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Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Monday 05 July 2021

Brighton Festival Addresses New World 'Normal' By Looking Forward To 2022 With Two Guest Co-Directors

Historically, periods of great disruption and change have been met by flowerings of artistic creativity and invention and festivals provide the opportunity to reflect, consider and reimagine. 
Credit Credit Ghassan Jansiz

To address this powerfully changed moment in time, next year's Brighton Festival will be led jointly by Syrian architect and author, Marwa al-Sabouni and Brighton-based theatre artist Tristan Sharps, as the first Guest Co-Directors to be invited to collaborate together on the programme.

Marwa al-Sabouni is based in the Syrian city of Homs and was named in the BBC's 100 Women list 2019. 

Her acclaimed book, The Battle for Home was chosen by The Guardian as one of the best architectural books of 2016. 

Her second book, Building for Hope, was published by Thames & Hudson in April 2021.

Marwa said:

"I'm extremely honoured to be named as Guest Co-Director for next year's festival alongside Tristan. 

"It's a wonderful opportunity to be engaged in the process of creating such a rich and colourful programme as Brighton Festival. 

"The need for building bridges and connections couldn't be more urgent, especially in the wake of the suffering, loss and division which our world is currently going through. 

"Hence the importance of what each of us can bring to the table of this perfect platform of enjoyment and reflection.

Brighton Festival is a vehicle to discuss innovative ideas and explore new means of expression and communication through various cross-art forms, which gives it a special voice and space. 

"It is through this unique mix of beauty, imagination and ideas that we are going to find inspiration to move forward."

Tristan added:

"As a proud resident of Brighton, it's a huge honour to be invited as Guest Co-Director. 

"For me, the festival has always been about making connections – between people, places and art-forms. 

"No other festival I know brings together such a wide-range of events, from theatre, dance, circus, installation, film, music, literature and visual arts to immersive technologies and more. 

"My own work mixes many of these art-forms and my favourite collaborations have always been with artists from different disciplines, which is why I'm particularly thrilled to be working alongside visionary architect Marwa al-Sabouni. 

"We've been planning to collaborate since we first met in 2018, so I'm excited to embark on this new journey with her and the festival team, to reconnect with ourselves and the challenging world we are all currently living in."

Brighton Festival made a triumphant return in 2021 as the first multi-arts festival in the UK to open after the coronavirus pandemic caused cancellations throughout 2020. 

Guest Director Lemn Sissay's inspired and resonant theme of 'care' brought thousands of people back to live art and performance across May and into June.

Over 100 events were delivered safely and successfully navigating two steps of the lockdown roadmap to the delight of both audiences and artists, including installations, performances at locations in Brighton & Hove, across Sussex and online.

Brighton Festival will take place from 7 to 29 May 2022.

by: Mike Cobley



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