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Brighton Journal | 4th April 2020

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Guest Director Announced for Brighton Festival 2020

Guest Director Announced for Brighton Festival 2020
Marie Hayward
  • On 13th December 2019

Lemn Sissay MBE has been announced to be the twelfth Brighton Festival, guest director.

Brighton Festival

Brighton Festival is the largest and most established annual multi-arts festival in England. Since its creation in 1967, it has become Europe’s leading art festivals. Known for its ambitious and daring programme, Brighton Festival celebrates music, art, literature, dance, theatre and family activities every May.

Perhaps one of the most well-known spectacles of the Brighton Festival is the Children’ Parade which launches the festival. The parade has delighted spectators and participants alike for 25 years and it is the largest parade of its kind in Europe; almost 5000 children from schools and community groups join the parade in costumes they’ve designed and made themselves.

Lemn Sissay MBE

Lemn Sissay is a BAFTA-nominated award-winning writer, best-selling author, speaker and performer, who has inspired audiences all over the world. Additionally, he was the Offical Poet of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

In 2019 Lemn released his memoir My Names Is Why which became a Sunday Times number one best-seller, In the memoir, Lemn reflects on his childhood, family, race and the meaning of home. Sissay also won the 2019 PEN Pinter Prize for his ‘unflinching, unswerving’ view of the world.

His Landmark Poems can be spotted all over the UK on buildings and in public places for anyone to read.

© David Smith / Wall poem and pub tables, Wilmslow Road, Manchester

The Gilt of Cain – Lemn Sissay Fen Court London, Peter Trimming

Lemn said after the announcement,

“Art saves lives, it literally saves lives. Art is how we translate the human spirit. That’s why you have art and religions. So that’s why we read poems at funerals and weddings, we need some bridge between the spiritual, the physical, the past, the present and the future. Something that lifts us to a higher place, that celebrates our humanity. And here we get to celebrate together, in an arts festival on the edge of the sea, in the month of my birthday. What an honour that is.”

Chief Executive of Brighton Festival, Andrew Comben, said,

“We’re thrilled Lemn is directing Brighton Festival 2020. Because he’s a truly inspiring artist whose work connects with everyone and wakes us up to what it means to be human. His generous, collaborative imagination ranges across everything we do and he has an instinctive feel for Brighton. We can’t wait to see his festival brought to life in May.”

Other Programme Announcements

Additional Festival highlights include a contemporary adaption of The War of the Worlds by Rhum and Clay Theatre Company.

Amadou & Mariam are performing together with Grammy Award-winning gospel choir The Blind Boys of Alabama.

Finally, the opening weekend will feature the world premiere of Double Murder by Hofesh Shecter Company.

Brighton Festival will start on the 2nd of May 2020 and end on the 24th.

Full programme details will be released at the Brighton Festival 2020 Launch on 11th of February 2020.


Feature Image: © Lemn Sissay, Brighton Festival 2020 (Credit: Hamish Brown)

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