Four Brighton Festivals in May
It's time to make your way to the seaside for Brighton's sensational quartet of festivals of Fringe, Festival, Open House and The Great Escape
Published 07 May 2012 in Travel Articles
Drop everything and make your way to Brighton this May. You'll find theatrical events and a number of eccentric offerings thanks to four Brighton Festivals.
Festivals In Brighton is the collective name for Brighton Fringe, Brighton Festival, Artists Open Houses and HOUSE (the new modern element). It is the first year the festivals have come together in collaboration bringing a festive vibe to this coastal town like never before.
What: Brighton Festival
The Brighton Festival, the largest festival in England, opens up this year with Guest Director Vanessa Redgrave, the legendary stage and screen actress and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
Several of Vanessa's interests will be explored through events covering music, theatre, dance, film and literature - with subject matter ranging from acting and politics to memory and nostalgia, and from homeland to humanitarian concerns and the needs of children in our world.
It has a long tradition for attracting the most exciting performers from across the globe, as well as promoting local artists, and bringing fresh, challenging new work to Brighton. More than 350 performances, 141 events and over 33 venues are involved. There's a busy schedule at Brighton Dome including The Philharmonia Orchestra will have Vladimir Ashkenazy conducting a powerfull all-Russian programme and The life and work of Patrick Hamilton.
Experimental company dreamthinkspeak stages their 90 minute rendition of Hamlet called The Rest is Silence to 30th June before touring other venues in the UK.
What: Brighton Fringe
When: 5 to 27 May
Brighton Fringe is traditionally the younger relation of the Brighton Festival. But this year, the three week celebration of new creative talent is bigger than ever and ticket sales are up a massive 40 percent on last year.
It offers 675 acts across 193 venues such as cabaret, stand-up, theatre, music, visual arts and literary events. An estimated 200,00 visitors are expected to turn up. There will also be street performers strutting their stuff to a passing public.
There are more than 150 free events this year from outdoor performances through comedy to workshops.
There are plays by Shakespeare, Wilde, Sondheim, Pinter and Arnold Wesker as well as new works including White Rabbit, Red Rabbit by the Iranian writer Nassim Soleimanpour, performed by a different actor each night, and Feral Theatre's Triptych, which uses puppetry, physical theatre and acrobatics in a tale about a Romany storyteller.
The main festival offers the big names, but regulars to the Fringe will recognise faces with a cabaret line-up including Desmond O'Connor Lynn Ruth Miller and the award-winning Bourgeois and Maurice, and stand-up from the likes of Mark Steel, Gina Yashere and Isy Suttie.
Be sure to check out the interactive Dip Your Toe Bathing Machines, performance adventure in the streets of Brighton, with a series of unique theatre pieces performed in and around six Victorian-style bathing machines across the city. Also the new venue at the Warren that has shows from burlesque to kids show is worth a peak.
Cheeky shows such as Sameena Zehra's Tea With Terrorists, Ria Lina's It's Not Easy Being Yellow and the comic ensemble piece Shaggers (it is worth noting that 35 shows at the Fringe come with warnings of nudity).
The literary programmethis year to includes a Charles Dickens cabaret in celebration of the writer's bicentenary, and talks from Tony Benn and the US writer and sociologist George Ritzer.
Hendrick's Library of Delightfully Peculiar Writings returns to Jubilee Square as a speakeasy and with a programme including Damian Barr's Literary Salon with Jojo Moyes and Alex Preston and gastronomic architects Bompas and Parr's A Literary Feast.
Fat Boy Slim is also appearing at this year's Fringe from 1st June. Tickets are avalable online
What: Artists Open Houses
Brighton is known for its creative talent and Artists Open Houses is a great way to see it. Around 1,000 artists and makers participate and more than 200 homes are transformed into galleries. This year the HOUSE 2012 festival became part of its mix four years ago. Internationally renowned artist David Bachelor is exhibitng a piece at the only fully restored Regency Town House in Regency Square. His other work comprises the Brighton Palermo Remix and artwork's e theme is everyday and overlooked items such as a Skip decorated with neon lights which 'hums with the environment'.
Work in the houses includes jewellery, ceramics and textiles, as well as painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography and many other media.
As well as seeing and possibly buying some great artisitc pieces you will also get to sample home-made cakes.
What: The Great Escape Music Festival
With over 300 new bands from around the world being showcased alongside a total attendance of 10,000, the festival is packed with a muso medley of outdoor gigs, afternoon shows, club nights, after parties, talks and music industry seminars.
For a taste of the kind of talent on offer, past 'new' bands include Adele, Tinie Tempah, Ellie Goulding and Mumford & Sons. The Kooks and Bat for Lashes were also past performers pre fame.
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