Plenty of highlights remain as Brighton Festival enters its final week

Brighton Festival 2021 culminates with a week of outdoors, indoor and livestreamed events including contemporary and classical music, comedy, visual arts, books and debate and family events.

Friday, 21st May 2021, 5:14 pm
Josie Long, Brighton Festival 2021 c. Giles Smith
Josie Long, Brighton Festival 2021 c. Giles Smith

On Monday 24 May, Abigail Conway’s The Candle Project opens at The Spire in Kemptown. An ancient ritual for our times, participants can make their own candle with a message inside, to be added to a large installation. At the end of the week, a spectacular livestreamed lighting ceremony will feature soundscapes with contributions from local choirs.

Robot Selfie arrives in Brighton on Friday 28 May. At Greater Brighton Metropolitan College, a wall drawing robot will create a giant mural on an outside wall, using selfies which can be submitted by members of the public from Wednesday 26 May.

Elsewhere, the evocative soundscapes of 5,000 Miles at St Ann’s Well Gardens will transport visitors to another country and culture and The Museum of Ordinary People at Phoenix Art Space immerses visitors into the lives of ordinary people through everyday objects, photographs and documents.

At Brighton Dome three nights of comedy from Josie Long, Sofie Hagen and Mark Watson will fill the Concert Hall with laughter. Classical lunchtime concerts from the UK’s rising artists include the pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason and Glyndebourne’s Jerwood Young Artists.

Evening performances include Dear Nature, an appeal for a closer relationship with the natural world that combines artist John Newling’s 81 letters to nature with music for solo cello. Dynamic ensemble La Nuova Musica present an intimate and audacious new take on Monterverdi’s Vespers and works by Mendelssohn, Ireland, Tchaikovsky and the contemporary American composer Jessie Montgomery are performed by the Strings of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Brighton Girls School hosts storytelling and a talk from children’s authors Steven Butler and Steven Lenton, as well as poetry from T. S. Eliot prize-winning Roger Robinson and star of the future Jay Bernard.

Folk singer Eliza Carthy and her father Martin present East, a specially crafted evening of musical and poetic works inspired by eastern England’s seaboard with guest appearances by actress Miranda Richardson and singer songwriter Wilko Johnson. And black-bearded diva Le Gateau Chocolat closes Brighton Festival 2021 with a one-night-only cabaret performance, his first appearance on stage in a year.

Brighton Festival 2021 features nearly 100 events, performances and installations, both as specially commissioned online projects, as livestreams and across multiple outdoor and indoor locations extending from Brighton to Worthing until 31 May. The festival’s guest director is British and Ethiopian poet, playwright and broadcaster, Lemn Sissay MBE.

In line with regulations, all ticketed events are required to be booked in advance. All events will be equipped for social distancing, including reduced capacity seating, bookings in household bubbles and full safety measures implemented across all sites.

Full event details and ticket information available from brightonfestival.org

Listings: 24-31 May 2021

The Museum of Ordinary People. Phoenix Art Space, 20 May-6 Jun (Thurs-Sun), FREE but ticketed

Discover fascinating stories of ordinary people in this immersive exhibition.

Abigail Conway’s The Candle Project. The Spire, 24-30 May, FREE but ticketed

A spectacle and a participatory installation, built over a week by those who visit the space.

Classical Lunchtimes: Consone Quartet. Brighton Dome, 24 May at 1pm, £10

Performing works by Mozart and Schumann, the Consone Quartet specialise in authentic performance on period instruments.

Dear Nature by John Newling. Brighton Dome, 24 May at 8pm, £18

New music for solo cello by Sally Beamish and Lisa Heute links letters from John Newling appealing for a closer relationship with Nature.

5000 Miles. St Ann’s Well Gardens, 25-26 May, FREE

ITHACA's immersive audio experience transports you to another place.

Classical Lunchtimes: Isata Kanneh-Mason. Brighton Dome and Livestream, 25 May at 1pm, £10/£5

A showcase spanning three centuries, including works of Mozart, Chopin and Gershwin.

The People’s Cabaret. Brighton Unitarian Church, 25 May, returns only

Singer/writer Jessica Walker and composer Luke Styles hold a mirror up to the disturbing times we live in.

Josie Long. Brighton Dome, 25 May at 8pm, £17.50

Tender is three-time Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee Josie Long’s most critically-acclaimed show to date.

Glyndebourne’s Jerwood Young Artists. Brighton Dome and Livestream, 26 May at 1pm, £10/£5

Members of Glyndebourne’s Jerwood Young Artists' scheme perform operatic excerpts from every corner of the repertory.

Sofie Hagen. Brighton Dome, 26 May at 8pm, £17.50

Sofie Hagen lands at Brighton Festival with The Bumswing, a show about memories.

Robot Selfie. Greater Brighton Metropolitan College and online, 26-31 May, FREE

Brighton Festival invites you to be drawn by Kaleider’s wall drawing robot.

Travelling Traditions. Brighton Girls School, 28 May, 7.30pm, £10

Reading and conversation featuring authors whose work is flavoured with the waters of a distant heritage.

Strings of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Brighton Dome and Livestream, 27 May at 8pm, £25/£8

Works for string orchestra by Mendelssohn, Ireland, Tchaikovsky and the contemporary American composer Jessie Montgomery.

Mark Watson. Brighton Dome, 28 May at 8pm, £17.50

How You Can Almost Win is Mark Watson’s motivational talk about his experience on Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls.

Eliza & Martin Carthy: East. Brighton Dome and Livestream, 29 May at 3pm (in person only) & 8pm, £25/£8

A specially crafted evening of musical and poetic works inspired by England’s Eastern seaboard.

Guess How Much I Love You! Brighton Girls School, 30 May at 10.30am, £7

Join professional storyteller Liz Fost for a very special event celebrating the 25th anniversary of the beloved tale.

Vintage Poets. Brighton Girls School, 30 May at 4.30pm, £10

Vintage presents some of its new stars for the future: Romalyn Ante, Jay Bernard and Leo Boix.

A Trick of the Eye: flipped eye at 20. Brighton Girls School, 30 May at 7.30pm, £10

Amina Jama, Niall O'Sullivan, Maia Elsner & Roger Robinson celebrate flipped eye publishing's legacy.

Le Gateau Chocolat: LIMINAL. Brighton Dome and Livestream, 30 May at 8pm, £20/£5

This specially curated song cycle is a meditation on a forced untethering; where do we go and who do we become when we lose our anchor? 

Sophy Henn: Pizzazz. Online, 31 May at 10.30am, £5

The writer and children’s book illustrator discusses her new series following the adventures of Pizazz.

Steven Lenton and Steven Butler: The Nothing to See Here Hotel. Brighton Girls School, 31 May at 1.30pm, £7

An event for all budding authors, illustrators, bookworms, those-suspicious-of-reading and little magical monsters.