Celebrating 50 years of commissioning cultural innovations, the highlight of the Sussex arts calendar is back, as the Brighton Festival returns with three weeks of local, national and international artists showcasing everything from dance to theatre to debate and much more.
We caught up with the guys and gals running this year’s festival to get their top five picks for 2016.
CHILDREN’S PARADE (Free)
May 7, from 10.30am. Procession from Kensington Street to Madeira Drive
Beginning the 50th Brighton Festival with a cavalcade of colour and cacophony, this year the theme is ‘Brighton Celebrates’. The 5000 participants from more than 80 schools and community organisations take inspiration from the people, places, ideas and innovations that shape Brighton’s unique character and identity.
HOWARD JACOBSON (£10)
May 8, 5pm, Sallis Benney Theatre
Perhaps the leading observer of Jewishness in modern Britain, Howard Jacobson examines Shakespeare’s most controversial character in his new novel, Shylock is My Name. Including a shocking twist on Shylock’s infamous demand for a pound of flesh, the novel examines contemporary questions of Jewish identity and the relationship between fathers and daughters. Includes a discussion with Guardian Book Club host John Mullan.
MUSIC FOR DOGS (Free – tickets required, limited capacity)
May 10, 6pm & 7.30pm, Brighton Open Air Theatre
‘Wouldn’t it be great if you’re playing a concert and you look out and everyone’s a dog,’ Laurie Anderson mused while waiting backstage with cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
True to form, Anderson made her outlandish dream come true; first at the Sydney Opera House, and again in New York’s Times Square earlier this year, making headlines around the world. This 20-minute piece has been specifically designed for the canine ear, including frequencies audible only to dogs, as well as other sounds for humans to enjoy. A UK Premiere.
LOU REED DRONES (Free)
May 13-17, 12pm-5pm, The Spire, St Mark’s Chapel
Both Lou Reed and John Cale instinctively knew the power of drones. In 1975, Reed played out that drone music on Metal Machine Music, an album credited with laying the foundation for the industrial and noise rock genres. Lou Reed Drones is an installation of his guitars and amps in feedback mode, a visceral, emotional and spiritual experience. A UK Premiere.
OPERATION BLACK ANTLER (£20)
Sat 7, Sun 8, Tue 10 – Sat 14, Tue 17 – Sat 21, Tue 24 – Sat 28 May Every 15 minutes from 6pm-9pm, secret city centre locations revealed after booking
For 40 years British police officers have been undercover inside protest groups. Scandals such as Wikileaks, the Snowden affair and the revelations about the Special Demonstration Squad show that secret forces within the state have little respect for law. Operation Black Antler is an immersive theatre piece from Blast Theory and Hydrocracker that seeks to explore this moral corruption as well as the wider ethical questions of when surveillance is justified. A World Premiere.
For tickets visit brightonfestival.org or call 01273 709709.