England’s largest annual curated multi-arts festival is back. In its 53rd year, the Brighton Festival is this year guest directed by Malian singer-songwriter, Rokia Traoré and promises to be a celebration of multi-cultural story telling, with a key focus on dance and music.
Traoré herself is bringing three exclusive performances to Brighton. A mix of Malian storytelling and music, structured around the West African griot tradition, Dream Mandé: Djata is a UK premiere of oral history presented with two musicians. She will also perform her critically acclaimed album Né So in her home language of Bambara as well as presenting Dream Mandé: Bamanan Djourou, a group performance led by Traoré, introducing new and exciting stories to the city.
Brighton Festival will feature over 130 events, with artists and performers from over 20 counties across 25 venues and locations within Brighton and Hove.
As ever, there will be a strong community element to the Festival. Events under the banner of the name Our Place will provide free local cultural events to residents in Hangleton and East Brighton. A wide range of activities from workshops to outside live events and circus theatre will be available to all.
The Children’s parade kicks off the fun on Saturday 4 May and is free to all participants. The theme is ‘folktales from around the world’ and will bring a vibrant procession of colour to the centre of the city.
Commissioned by Brighton Festival with the Without Walls network and marking 50 years since the first moon landings, Luke Jerram’s realistic illuminated lunar model will be lighting up the sky above Queens Park and promises to be an impressive spectacle.
Immersive installations will be appearing in various locations across the city. As part of this, Newtoy will present Wet Sounds; deep listening and a swimsuit are all you will need as you become part of an extraordinary surround sound installation in a public pool. A freeing, surreal and relaxing experience promises to greet any willing participant.
Other highlights include a dance performance from the award-winning Pappyshow; an exploration of male tenderness and vulnerability in their show Boys. Also, Superhoe, the highly acclaimed writing and performing debut from Nicole Lecky promises to be thought-provoking and entertaining in equal measure.
Other big names in the program include Ruby Wax, Andy Hamilton, Neneh Cherry, Peter Sellars and Anthony Horowitz, culminating in a truly eclectic mix.
Promoting diversity, collaboration and inclusivity at its heart, The Brighton Festival will be a month of intensive cultural immersion for anyone who wants to experience the merging and celebration of differing world cultures. It will present an African story as told by Africans as well as a regional story championed by locals; a meeting of global neighbours in search of beauty, harmony and art. A place to celebrate life.
Brighton Festival takes place at venues across Brighton between 4-26 May 2019. For more information and to view the full programme visit https://brightonfestival.org/
Simon Topping | Title Image: Summer Dean