Brighton Festival: magic in the woods...

As night falls, the promise will be an enchanting journey into the Sussex woodland.

For The Birds
For The Birds

Against a canvas of darkness and the sound of wind in the trees, you will follow a magical trail of beautiful and ingenious installations of light, sound and moving sculpture inspired by the world of birds.

Artist and producer Jony Easterby said: “Whether it’s the iconic robin, the chip-thieving gull, or blackbirds baked in a pie, we have an enduring connection with these special creatures. For the Birds will get you thinking about the mystery and beauty of the avian world – and why it should be protected.”

Jony has brought together some of the most dynamic sound and lighting artists in the UK to create an “unforgettable” Brighton Festival outdoor experience, running at a location which will be disclosed on the night.

It runs from May 6-28 (except Mondays and Tuesdays).

Originally staged at RSPB Ynys-hir reserve in Wales, For the Birds went on to be a highlight of the 2016 New Zealand Festival where it attracted more than 10,000 people to enjoy its pleasures.

“One of the producers of the Brighton Festival saw it in New Zealand and picked it up,” Jony says. “It has been a very circuitous route from west Wales! But actually, I have got a lot of history with Brighton. My sister has lived here for the past 30 years, and I worked with her as part of a local theatre company. It was 30 years ago, just after the Great Storm. It was the first piece of outdoor theatre that I had the chance to experience, and really it set the mould. To be able to come back now is like a home-coming really.

“We have been honing the work in this format, taking it out into the landscape. We have been creating sound and light works. We started out more in the city in places like Birmingham and Wolverhampton, and then we started doing botanic gardens. But really the idea is to go for the wilder spaces that are less manicured. The idea is a secret location. We are trying to discourage people from finding out where it is. They will be driven up there by bus because there is nowhere to park!

“A sculpture trail would be a good way of describing it. The idea is that the pieces could exist in a gallery and hold their own, but they would not really make sense. We call it site-generic or site-responsive. There are factors that we take into account and that we respond to, certain combinations of trees or whatever.

“But we have a very strong narrative and a message that relates to the show which is about the birds. We wanted a particular focus on a particular theme. We are not pretending that this is a show about changing people’s perceptions about saving the planet, but I would like to think we are aspiring to celebrate the beauty of avian life and that people will come away with an added consciousness that there is a problem with the state of the world we are living in. We are not talking about a fluffy romantic notion of birds here…”

Advance booking only. Tickets on

Don't miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you'll be amongst the first to know what's going on.

1) Make our website your homepage

2) Like our Facebook page

3) Follow us on Twitter

4) Register with us by clicking on 'sign in' (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don't miss out!

Always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.