IT IS the day of the year that feels like Christmas for culture vultures.

And the Brighton Festival 2018 line-up announcement doesn’t disappoint with an appetising mix of music, theatre, comedy, dance and much more.

The Argus can exclusively reveal the highlights of the 52nd edition of the three-week programme, which takes place between May 5 and 27.

This year’s guest director David Shrigley has promised the festival will be a “voyage of discovery” and the artist is adding to the culture with a number of his own events.

He is presenting an “alternative pantomime” called Problem In Brighton, based around Albert Camus’ novel The Myth Of Sisyphus, and Life Model II which invites festivalgoers to draw a sculpture of a nine-foot woman.

The director has also got a number of his musical friends on board including Malcolm Middleton, formerly of rock band Arab Strap, and Scottish artist Ian Shaw.

Among the recognisable personalities appearing at the festival are comedians Bridget Christie and Tim Key, musicians Brett Anderson and Viv Albertine and author – and former Brighton Festival guest director – Michael Rosen.

There are over 100 events happening across Brighton and Hove in May.

David Shrigley said: “I’m very excited about this year’s line-up – not only for the things that I have selected but also for the things I have only read about.

“One of the best things about the Festival for me is that it can be a voyage of discovery.

“As a resident of Brighton the festival is always a delight.

“Those who have visited before will know that having such an incredible array of events occur in our city every year is a great privilege.”

Andrew Comben, chief executive of Brighton Festival, added that he was excited to see Mr Shrigley bring his “distinctive take” to the event.

He said: “Like Brighton Festival, David Shrigley’s work is for everyone.

“Both powerful and funny, it manages to speak to a wide audience.

“Alongside his own work he is also a great advocate for the arts helping our health and wellbeing.

“We are thrilled that David is bringing his distinctive take to the festival and the city he has now made his home.”

Below, we preview the most exciting shows taking place from May 5 to 27.


AMONG the main musical draws are the American songwriter Amanda Palmer, who will be performing solo at the festival but is also the singer of rock band Dresden Dolls. Chicago musician Ezra Furman, who often performs in cross-dress, will be playing songs from his back catalogue including recent album Transangelic Exodus.

Indie band Deerhoof, from San Francisco, are one of David Shrigley’s favourite groups and will perform with orchestral ensemble Stargaze for a special concert.

Another collaboration is between soul and rap artists Carleen Anderson (picture), Nikki Yeoh and Speech Debelle for an event called A Change Is Gonna Come. The gig focuses on the importance of protest song.

Elsewhere, West African all-female group Les Amazons d’Afrique will be in performance as well as collective Brownton Abbey, fronted by Big Freedia who has previously sung with Beyonce.

London funk and disco band Jungle have also been announced on the programme, as has Scottish singer-songwriter Malcolm Middleton.

Shrigley’s pantomime Problem In Brighton will also feature music aplenty.


AS EVER, there is a strong emphasis on stage shows this year – including dance and circus.

Kneehigh, the theatre group behind last year’s festival hit Tristan and Yseult, return with their new production The Flying Lovers Of Vitebsk. The National Theatre Of Scotland present Adam, a play following the journey of a young trans man.

Issues of sexuality and gender are also explored in The String Quartert’s Guide To Sex And Anxiety, put on by Spanish theatre director Calixto Bieito. Oscar Wilde’s classic novel The Picture Of Dorian Gray inspires a show – Creation (Pictures For Dorian) – by British-German collective Gob Squad.

Meanwhile, some of the most promising new theatre from across the country will be highlighted in the three-day

Caravan showcase. Former guest director Hofesh Shechter is back in Brighton to premiere his dance piece Grand Finale, ominously based around a “world in freefall”.

Brighton-based choreographer Cedya Tanc will also bring her Turkish-influenced new show, Kaya, to the festival with an all-female company.

Highlights from the circus programme include Lexicon – No Fit State and Fauna.

Comedy and talks

TWO of the most high-profile performers at the festival are Bridget Christie and Tim Key, both established comedians in their own right.

Brett Anderson (pictured), frontman of Britpop band Suede, presents a talk called Coal Black Mornings based on his memoir of the same name while Viv Albertine will discuss her former life as member of seminal punk group The Slits.

This year’s City Reads book is Sacred Country by US author Rose Tremain and she will be present to talk about the novel, which is based around trans person.

Broadcast and journalist Robert Peston recently released WTF, about current world affairs, and he’ll be in conversation at the festival.

Adam Kay, who has written for Mrs Brown’s Boys and Mitchell And Webb, will discuss his book This Is Going To Hurt which tells of his experience working at the frontline of the NHS.

Labour politician Shami Chakrabarti has been announced to give a reading from her work Of Women: In The 21st Century while children’s authors Jacqueline Wilson and Danny Wallace will host separate events.There’s also a talk about the Moomins – The World Of Moomin Valley.

Other events

MANY of the most intriguing festival events over the years have taken place away from the stage – and this year is no exception.

One of the more unusual productions on the programme is The Arms Of Sleep, an initiative by The Voice Project that festivalgoers can enjoy from the comfort of a bed.

Over the course of a night they will be played an entrancing selection of stories, sounds and images all based around the concept of sleep.

Sussex landscape plays a starring role in Cuckmere: A Portrait, a film that explores the changing moods of the Cuckmere river as depicted by artist Eric Ravilious.

Sticking with the theme of nature, Woodland (pictured) looks set to this year’s equivalent of 2017’s For The Birds – a memorable outdoor experience.

Guests will listen to a range of sounds through headphones as they get comfortable amid the Stanmer Park foliage.

Family-friendly highlights include the world premiere of I Wish I Was A Mountain, a reimagining of Herman Hesse’s fairytale of the same name performed by poet Toby Thompson.

As usual, the festival will be kicked off by the Children’s


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