Brighton Magazine

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Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Tuesday 23 April 2024

Brighton Festival 2024's Dance & Circus Programme Showcases Local Performers Alongside Acclaimed Artists & International Companies

Brighton-based dance company Project Female demonstrate their contemporary skill and Olivier award-winning performance artist Marisa Carnesky turns a downtown city street into a spectacular variety show at this year's Brighton Festival
Credit: Rosie Powell

Elsewhere, circus performers from as far afield as Australia and Italy perform breathtaking stunts, in an eclectic programme that embodies both the Festival and the city's commitment to the arts.  

On 11th May, highly skilled all-female and non-binary dance group Project Female present a triple bill of performances that fuse contemporary dance with Hip Hop and commercial styles in Triptych, a collaboration with acclaimed Hip Hop dance theatre company Boy Blue's Young Artists. 

Movement is integrated with spoken word and innovative digital technology to tell stories that reflect the experiences of young women and girls, challenging perceptions of youth dance and celebrating a new generation of dance artists.  

From 25th-26th May, acclaimed performance-maker Marisa Carnesky will turn a Brighton street into a circus with nine stages and a cast of 33 aerialists, wrestlers, variety dancers, contemporary clowns and contortionists. 

Created especially for Brighton Festival, Carnesky's Showwomxn Sideshow Spectacular celebrates the forgotten women of the variety show's unique history, inspired by Carnesky's own research at the National Fairground and Circus Archive. 

Marisa Carnesky said:

"Brighton is one of the most significant seaside towns in the UK with a rich performance culture. 

"My research into British seaside heritage, and passion for discovering untold stories about women performers, is embedded in the Brighton landscape. 

"The show combines the heritage and tradition of British seaside entertainment with the most cutting-edge, ground-breaking and diverse cast: reframing the British seaside through a 2024 Brighton lens."

In High Performance Packing Tape (17th-18th May), everyday materials are pushed to breaking point by celebrated Australian circus company Branch Nebula. 

A brave solo performer faces a series of mind-bending predicaments, such as climbing towers that will inevitably collapse and dangling in the air from materials doomed to stretch and snap, in an edge-of-the-seat performance where danger feels always imminent.

The show takes place in Brighton Dome's Corn Exchange, which returns alongside the Studio Theatre as a host venue for this year's Festival following a major refurbishment project, allowing for an expanded international programme.

Elsewhere, contemporary circus, choreography and physical theatre combine in Materia (23rd-25th May), a duet between Italian performance artist Andrea Salustri and polystyrene objects. 

The role of the performer shifts, as Salustri manipulates polystyrene shapes to the point that the material seems to come to life. 

This beguiling piece has developed beyond the stage, as artworks are made from the waste collected at the end of every performance and then composted for total sustainability.

As part of this year's programme of pop-up events from outdoors art specialists Without Walls, Closer to My Dreams (11th May) is a free, outdoor show from Chad Taylor, choreographer for Britain's Got Talent winner George Sampson and dancer for The X Factor and BRIT Awards. 

The piece weaves together poetry, rap and Hip Hop to tell the story of two young, Black brothers from inner-city Manchester who dream of becoming professional dancers, exploring family, friendship and the trials and tribulations of life.

For additional highlights and to view Brighton Festival's full line-up visit: brightonfestival.org

by: Mike Cobley




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