People will be able to enjoy a host of free events at this year’s Brighton Festival.

From May 4 to 26 Brighton and Hove will be transformed into a city-wide celebration of community as the festival works with local arts organisations and groups to offer family-friendly participatory installations, performances and open days.

With support from Big Give’s Arts For Impact national fundraising initiative, more free and pay-what-you-feel events than ever before will allow everyone to experience the "hope and wonder of the arts".

Brighton Festival has been awarded £10,000 Big Give match-funding to help with increased costs of free events.

Donations by the public made to Brighton Festival via the Big Give until tomorrow will unlock this funding and help raise £20,000 towards the festival’s free events programme. This includes large-scale installations, street theatre and Our Place, the festival’s partnership with communities in east Brighton, Hangleton and Knoll and Moulsecoomb and Bevendean. This year, artists in residence are collaborating with communities to create artworks to be showcased in May.

Throughout Brighton Festival, the Royal Pavilion Gardens will be home to free, interactive installation 100 Miles Of String, from local contemporary arts organisation Leap Then Look. People of all ages can have fun weaving and winding thousands of metres of string, working together to create a temporary, ever-changing community landmark.

Outdoor art specialists Without Walls return to Brighton and Crawley with a series of free pop-up performances. Highlights include premieres Anchored In Air (May 18 and 19), a groundbreaking, gravity-defying aerial theatre show from disabled and non-disabled company Head Over Wheels and a world of fun, stunts and circus in magical arcade Island Storm (May 25 and 26), from street theatre experts Bureau Of Silly Ideas.

Puppetry, dance and martial arts fuse to bring gods and demons to life in Ancient Giants (May 25 and 26), from South Asian-led arts collective Inspirate, while two unwritten languages meet through the movement of dance in British-Caribbean choreographer Jeanefer-Jean Charles MBE’s Patois (May 18 and 19). The Journey (May 18 and 19), from brass band Perhaps Contraption in collaboration with Deaf and BSL poet Zoe McWinney, is a promenade piece featuring a blend of physical theatre, signed poetry and mime, while Birdie (May 25 and 26), from leading learning disability performance and live arts company Mind The Gap, tells a powerful story about climate change through intricate choreography and original music.

Brighton Table Tennis Club make the sport accessible for all ages and abilities in an AllStars Extravaganza at Brighton Dome’s newly refurbished Corn Exchange on May 27.

Free art exhibitions and installations at this year’s festival include socially engaged soundscape Neolithic Cannibals: Deep Listening to the Unheard, from May 4 to 19. Commissioned by Brighton Festival, artists and campaigners Class Divide have worked with young people in Whitehawk and East Brighton to create a sound art piece, inspired by the history of Neolithic east Brighton, giving a platform to voices and stories often excluded from the art world.

The Argus: Ooze MachinesOoze Machines (Image: Brighton Festival)

Visual artist and quantum physicist, Dr Libby Heaney’s exhibition Ooze Machines (May 4 to June 30), uses the motif of slime to explore both the microscopic quantum world and big tech and audiences can take centre stage in An Elevated Platform (May 4 to 26), an interactive critique of social media that cheers or jeers your every move, from dance and digital company Flexer and Sandiland.

The Argus: Triptych - Project FemaleTriptych - Project Female (Image: Rosie Powell)

Community group Brighton People’s Theatre’s latest production Born And Bread (May 17 to 19) features a diverse cast of people from the community aged 21 to 80 years old. More than 80 per cent of the cast have never performed on stage before. Inspired by conversations with over 100 Brighton residents about what it means to call the city home, the play is set in a community kitchen and explores themes of migration, friendship and loneliness. The production includes live cookery from food waste organisation The Real Junk Food Project Brighton, who will make soup to serve to the audience, which is included in the pay-what-you-feel ticket price.

Brighton-based youth dance company Project Female present a triple bill of work on May 11. Triptych showcases Project Female’s fusion of contemporary dance with hip hop and commercial styles, integrating multimedia, spoken word and innovative digital dance technology to amplify the voices of the dancers and their call to make the world a better place. The production is a collaboration with celebrated hip hop dance theatre company Boy Blue’s Young Artists, who will also perform. 

To donate to Brighton Festival’s free events programme via the Big Give’s Arts for Impact initiative, visit: