A cultural guide to... Brighton
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Brighton and culture are two things that go hand in hand. The seaside city in the south east of England really is one of the most exciting places in the country when it comes to arts, theatre, and culture.
Brighton is known for its love and support of the up and coming stars of the future. Many actors, artists, and musicians get their big break here. As Laurence Olivier once said: “There is a phrase: 'the sweet smell of success'. And I can only tell you, I've had two experiences of that and it just smells like Brighton and oyster bars and things like that.”
BRIGHTON FESTIVAL (6-28th May 2017)
Launched in 1967, Brighton festival is an annual festival which celebrates music, theatre, dance, art, film, literature, and more. This year the guest director of the festival is Kate Tempest, an established poet, recording artist and playwright amongst other talents. A full guide of the festival's events can be found on their website but highlights include theatre shows, art classes, gallery openings and exclusive film screenings.
FRINGE (5th May - 4th June 2017)
Brighton’s Fringe festival runs from 5th May - 4th June 2017. The festival itself is a celebration of all things arts, music and culture and is the largest festival of its kind in England. This year there are set to be over 900 events in the festival (over 200 of which will be free to access), with the main aim being to promote and encourage support for local artists and creators.
The fringe festival is similar to the Brighton festival. However, it doesn’t book acts or events; instead, it allows anybody to put on an event which makes it all the more exciting. A full guide to the Fringe festival events is available on their website, but highlights include stand-up comedy shows, gigs, theatre productions, and live music performances.
Brighton is the only city in the country to have voted for the Green Party. This love and support for the environment
In the heart of Brighton’s famous North Laine sits the small independent IO Gallery. Established in 1997, IO is a gallery run by artists for artists, housing art from up to 100 artists at one time. The gallery aims to support local as well as national artists. IO exhibits and sells art in all its forms, from traditional paintings to ceramics. It has a great relaxed vibe and is not one to miss if you’re ever in the city.
No Walls is an art gallery that markets itself as being everything a traditional art gallery isn’t. They work with some of the most exciting artists, illustrators, and designers in the world and describe themselves as “pushing the boundaries of contemporary art and championing rising talent.”
REQ'S ART TOUR
Starting at The Prince Albert pub in Trafalgar Street, which was once home to the famous Banksy ‘Kissing Coppers’, this art tour takes you round the best street art in the city. The tour is led by street artist Req, who is responsible for most of Brighton’s old school spray paintings.
DUKE OF YORK'S PICTURE HOUSE
Opened in 1910, Dukes of York's picture house is the oldest cinema in Brighton and one of the oldest in the world. The arthouse cinema often hosts fancy dress screenings, film marathons, and showings of classic cult films.
The Komedia is an entertainment venue which is home to comedy events, theatre shows, and film screenings. It has been voted the best venue in the south 14 times, including in 2017. Komedia is known for hosting up and coming performers and comedians including Graham Norton, Mel and Sue, Jack Dee, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Johnny Vegas among others that have performed there early in their careers.
THE MARLBOROUGH PUB AND THEATRE
The Marlborough Pub and Theatre has been one of Brighton’s leading LGBT venues since the 1970s. The Marlborough specialises in contemporary and unusual performances by homegrown talent as well as nationally acclaimed artists and companies. The Marlborough is also home to Pink Fringe, which specialises in hosting shows and events created by and starring the LGBT community, and is heavily involved with the Brighton Pride festival.
Perhaps the most famous and mainstream theatre in Brighton is the Theatre Royal. Opened in 1806, the Theatre Royal presents a range of performances from touring musicals, stand-up comedy, and west end shows to ballet and opera. It also has a range of backstage tours where members of the public can look around behind the scenes of the famous building.
The Brighton Dome is one of the city's leading music and entertainment venues. It hosts a variety of performances from stand-up comedy and contemporary music tours to Eurovision (yes really, it was the host of Eurovision in 1974 when ABBA won!) This year it’s hosting many arts-related events as well as live music from acts including Rag n Bone Man.