Brighton Festival programme announced including raft of accessible performances

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The full programme for Brighton Festival 2017 – the largest annual, curated multi-arts festival in England – has been unveiled with the acclaimed recording artist, poet, playwright and novelist Kate Tempest as Guest Director. The festival will feature a total of 27 assisted performances, including British Sign Language interpretation, relaxed performances, highly visual performances, touch tours and audio description.

Kate Tempest

Kate Tempest, photograph: Ben Quinton

At a political and social moment that feels particularly precarious, Tempest’s programme celebrates what she 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.”

Over the three-week Festival –  which runs from 6-28 May 2017 – many of Tempest’s interests, passions, and inspirations will be explored in an eclectic line-up spanning music, theatre, dance, visual art, film, comedy, debate and spoken word.

Kate Tempest says:

“I feel very humbled to have been given the opportunity to guest direct Brighton Festival. 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. So please go and see as much as you can. Approach it like an epic. Like you are a pilgrim on a quest and something may well happen in the theatre, the pub, the community centre, the concert hall that will smash you back to feeling and land you in your skin again.”

At 31, Kate Tempest will be the youngest Brighton Festival Guest Director to date, taking the mantle from pioneering artist and musician Laurie Anderson, who led the 50th Brighton Festival last year. Other previous Guest Directors include visual artist Anish Kapoor (2009), musician Brian Eno (2010), Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi (2011), actress and human rights campaigner Vanessa Redgrave (2012), poet, author and former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen (2013), choreographer, composer and performer Hofesh Shechter (2014) and award-winning author Ali Smith (2015) who have all taken turns shaping the three-week programme of cultural events.

Now one of Europe’s leading arts festivals for artists and audiences, Brighton Festival is known for commissioning and producing an ambitious programme that aims to make the most of the city’s distinctive cultural atmosphere. It has been widely recognised for presenting exciting site specific work, thought provoking debate and newly commissioned works.

Full details of Brighton Festival’s accessible performances are available on Disability Arts Online’s listings.