England’s most established mixed arts festival yesterday announced its return to Brighton between May 5-27, with legendary stage, screen and television actress, Vanessa Redgrave, as its guest director.
Now in its 46th year, the three-week celebration of visual art, theatre, music, books and debate, takes place both in the Brighton Dome and other more unusual locations throughout the city. Situated on England’s ever-sunny southern coast, the distinctive cultural atmosphere of Brighton is the perfect location for such a varying range of activities and events.
Last year Brighton Festival took the art world by surprise by appointing Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi as guest director, with a programme built around her struggle for freedom of speech, democracy and giving her voice to the powerless. This year’s director, multi-award winning actress Vanessa Redgrave, plans to continue with this purpose and focuses her contributions on exploring these critical areas of discussion. A recipient of the 2010 BAFTA Fellowship, Vanessa remains a great ambassador of the performing arts, with her wide-range of passions and interests seamlessly feeding into the ethos of the festival.
BAFTA My Life in Pictures with guest director Vanessa Redgrave, Brighton Festival Exclusive
One of BAFTA’s highest-profile strands, this is always a very special event celebrating the life and work of an extraordinary individual from the world of film in a live onstage interview which includes the screening of selected significant film clips.
A World I Loved by Wadad Makdisi Cortas, World Premiere
Wadad Makdisi Cortas is an ordinary woman who chronicled her life beginning in Lebanon in 1917 under the oppressive French mandate and spanning over half a century. In an exclusive Festival commission, this story is told in a multimedia, staged event that combines narration by Vanessa Redgrave and readings with live music to a backdrop of images from across Cortas’s turbulent century.
Headline Music events
Live Transmission, Brighton Festival Commission, World Premiere
In this exclusive Brighton Festival commission, Britain’s hippest young classical ensemble, The Heritage Orchestra, joins forces with celebrated sound artist Scanner for an immersive multi-sensory event inspired by one of the UK’s most influential bands – Joy Division.
The Lady: A Homage to Sandy Denny
Featuring members of Bellowhead plus Maddy Prior, Jerry Donahue, Dave Swarbrick, Thea Gilmore, Lavinia Blackwall, Blair Dunlop, Sam Carter, PP Arnold and other guests… A host of artists pay homage to the former Fairport Convention singer and British folk-rock icon. Since her death, Sandy Denny has gained a posthumous reputation as one of the UK’s greatest ever singer-songwriters. This special performance showcases for the first time her entire musical legacy, taking in her work with Fairport Convention.
Fatoumata & Baloji
An exclusive African music doubleheader from two of the continent’s brightest young émigré artists.
Africa Express Sound System (presented by The Great Escape)
Africa Express has been hailed as the most revolutionary force in popular music in two decades, with a series of acclaimed shows in Britain, Europe and Africa. Now comes Africa Express Sound System – sharing the same fearless spirit of spontaneous collaboration between artists from different cultures, genres and generations.
Hotel Pro Forma and The Irrepressibles War Sum Up, UK Premiere
A multimedia manga opera on the nature of war, ghosts and superheroes, War Sum Up is an ultra-contemporary audio-visual spectacle that fuses classic warrior texts from Japanese Noh theatre with warmongering manga graphics, surreal costumes and a live music mash-up of contemporary choral music performed by the Latvian Radio Choir and electronica and melodious chamber pop by British symphonic pop orchestra The Irrepressibles.
Along with a whole host of free entry events too, Brighton Festival once again looks to be a fantastic immersion of cultural exploration and excitement.
Tickets went on sale yesterday and can be purchased from the Brighton Festival website.