Brighton Festival: The highlights of the family and community event
The annual event’s guest director, DJ, broadcaster and musician Nabihah Iqbal, invites everyone to join this year’s celebration of community, collaboration and the joy of shared experiences.
For families, a variety of events, from plays and dance to free outdoor theater, capture this spirit throughout May across the city and beyond.
The world premiere of Galatea
The work of Shakespeare’s contemporary John Lyly is brought to life in a radical revival of his early modern play Galatea, which combines groundbreaking research and experimental theatre.
This new version of Galatea was commissioned by the Brighton Festival and adapted by Sussex theater maker Emma Frankland in collaboration with Brighton’s Marlborough Productions, landscape theater company Wildworks and historian Andy Kesson.
It is suitable for children aged eight and over and will be presented at the Adur Recreation Ground in Shoreham, Frankland’s hometown, from May 5th.
Featuring a vibrant cast of LGBTQIA+ and deaf performers, members of the community are invited to join the performance through a process led by Wildworks, who bring 20 years of experience creating work with community participants.
“I’ve been working on this production for seven years now and I’m really proud to share the results of such a long development period,” said Ms. Frankland.
“This production will be the result of so many brilliant artists, writers and thinkers who have been a part of this journey.”
“There are so many reasons to be excited about the staging of Lyly’s Galatea, which claims to be Shakespeare’s favourite, a work which Shakespeare never quite got out of his system and which provided the framework for what we know today call it Shakespearean comedy,” he told Mr. Keson.
Van Gogh lives
The immersive experience Van Gogh Alive, which premieres on April 12.
The multi-sensory experience explores the life and work of one of the world’s best-known artists, Vincent Van Gogh, and has visited more than 80 cities worldwide.
Visitors can explore the Sunflower Selfie Room – a 360° mirrored room filled with hundreds of flowers that’s delighting Instagram feeds around the world – and have access to a Starry Night installation that’s brand new for Brighton.
After a sell-out performance of Romeo and Juliet in a skate park at Brighton Festival 2022, East Sussex theater company for children and young adults, ThirdSpace, return with a reinterpretation of the ancient Greek tragedy of Euripides, recreating the classic tale of revolt against authority by a group of interprets youth against a predatory corporate system.
Suitable for ages 12+, Bakkhai is a Brighton Festival Commission and will be performed outside at The Crew Club in Whitehawk on 13th and 14th May to a soundtrack of pounding bass and choral voices and a full cast ranging in age from eight to 60 years.
A weekend without walls
A Weekend Without Walls on 27th and 28th May at locations in Brighton City Center and Crawley’s Queens Square will continue its series of free, family-friendly outdoor events that push the boundaries of art and live performance in public spaces.
Inspired by the traditional art of Indian and Persian miniature painting, performers in colorful costumes will create a series of vibrant pop-up images at the Royal Pavilion on May 27th and 28th, evoking scenes of Indian royal courts and lush gardens with a contemporary twist.
In a performance that blends circus and storytelling with sound system culture and West African folklore, a group of flamboyant Afrinauts will arrive and set up camp in Jubilee Square on May 27th and 28th. In the evening, the audience is invited to a dance party.
Indian classical dance and contemporary movement, theater and play combine to recreate a train journey in India on May 27th and 28th in Queen’s Square. Three artists weave a traveling tapestry featuring shawls that become steam, railroad tracks, windows and even an elephant.
Little Murmur is a new dance theater show by British South Asian dancer and choreographer Aakash Odedra, who was diagnosed with dyslexia at a young age and found school very challenging.
Defined by his learning difficulties, not his abilities, dance became his mode of communication.
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Suitable for ages seven and up, Little Murmur uses projection, sound and a blizzard of paper and confetti to explore the trials and tribulations of living with dyslexia, facing challenges and overcoming adversity.
It will take place on May 13th and 14th at the Attenborough Center for the Creative Arts.
Dancer Subhash Viman Gorania said: “We look forward to meeting the Brighton locals and immersing them in our creative world where individual abilities and difficulties can be explored.”
Get out of the mess
Explosive acrobatics collide with primal physics in this show by award-winning Australian circus group Gravity and Other Myths, taking place May 9-11 at the Dome Concert Hall.
From May 25th to 27th, Herman Melville’s classic Moby Dick will be brought to life in an adaptation of the story with seven actors, fifty puppets – including a whale the size of a whale – and a drowned orchestra at the Theater Royal Brighton.
The production by the French-Norwegian theater group Plexus Polaire is suitable for children aged six and over.
With events throughout the festival for children of all ages, this year’s Young Readers program includes performances by former Children’s Prize winner Jacqueline Wilson and Tom Gates series author Liz Pichon.
Thomas Taylor will introduce readers to the latest installment of Festergrimm and Horrible Histories illustrator Martin Brown will celebrate 30 years of the best-selling series.
For younger children, Guy Parker-Rees, illustrator of the best-selling book Giraffes Can’t Dance, will host an arts and crafts session.
A very old man with huge wings
On May 20th and 21st, the story of the Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez will be retold for children from the age of eight at the Sallis Benney Theater with music, puppetry and video projection.
In a kitchen, in a theater, two storytellers and their audience find a very old man with huge wings. After consulting a neighbor, the couple decides to house him in a chicken coop and feed him leftovers.
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