Brighton Festival 2017 programme revealed

We’re massive fans of Kate Tempest, here at Something You Said. We’ve seen her three times in the past year and have been blown away every time. We’re equally big fans of Brighton Festival – the largest annual, curated multi-arts festival in England. So we’re doubly excited that the two have joined forces in 2017. Tempest is Guest Director of this year’s festival, the full programme for which has today been unveiled. Here are the highlights.

The programme (6-28 May 2017) celebrates what Kate Tempest calls the ‘Everyday Epic’ – art that helps us connect to ourselves and others, explores our individual stories and differences, and encourages audiences to take a walk in someone else’s shoes. In her words: “Art is social. It should be a part of life. No big deal – just life itself.”

We’re looking forward to seeing Tempest perform in a host of special Brighton Festival events including an exclusive opening gig of music and spoken word and a poetry evening in which she appears alongside the likes of Hollie McNish and Glyn Maxwell.

There will also be a live orchestration of Kate Tempest‘s recent album Let Them Eat Chaos, produced in collaboration with Oscar-nominated artist Mica Levi.

Talking of Levi, possibly the main highlight of the programme will be when she brings her acclaimed live score of Under the Skin to the Festival. It’s an astonishing film, set to a woozily atmospheric soundscape, so to experience it live will be intense. Another film worth catching is David Lynch: The Art Life, a timely look at what helped shape one of cinema’s most acclaimed and enigmatic directors.

Elsewhere, the typically eclectic line-up spans theatre, dance, visual art, film, music, debate, comedy and spoken word – and featuring the likes of Brighton-based rapper Ocean Wisdom and poetry slam champion Tommy Sissons, who performs alongside Patience Agbabi and Dizraeli.

A series of outdoor sight-specific works will encourage audiences to see the ‘Everyday Epic’ in the landscape of the city and engage with their environment anew, while story-telling in all its forms is celebrated in a number of events such as The Gabriels, Tony-award-winning playwright Richard Nelson’s extraordinary depiction of one American family, written and set in real time during the turbulent US election year.

Reflecting Tempest’s belief that: ‘The arts should be in our communities, not only on elevated platforms or behind red velvet ropes’, Brighton Festival 2017 sees two new ventures: The Storytelling Army, a dynamic collective of people from all walks of life who will be performing in unexpected locations around the city from bus stops to supermarkets, and Your Place, a diverse line-up of mixed arts programmed in partnership with Brighton People’s Theatre, Festival artists and local residents in the Hangleton and Whitehawk communities. These join regular free, participatory events such as the annual Children’s Parade, City Reads and Young City Reads; and Weekend Without Walls, two days of free arts in the parks; and a new initiative which encourages audiences to Pay-It-Forward by donating £5 on top of their ticket price which will be match-funded by Brighton Festival to create a £10 Festival ticket voucher for someone unable to afford the opportunity.

Other Brighton Festival 2017 highlights include a special performance from legendary folk singer Shirley Collins, a new adaptation of Swan Lake from one of Ireland’s foremost dance and theatre-makers, Michael Keegan-Dolan, a turn from cabaret diva Meow Meow and US performance artist turned rapper Mykki Blanco‘s punk and riot grrrl influenced hip hop.

Kate Tempest says: “This year’s theme, Everyday Epic, seems to encapsulate some of my feelings about how music, literature and poetry can give us back our lives. Singing, playing, dancing, moving, painting life and communicating about that in public spaces – it requires no qualifications, no training to enjoy it. It’s truthful communication between humans about humanity and in these times, it feels more important than ever to try and understand what that humanity is and what it could be.”

For the full programme and for ticketing details visit

Kate Tempest photo by Jamie Williams.