Brighton Festival 2024 promises “hope, magic and wonder”

Brighton Festival 2024 draws on Brighton’s optimistic spirit to “invite everyone to imagine a better world through a vibrant and colourful celebration of hope, magic and wonder.”
Guest director Frank Cottrell-Boyce (contributed pic)Guest director Frank Cottrell-Boyce (contributed pic)
Guest director Frank Cottrell-Boyce (contributed pic)

This year’s guest director, award-winning children’s author and screenwriter Frank Cottrell-Boyce, known for 24 Hour Party People, Millions and latest book The Wonder Brothers, is promising “a sense of fun and play for adults and children alike.”

The newly-announced programme, running from May 4-26, will offer more than 120 events “celebrating shared endeavour, the miraculous in the everyday and the beauty in the extraordinary” – an extensive line-up of events from national and international artists across music, theatre, dance, circus, art, film, literature, debate, outdoor and community events, in venues and locations across Brighton, Hove and East Sussex.

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A spokesman said: “Brighton Festival welcomes the English exclusive of Wonders, an awe-inspiring magic show by world-renowned illusionist and performance artist Scott Silven which explores the myth and mystery of his native Scotland through breathtaking illusions. Other exclusives include former Brighton Festival guest director Kae Tempest returning for a night of mesmerising spoken word; and Carnesky’s Showwomxn Sideshow Spectacular sees a cast of 33 circus performers, including Netflix star Tallulah Haddon, World Record holding hula hoop artist Symoné and Bollywood dancer Kaajel, undertake a breath-taking, death-defying feminist and queer circus spectacular from award-winning theatre maker Marisa Carnesky.

“Brighton Festival Commissions include the world premiere of Ground, where audiences experience an immersive, locally sourced and specially curated 3-course meal that reveals the tangled history of plants at Brighton’s own off-grid eco-building, Earthship. Plus, As We Really Are, marking the start of an ongoing project for Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival and Brighton artists, is a cinema screening of vintage gems from the GPO Film Unit alongside new work from Brighton filmmakers which celebrates the wonder of everyday life. The event will conclude with a panel discussion including Frank Cottrell-Boyce and former Brighton Festival Guest Director David Shrigley.

“The outdoor programme stages live and interactive events on the streets of the city and beyond. 100 Miles of String, a free installation from Brighton-based artists Leap Then Look, sponsored by Southern Housing New Homes, encourages audiences to weave and wind thousands of metres of string to create a temporary landmark in the Royal Pavilion Gardens. The beloved Without Walls programme returns, supported by Graves Son & Pilcher, to present new works showcasing the best of outdoor performance including the world premiere of groundbreaking new aerial theatre from disabled and non-disabled circus company Head Over Wheels; and a musical parade celebrating the power of community from award-winning experimental brass band Perhaps Contraption and Deaf & BSL poet Zoë McWhinney.

“Many projects demonstrate how the arts can be a platform for people to come together, be together and advocate for change. As part of Our Place, a partnership with community groups across the city supported by University of Sussex, Brighton Festival has commissioned a new piece of work from artist and anthropologist Victoria Melody. Re-enactment is an exclusive one-day event made with and for East Brighton residents inspired by The Diggers, a campaign group during the English Civil War. In Neolithic Cannibals: Deep Listening to the Unheard, artists and campaigners Class Divide work with young people in Whitehawk and East Brighton to create a sound art piece inspired by the history of Neolithic East Brighton that asks us to consider the part we all play in addressing complex social issues. And all are welcome at Brighton Table Tennis Club’s AllStars Extravaganza, an experiment in mass participation table tennis at Brighton Dome’s newly refurbished Corn Exchange.”

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