The Brighton Festival celebrates the arts with music, theatre, dance, circus, art, film and literature events.

This year's programme of performances, exhibitions and screenings has been overseen by Guest Director of Brighton Festival the choreographer, musician, composer and performer Hofesh Shechter.

Shechter's own company will open the three week Festival with new work Sun, co-commissioned by Brighton Festival.

Amongst the theatre events at this year's Festival are:

  • The UK première of Opus No 7 a genre-blending performance progressing from a lyrical and starkly beautiful requiem to the Jews of Eastern Europe to an hallucinogenic exploration of the tortured life and career of the Soviet-era composer Dmitry Shostakovich.
  • The UK première of One in which Iranian born writer Mani Soleymanlou, now Montreal resident by way of Paris, asks how can you embrace what you are without rejecting where you came from?
  • Cheek by Jowl's production of John Ford's Tis A Pity She’s A Whore visits Brighton. Nearly 400 years, few plays are as controversial as this dark and violent Jacobean tragedy of incest, religion and corrupt morality.
  • What Happens To The Hope At The End Of The Evening. Written by Tim Crouch and Andy Smith this is the story of two men meeting in the middle of their lives, and at the outer edges of their friendship. As they strive for common ground the possibility of the theatre as a place for community and change comes alive.
  • The Legend Of Hamba from Britain’s leading African theatre company Tiata Fahodzi receives its world première at the Festival. This is a modern mystery play that aims to reflect the experiences of Africans living in Britain, drawing on the richly diverse cultures of Africa to comment on our own society and times.
  • In Gym Party three intrepid contestants compete in a series of games, from the hilariously stupid to the arbitrary and downright heartbreaking to win—to please the audience. In doing so Chris, Jess and Ira share their stories, perspectives and awkward dances in between.
  • In Ours Was The Fen Country Dan Canham and Still House company have created an ethereal piece of documentary dance-theatre fusing movement and sound with words about the lives of those living on the East Anglian fens.
  • From Northern Stage comes the first UK touring production of Heller’s dramatisation of his novel Catch 22. In this classic, set in the closing months of World War II, Captain John Yossarian and his fellow airmen struggle to maintain their sanity—and their lives—stalked and thwarted by the merciless Catch-22.
  • A fractured narrative with a haunting soundtrack comes together like a mosaic in The Bullet and the Bass Trombone from Sleepdogs. Only the composer is left to tell the story when an orchestra becomes separated after being trapped in a city during a military coup.
  • Long Live The Little Knife asks whether we can ever know if something is real in a boisterous caper about small-time con artists Liz and Jim and their attempt to buy themselves way out of a turf war.
  • In The Epicene Butcher And Other Stories For Consenting Adults the ancient Japanese form of street theatre Kamishbai where traditional storytellers cycled from village to village telling stories using hand-drawn cartoon boards is given "an hilarious, profane and utterly original revival".
    From pornography to epic poetry and from cannibalism to nuclear catastrophe in this colourful reinvention the tales are firmly for adults.
  • Vanishing Point present the world première of Tomorrow a dreamlike story of a young man who suddenly finds himself in an alarmingly unfamiliar place that he is not at liberty to leave and where his visitors seem to have his best interests at heart, but who have problems of their own.
  • London's Globe Theatre brings its tour of Much Ado About Nothing to Brighton. Together with the play there is an opportunity to meet the performers in Morning after: Much Ado About Nothing on 23 May and a Touch Tour for visually impaired audiences.
  • Bring The Happy Live is somewhere between a wedding and a wake featuring the six-piece band Hope & Social. Using the happy memories collected from Brighton and throughout the country this event has been specially created to celebrate happiness and where we find it.
  • I Believe In Unicorns is Michael Morpurgo's story of Tomas's meeting with the Unicorn Lady at his local library. Audience members are invited to bring a children’s book of their own and swap it for another.

Age restrictions may apply for some productions. For further information and booking visit the Brighton Festival web site.