2020 – An Extraordinary Year at Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival


"2020 has been a year like no other we have known in recent times. This review looks back over Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival’s year and captures some of the happy (and less happy) moments we experienced and were able to share with our audiences.

We are eternally grateful to still be here, to be open and to be looking forward to a brighter new year and that’s thanks to our loyal audiences, members, funders, donors, supporters and our incredible team of staff.

We wish you all a very Happy and safe Christmas and hope to see more of you again in 2021."

- Andrew Comben, Chief Executive, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival 


The year kicked off with an eclectic mix of events – from reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner to our classical Sunday morning Coffee Concerts.


Brighton & Hove Music & Arts students had a musical masterclass with the legendary saxophone player and James Brown collaborator, Pee Wee Ellis.

We launched our Access Scheme to allow disabled customers and their carers to book events more easily.


Electronic musician John Hopkins played the final gig before lockdown on Sunday 15 March, to an emotional and mesmerised audience.

Following the government’s announcement of a national lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, Brighton Dome closed its doors on 17 March and Brighton Festival 2020 was cancelled for the first time in its 54-year history.


While schools remained closed in lockdown our music service Brighton & Hove Music & Arts and East Sussex Music adapted their music lessons online to encourage children and young people to #KeepMakingMusic.


We brought Brighton Festival into your homes.

Families across the city (and further afield) kept the spirit of Same Sky’s annual event alive by taking part in their own mini children’s parade in their gardens, kitchens and living rooms!

Brighton Festival guest director Lemn Sissay held a live online reading and conversation with writer Hannah Azieb Pool.


The restoration and refurbishment of the Corn Exchange and Studio Theatres continue safely during lockdown, including repairs to the historic building’s original 200-year old timber frame roof. 

We support the re-launch of Future Creators, a partnership that offers employment skills and creative opportunities for children and young adults across the region. 


Brighton Festival’s commission with Fabrica Gallery saw artists Walter & Zoniel working with residents in Moulsecoomb and Bevendean to create colourful outdoor artworks on houses and community spaces.

In recognition of the financial crisis facing venues, artists, freelance creatives and the events sector in the city we joined the national Light It In Red campaign and Freelance Task Force.


Miss Represented, our award-winning creative learning arts project receives a grant from the Youth Endowment Fund to support vulnerable young girls and women in schools.

Our hoardings get a makeover by local artists Emma FranklandThe Postman Art and Broken Hartist celebrating the LGBTQ+ community and Brighton Youth Centre collaborate with Art in Mind to depict the city’s young musicians and artists.


Our doors opened again for the first time since March with Covid safety measures in place, and we partnered with local charity, Team Domenica to offer them a new space for their café in our Foyer.

We launched the #BringBackBrightonDome Crowdfunder campaign offering donor rewards, including Brighton Festival archive art prints. Thanks again to everyone who supported so generously!   

2020 marked the 85th anniversary of the Art Deco refurbishment of our venue by Robert Atkinson and we celebrated Heritage Open Week online, thanks to our team of heritage volunteers revealing fascinating stories of our venue's illustrious past. 


We welcome live music back in the venue as Brighton & Hove’s grassroots music venues come together to form the Live Is Alive! collective. The socially distanced gigs featured local bands and raised over £13,000 towards their #SaveOurVenues campaign.

Renowned artist Morag Myerscough creates a new artwork, Art Is Our Expression And Our Sunlight on our New Road hoarding and as a limited edition print to recognise the importance the arts have on our wellbeing.


As we close our doors again, we film our first livestream concert in lockdown featuring the Gildas Quartet and Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra’s Joanna MacGregor on piano.


As the year comes to a close, we are pleased to be able to offer some festive cheer with the first performance of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, narrated by Dame Harriet Walter with musical arrangements by Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra’s Joanna MacGregor and their brass quintet playing to a socially distanced live audience in our Concert Hall.

Christmas comedy returns with three nights of Live at Brighton Dome featuring some of the country’s best loved acts, Nina Conti, Phil Wang and Al Murray. Book tickets online here.

Our Artists In House funding scheme launches for artists in Brighton & Hove who need support in developing new work.