Huge range of highlights ahead at 2023 Brighton Festival as line-up unveiled

Under its Gather Round theme, this year’s Brighton Festival will present the UK premiere of Groundswell – a large-scale immersive installation for all ages by award-winning Australian artist Matthias Schack-Arnott, who fuses sound and movement into evocative, atmospheric experiences.
Russell Tovey: Blue Now - Brighton Festival 2023. Credit Jason DimmockRussell Tovey: Blue Now - Brighton Festival 2023. Credit Jason Dimmock
Russell Tovey: Blue Now - Brighton Festival 2023. Credit Jason Dimmock

Andrew Comben, chief executive, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival, explained: “Groundswell explores the ground beneath our feet and is presented in partnership with Brighton Fringe. This free event is made possible by principal supporter The Pebble Trust, whose annual support of Brighton Festival’s major productions and installations offers audiences innovative and unique ways of seeing and experiencing our wonderful city.”

The Festival takes place from May 6-28 (tickets brightonfestival.org). Also coming up, actor Russell Tovey, writer and performance artist Travis Alabanza and poet Joelle Taylor appear in Blue Now, a special mixed-media performance of Derek Jarman’s last film, Blue. Directed by Neil Bartlett, following his recent critically acclaimed adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, the screening will also feature a new live score from original composer Simon Fisher Turner.

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Andrew added: “Following a major refurbishment, Brighton Dome’s historic Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre will reopen with Van Gogh Alive – a innovative, immersive exploration of the life and works of the seminal Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh. Following sell-out runs in Edinburgh, Manchester and London, Brighton audiences will be the first to experience its brand-new Starry Night installation.

“This year’s music programme spans a huge range of artists equally at home in classical repertoire and experimental performance. The Festival welcomes sitar legend Anoushka Shankar; Mercury-Prize winning percussionist Talvin Singh; hosts a celebration of timeless breakbeat with Goldie; and a Brighton Festival exclusive performance from vocalist and composer Bishi and the Trans Voices choir.

“A weekend exploring folk music in all its forms, Different Folks, will be led by the legendary Shirley Collins and Martin and Eliza Carthy, alongside contemporary psych-folk duo Stick in the Wheel and multi-instrumentalists Laura Groves and Angeline Morrison.

“Classical highlights for 2023 include François-Xavier Roth conducting the London Symphony Orchestra in Lindberg and Beethoven, with the dazzling virtuoso Yuja Wang at the piano; actors Rory Kinnear and Pandora Colin join singers Mark Padmore and Roderick Williams and pianist Julius Drake for a programme of words and music inspired by Shakespeare’s Seven Ages of Man; and the Takács Quartet make a welcome return to the Festival, performing Arvo Pärt and Schubert at Glyndebourne. Brighton & East Sussex Youth Orchestra will perform pieces with a distinctly folk feel by Aaron Copland, Edward Elgar and Doreen Carwithen.”

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