Last week celebrated Malian musician Rokia Traoré – as this year’s guest director – revealed the full programme for Brighton Festival 2019. This year promises to be a wide-ranging, diverse and international Festival, encouraging audiences to meet, listen and pass on their experiences.
Featuring over 130 events with artists and performers from more than 20 countries, Brighton Festival 2019 is a space for contemporary expression from around the world. The importance of respect for all cultures and for nurturing the next generation of artists is at the heart and soul of this year’s programme.
The Festival will present new and unexpected events across 25 venues and locations across Brighton, Hove and Sussex from 4 to 26 May 2019, so there’s plenty to get out and see and do – although if you’re more of a homebody you could always try this!
Guest Director Rokia Traoré will bring three of her own exclusive performances to Brighton, opening with her blues rock band to perform the critically acclaimed album Né So.
Traore says, “As guest director, I set out to bring new voices to the city to tell their stories. Understanding other cultures is so important to the world that we live in and it brings me great joy to shed light on some unexpected voices through this opportunity. I hope that through the Festival, visitors listen to stories from far away and from right next door.
“Stories with characters and ideas you never could have dreamed of, stories that touch you, thrill you, bring you happiness and perhaps move you to experience life in a different way.”
What can you expect?
As always, the Festival will include free and participatory activities for all ages. The annual Children’s Parade with Same Sky officially marks the start of the Festival on Saturday 4 May and this year’s theme of folk tales from around the world will bring a procession of colourful characters to the city centre.
Without Walls bring a visually spectacular group of outdoor events – from Ghost Caribou’s magical illuminated animals to a day of family friendly performances on the beach level at the British Airways i360. Marking 50 years since the first moon landings, Brighton will have its very own moon with artist Luke Jerram’s realistic illuminated lunar model lighting up the sky above Queens Park – commissioned by Brighton Festival with the Without Walls network.
Your Place, initiated in 2017 by guest director Kate Tempest, will return to Hangleton and East Brighton but will change its name to Our Place, acknowledging the communities’ commitment to bringing creativity, culture and free events to local residents as part of our growing partnership. Look out for circus theatre, workshops, outdoor art and live music from guest performers!
Internationally acclaimed companies travel across the globe to present their new productions to Festival audiences. From Australia, Backbone by circus collective Gravity & Other Myths, is a showcase of raw physical agility.
Acclaimed Belgian choreographer Wim Vandekeybus and Ultima Vez recreate their epic multi-artform TrapTown for its UK premiere. From France, Ensemble Correspondances make their Festival debut with music recreated from the court of Louis XIII. And many more international acts and events.
Festival favourites bringing back their own unique blend of creative energy include: Kneehigh’s Dead Dog in a Suitcase, a hilarious take on the Beggar’s Opera; Brighton’s very own Spymonkey celebrate their 20th anniversary with Cooped, in partnership with Worthing Theatres; British Paraorchestra, led by conductor Charles Hazlewood stage The Nature of Why, merging dance and live music into an epic performance commissioned by Unlimited and Chineke! return to celebrate BME talent with music from the 1920s era of Gershwin, Copland and Weill.
Immersive installations will pop-up in unusual locations across the city and beyond. Wet Sounds invites you to jump into the Prince Regent swimming pool for a unique audio-visual experience. Distorted Constellations, a performance art piece, in partnership with Lighthouse, will take viewers into the landscape of artist Nwando Ebizie’s brain; Flight by Vox Motus is a spellbinding tale of the journey of two orphaned brothers, recreated through a captivating interactive diorama.
Five years after her death, Brighton Festival celebrates the life of seminal African American poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou with three powerful tributes: Caged Birds Do, Still I Rise, and New Daughters of Africa. Angelou appeared at Brighton Festival several times and these moving and uplifting performances will honour her legacy.
Elsewhere, artists explore emotional issues connected to masculinity and femininity. From The Pappy Show’s energetic dance piece BOYS, dealing with young male vulnerability, to Eye to Eye, a Brighton Festival Commission and world premiere by theatre-maker Sheila Hill, inspired by motherhood and featuring a chorus of 100 women and children in collaboration with Glyndebourne Youth Opera and guest musicians.
Brighton Festival 2019 tickets go on sale to Members at 7.30am, Thursday 14 February and on general sale at 9am, Friday 22 February from brightonfestival.org or 01273 709709
Many events are free, and over 100 performances cost £10 or less