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FESTIVAL: Brighton Festival Press Launch @ Brighton Dome, 15/02/2018

The Verse’s Charlotte Crane takes us through the upcoming Brighton Festival 2018, following the press launch on 15th February.

This year’s Brighton Festival is set to be a heart-warming and diverse celebration of the attitudes and culture that make our city so special.

At the Festival press launch yesterday morning, it was announced that this year’s guest director will be the acclaimed illustrator David Shrigley. When asked what prompted him to accept this role, Shrigley seemed genuinely flattered and humbled that he was even asked. He was excited to have ‘made a commitment to Brighton’ when he took residency here after moving on from his long-term home of Glasgow. Shrigley has always loved Brighton, stating ‘it’s like the bay area of the UK, not just because of the LGBTQ+ friendly qualities, but because of the general attitudes and the creative and progressive people.’ He also noted that he intends to go and see everything the festival has to offer as he himself ‘is just a punter.’

The Brighton Festival 2018 brochure has been adorned with many of Shrigley’s illustrations, along with a brand new typeface based upon his own handwriting. He will be showcasing five of his own pieces at the festival, not including an exciting opportunity for ten 16-19 year olds to join him for an informal coffee to discuss progressing within visual arts. The man himself took us through some of the acts he was most looking forward to seeing at this year’s festival:

David’s Top Picks

Deerhoof & Stargaze – Wednesday 8th May, 8pm @ Brighton Dome
Deerhoof will be collaborating with the orchestral collective Stargaze in this exciting one off performance.

Brett Goodroad – Wednesday 9th – Sunday 27th May, 11am – 5pm (Closed Mon & Tues) @ Phoenix Gallery
A personal friend of Shrigley’s, this ‘really interesting visual artist’ will be making his UK debut at the festival.

Malcolm Middleton & Iain Shaw – Thursday 24th May, 8pm @ St George’s Church
Malcolm Middleton (one half of band Arab Strap) will be joined by quirky folk musician Iain Shaw, who Shrigley has previously collaborated with musically.

Bridget Christie, What Now? – Friday 18th May, 7.30pm @ Brighton Dome
Multi-award winning comedian Bridget Christie will be talking Brexit, Trump and nuclear apocalypse in her new show.

Ezra Furman – Saturday 26th May, 8pm @ Brighton Dome
David himself said he owns all Ezra Furman’s records, yet hasn’t seen him live. The gender-queer musician beautifully lays his soul out before the audience as he performs. Definitely not one to miss.

The press launch also featured a speech from Peter Heslip, Director of Visual Arts from Arts Council England, who took joy in the approach taken for this year’s festival. Drawing on the work of Shrigley, he noted ‘we need satire and humour more than ever.’
Josephine Burns, Chair of ‘Without Walls’ also spoke about her outdoor arts consortium that will be showing at the festival. She stated that ‘barriers of class and money that can inhibit us can be overcome in a shared space’, really encapsulating the accessibility to arts and culture that the festival brings to our beloved city.

The Verse’s Top Picks

The Verse are really looking forward to Brighton Festival, so we couldn’t help but compile our own list of some of the acts we are most excited about.

The String Quartet’s Guide to Sex and Anxiety – Wednesday 23rd & Thursday 24th May, 7.30 @ Theatre Royal

This work by Calixto Bieito is guaranteed to be ‘anarchic’ and ‘meaningful’, exploring mental health through classical music.

The Myth of Sisyphus – Monday 7th May, 11-5.30 @ The Nightingale Room 

This reading of Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus by Shrigley himself embodies the aura of this year’s festival: life is ridiculously absurd but we should have fun anyway.

Poets & Illustrators – Saturday 26th May, 8pm @ St George’s Church

Expect a night of straight talking poetry from four of the best poets around, accompanied by beautiful illustration, all inspired by the theme of ‘hard work.’

Afua Hirsch: Brit(ish) – Sunday 6th May, 8pm @ Brighton & Hove High School

Aufua Hirsch explores ideas of what it means now to be British, and how it might change in a post-Brexit Britain.

David Shrigley: Problem in Brighton – Thursday 10th -12th May, (Various Times) @ The Old Market

We couldn’t not mention Shrigley’s new alt-rock/pop pantomime, that will feature surrealist guitars created by the artist himself!

After last year’s success, the festival will be continuing with their ‘Pay-It-Forward’ scheme. If you are able to, there is the opportunity to pay an extra £5 on top of the price of your ticket. Brighton Festival will then match that amount to create a £10 ticket for a member of the community who cannot afford to attend the shows. Another exciting project that is continuing from last year is ‘Your Place.’ A programme of free theatre, dance, music, outdoor games and workshops that bring the festival right to people’s doorsteps. To find out more there is a lovely video about Your Place here.

The 2018 Brighton Festival kicks off on Saturday the 5th of May with the annual children’s parade. Other family-friendly events include an appearance by Jacqueline Wilson, there really is something for everyone, so don’t miss out! You can purchase tickets to all of the events through the Brighton Festival website here.



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