Brighton Dome’s historic Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre will return as Brighton Festival host venues between for the first time since 2016 following their major refurbishment.

Festivalgoers can expect plenty of UK and world theatre premieres at this year’s festival, which will run from May 4 to 26.

Belgian theatre makers Berlin will make a return to the festival with the UK premiere of The Making of Berlin (May 10 to 11). Combining film, theatre and live music, the show follows the company’s attempt to fulfil the dream of Friedrich Mohr, a former stage manager at the Berliner Philharmonika orchestra.

Mohr’s ambition to stage a live radio broadcast of Wagner's Götterdämmerung from bunkers across the city during the Second World War morphs into a modern-day noir thriller as the company soon discover the story is not as it seems.

The Argus: Carnesky’s Showwomxn Sideshow SpectacularCarnesky’s Showwomxn Sideshow Spectacular (Image: Brighton Festival)

One of Canada’s most adventurous provocateurs, Cliff Cardinal, brings the UK premiere of a retelling of Shakespeare that gives the play an entirely new meaning in The Land Acknowledgement, or As You Like It (May 21 to 23). Working with Toronto-based Crows Theatre, Cardinal keeps much of what happens secret, but this "brutally funny and honest play reveals the unvarnished reality of the reconciliation process between Canada’s Indigenous communities and colonial settlers.

The Melancholy of the Tourist (May 15 to 26), from Spanish-Mexican artists Oligor y Microscopia, is an intimate, magical meditation on how people engage with the world as tourists. Another UK premiere, it combines found objects, light and shadow, paper and tin and a raft of handmade and analogue contraptions to explore what happens when sought-after holiday destinations fall out of fashion.

Running throughout Brighton Festival is the world premiere of Ground, a curated, locally sourced three-course theatrical dining experience that seeks to explore the complex history behind the food on our plate.

The Argus: GroundGround (Image: Paul Blakemore)

Featuring the voices of indigenous communities from across the world, including ecologist Robin Wall Kimmerer, the tangled history of plants is brought to life by award-wining creators and producers Trigger (Teabreak, Brighton Festival 2023) outside at Brighton’s own Grand Designs-featured off-grid eco-building, Earthship.

The English premiere of silent theatre production Fishbowl, from award-winning French theatre company Le Fils du Grand Réseau, follows the misadventures of three eccentric and lovable anti-heroes separated only by paper-thin walls in an apartment block in Paris from May 23 to 25.

Elsewhere, an ambitious outdoor reimagining of seaside variety shows from Olivier award-winning performance-maker Marisa Carnesky will transform a downtown Brighton street into a large-scale circus from May 25 to 26, with nine stages and a cast of 33 female and non-binary aerialists, wrestlers, variety dancers, contemporary clowns and contortionists.

The Argus: You'll See BranarYou'll See Branar (Image: John McMahon)

Carnesky’s Showwomxn Sideshow Spectacular is a family-friendly production created especially for Brighton Festival that will celebrate the forgotten women of the genre’s history, inspired by Carnesky’s own research at the National Fairground and Circus Archive.

Following a sold-out international tour, US-based illusionist and performance artist Scott Silven appears in an English premiere at Brighton Festival from May 8 to 12 with Wonders, a stylish and smart interactive show that explores the myth and mystery of the ancient Scottish landscape of his childhood.

The Argus: Wonders Scott Silven Wonders Scott Silven (Image: Alice Boreas)

The premieres continue on May 4 and 5, as Irish theatre company Branar present their adaptation of James Joyce’s novel Ulysses, You’ll See, for the first time in the UK. Suitable for adults and children, the piece brings Joyce’s epic story of one day in one city to life, using a storyteller, an intricate pop-up book and an original score.

The emotions of parenthood are explored in a new musical from Dundee Rep Theatre, as the English premiere of No Love Songs joins the Brighton Festival programme from May 15 to 18. Featuring songs by platinum selling rockers The View’s frontman Kyle Falconer, the show is inspired by the real-life experiences of Falconer and his partner, Laura Wilde. The story follows two new parents grappling with the challenges of parenthood and the weight of postnatal depression.

Following a critically acclaimed London run last year, Perfect Show for Rachel invites audiences to step into theatre-loving, 33 year old learning-disabled care-home resident Rachel’s world, as she directs every performance of this experimental and joyful show in real time from May 4 to 7.

Established in 1967, Brighton Festival is the largest annual curated multi-arts festival in England. This year’s guest director is award-winning author and screenwriter Frank Cottrell-Boyce.