BRIGHTON Festival has revealed its line-up of shows as the event returns this spring.

The festival is set to take place throughout May with more than 90 performances, talks and installations, to be held outdoors, online and at select indoor venues with social distancing measures in place, when restrictions allow.

It means Brighton will be the first city in the UK to hold a multi-arts festival since lockdown.

Poet, playwright and broadcaster Lemn Sissay MBE has launched the 2021 festival programme as guest director, with the theme of "care".

The Argus: Lemn Sissay is this year's Brighton Festival guest directorLemn Sissay is this year's Brighton Festival guest director

Actress Jane Horrocks, children's author Jacqueline Wilson and poet Michael Rosen are among those to give talks and performances, as well as comedians Josie Long and Mark Watson, plus new work by theatre directors Neil Bartlett, Tim Crouch and Peter Sellars.

Lemn Sissay said: “After such a difficult year for everyone, I am thrilled and proud to be sharing this programme as guest director.

"The range of events on offer is incredible and I’m honoured to have some of my favourite artists taking part, presenting opportunities to reflect and discuss what’s been happening socially and politically.

"There are also plenty of events that are simply joyful and celebratory, giving everyone the chance to enjoy themselves and be inspired by the arts.”

The Argus: Author Jacqueline WilsonAuthor Jacqueline Wilson

In total there will be 94 events, performances and installations from May 1 until to May 31, both as specially commissioned online projects, as livestreams and across outdoor and indoor locations, extending from Brighton to Worthing.

The Children’s Parade, which traditionally marks the opening day of the Festival, will be adapted into a visual spectacle along Brighton’s streets with colourful artwork made by schools and a photographic history to celebrate over 30 years of the event.

From May 17, provided government guidelines allow, live indoor and outdoor performances will open for socially-distanced audiences in venues re-opening for the first time since last year.

All events will be equipped for social distancing, including reduced capacity seating, bookings in household bubbles and full safety measures implemented across all sites.

Outdoor highlights include Under the Wild Wood Tree, a sensory experience featuring light sculptures on lantern-lit trail in Stanmer Woods, and Points of Departure, a spectacular series of mechanical sculptures that will light up the night-time backdrop of Shoreham Port.

The Argus: Points of Departure, which is coming to Shoreham Port. Photo: Roy Riley Points of Departure, which is coming to Shoreham Port. Photo: Roy Riley

Andrew Comben, chief executive of Brighton Festival said: “This year’s programme really does have something for everyone to enjoy in a safe way that will connect on so many different levels.

"We have completely rethought the festival to work in these circumstances and although we realise many of our regular festival audiences won't be able to join us this year, we hope our online events will bring a festival experience to them wherever they are.

"We are enormously proud to be in a city that believes in the value of the arts, both economically and socially, and to have such strong support from Brighton and Hove City Council, Arts Council England and all our sponsors and donors.

"We are also grateful to have local audiences and supporters who we know are looking forward to experiencing the arts again and we can’t wait to welcome them back.”

Ticket prices range from £5 to £25, and 30 events are free, but audiences will be required to book in advance for 17 of these events, to comply with safety regulations.

There will 24 events and digital projects online, and 17 are free to view.

To find out more, visit