Strong programme of family events at Brighton Festival 2024

Family events at this year’s Brighton Festival include children’s authors, innovative theatre and interactive outdoor art.
Frank Cottrell-Boyce (contributed pic)Frank Cottrell-Boyce (contributed pic)
Frank Cottrell-Boyce (contributed pic)

Spokeswoman Hayley Willis said: “Leading Brighton Festival 2024’s family programme is this year’s guest director, award-winning children’s author and screenwriter Frank Cottrell-Boyce. From May 4-26, he invites audiences of all ages to imagine a better world through a series of hopeful, wonder-filled events from acclaimed children’s writers, a new animated feature film and a mega table tennis tournament. Elsewhere, children’s theatre, dance and interactive outdoor shows encourage play and fun and demonstrate the joy of community.

“On May 11, Frank Cottrell-Boyce will host The Wonder Panel, a lively discussion about storytelling and creativity for anyone aged eight and up, featuring current Children's Laureate and poet Joseph Coelho, How to Train Your Dragon author Cressida Cowell and drawing from Carnegie Medal for Illustration winner Chris Riddell.

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“Audiences can also join Frank, along with award-winning author-illustrator of Grimwood Nadia Shireen, for a live recording of their popular podcast The Island of Brilliant on May 19, when they will be speaking with the beloved Gruffalo and Stick Man writer Julia Donaldson about how she creates her unforgettable stories. Earlier in the day, Frank will introduce readers aged seven to 11 to his new magic-themed novel The Wonder Brothers, accompanied by live drawing from its illustrator Steven Lenton.

“Award-winning community-based group Brighton Table Tennis Club make the sport accessible for all ages and abilities in an AllStars Extravaganza at Brighton Dome’s newly refurbished Corn Exchange on May 27. The Corn Exchange has a proud history of hosting international table tennis events, and this free all-day event will re-create the venue’s ping pong past with a modern twist. Expect attempts to break Guinness World Records, mass participation table tennis and matches with international superstars such as the UK’s Paralympic gold medallist Will Bayley.

“Elsewhere, an ambitious outdoor reimagining of seaside variety shows from Olivier award-winning performance-maker Marisa Carnesky will transform a downtown Brighton street into a circus from May 25-26, with nine stages and a cast of aerialists, wrestlers, variety dancers, contemporary clowns and contortionists. Carnesky’s Showwomxn Sideshow Spectacular is a family-friendly production created especially for Brighton Festival that will celebrate the forgotten women of the genre’s unique history, inspired by Carnesky’s own research at the National Fairground and Circus Archive. Performers include Netflix star Tallulah Haddon, world-record holding hula hoop artist Symoné and Bollywood dancer Kaajel.

“Across Brighton Festival’s opening weekend (May 4-5), the UK premiere of You’ll See… from Branar, one of Ireland’s leading theatre companies for children, uses a combination of live performance, an intricate popup book and an original score to bring James Joyce’s epic tale of one day in one city Ulysses to life in Brighton Dome’s Studio Theatre.”​