Brighton Magazine

The Brighton Magazine

Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Saturday 18 February 2017

Everyday Epic: Brighton Festival 2017 Launches With Kate Tempest As Guest Director

The full programme for Brighton Festival 2017 - the largest annual, curated multi-arts festival in England - has been unveiled with the acclaimed recording artist, poet, playwright and novelist Kate Tempest as Guest Director. 

At a political and social moment that feels particularly precarious, Kate Tempest's programme (6-28 May 2017) celebrates what she calls the "Everyday Epic' .. art that helps us connect to ourselves and others, explores our individual stories and differences, and encourages audiences to take a walk in someone else's shoes. In her words: "Art is social. It should be a part of life. No big deal – just life itself."

Many of Tempest's interests, passions, and inspirations are explored in an eclectic line-up spanning theatre, dance, visual art, film, music, debate, comedy and spoken word - andfeaturing the likes of Brighton-based rapper Ocean Wisdom, who appears on a bill hosted by influential UK hip hop label High Focus Records, and poetry slam champion Tommy Sissons who performs alongside fellow spoken word stars Patience Agbabi and Dizraeli.

Kate Tempest will perform in a host of special Brighton Festival events including: an exclusive opening gig of music and spoken word; a poetry evening in which she appears alongside the likes of fellow Picador poets Hollie McNish and Glyn Maxwell; and a live orchestration of her recent album Let Them Eat Chaos, produced in collaboration with Oscar-nominated artist Mica Levi, who also brings her acclaimed live score of Under the Skin to the Festival. 

Kate Tempest said: "I feel very humbled to have been given the opportunity to guest direct Brighton Festival. 

"This year's theme, Everyday Epic, seems to encapsulate some of my feelings about how music, literature and poetry can give us back our lives. Singing, playing, dancing, moving, painting life and communicating about that in public spaces - it requires no qualifications, no training to enjoy it. 

"It's truthful communication between humans about humanity and in these times, it feels more important than ever to try and understand what that humanity is and what it could be. 

"So please go and see as much as you can. Approach it like an epic. Like you are a pilgrim on a quest and something may well happen in the theatre, the pub, the community centre, the concert hall that will smash you back to feeling and land you in your skin again."

A series of outdoor sight-specific works will encourage audiences to see the Everyday Epic in the landscape of the city and engage with their environment anew. 

These include For the Birds, an intricate light, sound and kinetic sculpture trail experienced as an immersive night-time adventure through a woodland location; the UK premiere of Five Short Blasts: Shoreham, a maritime journey on the River Adur created by Australian artists Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey in collaboration with Shoreham's water communities; Depart, an ethereal promenade performance through a cemetery from Yaron Lifschitz and his internationally acclaimed circus company, Circa; and SPECTRA:CAST, an interactive installation from artist duo Walter & Zoniel that will transform Brighton beach into a giant canvas as audiences register their views on a variety of subjects by casting multi-coloured stones onto it.  


Story-telling in all its forms is celebrated in a number of events such as The Gabriels, Tony-award-winning playwright Richard Nelson's extraordinary depiction of one American family, written and set in real time during the turbulent US election year - the follow-up to his 2015 smash-hit The Apple Plays ; Anna and Elizabeth's revival of the ancient tradition of "crankies', cloth and cut-paper scrolls depicting stories and scenes from the great ballads unfurled to musical accompaniment; spoken word nights from cult collectives Apples and Snakes and Bang Said the Gun; a new co-commission by Andy Smith & Fuel, Summit, performed in British Sign Language and English by a cast of three; and No Dogs no Indians, the world premiere of three intertwining stories exploring the effects and legacy of the British in India by poet and playwright Siddhartha Bose to mark the 70th anniversary of Indian independence. 

The power of the arts to "activate our empathy'and pose questions about how we view the "other'is examined through works such as They/Onlar, ipek Duben's multi-screen installation which explores the division lines of gender, ethnicity and sexuality in Turkish society; the world premiere of Brighton-based choreographer and designer, Theo Clinkard's This Bright Field, a major new commission which sees audiences share the stage with thirteen exceptional performers for a captivating and intimate event examining perspective and attention; Collisions, Lynette Wallworth's thought-provoking Virtual Reality film experience which puts audiences directly into the life-changing moment when indigenous Martu Elder Nyarri Nyarri Morgan a witnessed an atomic test – his first encounter with Western culture; and Breaking the Spell of Loneliness, George Monbiot and Ewan McLennan's musical exploration of loneliness and social isolation. 

Reflecting Tempest's belief that: "The arts should be in our communities, not only on elevated platforms or behind red velvet ropes', Brighton Festival 2017 sees two new ventures: The Storytelling Army, a dynamic collective of people from all walks of life who will be performing in unexpected locations around the city from bus stops to supermarkets, and Your Place, a diverse line-up of mixed arts programmed in partnership with Brighton People's Theatre, Festival artists and local residents in the Hangleton and Whitehawk communities. 

These join regular free, participatory events such as the annual Children's Parade, City Reads and Young City Reads; and Weekend Without Walls, two days of free arts in the parks; and a new initiative which encourages audiences to Pay-It-Forward by donating £5 on top of their ticket price which will be match-funded by Brighton Festival to create a £10 Festival ticket voucher for someone unable to afford the opportunity.

Other Brighton Festival 2017 highlights include a special performance from legendary folk singer Shirley Collins with guests handpicked for the occasion; a new adaptation of Swan Lake from one of Ireland's foremost dance and theatre-makers, Michael Keegan-Dolan; genre-defying actress, singer, dancer, and cabaret diva Meow Meow who joins forces with Orchester der Kleinen Regiment for an exclusive Brighton Festival performance; a major new co-commission from sculptor Cathie Pilkington; US performance artist turned rapper Mykki Blanco's punk and riot grrrl influenced hip hop; Kneehigh's acclaimed production of Emma Rice's staging of Tristan & Yseult; BBC Young Musician 2016 Sheku Kanneh-Mason performing with the Chineke! Orchestra; and two special events to mark the 450th anniversary of the birth of Monteverdi - II Combattimento from Christophe Rousset and his ensemble Les Talens Lyrique, and a selection of the composer's sacred music from vocal ensemble I Fagiolini.

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival added: 

"Kate Tempest has brought a formidable passion and energy to the role of Guest Director this year. 

"She is an extraordinary artist across many forms - writer, musician, performer and poet – with a unique ability to connect with people of all ages and from all walks of life. 

"Kate is passionate about the power of the arts to bring communities together – vital now more than ever."

Brighton Festival 2017 runs from 6-28 May 2017. To view a full list of eventsCLICK HERE for the online brochure.

by: Mike Cobley




Share    


Son of Dave is fifty years old, and has lived for twenty-one years in the UK, hailing originally from Winnipeg Canada where he was steeped at a young age in the blues-bar tradition. 

The stand-up Jon Richardson is chatting from a rather unusual location. He reveals that,“I'm currently in the Aldi car park in Clevedon.” Who said that the life of a comedian isn't non-stop glamour?

A remake of one of Brighton's most iconic films, Brighton Rock, is set to take place this week on the 70th anniversary of the classic starring Richard Attenborough – and members of the public are invited to dress up in vintage 1940s attire and take part.

Brighton charity Same Sky has launched its crowdfunder for Burning the Clocks 2017 – an uplifting antidote to the excesses of a commercial Christmas. 
(c) Gone Fishing + Marathon Artists 2017

MMODE – aka Belfast brother & sister duo Lucy & Thomas Gaffney – have  announced that their self-titled debut album, MMODE, will be released next month.

The WWE bandwagon rolled into Brighton recently to deliver its quality brand of big names and even bigger action.
Pic by Ian Kelsey

It's not often a group of young men pool their creative resources to benefit the health and wellbeing of others. It's even rarer when those young men are musicians. But that's exactly what the Brighton-based collective, 40 Shillings On the Drum, have done with the release of their new single. The English Coast.

Direct from an extended season in London's West End, Bill  Kenwright's production of Alan Ayckbourn's farcical tale of matrimonial mishaps, How the Other Half Loves comes to Theatre Royal Brighton, this month.

Experience the whisper of stories, speaking of the Black Atlantic, singing of jazz and Harlem and the African American literary renaissance in As Waves of One Sea. 

Louise Redknapp rose to fame as a member of the girl group Eternal. She left the band to carve out a successful solo career achieving sales of over five million records with five albums.
Stereophonics (c) Andrew Whitton 2017

Twenty years after their debut (Word Gets Around) and six No.1 albums later, Stereophonics are set to release their new album Scream Above The Sounds, this week.

Jim White gets around. When he's not releasing his own critically acclaimed solo albums he splits his time producing records for other songwriters, exhibiting his visual art in galleries and museums across the USA & Europe and publishing award winning fiction.
Pic by Ian Kelsey

Loneliness affects people of every race, age, and gender at any time of the year, and not having anyone to connect with can have a devastating impact on people's health & well-being. 

Oska Bright Film Festival is the leading international festival of films made by, or featuring, people with learning disabilities. It is produced, managed and presented by a learning disabled team.

Archive search

Search our archives for what's on and gone for the best of this city's theatre music comedy news and much more...







Organising a conference or event in Brighton?
See our Brighton Conference section.
Brighton web design by ...ntd