Brighton Festival 2020Public booking opens: Wed 19 Feb, 9am

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Shrigley on Shrigley

Guest director David Shrigley talks us through his events at the Brighton Festival 2018. 

Best known for his darkly humorous works that comment on the inconsequential, bizarre, and disquieting elements of daily life, the artist’s offbeat take is reflected in his own events at this years festival. There's Festival commission Problem in Brighton, a brand new alt rock/pop pantomime, written and directed by Shrigley himself, and Life Model II, a follow-up to the artist’s Turner Prize-nominated installation of the same name which invites visitors to take part in a life drawing class with a sculpture of a nine-foot-tall woman as the ‘model’. Shrigley will also be doing an also an illustrated talk billed as ‘containing numerous rambling anecdotes… not in the slightest bit boring’, and a screening of a documentary about his work titled A Shit Odyssey. 

Head to our Whats On page to see the full programme
Video edited by Summer Dean

Five Brighton Festival Spoken Word artists to check out before May

Take some time out to enjoy some of the magnificent wordsmithery and acts you can expect at Brighton Festival this May...

The Last Poets
Energised by the civil rights movement, The Last Poets were formed in 1968. As latter day griots, they fused politically outspoken lyrics with inventive percussion. Their albums have influenced generations of hip-hop & soul artists.

Yomi Sode
Yomi Sode balances the line between Nigerian and British cultures, which can be humorous, loving, self-reflective and, at times, uncomfortable. Tackling immigration, identity and displacement, his new performance COAT is a humorous and moving response to the mistakes made by elders that leave the next generation uncertain of what is expected of them.


Travis Alabanza
Travis Alabanza is a performance artist, theatre maker, poet and writer. In the last two years they have been noted by numerous publications as one of the most prominent emerging queer artistic voices, and also listed in OUT as an influential queer figure.


Hollie McNish
Hollie McNish’s poems have challenged stigmas around sex, breastfeeding and young motherhood, earning her a worldwide following. McNish will perform as part of Poets & Illustrators, a one-off event, that pairs some of the finest, freshest poets around with live illustrators. 



Toby Thompson
Toby Thompson is a writer and performer of thoughts and feelings. His poetry displays his delight in life’s uncertainties and absurdities and his uniquely rhythmic and musical style is lyrical, beguiling, playful and poignant. In Brighton Festival, Toby Thompson boldly re-imagines Herman Hesse’s classic fairy-tale I Wish I Was A Mountain

For more amazing Spoken Word, check out our full programme with Bang! Said the GunBridget Minamore, Toby Campion & Theresa Lola and more!

Spotlight: Calixto Bieito: The String Quartet’s Guide to Sex and Anxiety

In a co-commission with the Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Holland Festival, the Brighton Festival presents The String Quartet’s Guide to Sex and Anxiety.

In this exciting production, the tempestuous relationship between sex, anxiety and music is explored and examined by one of Europe’s most exciting theatre directors, Calixto Bieito.

Music and drama collide as the award-winning string powerhouse The Heath Quartet perform alongside an equally stunning quartet of actors to deliver an unmissable montage of melody and madness. These eight artists will take you on a journey through time to explore how our innermost thoughts battle with our artistic impulses.

Head to our event page to find out more about ticket availability
Video edited by echovideo.co.uk

Spotlight: Cuckmere: A Portrait

Discover more about Cuckmere: A Portrait, a Brighton Festival Co-commission.

For centuries the Cuckmere River has inspired artists, sheltered smugglers and preserved a host of rare habitats and wildlife as it charts a course through some of the most evocative landscapes in southern England.

In a work of beauty and eloquence, the filmmaker Cesca Eaton and the composer/conductor Ed Hughes trace the changing moods of the Cuckmere river, from its source in the Sussex Downs to its dramatic twists and turns as it meanders to the sea at Cuckmere Haven. The score, specially composed by Ed Hughes, is played live by The Orchestra of Sound and Light in this world premiere.

Head to our event page to find out more about ticket availability
Video edited by echovideo.co.uk

Spotlight: Gob Squad: Creation (Pictures for Dorian)

Creation is the realm of gods and artists, who create beauty through sheer will and their own bare hands. But who decides what is beautiful?

British/German arts collective Gob Squad have performed all over the world for 25 years. Now middle-aged, they have no desire to exit the stage just yet. UK Premiere and Brighton Festival co-commission, Creation (Pictures for Dorian), is inspired by Oscar Wilde’s iconic character Dorian Gray, who remains eternally youthful at a terrible cost to his soul. 

There’s probably a little bit of Dorian in all of us. Joined onstage by older and younger local performers, Gob Squad peeps behind the vanity mirror to question beauty, morality and power - and ask why we so crave the eye of the beholder.

Head to our event page to find out more about ticket availability
Video edited by echovideo.co.uk

Spotlight: The Arms of Sleep

Discover more about The Arms of Sleep, a Brighton Festival Co-commission with Norfolk and Norwich Festival.

In one of its most ambitious and magical productions to date, The Voice Project takes us on an epic 10-hour immersive overnight experience of choral music, film and animation set in the beautiful grounds of historic stately home Firle Place.

Through dusk and darkness to dawn, drift and dream with The Voice Project Brighton Choir as you travel into the space of sleep.

Head to our event page to find out more about ticket availability
Video produced by echovideo.co.uk
Stills by JMA Photography

Spotlight: Your Place

Your Place returns to the Brighton Festival with another exciting programme of free theatre, art, dance, music, outdoor games and workshops. For the past year, the community steering committees of East Brighton & Hangleton have been working together to create a vibrant weekend of arts and activities for their local communities.

Brighton Festival, Brighton People’s Theatre and the community steering groups are proud to bring back Your Place for a second year following its wonderful success in 2017. Expect new and 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

Meet David Shrigley, our 2018 Guest Director

We're delighted to welcome visual artist and Brighton resident David Shrigley as the Guest Director for Brighton Festival 2018.

Best known for his distinctive drawing style and works that make satirical comments on the absurdity of 21st-century society, his work also spans an extensive range of media including sculpture, large-scale installation, animation, painting, photography and music.

Nominated for the prestigious Turner Prize in 2013, Shrigley’s Really Good, a 7 metre-high elongated bronze sculpture of a thumbs-up, is the current incumbent of Trafalgar Square's Fourth Plinth.

David Shrigley says:
“The great thing about Brighton Festival is that you see things that are really thrilling and wonderful that you’ve never heard of before. What I’m looking forward to about the role of Guest Director is having the opportunity to not only see a lot of stuff and programme stuff but also make some artwork myself and have it presented in the place where I live. I think it’s a really nice way to communicate with people, to meet people and to invite people to come to Brighton.”

British Council Arts created a great 'About the Artist' video, which sees David discussing his working practices and briefly discussing his career as you can watch below. 

Brighton Festival 2018: 5 – 27 May
Full programme announced: Thu 15 Feb
Members’ priority booking opens: Fri 16 Feb
Public booking opens: Fri 23 Feb

Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival retains Arts Council NPO funding

Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival is pleased to be confirmed as a continuing part of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio for 2018-2022.

Funding has been maintained at current levels during the period, equating to £1,149,921 per year.

As custodians of the Grade 1 Listed Brighton Dome at the cultural heart of the city, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival is the major arts and cultural provider in Brighton & Hove with an audience reach of over 666,000 annually.

Funding from Arts Council England (ACE) – along with Brighton & Hove City Council and a number of other supporters and donors - allows the delivery of an innovative year round programme spanning music, theatre, dance, comedy, literature, spoken word, visual arts, film, digital and more, as well as Brighton Festival each May; the largest curated annual multi-arts festival in England. Established in 1967, Brighton Festival has become one of the city's most enduring symbols of inventiveness over the past half century, renowned for its pioneering spirit and experimental reputation.

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival says: “We welcome the continued support and strong endorsement from Arts Council England for our work and our exciting plans ahead. We are also pleased to see continued funding for partners throughout the city and across the region.”

A registered charity, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival is committed to offering imaginative new ways to discover and participate in the arts. Each year, the work of our Creative Learning team reaches over 22,000 people in Brighton & Hove and beyond.

Find out more about the work of our Creative Learning department.

Brighton Festival 2017 goes down a storm

The 51st Brighton Festival - with acclaimed recording artist, poet, playwright and novelist Kate Tempest as Guest Director - came to a storming conclusion last weekend. 

The three-week celebration of the arts saw events take place in more venues across the city than ever before - from the South Downs to Brighton Marina to Woodvale cemetery - drawing a ticketed audience of over 81,000, the largest ever in the Festival’s 51-year-history.

At a political and social moment that feels particularly precarious, the wide-ranging programme paid homage to what Tempest calls the ‘Everyday Epic’ - art that helps us connect to ourselves and others, explores our individual stories and differences, and encourages audiences to take a walk in someone else’s shoes.

None did this more successfully than the UK Premiere of The Gabriels, Tony-award-winning playwright Richard Nelson’s extraordinarily, intimate depiction of one American family, written and set in real time during the turbulent US election year. The plays received a series of 5* reviews and were lauded by critics as ‘deeply moving portraits of the dissolving American dream’ (The Guardian), ‘a quietly stunning theatrical achievement’ (The Stage), and ‘miraculous, almost invisible craft’ (The Arts Desk).

Kate Tempest herself featured in a plethora of performances both large and small: including an exclusive opening gig of music and spoken word, her largest full band performance to date; and a live orchestration of her recent album Let Them Eat Chaos, produced in collaboration with Oscar-nominated artist Mica Levi. All were rapturously received by sell-out audiences – with fans taking to Twitter to proclaim the likes of: “Transcendent doesn't even cover it: Kate you blew my mind. Thank you”.

Reflecting on the experience Tempest says:

“It’s felt crazy - the things that I’ve been doing have been things that I never would have had the opportunity to try out, had it not been for this particular Festival, for example getting the opportunity to play with a string and woodwind ensemble. That was an experience that I’ve dreamed of, but was completely impossible. 

To get that many players of that calibre together, and to do it in a way that felt like it was providing something new for the work. It felt like a real moment of artistic endeavour and true collaboration." 

With an audience of 15,000 over 16 evenings, one of the Festival’s biggest talking-points was For the Birds, a spectacular night-time trail of sound and light installations at a secret woodland location. The largest ticketed event ever presented at Brighton Festival, this unique event set social media abuzz throughout the month, with audiences dubbing it ‘mesmerising’, ‘fascinating’ and ‘beautiful”.

Reflecting Tempest’s belief that: ‘The arts should be in our communities, not only on elevated platforms or behind red velvet ropes’, two new ventures ensured Brighton Festival 2017 did just that: The Storytelling Army, a dynamic collective of people from all walks of life popped up in unusual locations across the city to tell their ‘Everyday Epic’ stories - in turn humorous, inspiring, thought-provoking, emotional, and rousing; and new initiative Your Place, in partnership with Brighton People’s Theatre, brought a diverse line-up of free performances, workshops and activities Festival artists and local residents to the Hangleton and East Brighton communities. A resounding success, 1500 people took part in Your Place across two weekends.

Brighton Festival audiences were also encouraged to join the Pay-It-Forward movement for the first time in another new initiative which offered the chance to donate £5 on top of ticket prices which was match-funded to create a £10 Festival ticket voucher for someone unable to afford the opportunity. The response was phenomenal with over a thousand people choosing to pay tickets forward in the lead up to the Festival.

As Tempest herself said:

"One of my big hopes was that we could do just what we have done, which is to bring the Festival out a little bit, open it up, and have some events going on in the communities, so people who can’t make it into town for whatever reason, still get to access some of the great programming and some of that feeling of this Festival.”

Other Brighton Festival 2017 highlights included an ethereal promenade performance through Woodvale Cemetery for Circa’s Depart; Kneehigh’s acclaimed production of Emma Rice’s staging of Tristan & Yseult; a special performance from legendary folk singer Shirley Collins; a major new co-commission from sculptor Cathie Pilkington; a virtual exploration of the Australian outback with Lynette Wallworth’s thought-provoking Virtual Reality film experience Collisions; two special events to mark the 450th anniversary of the birth of Monteverdi: and an inspirational sold-out book tour event from US Senator Bernie Sanders.

As ever this year’s Festival has been a triumph of partnership working, made possible through collaborations with many major organisations across the city and beyond including Attenborough Centre for Creative Arts, Lighthouse, Fabrica, University of Brighton, Onca Gallery, Theatre Royal Brighton and Without Walls amongst others.

2017 also saw the highest number of shows yet live-streamed to audiences around the world for free, thanks to the on-going partnership with Greater Brighton Metropolitan College with highlights including Kate Tempest’s collaboration with Mica Levi and Orchestrate, an extravaganza of music and performance by queer artists of colour headlined by Mykki Blanco, and playful dance theatre by Joan Clevillé Dance with Plan B for Utopia.

Sponsorship and corporate support has also been vital this year with generous contributions from new and returning sponsors and supporters including London Gatwick Airport, University of Sussex, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, GM Building, Griffith Smith Farringdon Webb, Lulu.com, Nutshell Construction, Yeomans Toyota Brighton, Selits, and ZSTa.

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival says: “Bringing Brighton Festival together is a great privilege and this year with Kate Tempest’s inspiration we’ve been thrilled to have reached new audiences and achieved some fantastic new records. But it is only possible because of the extraordinary support we have from funders, patrons, supporters, sponsors, members, partners and artists. We are also blessed with one of the most adventurous, curious and experimental audiences anywhere. I would like to thank everyone for their invaluable contributions, for making Brighton Festival what it is and for bringing this wonderful city and its wonderful festival to life.”

Brighton Festival Live: Bernie Sanders - Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In

Bernie Sanders - Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In will be live streamed on Thur 1 June, 8.30pm

Join us for an inside account of Sanders' extraordinary campaign with Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In, and a blueprint for future political action.

Bernie Sanders stormed to international headlines after running an extraordinary campaign for the Democratic primaries that saw over 13 million people turn out to vote for him, and thereby changed the global discussion surrounding US politics. But how did a relative unknown and a democratic socialist make such waves?

Sanders provides a unique insight into the campaign that galvanised a movement, sharing experiences and the ideas and strategies that shaped it. Drawing on decades of experience as an activist and public servant, Sanders outlines his ideas for continuing this revolution, arguing for a progressive economic, environmental, racial and social justice agenda that creates jobs, raises wages and protects the planet.

Filmed and edited in partnership with Brighton Metropolitan College

Brighton Festival Live: Mykki Blanco

with Travis Alabanza + Lasana Shabazz

This Brighton Festival Exclusive will be live streamed from 9pm on Sat 27 May, from The Spire

Co-produced in partnership with The Marlborough Theatre

‘Mykki Blanco is the most compelling rapper of his generation’ i-D

Hold tight for an extravaganza of music and performance from pioneering queer artists of colour from both sides of the Atlantic.

We’ve teamed up with The Marlborough Theatre to offer a chance to party, show solidarity, and vent some artistically expressed rage against the status quo.

US rapper Mykki Blanco will blow your preconceptions away with his fast, ferocious style – as much influenced by punk and riot grrrl as hip hop. The performance artist-turned-rapper has toured with Bjork, Tricky and Basement Jaxx, and counts Florence Welch and Grimes amongst his many fans. This past autumn saw the release of the long-awaited debut Mykki album, the most personal collection of work yet from the gender-bending queer pioneer.

Mykki is joined by two fierce performance artists: Travis Alabanza (currently artist in residence at the Tate), and Lasana Shabazz, a regular performer with Duckie, the V&A and Southbank Centre, who both recently featured in Scottee’s acclaimed Roundhouse show, Putting Words in Your Mouth.

The Spire Programme supported by GM Building. 

Star of The Gabriels actor Maryann Plunkett announced as narrator of Copeland’s Lincoln Portrait for Brighton Festival finale

Britten Sinfonia and Brighton Festival Chorus bring Brighton Festival 2017 to a resplendent close with Aaron Copland's rousing Lincoln Portrait, alongside John Adams's glittering symphony, Harmonium.

We're delighted to announce that our narrator will be actor Maryann Plunkett, who plays Mary Gabriel in Richard Nelson’s trilogy The Gabriels, which has garnered a clutch of five-star reviews since its Brighton Festival UK premiere last weekend.

In 1942, shortly after the USA entered WW2 Copland was commissioned to write a work to fortify and comfort people during the time of national distress. The resulting Lincoln Portrait is a stirring setting of extracts from great speeches made by Abraham Lincoln, including the Gettysburg Address.

Other famous narrators have included the likes of Neil Armstrong, Alec Baldwin, Tom Hanks, Katharine Hepburn, and Barack Obama.

Maryann Plunkett also played Barbara in Richard Nelson’s The Apple Family Plays (Brighton Festival 2015), while her Broadway credits include Agnes of God, Sunday in the Park with George and Me and My Girl (for which she received a Tony Award). 

Britten Sinfonia and Brighton Festival Chorus are at Brighton Dome Concert Hall on Sun 28 May, 7.30pm

Brighton Festival Live: Lyrix Organix

Lyrix Organix with Kojey Radical & UnFold will be live streamed on Tue 23 May, 7.30pm

Lyrix Organix explore what it means ‘To Be Human’ with a double-headliner live show, Kojey Radical & UnFold.

UnFold is a critically acclaimed live show that champions the next young stars of spoken word, in collaboration with a contemporary classical string section. This edition shines a spotlight on Toby Thompson (described as ‘the future’ by Kate Tempest), Laurie Ogden and Solomon OB (National Slam champion 2016), in a collection of live performances threaded by a soundscape from London String Collective.

In a special for Brighton Festival, the event is co-headlined by Kojey Radical, an extraordinary 24 year-old poet, musician and striking visual artist. His explosive live shows have led to sold out performances at London’s Jazz Cafe, MOBO Award nominations.

The night also features a special guest talk by internationally acclaimed poet Deanna Rodger exploring 'The Art Of Words’.

Filmed and edited in partnership with Brighton Metropolitan College

Brighton Festival Live: Boys Don't

Boys Don't will be live streamed on Sun 21 May, 4pm

What’s a boy to do? From the playground to the classroom, from home to the uncharted waters of online, boys learn that displaying their feelings is a no-no. But what happens to emotion that can’t be let out?

Through funny, familiar and sometimes heartbreaking stories drawn from the real-life experiences of its cast of poets and spoken word performers, Boys Don’t delivers insights into male experiences of growing up, and offers the possibility of more open communication for us all.

Age 8 -12 and adults (not suitable for under 8s)

Filmed and edited in partnership with Brighton Metropolitan College

Brighton Festival Live: An Evening with Picador Poetry

An Evening with Picador Poetry will be live streamed on Fri 19 May, 8pm

Featuring Glyn Maxwell, Lorraine Mariner, Hollie McNish, Richard Osmond & Kate Tempest

The Picador Poetry list is 20 years old. Since its inception, its mission has been simply to publish the best work from across the art form. For this celebratory event, An Evening with Picador Poetry, Editor Don Paterson presents a wonderful line-up of established names and new voices from this broad church.

Picador is the home of Guest Director Kate Tempest’s poetry. Kate will read from her passionate, political verse from Picador collection Hold Your Own, and long poems Brand New Ancients and Let Them Eat Chaos.

Glyn Maxwell is one of Britain’s most respected and awarded contemporary poets, whose book On Poetry was described by Guardian critic Adam Newey as ‘the best book about poetry he has ever read’.

You may already know the work of rising spoken word star Holly McNish from one of her viral YouTube videos (collectively now at 4 million views), as well as her Brighton Festival 2015 performance with Kate Tempest and George the Poet.

Described as a Dorothy Parker for the internet age, Lorraine Mariner’s much loved wry style is demonstrated in her latest collection, There Will Be No More Nonsense.

The line-up is completed by poet and forager Richard Osmond, one of the Evening Standard’s ‘new guard’ of young poets, whose Useful Verses follows in the tradition of the best nature writing.

Filmed and edited in partnership with Brighton Metropolitan College

Brighton Festival Live: The Furrow Collective and Anna & Elizabeth

The Furrow Collective and Anna & Elizabeth will be live streamed on Mon 15 May, 8pm

A double bill featuring rising stars of contemporary folk from both sides of the Atlantic, The Furrow Collective and Anna & Elizabeth.

Described by MOJO as ‘a mouth-watering collaboration’ The Furrow Collective is Lucy Farrell, Rachel Newton, Emily Portman and Alasdair Roberts – four fine soloists whose shared love of traditional songs and playful musicianship has earned them two BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominations. This ‘quietly classy young folk band’ (The Guardian) move with ease from jaunty stories to poignant laments and supernatural ballads.

Anna & Elizabeth are two truly inspiring artists from Southwest Virginia and a rare treat for lovers of Appalachian roots music. As storytellers, they are almost single-handedly resurrecting the lost art of ‘crankies’ – cloth and cut-paper scrolls depicting stories and scenes from the great ballads, unfurled to musical accompaniment. Witness this culture carried forward with mastery and love.

Filmed and edited in partnership with Brighton Metropolitan College

Brighton Festival International Programme supported by London Gatwick. 

The deadline for entries to Lulu.com Short Story Competition has been extended

The short story writing competition launched by Lulu.com, sponsor of Brighton Festival commission the Storytelling Army, is now open to entries until Wednesday 24 May.

The publisher invites all Sussex residents over the age of 18 to respond to Brighton Festival Guest Director Kate Tempest’s theme Everyday Epic, the observations and achievements of our daily lives which we piece together to celebrate and share our common humanity.

Four lucky competition winners will be announced during the last week of the Festival. The winning stories will be combined into an anthology, alongside stories from the Storytelling Army, and published as a paperback book. UK based marketing and PR company Authoright will also be supporting the book with a publicity campaign once it is published; ensuring the Everyday Epic stories reach as many readers as possible after the competition ends.

Brighton Festival is working with nabokov theatre company and Guest Director Kate Tempest to assemble and mobilise the Storytelling Army: a dynamic collective of people from all walks of life - including those who are homeless and vulnerably housed – who will perform in unexpected locations throughout Brighton over the last weekend of this year’s Festival.

Entry is free and stories must be no more than 4,000 words (there is no minimum word count) and must be received electronically by midnight GMT on 24 May 2017. Entries must be submitted electronically as a word or pdf document and the document must contain: your name, your address, your age, your e mail contact details, the title of your submission, the word count, your twitter handle (if relevant). Entries should be emailed to social_uk@lulu.com.

For full Terms and Conditions visit lulu-uk.blog. Alternatively email social_uk@lulu.com for the competition entry rules.

New app The Hum invites festival-goers to view Brighton in a new light

The Hum, a free app which highlights the beauty in the everyday, is now available to download.

A Brighton Festival co-commission conceived and directed by Nic Sandiland, The Hum is a reflection and meditation on our own everyday interactions with the city. Half cinema, half reality, the piece weaves together visuals with a specially composed soundtrack.

Festival-goers will be invited to follow a trail on their smartphone screen, guided by the app to 15 locations within walking distance, around the city, and on arrival a narrated soundtrack will be played.

The Hum incorporates text from four diverse artists including: international dance artist Wendy Houston, dance writer for The Times Donald Hutera, Maria Oshodi director of Extant Theatre Company of visually impaired people and live artist Pete Phillips, to a sound score by musician James Keane. These writers explore the subtle qualities of observed and experienced movement to create their own idiosyncratic narratives ranging from the poetic and humorous through to the ironic and subversive.

Director Nic Sandiland says ‘The Hum gives audiences a new perspective on the everyday happenings in Brighton. Set to an emotive musical score with thought provoking text the piece takes you on a journey through 15 often-overlooked places in the city, places that we take for granted. The Hum makes us look at the mundane acts which take place in these places and by elevating them to the status of a feature film. At times profound yet often personal it is an immersive work that reveals an alternative view of the city through the movements that take place within it.’

Click here to download The Hum on Apple and Android devices

Brighton Festival Live: Kate Tempest with Mica Levi & Orchestrate

Kate Tempest with Mica Levi & Orchestrate will be live streamed on Thur 11 May, 7.30pm

Hip-hop inspired storytelling meets cinematic orchestration as Kate Tempest teams up with musician and composer Mica Levi and ensemble Orchestrate. Known to many as the frontwoman of Micachu and the Shapes, Mica Levi is also an accomplished composer of film scores, most recently Pablo Larrain’s Jackie for which she received both BAFTA and Oscar nominations. She has long collaborated with Orchestrate, a network of some of the UK’s most accomplished and adaptable young musicians, whose work in the studio and on stage includes performances with The National, SBTRKT, Ghostpoet and Christine and the Queens.

For this special one-off performance, Orchestrate will perform a selection of Levi’s works, followed by a special performance with Kate Tempest of Let Them Eat Chaos, re-worked for string orchestra. Released late last year to universal acclaim, the album has been described as Tempest’s state-of-the-nation address: over the course of 13 tracks, we meet seven sleepless Londoners in the small hours, whose individual stories of dissatisfaction are set against a backdrop of global crisis.

An unmissable Brighton Festival collaboration.

Filmed and edited in partnership with Brighton Metropolitan College

Supported by Chalk Cliff Trust

Your Place brings diverse line-up of music, dance, theatre and spoken word events to Hangleton and East Brighton communities

As part of a new partnership with Brighton People’s Theatre, Brighton Festival has been working with local residents and festival artists to programme an exciting and diverse line-up of free music, dance, theatre and spoken word in the Hangleton and East Brighton communities.

Hosted by local community centres, Your Place is coming to East Brighton and Hangleton with free workshops, performances and activities for the whole family over two weekends, beginning with Hangleton 13-14 May, then East Brighton 19-21 May. Along with community steering groups in partnership with the Hangleton and Knoll Project and Due East in East Brighton, this year’s inspiring Guest Director Kate Tempest and local company Nutshell Construction to create the space, we have selected and shaped an events programme with these communities in mind.

This programme plays a critical part of Kate Tempest’s vision for this year’s Brighton Festival of enabling as many people in the city as possible to access the festival. In her words: 'The arts should be social, not elitist. They should be part of our everyday life. They should be in our communities, not only on elevated platforms or behind red velvet ropes.'

Highlights from the Your Place Hangleton programme (13 to 14 May) include:

Acclaimed photographer Eddie Otchere’s Pinhole Camera Workshop (14 May), teaching families how to build their own pinhole camera and document local history; Guest Director Kate Tempest (13 May) performing poetry from her incredible back catalogue; Culture Clash (13 May)with award winning poetry slam champion Tommy Sissons and rapper and battle MC Ceezlin, who will both also be coaching rap, poetry and comedy; a special one-off showcase from AudioActive (13 May) a music organisation working with young people at the meeting point of technology and contemporary urban culture; a singing workshop from Appalachian folk artists Anna and Elizabeth (14 May); a performance of Tighten Our Belts, a theatre show about the cost of austerity by Brighton People’s Theatre; and an array of workshops for all ages including a workshop run by Nutshell Construction to make Book Swap Boxes (13 May), as part of the City Reads city-wide project.

Highlights from the Your Place East Brighton programme (19-21 May) include:

A night of Spoken Word (20 May) as Kate Tempest performs poetry from her latest anthology, also with performances by national poetry slam champion Tommy Sissons, and Ceezlin (on tour with Rag ‘n’ Bone Man); Tales of Birbal (19 May) where Mashi Theatre’s travelling storytellers tell ancient stories from across the Indian subcontinent; Virgin Territory (20 May) workshop delivered by Vincent Dance Theatre for young people and adults to investigate the challenges that young people face in a selfie-obsessed world; Three Score Dance & Ceyda Tanc Dance (20 & 21 May), Three Score Dance a company for people aged 60+ perform a new Brighton Festival commission choreographed by Ceyda Tanc and her youth company; an oral history workshop by acclaimed photographer Eddie Otchere; Help! I think I might be Fabulous! (20 May) a hilarious and heart-warming show from Alfie Ordinary; other workshops include building and decorating Book Swap Boxes (20 May) with Nutshell Construction, and Hidden Mazes (21 May) which uses art and drama to explore the experience of navigating the world with an invisible disability.

Kate Tempest, Brighton Festival 2017 Guest Director says 'I thought it was important that as well as having this very exciting, cosmopolitan festival happening in the city centre, with all this buzz and hype and all this energy that gets built up from people seeing something, spilling out on to the street, I wanted it to also represent the wider population of Brighton who maybe can’t afford to get in to the city centre. I wanted to bring a bit of what was happening in the Brighton Festival out to a bit more of Brighton. We’ve got this really cool initiative called Your Place – which is probably the thing I’m most excited about. There will be performances from Brighton Festival artists and also participatory events and workshops. Everything completely free, programmed in conjunction and consultation with people that run some of the community programmes out of those community centres.'

Naomi Alexander, Artistic Director of Brighton People’s Theatre says 'The community has been really hands on engaged from 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.'

All Your Place events are free but ticketed. To book call Brighton Festival Ticket Office on 01273709709 or download a comprehensive guide 

Brighton Festival Live: Plan B for Utopia

Plan B for Utopia will be live streamed on Mon 8 May, 7.30pm 

You have a plan, and then you don’t. You have a dream, and then you wake up. You fall in love, and your heart gets broken. The question is: do you pick up the pieces and try again?

Plan B for Utopia is a playful dance theatre work by Dundee-based company Joan Clevillé Dance. Charismatic performers Solène Weinachter (Scottish Dance Theatre, Gecko) and John Kendall (balletLORENT) explore the notion of utopia and the role that imagination and creativity can play as a driving force for change in our personal and collective lives.

Filmed and edited in partnership with Brighton Metropolitan College

Brighton Festival International Programme supported by London Gatwick. 

Brighton Festival Live: Kate Tempest Opening Gig

Kate Tempest Opening Gig will be live streamed on Sat 6 May, 6.30pm

As Guest Director of Brighton Festival 2017, it is only fitting that Kate Tempest should take to the stage on the very first evening. Giving the audience a taster of what we can expect over the following three weeks this Opening Gig will be full of music and spoken word to open your minds and grant you an insight into Brighton Festival, Tempest-style. Tickets are sold out (returns only) but you can still join us here for a live streaming of the gig.

Filmed and edited in partnership with Brighton Metropolitan College



Brighton Festival welcomes Bernie Sanders for special Festival Extra event

Former Democratic candidate for President of the United States Bernie Sanders will speak about his new book Our Revolution at a special Brighton Festival Extra event on Thursday 1 June, with tickets on sale from Wednesday 3 May at 10am (members pre-sale Tuesday 2 May at 10am).

Bernie Sanders will join Brighton Festival’s diverse Books and Debate programme, which includes Gary Younge discussing the role of guns in Trump’s America; Tariq Ali on his portrait of Lenin, and how we might challenge capitalism today; Palestine’s leading writer Raja Shehadeh on the Israeli occupation of Palestine; celebrated novelist Hanif Kureishi looking back on a career in which he has explored identity, cultural difference, and religious fundamentalism; and Democracy Debate: What Comes Next? in which Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee chairs a panel of top thinkers and politicians to debate the future of our political system.

Bernie Sanders stormed to international headlines after running an extraordinary campaign for the Democratic primaries that saw over 13 million people turn out to vote for him, and changing the global discussion surrounding US politics. But how did a complete unknown and an avowed socialist make such waves?

In Our Revolution, Sanders provides a unique insight into the campaign that galvanized a movement, sharing experiences from the campaign trail and the techniques that shaped it. And it wasn't just his use of new media; Sanders' message resonated with millions. His supporters are young and old, dissatisfied with expanding social inequality, struggling with economic instability and who rebelled against a political elite who has long ignored them. This is a global phenomenon, driving movements from Syriza in Greece to Podemos in Spain and Jeremy Corbyn in the UK.

Drawing on decades of experience as activist and politician, Sanders outlines his ideas for continuing this political revolution. He shows how we can fight for a progressive economic, environmental, racial and social justice agenda that creates jobs, raises wages and protects the environment. Searing in its assessment of the current political and economic situation, but hopeful and inspiring in its vision of the future, this book contains an important message for anyone tired of 'same as usual' politics and looking for a way to change the game.

Bernie Sanders ran to be the Democratic candidate for President of the United States. He is currently serving his second term in the U.S. Senate after winning re-election in 2012 with 71 percent of the vote. Sanders previously served as mayor of Vermont's largest city for eight years.

Bernie Sanders Our Revolution: A Future to Believe in is coming to Brighton Dome Concert Hall on Thursday 1 June. 

Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival Members pre-sale: Tuesday 2 May at 10am. Tickets go on general sale: Wednesday 3 May at 10am

Record-breaking 50th Brighton Festival comes to a dazzling conclusion

The three week celebration of the arts was the most successful in its history with more people engaging with the festival, both as audiences and participants, and more tickets sold than ever before.

Drawing inspiration from Brighton Festival’s origins as a celebration of the new and the avant-garde, as well as Guest Director Laurie Anderson’s own multidisciplinary career, the 2016 programme featured the highest number of commissions, co-commissions, exclusives and premieres to date, by some of the most innovative national and international artists the world over: from the UK premiere of Anderson’s own Music for Dogs, a concert specially developed for canine ears to the world premiere of Minefield by acclaimed Argentinian theatre-maker Lola Arias, developed with and performed by veterans of the Falklands conflict.

Laurie Anderson: "I'm so happy to have served as Guest Director of Brighton Festival in its historic 50th year. I have been at the Brighton Festival a few times now and it’s always been fun. I always feel like I’m part of the town and that’s a crazy feeling because at many festivals maybe only theatre people come…. but here everybody comes. I was really struck by that."

The Festival’s biggest talking point was Nutkhut's Dr Blighty; an ambitious, large-scale, immersive outdoor experience co-commissioned in partnership with Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove and 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions, which highlighted the story of wounded Indian soldiers hospitalised in Brighton during the First World War. Ending each night with a spectacular light display using projection-mapping, Dr Blighty captivated audiences and critics alike. With audiences reaching almost 50,000 over its five day run, it set the city and social media abuzz. A video clip of the projections went viral, attracting over 500,000 views and accolades such as ‘spectacular’, ‘incredible’, ‘unique’ and ‘best festival event ever’.

At the heart of the 50th programme was the theme of ‘home’, with an abundance of work both about Brighton and by some of the artists who make the city their home. Highlights included The Complete Deaths, a re-enactment of every onstage death from the plays of Shakespeare from Brighton-based artistic powerhouses Spymonkey and Tim Crouch; Digging for Shakespeare - Marc Rees’ site-specific homage to 19th Century Brighton eccentric and world-renowned Shakespearean scholar James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps; Blast Theory & Hydrocracker’s immersive undercover police drama Operation Black Antler and specially-commissioned film Brighton: Symphony of a City, screened to a new orchestral score by Ed Hughes.

Brighton Festival 2016 also explored universal issues and ideas around home, via new work such as experimental composer and musician Yuval Avital’s potent and thought-provoking new work, Fuga Perpetua, which reflected the stories of refugees; and the UK premiere of Berlin’s Zvizdal, a filmic portrait of an elderly couple’s solitude in the region affected by the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

From the annual Children’s Parade on the opening weekend featuring 5000 participants from schools and community groups from across the region, to Onca’s FutureGazers, which asked school pupils to imagine the city in 50 years’ time, to the city-wide City Reads and Young City Reads produced in partnership with Collected Works, Brighton Festival 2016 also saw a record number of community-focussed events throughout the programme with participants of all ages and from all walks of life. And it wasn’t just the humans – 50 dogs found themselves immortalised on a mural on Kensington Street painted by Brighton-based artist and illustrator Sinna One in homage to Anderson’s own dog-oriented events.

Anderson continues: "I think Brighton is really a one-of-a-kind festival. First of all because it’s very sophisticated in terms of what experimental art it brings in but it’s very inclusive in other ways. I can’t really think of another festival that has that broad a base so I would have to say it’s unique.”

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Festival says: “From over-50s company Three Score Dance’s performance of Lea Anderson’s work Tall Tales at the West Pier, to Giddy Brighton’s intergenerational encounter between students from Longhill High School and men and women in their 70s and 80s reflecting on their teenage selves, the 50th Brighton Festival has been a wonderful celebration of our community.  We’ve also had more people engaging with the festival, both as audiences and participants, than ever before." 

This year’s Festival has once again been a triumph of partnership working, made possible through collaborations with many major organisations across the city and beyond including Lighthouse, Fabrica, HOUSE, University of Brighton, University of Sussex, Onca Gallery, Theatre Royal Brighton, Without Walls, LIFT and 14-18NOW amongst others. 2016 also saw the highest number of shows yet live-streamed to audiences around the world for free, thanks to the on-going partnership with City College Brighton and Hove. Still available to view on brightonfestival.org, highlights include stand-up from Alexei Sayle, magical a cappella singing from choir Vox Luminis and thought-provoking debate Let’s Talk about Death.

2016 also saw Brighton Festival work with Guardian Live in a special partnership to deliver the Books and Debate programme with an impressive line-up of writers and commentators that included a panel debate on the forthcoming EU Referendum and a visit from former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis as well as appearances from an Orange Prize winner (Lionel Shriver) and two Booker Prize winners (Marlon James and Howard Jacobson). Brighton Festival 2016 also saw the return of Caravan, a three-day industry showcase of the best new theatre from across England, which this year featured eight performances open to the public.

Sponsorship and corporate support has been critical to our success this year. New and returning sponsors and supporters include Rampion Offshore Wind, University of Sussex, Gatwick Airport, Brighton & Sussex Medical School, Class of Their Own, Riverford Organic Farmers, Hamptons International, ZSTa, Nutshell Construction, SELITS, GM Building, Griffith Smith Farrington Webb LLP and The Big Lemon. 

Andrew Comben continues: "Artist and musician Laurie Anderson, as Guest Director, has been a fitting figurehead for this special milestone having been experimenting, creating and challenging audiences all over the world for almost as long as Brighton Festival has existed. She also told some beautiful and unforgettable stories. In fact, in helping us put together this year’s festival, themed around home and place, Laurie wanted us to help everyone tell their own stories and to focus on some of the people whose stories are less often heard. That we’ve seen such wonderful examples of that during Brighton Festival is something I believe the whole city can be very, very proud of. Here’s to the next 50 years!”