Over the past five years they have included visual artist Anish Kapoor, musician Brian Eno, Burmese democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, actress and human rights campaigner Vanessa Redgrave, and poet, author and former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen. This year sees Hofesh Shechter, critically acclaimed choreographer, dancer, musician, composer and performer embracing the role.
As with previous years the festival program is wide-ranging, spanning music, theatre, dance, visual art, film, literature and debate.
We’ve picked five must see events from this years programme.
Music – Cat Power – Brighton Dome Concert Hall – 18 May
Returning to solo performance for the first time in years, the American singer-songwriter Chan Marshall (AKA Cat Power) presents music from her hit album Sun. ‘It is don’t look back, pick up, and go confidently into your own future, to personal power and fulfillment,’ she says of Sun, which she wrote, recorded and produced herself.
Books & Debate – Irvine Welsh in conversation with John Niven The Old Market – 4th May
Twenty-one years after the publication of his seminal novel Trainspotting defined the drug scene for a generation, Irvine Welsh’s latest book The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins turns his raw and uncompromising style to two great obsessions of our time: how we look and where we live.
Visual Art – Yinka Shonibare MBE – The British Library, Brighton
Festival co-commission with HOUSE 2014
Brighton Reference Library – 3rd – 25th May
As the lead artist for this year’s HOUSE – a curated visual arts program that runs alongside the Festival – Yinka Shonibare MBE’s new sculptural installation explores the impact of immigration on all aspects of British culture and considers notions of territory and place, cultural identity, displacement and refuge.
Dance – ‘Sun’ – Brighton Festival Exclusive 2014 Brighton Dome Concert Hall – 3rd – 4th May
Choreographed by the festival Director Hofesh Shechter himself as a co-commission with the festival, the work confronts the pastoral horror of colonialism with a hint of sharp humor. Featuring an expanded company of fourteen dancers, the work is accompanied by an eclectic soundtrack that includes original music by Shechter. There will also be a special director’s cut – ‘Sun Dust’, in which Shechter gives us an insight into his creative process and the crystallization of ‘Sun’.
Theatre - Dmitry Krymov Lab (Moscow) – Opus No. 7 UK Premiere – Brighton Dome Corn Exchange 3rd – 5th May
Progressing from a lyrical and starkly beautiful requiem to the Jews of Eastern Europe to an hallucinogenic exploration of the tortured life and career of the Soviet-era composer Dmitri Shostakovich, Opus No. 7 combines this with a theatrical explosion of invention featuring larger-than-life puppets, dueling pianos, living walls and blizzards of newsprint.
The festival runs across the city from 3rd to 25th May 2014.
Public booking is now open! Visit the festival website for tickets and further information: http://brightonfestival.org
Words: Jessica Kemp