people standing and sitting everywhere else, scattered through the darkness. And I have this thought that we are all just collective consciousness connected to ears connected to the shared human experience of loss of love, loss of life evoked by this living legacy vibrating through each of us. And I feel the generosity of the act of placing her lover’s life’s work here in a great big pile and in such a way that it can vibrate through all of us and I feel lucky and moved and like i could stay in here forever. That through the intimate we can encounter the uni-versal. And I am aware that good art does this, vibrates through us in a way that plugs us in to some aspect of human experience.

And afterwards, in the lukewarm sunshine, I am chatting to some people and Laurie walks past. There is a moment of shared eye contact and warmth and there is this sense that she’s grateful we’ve come. And we’re grateful we’ve come. And my embarrassment has evaporated. Only gratitude for shared human experience.

And that is the end of all that.

I don’t tell her she’s changed my life, or that Tony Visconti showed me how to do Tai Chi with swords, but that’s ok. I might write to her one day about that, but in the meantime, I feel relaxed and like I am myself. We are not all separate from each other.

Collidescope helps with that kind of thing. It helps art-makers feel less isolated and more ordinary. And the extraordinary act of great art-making feels more connected to everything else that’s important.

And in response to my earlier question, how has Collidescope influenced my practice? Well what I would say is, its effect isn’t something I could have anticipated and is something I am still investigating and distil-ling. It has been hugely impactful and I am deeply grateful.

Applications are now open.

Rachel Blackman is a theatre artist, performer and somatic educator.

You can find out more about her work here:

stillpointtheatre.co.uk
vibrantbody.co.uk

She also co-runs Herd, a true story telling movement

Tenor and Bass singers sought for Brighton Festival’s unique choral project

Brighton Festival & The Voice Project seek extra male voices (16+) to perform as part of a unique new choral project, The Arms of Sleep.

Set to be one of the highlights of the Brighton Festival programme, The Arms of Sleep is an unforgettable overnight sleepover experience created by directors Sian Croose and Jonathan Baker in which audiences encounter a unique dream-like and immersive night of music and stories, sound and images. 

Choir members will need to be available for up to three performances from Fri 11 May to Tue 15 May (approximately 7pm - 11pm, and returning at 6 - 8am the following morning). Brighton’s own Kirsty Martin – Choral Conductor for Brighton Festival 2018’s Depart and Musical Director for several Brighton choirs will be co-running some of the rehearsals.

Rehearsals have been underway for the last two months and are going really well. However, The Arms of Sleep Choir is still in need of male voices. If you're a Tenor or Bass and would like to be a part of our unique project, join us at one of our rehearsals below at The Basement;

Rehearsal dates for 2018 (later dates and times subject to change):

Sat 3 March - 10.30am - 4.00pm
Tue 6 March - 7.30pm - 9.45pm
Wed 21 March- 7.30pm - 9.45pm
Sat 24 March – 10.30am - 4.00pm
Tue 10 April- 7.30pm - 9.45pm
Sat 14 April 10.30am - 4.00pm
Sun 15 April- 10.30am - 4.00pm
Wed 25 April - 7.30 - 9.45pm
Tues 1 May - 7.30pm - 9.45pm

Rehearsals on site from 8th May - exact dates and times TBC

Should you decide that you would like to partake in this very exciting project, a member's fee of £20 will be required. (Please speak to the Voice Project administrators for bursary solutions).

For more information please contact info@voiceproject.co.uk

Become a Brighton Festival Volunteer!

Join us at our volunteer drop-in evening on Thu 8 Mar, 5pm - 7pm 

Be part of the action and volunteer with Brighton Festival 2018.

If you are passionate about the arts, Brighton Festival 2018 would love to hear from you!

Members of staff from various Brighton Festival departments will hold a special drop-in session for anyone interested in volunteering at the Festival on Thursday 8th March from 5pm - 7pm at the Brighton Dome Café-bar.

Brighton Festival’s successful volunteer scheme has been running for several years. From greeting the public and directing customers to outdoor promotions and educational work, the scheme aims to be as varied and accessible as the Festival itself, offering a well-rounded insight into how a festival works.

As a volunteer, individuals will have the opportunity to assist in delivering a whole range of exciting events throughout the May Festival and beyond; both across Brighton Dome venues and at other festival sites around the city, working with multiple Brighton Festival departments including Marketing, Artistic Planning, Press, Production and Visitor Services.

There will be opportunities for volunteers to work weekdays and weekends, daytimes and evenings from April. Don’t worry if the hours you have free are scattered, we’d still love to hear from you! For more information about these volunteering opportunities click here

Spotlight: Your Place

Your Place returns for a second year with another exciting programme of free theatre, dance, music, art, outdoor games and workshops. For the past year, the community steering committees of East Brighton & Hangleton have been working together to conjure up a weekend of adventure for the people of their local areas.

Now, Brighton Festival, Brighton People’s Theatre and the community steering groups are proud to bring back Your Place following its wonderful success in 2017.This year will feature lots more exciting additions including bouncy castles, delicious food and more activities for people of all ages.

Artists joining us this year include David Shrigley, The Ragroof Players, The Future is Unwritten Theatre Company, Herringbone Arts, Joanna Neary, Kate McCoy, Culture Clash, Touched Theatre, Dundu and Worldbeaters, Brighton & Hove Music & Arts and many more.

Video produced by echovideo.co.uk

Singers sought for Brighton Festival 2018's ‘The Arms of Sleep’

Brighton Festival & The Voice Project seek to form a new choir to perform as part of a unique audience sleepover project and invites people over 16, who enjoy singing, to join a new choral project The Arms of Sleep, for Brighton Festival in May 2018.

The Arms of Sleep is an overnight experience for the audience, where the choir provide music in both the morning and evening. The Arms of Sleep is a large-scale choral music-theatre piece devised and directed by Jonathan Baker and Sian Croose from the acclaimed Voice Project.

The Arms of Sleep will be presented on the Firle Place estate, near Glyndebourne, where audiences of up to 50 people will each be given a comfortable bed, to experience a dreamlike night of music and stories, sound and images.

There will be a preview on Fri 11 May, followed by performances beginning on the evenings of Sat 12 May to Tue 15th May and concluding the following mornings (full details to be confirmed).

Voice Project Co-Director Sian Croose said ‘We’d like to welcome absolutely anyone over 16 with a desire to sing to join the choir. There are no auditions and all rehearsals are conducted in such a way that no previous experience of singing or music is required.’

For performances, choir members will be performing between approximately 9pm - 11pm, and 7am - 8am the following morning. Rehearsal dates are below and each choir member would need to be available for up to 3 performances.

The Arms of Sleep is a co-production between The Norfolk & Norwich Festival and Brighton Festival, and the Voice Project and was a huge critical success in May 2017 in Norwich. The music for The Arms of Sleep has been specially written by Brighton-based composer Orlando Gough, Jonathan Baker and Helen Chadwick.

There is a no-obligation taster session for anyone who thinks they may be interested in joining the choir at The Basement, 24 Kensington Street, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 4AJ on Sunday 7th January 2018, 10.30am-1pm. 

Should you decide that you would like to partake in this very exciting project, a members fee of £60 will be required.
(Please speak to the Voice Project administrators for bursary solutions).

The Voice Project’s Sian Croose and Jon Baker will be joined by Brighton’s own Kirsty Martin who will be co-running some of the rehearsals. 

For more information please contact info@thevoiceproject.co.uk
To book on to the taster session and express your interest in the project follow the link below. 


Fill out this form to register your interest

The Voice Project are based in Norfolk and were founded by joint artistic directors Sian Croose and Jonathan Baker in 2008. They have taken their unique vision of what a community choir can be to international jazz festivals in mainland Europe, appeared on prime time French TV and had one of their London concerts broadcast on BBC Radio 3. The Voice Project Choir is now one of the best-known choirs in the East of England, having given many hundreds of singers the opportunity to take part in unique creative performances of high quality new vocal music.

Listings info: The Arms of Sleep Taster session
Sun 7 Jan 2018, 10.30am-1pm
Location: The Basement. 24 Kensington Street. Brighton. East Sussex. BN1 4AJ
No obligation taster session, everyone welcome, no experience needed.

Rehearsal dates for 2018 (later dates and times subject to change):

Sunday 7th January 10.30am-1.00pm
Tuesday 23rd January 7.30pm-9.45pm
Wednesday 7th February 7.30pm-9.45pm
Wednesday 21st February 7.30pm-9.45pm
Saturday 3rd March- 10.30am-4.00pm
Tuesday 6th March- 7.30pm-9.45pm
Wednesday 21st March- 7.30pm-9.45pm
Saturday 24th March – 10.30am-4.00pm
Tuesday 10th April- 7.30pm-9.45pm
Saturday 14th April 10.30am-4.00pm
Sunday 15th April- 10.30am-4.00pm
Wednesday 25th April- 7.30-9.45pm
Tuesday 1st May- 7.30pm-9.45pm

Rehearsals on site from 8th May- exact dates and times TBC
Fill out this form to register your interest

Title revealed for Young City Reads 2018

Greg James and Chris Smith's Kid Normal chosen for city-wide 'big read' as part of Brighton Festival 

Collected Works CIC and Brighton Festival are delighted to reveal that Greg James and Chris Smith's Kid Normal has been chosen as the 2018 'big read' for children across Brighton & Hove and beyond. The concept is simple: one book, by one author, is selected for the whole community to read, explore, discuss and creatively engage with.

Familiar to radio audiences as the hosts of Radio 1’s Greg James Show and its accompanying podcast That’s What He Said, Greg James and Chris Smith’s Kid Normal tells the story of a boy who accidentally enrols in a school for children with superpowers. Chris Smith’s literary career so far includes winning the H E Bates Short Story Competition 1981 (under 10s section) with his tale Where Are the Brandy Snaps?

The idea for writing their first children’s book arose from the pair enjoying creating characters together on their podcast, such as the Brandy Butter Monster or the receptionists at CERN. The plot concerns Murph Cooper, who feels out of depth in his new school after his mum has enrolled him at a school for superheroes by mistake. Unlike his fellow students, who can all control the weather or fly or conjure tiny horses from thin air, Murph has no special abilities whatsoever. And not far away is a great big bad guy who is half man and half wasp, and his mind is abuzz with evil plans...

Greg James and Chris Smith said: ‘We know that Brighton is full of superpowers: seagull evasion, shingle navigation and dolphin racing, to name but three. And now we're looking forward to adding a few new ones with the help of your awesome powers of creativity. We hope you enjoy meeting Murph and his friends in Kid Normal, and we can't wait to meet you all to make up some new stories!’

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival said: ‘Young City Reads is always a highlight of Brighton Festival and a testament to our strong partnership with Collected Works. By providing an opportunity to encourage young booklovers to come together to discuss and share their love of reading – we are hopefully nurturing a new generation of artists and art lovers for the future.’

Sarah Hutchings, Artistic Director, Collected Works CIC, commented: ‘Young City Reads is all about sharing our love of stories. It inspires children to take time over the reading of a book and then encourages them to discuss it with friends, teachers, carers or parents. We are delighted to be welcoming Radio 1 personalities Chris Smith and Greg James to Brighton in May to celebrate their funny and warm hearted book with schools across the city and beyond. Our young readers are in for a treat!’

Primary school teachers and classes are being invited to register online (for free) and agree to read Kid Normal together in class between (1 March – 18 May 2018). The Class Teacher or Head Teacher can complete a sign-up form on the City Reads website.

Throughout the project, participating classes will receive free weekly e-bulletins which will include bite-size Kid Normal literacy resources and fun activities to complete. This is a great way for classes to get excited about a book and to experience the benefits of shared reading and the fun it brings.

Sharon Duggal’s The Handsworth Times was chosen for City Reads 2017 and A.F. Harrold’s Fizzlebert Stump The Boy Who Ran Away from the Circus (and Joined the Library) was the title for Young City Reads 2017.

Alice O'Keefe's most anticipated Books and Debate events

Alice O’Keefe, our Books and Debate Programmer, shares her most anticipated events from three of the most exciting writers of this year's Brighton Festival.

For reader’s out there who haven’t discovered Petina Gappah yet, you are in for a treat – her event is going to be one of my highlights of this year’s festival. The short stories in her latest collection, Rotten Row, bring alive the experience of living in Zimbabwe under Mugabe – the craziness, the poverty, the lack of justice or redress, but most of all, the inventiveness and humanity of ordinary people. She is as funny and scathing about the ageing dictator as she is about the folly of the Western aid agencies – get a ticket and catch this very special writer while you can.

Another highlight is sure to be Hanif Kureishi, who will be looking back over his whole taboo-busting and boundary-breaking career in conversation with the broadcaster Mark Lawson. From his portrayal of a cross-cultural gay relationship in the film My Beautiful Laundrette, to his very early look at Islamic fundamentalism in his novel The Black Album, Kureishi has consistently proved himself to be one of Britain’s most provocative and insightful writers. I can’t wait to hear what he has to say about these and his latest novel, The Nothing.

Finally, I’m looking forward to seeing Gary Younge, who is one of my very favourite writers on politics both in Britain and America. He will be talking about his shocking and brilliant book One More Day in the Death of America, and also more generally about race, guns and Trump. He is in Brighton on the special invitation of Kate Tempest, who is a big fan - and his event is essential for anyone who wants to understand the current state of the USA.

Read more about our Books and Debate programme

VIDEO: Boys Don't director Rosemary Harris on the making of the show

Boys Don't delivers insights into the male experience of growing up through funny, familiar and sometimes heartbreaking stories drawn from the real life experiences of its cast of spoken word performers and poets. Here director Rosemary Harris talks about the making of the show.



Boys Don't is at The Spire on Sunday 21 May, 2 & 4pm

Festival Hot Seat...The Hum

Breathing new life into the mundane,The Hum takes over Brighton this year to remind us of the beauty in the everyday. We caught up with director, Nic Sandiland, to find out more.

Can you tell us what your show is about?

Yes, it’s about looking at the detail of our everyday and mundane activities within the City; things we take for granted and don’t give a moment’s notice because of their overfamiliarity. Cinema is very good at showing us this; it gives us an opportunity to dwell and reflect on such details. For The Hum, we’re simply taking some standard filmic techniques: narration and soundtrack, and using a smartphone to overlay these onto the live visuals of each site; it’s like an inside out cinema.

How and where will the work be staged?

At 15 locations around the City, each within walking distance of each other. The public uses a free app to guide them to each place which, on arrival, plays a narrated soundtrack which accompanies the day to day choreography which takes place there.

Why should someone come and see your show?

To re-experience the city from a different perspective, to hear some thought provoking text set to an emotive musical score.

Where did the idea and inspiration come from?

I was looking to develop a location-based app to give more people access to our work. Our projects are very visual but we quite quickly realised that a tiny Iphone screen was no match for the surrounding environment, however dull it seemed to be. This made me consider what it was that smartphones could bring to such environments and how we could look at these places anew. In this case, it was navigation and sound playback. Put these ingredients together and you get The Hum.

Why do you think it’s an important story to tell?

So much mainstream cinema and theatre is about the big events, things that most people don’t really experience in their day to day lives. The Hum, on the other hand, is about the world of the everyday, it reflects on acts such as: waiting at a bus stop, standing on an escalator or walking down the road. These are the places that we spend most of our time in, so why not elevate their status and place frames around them.

What sort of person is going to love this show?

It’s not an action movie, it’s more a reflective and emotive one. Perhaps this is for those who want to avoid the rush of the city and “stand and stare” as W.H.Davies famously said.

What’s going to surprise people about this show?

Possibly its simplicity, but mainly its content. Being an app-based event one might assume that the dramatic or reflective content is not such a priority; however, this is at the core to the work. It is a very personal and contemplative piece, mainly thanks to the dexterity and sensitivity of the writers involved.

What does Brighton Festival mean to you? Do you have a favourite Festival moment?

The Festival is a focal point of culture and new challenging work. I have many favourite moments over the years. Last year Simon McBurney’s The Encounter was a beautiful application of new technology. Embracing digital forms of presentation whist holding onto the intimate narrative he managed to conjure up a transfixing performance in an adept manner.

What are you most looking forward to in this year’s Brighton Festival programme?

I’d like to see Theo Clinkard’s new piece, he’s working with James Keane, a fabulously talented composer who also created the soundtracks to The Hum!

To experience The Hum download the app here from the 6 May onwards.

Festival Hot Seat...This Bright Field

Brighton-based choreographer and designer Theo Clinkard has built a reputation for creating affecting and visually arresting work for his company including this new piece, This Bright Field, which is in two parts and gradually builds in momentum to become a spectacle of visual and emotional power.


How and where will the work be staged?

This Bright Field will be presented at The Brighton Dome Concert Hall and is conceived in two parts. In part one, the audience enter the theatre in small groups to find themselves on the edge of the stage where they experience 15 minutes of intimate and tender solos and duets that explore touch.

In part two the audience is situated together in the auditorium and everything that has been established in part one is put to the test. Individual dancers move within a series of external conditions, both social and choreographic. The piece gradually builds in momentum to reach an epic scale, so that at one point the cast appears to be made up of hundreds of people. Live drumming and bold costumes also create memorable final scenes.

Where did the idea and inspiration come from?

In 2013, I was invited to make a work for the larger stage by an organisation called Dance4 and I began researching how I might rethink some of the conventions of dance presented in bigger venues.

I devised a structure where an audience might establish personal connections with the cast by initially situating them close to the action, then using the volume of the auditorium as a gentle provocation. Could the group be seen through the lens of the audience’s individual connections now that they have essentially zoomed out from the action?

Why do you think it’s an important story to tell?

I believe that mankind has difficulty humanising statistics, as we struggle to grasp scale. The numbers remain abstract while our brains seemingly can’t hold the information.

A group of 'other' people can easily be dehumanised when we fail to recognise the independent lives that make up the group, and the risk is often greater when we add in different belief systems. We might be able to empathise with those on our doorstep, but when the people in question are not in our immediate sphere of experience, it becomes harder.

My work could serve as a reminder to retain a human-scale perception in the world. I went on to consider the large group of performers I was working with, and even the audience themselves. The thinking is included in the way I structured and formed the piece rather than in a theatrical sense.

Why should someone come and see your show?

Because they believe that dance can tap into something instinctive and human that other art forms struggle to touch upon. Also, because they are interested in how live music can radically increase the nature of performance and because they are not shy of work that comes from and speaks to the heart.

What sort of person is going to love this show?

Someone who enjoys films or other artworks that require them to sit forward and figure it out for themselves, who loves to see skilled dancers in a creation that works with, empowers and celebrates their differences. Also, someone who is curious about humankind and how we see the world and believes that contemporary work has a duty to draw upon the world as it is right now.

What’s going to surprise people about this show?

The set-up in two parts, which is unusual in terms of where the audience is situated and what this does to their attention. The considered design that creates numerous distinct worlds on stage and the stirring live music.

What does Brighton Festival mean to you?

As a local, Brighton Festival means great work from around the world right on my doorstep. As an associate at the Dome, I feel I have a base from which to be in dialogue with the extraordinary work that comes through its doors, to be part of a bigger worldwide conversation and celebrate all that unites us with other worlds and contexts. It is necessary now more than ever before.

This Bright Field by Theo Clinkard is on at Brighton Dome on 25 May from 5.10pm

Interview: Eddie Otchere

Best known for his photographs depicting hip hop culture since the 1990s, acclaimed photographer Eddie Otchere will be creating The Bright Room, a community darkroom at Brighton Festival. We caught up with Eddie to find out more

Can you tell us about your involvement in Brighton Festival this year? How did it come about?

My involvement with the Brighton Festival came about when I finally met Kate Tempest in daylight hours, in Vauxhall for a shoot. We got into this amazing conversation about raving, life and love. She spoke about the Brighton Festival because she was just excited that was she able to do it. She had a vision for the Festival, about the community, about society, and we talked about that.

We left it there, but then I got into a conversation about making work for the Festival with the Festival Producer, Beth Burgess. I thought let’s do something active with an open-door policy, then people can come in and be a part of the art. Let’s create a darkroom, make it transparent and clear, and get people to come in to create images and stick them on the wall. It would be their gallery; like some kind of great socialist utopia. That was general feeling of it but as I’ve started to get more into Brighton, I realise it’s something Brighton might embrace in terms of people and art almost being the same thing, at the same time.

How did you first meet Kate Tempest? What interests you about working with her?

I first met Kate in a rave in Peckham. Her and her squad were celebrating a birthday party, I was with a guy called Gerald and I was photographing him and these rambunctious people, enjoying every moment of it. At the end of the night Kate comes up to me and asked me to thank Gerald for a great set. It was two in the morning and I was not focussing on what was going on, but when I went back to look over my photos from that night Kate’s drummer was in them and I realised I must have met her.

What interested me about working with her is that everything she does is loaded with a sense of motive. It’s more like love than anything else and you can’t help but feel empowered by that. The first time I ever heard her speak, in the Battersea Arts Centre, she did the poem ‘The God’s are in the Betting Shops’ and it blew my mind that words from the mouth of someone so young could be so perceptive, so poetic and yet so street. It was like, finally we have a Shakespeare, a Shakespeare meets Joan of Arc in the 21st century. Finally, we’re advanced enough to actually understand this level of humanity. We can allow ourselves to listen this person and gain power from this person so that we can go about our lives not feeling challenged or afraid. That person, in the back of my mind is always Kate Tempest.


You will also be taking part in Your Place at Hangleton and Whitehawk. Can you tell us what you’ll be doing for that and what attracted you to the initiative?

I went to Whitehawk and bumped into Lorraine Snow, the centre manager of the The Crew Club, a community centre there, and was inspired to record her story. I wanted to know about her life in the heart of a community. The same thing happened when I went to Hangleton, I caught the bus up there and went to their community centre and the door wasn’t locked so I just walked in. Some kids were doing circus practice and I was struck that it was a living centre, beautifully run, and the reach of the Brighton Festival should extend here to the outlying communities.

I want to give people some sense of what photography is in the traditional sense. To say, here’s a roll of film, I want you to shoot your Brighton and I want that to be on display in The Bright Room, so press that button and let the camera tell your story. With that came the idea of the contact sheet as being a photographic motif of narrative; that you can just shoot a roll of film and all those 36 shots are like 36 chapters in your day in Brighton, your story.

You have described your work as a type of ‘mass observation’. Can you tell us what you mean by the term and what interests you about that approach?

Mass observation was an idea I came across that happened in this country in the 1940’s. I think it was a team of photographers who went to the working class communities of the north and started photographing everything. The images are of peoples’ lives in situ just as they were; a slice of life. I felt that I wanted to experience that for myself in regards to East Sussex and the South Coast, just turn up and start photographing.

Even in the last two weeks we’ve been walking around Lewes, Alfriston and the villages outside of Brighton just to circumnavigate the environment and the lives people live. That means walking past a house and seeing a man in wellies, in a river, cutting water-cress. You start talking and that’s actually his life, that’s what he does when he gets up in the morning. Just to observe and to allow the people of Brighton to become a part of this mass observation. I understood this idea to record working-class life not as art but more as a sort of social document. But I’m now trying to make more about art, it’s mass observation as art.

What are you hoping people will take away from The Bright Room?

I’m hoping people will come into The Bright Room to walk away with a skill; to have learnt how to develop a roll of film and print an image. To have learnt how to just go out there, take pictures and have conversations with people. To have learnt how to see themselves and their work amongst other people’s work and see that we are all one. Did I really just say that? I’m just giving you my whole world outlook, sorry!

You are committed to traditional photography and the art of darkroom printing. Why do you prefer this method and what are the benefits of this photographic approach?

I love film photography because it’s a skill and it’s using your eyes in a way we don’t do anymore. With back-projected screens and photons coming out of telephones, things are being thrown at us; we’re not looking at reflected light we’re looking at emitted light. I think we still have to remember to look at things in reality. I want people to experience film photography so they can experience what’s actually there. You can only manipulate so much in film, you have to be honest.

I’m using 8 x 10 paper so each image is small enough to stick on your fridge and you don’t have stand back and look at it. And what a gift. It’s difficult in the world we live in but I still want people to put things on their wall. For when they open their eyes in the morning they see that image and it takes them forward. We are losing that engagement. As soon as you wake up in the morning you go straight to your phone.

How did you first get into photography?

My mum had a camera and I had a chance to play with that once or twice and my generation inherited records and cameras from their grandparents. You take a camera and you put a roll of film in to to see if it still works, you go out shooting and you capture things around you. I think the first photographs I took were of a pair of trainers, the most important thing I had ever bought! After that I went to college and that was it. The minute I got to the darkroom I knew I would love photography. It was not just taking pictures, it was the whole process of developing the picture, printing it and then showing it to someone you photographed and seeing them react.

It was only in 1993 when someone offered to buy a picture of mine that I realised that you can make money from photography and it built up from there. It allowed me to make prints, making prints meant I could do shows, doing shows meant I could understand what curating is and then I could reassign my understanding of art history and add these social spaces where people, art, music and food all interact and people’s minds could be changed. You walk into a show with one mindset and by the time you walk out from that experience you have a different mindset.

For me, the minute I look through the lens at someone you see how the light frames them and you start to look so deeply that you fall in love. It is a bit oversimplified but the image ends up capturing what I see when I am in love with someone. This happened with Kate, you can see it in the contact sheets. That emotive quality, you can’t beat the rush. There aren’t many jobs that give you that level of satisfaction.


You have photographed many of the icons of the Hip Hop scene. What interested you about the capturing the scene?

At the time I started it was an underground scene, very small but very influential and there were so many characters within it who had their own voice, their own manner, their own language; they were like super-beings to me. Whether it was Method Man, Coolio or any one you can think of in that scene, they were such characters. When you turn a camera on them, you feel like you fall in love with them but also you feel like you just captured a God of some kind in the height of their prowess. Hip hop is one of those things that is very empowering.

In England it was slightly different, we didn’t really have MC personalities – our MC’s were our DJ’s in a way. Someone like Fatboy Slim who has the same energy as a rapper except he isn’t lyrical, but when he gets behind the decks and he mixes tunes together he is genuinely having a moment and your in that moment with him. When I photographed Fatboy Slim his record was number one and he was on top of the world and I love it when artists are in that moment. You can’t help wanting to photograph that as you see it happen. I still get that buzz now.

What are you most looking forward to in this year’s Brighton Festival programme?

I’m look forward to everything this Brighton Festival, it is so strong across the board. I am looking forward to being there and recording the performers, recording the people that come to see it, recording the parts of Brighton that the performances are happening in. Celebrating the fact that Brighton has a festival! Brighton is not England’s first, second or even third city, it is way down the league but its celebrations are bigger than anything else, maybe only second to Notting Hill Carnival in my head anyway! And unlike Notting Hill Carnival which was never supported by the council, it is beautiful because it is a combination of community and the organisers’ vision for Brighton, and Brighton’s vision for itself. It is such a powerful thing to see a city celebrate itself like that. I am looking forward to being able to record it on camera and let the world know that this is how a city gets down!

The Bright Room Workshops will take place from Tuesday 23 – Friday 26 May, 4 – 7pm, 114 Church Street. Works created will be on display in The Bright Room Gallery, Saturday 27 & Sunday 28 May, 11am – 11pm, 114 Church Street.

Guest Director Kate Tempest's Picks

With this year’s celebration of the everyday epic fast approaching, we felt there was no one better to guide us through the month ahead than our pioneering Guest Director, Kate Tempest.

Below she lays down the events she is especially excited about in the hope you will see, hear and feel something new.

Five Short Blasts Shoreham

Five Short Blasts Brighton Festival

Who? Austalian artist duo Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey (the team behind Gauge, Brighton Festival 2015)

What? Cast off aboard a small boat into the River Adur and navigate the uncertainties of the changing tide whilst tuning in to the sounds of the people who live and work on the water.

They Say“Five Short Blasts Shoreham is a journey in a boat, where you listen to the sound of the place and the sound of the people in the place. You listen to where you are but also you listen to voices and sounds that we have orchestrated and created for you as we traverse a journey.”

Kate says“There’s a site-specific piece of theatre, kind of environmental music installation art, by this incredible duo from Australia. It’s called Five Short Blasts which is the signal that you give when you are in a sea-way, that means ‘I’m confused about your intention and I’m nervous that we are going to collide’. This is the premise of this sound art piece and I’m really excited about bringing that to Brighton.”

Where? Shoreham Harbour

When? Saturday 6 – Sunday 28 May, around high tide (every day except 8, 9, 15 – 17, 24 & 25 May)

Let Them Eat Chaos: Rearranged

Kate Tempest, photo credit Eddie Otchere

Who? Guest Director Kate Tempest with Mica Levi & Orchestrate

What? Hip-hop inspired storytelling meets cinematic orchestration as Kate Tempest teams up with musician and composer Mica Levi and ensemble Orchestrate, to perform Kate’s full album, Let Them Eat Chaos reworked for strings.

The critics say“Kate Tempest’s refusal to recognise genre boundaries – her material nimbly regenerates itself into performance poetry, rap-style narratives against a backdrop of electronic music, a novel – might appear at odds with the consistency of her concerns.” – Alex Clark, The Guardian

Kate says“It’s a kind of reinterpretation of Let Them Eat Chaos for strings, composed by Mica Levi who is an incredible artist and a friend which is really exciting! I can just feel the shape of the piece changing and what’s going to happen to my voice against the resonance of those strings is really exciting.

Where? Brighton Dome Concert Hall

When? Let Them Eat Chaos: Thursday 11 May, 7,30pm

If you like this, you will also like… A film screening of the critically acclaimed Under the Skin, accompanied by a live orchestral performance conducted by Mica Levi of her ethereal soundtrack, Brighton Dome Concert Hall, Sunday 7 May, 8pm

The Odyssey

The Odyssey at Brighton Festival 2017

Who? Daniel Morden and Hugh Lupton

What? Leading storytellers Daniel Morden and Hugh Lupton tell the gripping story of the Odysseus’ ten-year journey from Troy, an epic adventure story punctuated with moments of insight, humour and horror.

The critics say'The nation's most celebrated storytelling duo in a performance that is serious, moving and vital' Times

Kate says… “There’s a guy called Daniel Morden, who’s from Wales and he’s a storyteller – he knows the whole Odyssey back to front in his head, and he can tell it to you while you’re sitting there, it will feel like a blockbuster movie. He’s incredible, I’m really excited about what he’s going to bring!”

Where? Sallis Benney Theatre

When? Saturday 13 May, 6pm

Your Place

your place

Who? Community steering groups from Whitehawk and Hangleton, with Kate Tempest

What? A diverse and exciting programme of music, dance, theatre and spoken word events in the Hangleton and Whitehawk communities, created with and for the community, this one is for everyone to enjoy.

They say… “The community has been really hands on engaged form start to finish in the overall planning and management of the project [...] I think the arts and creativity are important to everyone, I think everyone is creative but not everyone gets the opportunity to express that creativity. The arts help us figure out what it means to be human.” - Naomi Alexander, Artistic Director of the Brighton People’s Theatre

Kate says…We’ve got this really cool initiative called Your Place – which is probably the thing I’m most excited about. We have developed two community hubs, one in Whitehawk, one in Hangleton, in community centres there and we’ll be programming events going on for two weekends across the Festival. There will be performances from Brighton Festival artists, also participatory events and workshops. Everything is free - completely free - programmed in conjunction and consultation with people that run some of the community programmes out of those community centres.”

Where? Hangleton & Whitehawk

When? Hangleton: Saturday 13 & Sunday 14 May, Whitehawk: Saturday 20 & Sunday 21 May

Ocean Wisdom and High Focus Records

Ocean Wisdom, The Four Owls & Jam Baxter

Who? High Focus Records presents Ocean Wisdom, The Four Owls and Jam Baxter

What? Resurrecting the legacy of UK hip-hop, label High Focus Records offers up three acts from their impressive family of artists. Meteoric riser, Ocean Wisdom, Fliptrix led collective The Four Owls, and outlandish lyricist, Jam Baxter.

They critics say… “Ocean Wisdom’s Chaos 93 is vital work in a maturing genre by a young talent, which should be as gripping a listen for those who know they’ll love it, as it is necessary for those who think they won’t.” – Tariq Goddard, The Quietus

Kate says… “There’s a rapper called Ocean Wisdom, a rapper called Jam Baxter and a group called Four Owls who are going do an event as a part of a High Focus showcase. High Focus are a record label championing extremely delicate, powerful and playful lyricism in the UK.”

Where? Brighton Dome Concert Hall

When? Friday 21 May, 7.30pm

Lyrix Organix


Who? Poet, musician and visual artist Kojey Radical & UnFold platform featuring Toby Thompson, Solomon OB, Laurie Ogden & London String Collective

What? Exploring what it means ‘to be human’, acclaimed platform, Unfold, with the next young stars of spoken work meets the extraordinary lyricism of 24 year-old artist, Kojey Radical in this double headliner collection of live performances threaded together by London String Collective

The critics say… “One of the most innovative and exciting presentations of the spoken word I have experienced” - Dean Atta, poet and winner of the London Poetry Award

Kate says… “There’s a real emphasis on storytelling, on lyricism which is something that is really close to my heart. We’ve got a load of poets that we’ve programmed and storytellers and lyricists from across the board. When you immerse yourselves in narratives that are overtly narratives like storytelling, or cinema or theatre or dance, it can help you tune in to spotting the narratives that are more carefully hidden.”

Where? The Spire

When? Tuesday 23 May, 7.30pm

If you like this, you will also like… Voted the best poetry night in the UK by The Times, Bang Said the Gun’s unique brand of stand-up poetry is an energetic blend of the freshest talent, described by Kate as ‘mud wrestling with words’, The Spire, Saturday 20 May, 8pm

Festival Hot Seat...SPECTRA: CAST

Artist duo Walter & Zoniel plan to transform Brighton Beach into the biggest canvas in town with SPECTRA: CAST, which is part performance, part installation. Here they tell us more about what’s in store.


Can you tell us what your show is about?

SPECTRA: CAST is a large-scale public installation where we will be painting Brighton beach multi-coloured. It is an interactive art piece, so everyone is invited to take part.

The installation is purposefully simplistic in terms of interaction yet it works on multiple levels, so each person will take something different from it.

It deals with themes of inclusivity in art and accessing creativity through crossing lines we aren’t normally allowed to. We use fun and mischief as tools in the installation to inspire engagement with the subjects.

How and where will the work be staged?

The work takes place on the beach in between Brighton Pier and the Doughnut Groyne. The active part will be on Doughnut Groyne, so anyone wanting to take part should head there. It can be viewed from all around, including the promenade and the pier, for those wishing to just watch the piece take shape.

Those taking part are invited to cast their multi-coloured stones onto the ‘canvas’of the beach. Each stone is coloured to represent each person’s individual opinion.

Why should someone come and see your show?

It will be fun, surreal and beautiful and those who input will be part of a massive artistic creation which will remain on the beach until nature takes its course.

Where did the idea and inspiration come from?

For our SPECTRA series of installations we wanted to use mischief and surrealism, getting people to cross lines they wouldn’t normally be allowed to cross. We were inspired by societal concepts of rules which led to the idea of crossing lines and using colour to change spaces in people’s consciousness.

Why do you think it’s an important story to tell?

It’s important for us to look at what restrains us and what fuels us on a daily and societal level, what rules are there and why, and when it’s useful to step aside from them to think creatively. Also, public engagement with art is a key element of this piece. Everyone should feel empowered to engage and have access to art, and we are strong advocates of that. The artwork exhibited on the beach will be a representation of everyone’s opinions.

What sort of person is going to love this show?

Anyone who likes fun, or art, or expressing their opinions. Also anyone who enjoys being part of something bigger than themselves.

What’s going to surprise people about this show?

That it works on multiple levels. There is much more to it than the simple act of throwing a coloured stone. We’re not telling you what, or it wouldn’t be a surprise.

What does Brighton Festival mean to you? Do you have a favourite Festival moment?

We are really into Kate Tempest’s curation and how it’s focusing on the accessibility of art, as this is a subject close to our hearts. Brighton is such a vibrant and colourful city and the festival team is pushing boundaries of what can be created. We are looking forward to it all.

What are you most looking forward to in this year’s Brighton Festival programme?

There are so many interesting events going on, it’s hard to choose. The light installation in the woods ‘For The Birds’ looks pretty intriguing.

SPECTRA: CAST is at Brighton Beach, Doughnut Groyne from 13-14 May

Festival Hot Seat...Rich Hall's Hoedown

Rich Hall and his musical mates present the Hoedown, a mash-up of the very best of music and comedy, featuring his critically-acclaimed grouchy humour and deadpan style. He explains a bit more about the show.


Why should someone come and see your live show?

I love the fact that when a live show is over, it’s gone. It's happened, and it will never happen like that again. It can’t be replicated. That’s a great magical moment.

In every single show, there are always two or three moments where I’m thinking, ‘Wow, where did that come from?’ You’re constantly thinking on your feet.

What’s going to surprise people about this show?

I try to tap into what is happening locally and address that musically by writing an improvised song based on the town I’m in.

Once audiences realise you're not just trotting out your regular act, people think, ‘He’s made a real effort. He’s on our side, so we're on his side.’ Then you can take them anywhere.

Where did the idea come from to do the improvised songs?

I like to do something custom-made every night, otherwise you would just be like a robot. That can really wear you down. Nobody gets more sick of hearing their own voice than a comedian.

When you're improvising a song, you think, 'I may never do this one again, but it’s a special moment for everyone here.’

Music works in my show because it connects with people on a very personal level. Having a band there makes it a much richer experience – if you’ll pardon the phrase!

A lot of comedians just come on stage and say, ‘I was on a bus and I passed so and so.’ But that’s just a reaction to something rather than a specific, custom-made song that engages people. The magic is more important than the material. People really respond to that.

What are the other inspirations for your comedy?

It is always good to articulate anger. If you don’t, you’re merely preaching to the converted and asking, ‘Have you ever noticed?’ Yes, we are paying you to notice things we haven’t already noticed!

You want to reach the point where audiences say, ‘I’d like to see that guy again’. You want to deliver the goods and be Old Reliable. I’m not a big showbiz hound, but for me being on stage is the most satisfying thing imaginable.

Rich Hall’s Hoedown is at Theatre Royal Brighton on Sun 21 May at 8pm

Festival Hot Seat...One Hundred Homes

One Hundred Homes is a lovingly conceived intimate performance by Belgian theatre maker Yinka Kuitenbrouwer. Full of warmth and insight, the show won rave reviews at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe. We talked to Yina to find out more. 


Can you tell us what your show is about?

One Hundred Homes is an intimate performance based on over 100 talks about ‘home’. I went to visit over a hundred people in their houses. I tried to visit a lot of different kinds of people: those living in special houses such as boats, train stations and squats, along with people who fled their country or who moved around a lot. Based on all these talks, with the help of pictures, tea and biscuits, I perform my show.

How and where will the work be staged?

One Hundred Homes will play in a community pub, in a very intimate setting of a little kitchen and is always played to a small number of people. This way, I really get in touch with the audience, so the show is an encounter similar to the ones I had while visiting people researching the show.

Why should someone come and see your show?

One Hundred Homes is more than a regular performance, it’s an immersive encounter between the audience and me, the actor. It’s also about a topic that relates to us all – being at home. And there will be biscuits!

Where did the idea and inspiration come from?

I was born and raised in Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. When I was 19 I moved to Ghent in Belgium to study Drama. Although I always planned to go back to Amsterdam after my graduation, I started to feel more at home in Ghent than in Amsterdam, although I had been living there for the larger part of my life. This realisation made me wonder what ‘home’ really is and this idea formed the starting point for the show. While I was doing my interviews as research, I was struck by the openness of the people I visited, and the intimate stories they told me, even though I had never met them before. This inspired me to make the show personal and honest.

Why do you think it’s an important story to tell?

It’s universal and very relevant to the current times with refugees crossing borders in order to find safe new homes.

What sort of person is going to love this show?

Someone who likes to discover new places where theatre can be performed, who likes stories and meeting new people. Also, someone who likes an intimate setting where it’s a bit different to a regular performance. And who likes biscuits!

What’s going to surprise people about this show?

The range of people that are involved in the show and the fact that there are so many stories about home, but in the end everybody is more-or-less searching for the same thing. Also, people may not realise that there this is a special Brighton adaptation with local interviewees involved in the show.

What does Brighton Festival mean to you? Do you have a favourite Festival moment?

It will be my first time visiting Brighton and the Festival. I’m very excited to be part of the Festival as I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. I’m also excited to be coming back to the UK after my run at the Edinburgh Fringe last August.

What are you most looking forward to in this year’s Brighton Festival programme?

There is a lot to choose from, and with my seven performances in three days, and biscuits to bake for each, I don’t know if I will have time to see as many other performances as I’d like to! I’m really looking forward to enjoying the atmosphere of the city during the Festival.

One Hundred Homes is at the Bevy Community Pub from Friday 26 May to Sunday 28 May.

Festival Hot Seat...FK Alexander

The Glasgow-based performance artist is all set to give a performance like no other at this year’s Brighton Festival. Here she tells us more about (I Could Go On Singing) Over the Rainbow


Can you tell us what your show is about?

It’s not really a show – it’s an interactive one-to-one performance art piece, where I sing Over The Rainbow to one audience member at a time. Other people can witness the song being sung, and the Glasgow-based noise band Okishima Island Tourist Association play a wall of noise throughout the whole situation. I am singing live to a recording of the last time Judy Garland performed Over The Rainbow, a few months before she died, and while I sing I am holding the person’s hand and not breaking eye contact. It’s quite a loud situation, but filled with love.

How and where will the work be staged?

It will be presented at The Spire, which is a stunning site. There will be three different days where we will be sharing the work, in four hour durations.

Why should someone come and see your show?

People who love Judy Garland might connect to this, as well as fans of noise music, people seeking a moment of full attention from a stranger (myself) and people who are curious or enjoy intimate performance. Also, people seeking something real, intimate and genuine. Or maybe people who just like loud work!

Where did the idea and inspiration come from?

Judy Garland is my spirit guide and for a long time I was seeking to make a work where I might occupy the space of her spiritually in the current time. I wanted to display the complexities of her, and her history and myth. I also wanted to draw on the tensions between the iconic song and the misunderstood music genre of noise, of which I have been a fan for years.

I wanted to make a real, live connection between myself and others, that happened in real time. It was a very personal process to make this when it was first shown in January 2014 in the Arches in Glasgow. I wanted to explore vulnerability and strength at the same time - of myself and others.

Why do you think it’s an important story to tell?

It’s not a story, it’s not a metaphor – it’s real!

What sort of person is going to love this show?

Anyone is open to come along – my work is never for anyone in particular. Everyone is welcome.

What’s going to surprise people about this show?

It’s loud, it’s repetitive, there are no hidden sections. People are often very moved and I’ve held the hands of people crying. I am surprised by how emotional I feel every time.

What does Brighton Festival mean to you? Do you have a favourite Festival moment?

I’ve never been! But I understand Brighton Festival to be of a very high quality, with an international programme that means a lot to the local community and those coming specially to see a diverse range of form-pushing and mind- and heart-expanding work.

What are you most looking forward to in this year’s Brighton Festival programme?

I hope I see something I have not experienced before. It’s a huge programme with an unlimited scope for new sensations and so much I haven't heard of, which is really exciting.

(I Could Go On Singing) Over the Rainbow is at The Spire on 26-28 May.

5 minutes with... Hollie McNish

Internationally acclaimed poet and spoken word artist Hollie Poetry joins us for this year’s Brighton Festival as part of An Evening with Picador Poetry. You may know her from her Brighton Festival 2015 performance with Kate Tempest and George the Poet, or from one of her viral YouTube videos (now totaling almost 4.1 million views). Take 5 minutes to learn what makes Hollie McNish tick, ahead of her next fantastic show at the Brighton Festival in May.

I knew I wanted to be a performer when…

Honestly, I wanted to be a sports coach, then an economist, then a writer. But I love this job now! I knew I wanted to carry on doing this when I met the other poets I’d be working with.

My first public performance took place at…

Poetry Unplugged, Poetry Café, Covent Garden after a good pint of cider.

The first gig I went to was…

The Hollies with my dad. I’m named after them and he was determined I’d love them. The first one of my own choice was to see MN8.

The first album I ever bought was…

Errr, Boom Boom Boom by the Outhere Brothers. I was a little obsessed with the non-radio edit version! Other than that I’d record my own on tape from the radio. You know when you used to listen so carefully to click stop before the radio presenter spoke again.

The proudest moment of my career to date was when…

My daughter did my sound check at Abbey Road.

My favourite part of touring is…

Meeting other poets and people from the audience after the shows.

The best show I ever performed was…

Oooh, maybe The Moon Club, Cardiff. Lots of mums heckling and a burger place round the corner that served battered gherkins. Or Oran Mor on tour last year, cos it was in Glasgow and loads of my family were there.

If I wasn’t performing, I’d probably be…

Doing something admin-related with spreadsheets! Or writing other things. I’d still be writing poems, just keeping them under the bed instead.

People would be surprised to learn that...

I don’t like poetry.
Just joking.
Really, I do love it.

5 minutes with... Luke Wright

Poet, performer and broadcaster Luke Wright returns to Brighton Festival this May with a stunning new spoken word show, Luke Wright: The Toll. We took 5 minutes with Luke Wright to discover more about his passion for spoken word.

I knew I wanted to be a performer when... When I watched Ross Sutherland support Johnny Clarke at Colchester Arts Centre. He started doing a mic check (one ... Two ... One ... Two ...) which sped up and became a poem. It was brilliant. So fucking cool. I thought, "I want to do that."

My first public performance took place at… My sixth form college. I know, right, rock n roll. The audience were a bunch of sporty lads trying to eat their lunch. Not big poetry fans.

The first gig I went to was… As mentioned, Johnny Clarke, Martin Newell and Ross Sutherland. It changed my life.

The first album/book I ever bought was… Probably Martin Newell's The Illegible Bachelor. I love pun book/album titles. Half Man Half Biscuit are the masters of this.

My favourite poet / spoken word performer is… I'm a big, big fan of Catherine Smith. I could listen to her for days.

The proudest moment of my career to date was when… I'm just pleased to be here!

My favourite part of touring is… Eating. It's all about the food.

The best show I ever performed was… It's going to be this one in Brighton. Just you wait and see.

If I wasn’t performing, I’d probably be… Richer.

People would be surprised to learn that… It's taken me seventeen minutes to come up with this final answer. And I'm not exactly thrilled with the results.

Luke Wright: The Toll is at The Spire on Fri 19 May.

Five minutes with... Alexei Sayle

Alexei Sayle joins us this Brighton Festival to discuss his new memoir, Thatcher Stole My Trousers. We pinned him down for a quick, but seriously funny five minutes of questions...

I knew I wanted to be a comedian when…

I never wanted to be a comedian that’s why I seem so angry all the time.

My first public performance took place at…

My mother used to make the neighbours come around and watch me do little shows from about the age of six.

The first comedy gig I went to was…

There was a guy called John Dowie who came along just too early for the alternative comedy boom who I saw at the Bush Theatre in 1976.

The first album I ever bought was…

The Four Tops. On Top.

My favourite part of touring is…

Not touring.

My favourite comedian is…

I’ll say Louie C K because he is no threat to me.

My favourite place to perform live is…

The Soho Theatre in London. I can get the 19 bus there using my old person’s bus pass and be home again by 10.00. All for free.

The last song I listened to was…

“Circles” by Kate Tempest.

The proudest moment of my career to date was when…

I MC’d Glastonbury in 1985 a famously muddy year and I said from the stage “a woman’s lost a contact lens, if you could all just have a look for it...”

The best show I ever performed was…

Glastonbury 1985.

If I wasn’t performing, I’d probably be…

Eating a sugary cake such as a Lemon Yum Yum from the patisserie counter at Waitrose.

People would be surprised to learn that…

I don’t have diabetes.

Festival Hot Seat ... Zvizdal

We catch up with Yves Degryse, Artistic Director of Berlin, who are bringing their ‘filmic portrait’ Zvizdal (Chernobyl – so far so close) to Brighton Festival


Can you tell us what your show is about?

Over four years we have been filming near Chernobyl in the forbidden zone. Each time we went it was to meet two people, Petro and Nadia, a couple in their 80s, living in Zvizdal and who refused to be evacuated following the nuclear disaster. They have been living with no water or electricity and no means of communication with the outside world. Every time we went we took a plane and hoped they were still there. We spent time filming them in their everyday lives.

How and where will it be staged?

The audience will be seated in two tiers in front of a big screen, and underneath the screen will be three scale models of the couple’s house and grounds, depicting three seasons. There will be two cameras filming the models and these images will be interspersed in the film.

Where did the idea and inspiration come from?

The French journalist Cathy Blisson, formerly a critic, but who moved into reportage, came into contact with Petro and Nadia and asked if we would be interested to collaborate with her, and we quickly decided to start the project.

Why do you think it’s an important story to tell?

The moment you enter the forbidden zone, you are entering a microcosm of human experience. It is a very extreme situation, but there are layers that you recognise, and as you spend time there the layers become more visible.

What sort of person is going to love this show?

Our work can be complex but at the same time it appeals to a very broad audience.

What’s going to surprise people about this show?

There will be surprises, relating to the concept of the piece, but the surprises you should not know beforehand.

What does Brighton Festival mean to you?

We have brought work to Brighton Festival before including Perhaps All The Dragons in 2014, and Lands End in 2012. What I really like about Brighton Festival is that I have the impression that the audiences are very eager to discover things. I think it’s connected with the way the Festival approaches the audience, not underestimating the audience.

This year marks 50 years of Brighton Festival. What does it mean for you to be part of the festival in this milestone year?

I’m very happy that we will be part of that moment.

Book now for Zvizdal.