Brighton Festival made a triumphant return in 2021 as the first multi-arts festival in the UK to open after the coronavirus pandemic caused cancellations throughout 2020. Guest Director Lemn Sissay’s inspired and resonant theme of ‘care’ brought thousands of people back to live art and performance across May and into June.
With highly restricted in-person event capacity, artists adapted and invented new ways to share their stories, creating intimate and powerful experiences that spoke to the radical shifts in everyone’s lives.
Over 100 events were delivered safely and successfully navigating two steps of the lockdown roadmap to the delight of both audiences and artists, including installations, performances at locations in Brighton & Hove, across Sussex and online. Read more about Brighton Festival 2021. With renewed optimism and confidence, the festival now looks forward to 2022, appointing Guest Co-Directors for the first time to share the role next year.
Historically, periods of great disruption and change have been met by flowerings of artistic creativity and invention and festivals provide the opportunity to reflect, consider and reimagine. To address this powerfully changed moment in time, next year’s festival will be led jointly by Syrian architect and author, Marwa al-Sabouni and Brighton-based theatre artist Tristan Sharps, as the first Guest Co-Directors to be invited to collaborate together on the programme.
Marwa al-Sabouni is based in the Syrian city of Homs and was named in the BBC's 100 Women list 2019. Her acclaimed book, The Battle for Home, was chosen by The Guardian as one of the best architectural books of 2016. Her second book, Building for Hope, was published by Thames & Hudson in April 2021.