Brighton Festival 2014 will begin on Saturday, May 3, with choreographer, dancer, musician, composer and performer Hofesh Shechter at the helm as guest director.
As guest director, Hofesh Shechter follows in the footsteps of visual artist Anish Kapoor (2009), musician Brian Eno (2010), Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi (2011), actress and human rights campaigner Vanessa Redgrave (2012) and poet, author and former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen (2013) in shaping the Brighton Festival programme.
Over the three-week Festival many of Hofesh Shechter’s interests and passions will be explored in a wide-ranging programme, which spans music, theatre, dance, visual art, film, literature and debate from a wide range of national and international companies and artists.
Spokesman Chris Challis said: “With Hofesh Shechter as guest director, this year’s programme is particularly genre-defying – from the UK premiere of Opus No.7 from Russian theatre director Dmitry Krymov, to William Forsythe’s hypnotic Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time No.2, to a new co-commission by Yinka Shonibare called The British Library.
“2014 also heralds the return of international theatre companies Berlin and Vanishing Point to Brighton and we host an eclectic mix of names across contemporary music from Peaches to Emmylou Harris. Hofesh challenges us to respond to the world’s ugly injustices in Brighton Festival co-commission Sun, which comes home to Brighton after touring globally.”
Chris added: “As ever Brighton Festival kicks off with the Children’s Parade – the largest event of its kind in Europe – produced by Same Sky.
“Events for all the family this year include a UK premiere of Tanzfuchs Produktion’s dance extravaganza Munch! for the under-fours and the UK premiere of Zoo, Belgian choreographer Thomas Hauert’s first piece for young people, which is accompanied by a prepared piano soundtrack by John Cage.
“Meanwhile, on film the Cinema of Childhood – curated by Mark Cousins – looks at the depiction of children in cinema, is suitable for the whole family to enjoy together.”
Hofesh said: “Brighton has a magic to it that no one can explain. Finding a place where one can develop and grow artistically is a delicate thing, an important thing. Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival have been an inspiring, energising and encouraging place for my company and me in the last five years.
“We’ve enjoyed the buzz, the lightness, energy, and the unexplainable essence of Brighton. We have resided in its cultural heart – Brighton Dome, and the pulsating artistic heart of Brighton Dome is the annual Brighton Festival. It’s been a privilege to have been part of the planning for this inspiring event and I feel a rush of excitement about sharing our programme with audiences in Brighton and beyond.”
This year’s Brighton Festival offers 448 performances and 147 events in 34 venues across the city. In total there will be 37 premieres, exclusives and co-commissions and 26 free events.
Andrew Comben, chief executive of Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival, said: “‘We’re thrilled that Hofesh Shechter is our guest director for Brighton Festival 2014 and to today reveal the programme of events for May. Hofesh’s instinctive understanding of Brighton and our Festival means it is particularly pertinent that he steps into the role in 2014 following a highly successful five years of working together.
“Hofesh’s creative vision and energy contains that rare quality and sense of adventure that sparks the imaginations of a much wider audience beyond his own discipline and encourages us all to try something new.”
Brighton Festival – an annual celebration of music, theatre, dance, circus, art, film, books, debate, outdoor and family events – will take place in venues across the city and beyond from May 3-25.