Brighton Festival Children's Parade 2013

Behind the scenes at Brighton's Children's Parade launch

Brighton Festival

We thought you'd like to get an insight into the world of Brighton Festival planning from our Head of Creative Learning at Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival, Pippa Smith. Here she tells us just what it’s like to work with local teachers on the iconic Brighton Festival Children’s Parade:

What do you call a gathering of 160 teachers? An Education? A Learning? Let's just settle for a 'Celebration', because that's what last night’s meeting of Brighton and Hove educators felt like.

Brighton Dome & Festival staff were thrilled to welcome so many hard working individuals, each giving up their own time to come to a meeting - after a long working day - in our Café-bar; at least one was rushing back to a parent’s evening and many had a night of marking and report writing to look forward to.

Nethertheless, gather they did, and all in order to learn about yet more exra-curricular work which they will voluntarily undertake between now and May.

For this was the official launch of the 2014 Brighton Festival children's parade; the night when Brighton Dome & Festival staff reveal the theme, and production and community arts company Same Sky explain the processes which will lead to yet another glorious Festival opening event in Brighton's streets on May 3rd 2014.

So this year the theme is the Arts - the source of everything that makes us human, our emotional core- our means of expressing the inexpressible and saying the unsayable.

The theme was welcomed with enthusiastic applause as teachers from 80 schools realised the creative scope of the chosen theme, enthusiastically moving to their geographic breakout out groups, to discover if they had been allocated dance, theatre, visual arts or literature. Many decided on the spot to portray Rothko or Rembrandt, Roald Dahl or Rimbaud, whilst others absorbed ideas to take back to colleagues and committees for democratic wrangling as to curriculum appropriateness or child-friendly accessibility.

And now the hard work begins. Some look forward to a series of master classes and weeks of papier-mâché and glue, split cane, cardboard and paint.

For others the excitement of a visit from the parade's new Musician In Residence, courtesy of Sound City (Brighton and Hove Music Hub) who will visit the fortunate schools who opt to provide the musical element which will run throughout the parade, giving it, and the vast crowd lining the streets, a new artistic dimension.

Over 25 years the parade has become the spirit of our city; the promise of new talent and our marker for a yet more remarkable future. Or in the words of one departing teacher as she (literally) skipped away - we got dance and I am doing hip hop!

The renowned contemporary choreographer Hofesh Shechter, the 2014 Brighton Festival Guest Director, will lead the parade - the teachers of Brighton are ready for him!