The Illuminating Times of the Darkling Society

First Starboard Festival of theatre by and for young people co-curated by Brighton Dome

Brighton Dome is proud to be a partner and co-curator of Brighton’s first Starboard Festival, a new festival of theatre made with, by and for children and young people, performed at Brighton Open Air Theatre (BOAT).

The festival runs from 2 to 17 July 2016 and features work by 23 companies - from local primary schools, schools, colleges, drama groups and professional theatre makers. Starboard has partnered with Brighton Dome, The Old Market, Theatre Royal, Komedia, and South East Dance to deliver the programme.

Brighton Dome presents the closing event on Saturday 16 July, The Illuminating Times of the Darkling Society, a play by Kilter Theatre. As the sun sets over Brighton, join a band of musicians and outsiders for an expedition like no other! Cosy up in the beautiful landscape of Brighton Open Air Theatre and, as darkness falls, watch the wonder and wisdom of the night unfold before your very eyes.

Schools across the city will be taking part in Starboard Festival. One school is performing a play partly in Spanish, while others will be performing some of Shakespeare’s classics. Some outstanding youth theatre groups are presenting work old and new about what it is like to be a young person in 2016.

Working with the city’s major cultural institutions, Starboard Festival features some of the best national theatre made for children and young people. Starboard is not only about hosting the best performances for young people, but also about making new theatre. Led by critically acclaimed theatre director Ria Parry, young people will work together to create a play in a week, premiered on the final weekend in a double bill with a new play by Iman Qureshi, written for and with students at Cardinal Newman Catholic School.

Alongside the shows, each weekend sees some of the UK’s leading theatre makers (Fin Kennedy, Toby Park, Evie Manning, Inua Ellams, Stephanie Street and Andy Manley) running workshops both for young people and theatre professionals.

The idea for Starboard Festival came about at the opening gala for BOAT in May last year. Local theatre maker Naomi Alexander, who freelances for the Old Vic and Battersea Arts Centre and who has recently set up Brighton People’s Theatre, was in the audience.

Naomi says, ‘Not only is the story behind BOAT so inspiring, the space itself is magical, a theatre- maker’s dream. I wanted to do something that would enable children and young people in the city to discover this magic for themselves and for BOAT to become part of their psycho-geography of the city.

‘I have been overwhelmed by people’s support for the festival. Almost every theatre in the city has become involved, along with schools, colleges, playwrights and local theatre companies. There is a huge groundswell of good will and energy to make Starboard Festival a success. We are really excited to present such an exciting and diverse line up of shows. It felt important to me that work that is created by children and young people is presented alongside work that is created for them. We hope that by coming to see shows, and participating in workshops, more young people might be inspired to make their own work.’

For the full Starboard Festival programme visit:

Listings information:

The Illuminating Times of the Darkling Society

Sat 16 Jul, 8.45pm (Picnic from 7.30pm)

Brighton Open Air Theatre (BOAT), Dyke Road Park, Dyke Road, Brighton, BN3 6EH


Age 8+


For further enquiries, please contact our press team:

Donna Hay, Digital Manager, Starboard Festival - [javascript protected email address]

Emma Robertson, Head of Press & PR, Brighton Dome and Festival - [javascript protected email address] | 01273 260 803

Hannah Collisson, Senior Press Officer, Brighton Dome and Festival – [javascript protected email address] | 01273 260838

Ticket Office - 01273 709709 |

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About Starboard Festival

• Starboard Festival is a new festival of theatre made with, by and for children and young people, performed at Brighton Open Air Theatre (BOAT).

• Some shows are made by local children and young people. Schools from across the city are performing at the festival. There are also shows by professional theatre companies specifically for children and young people.

• The festival partners are Brighton Dome and Festival, South East Dance, The Komedia, The Old Market and Theatre Royal Brighton.

About Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival

• Brighton Dome is the south coast's premier multi-arts venue - a three space, Grade 1 listed building made up of the Concert Hall, Corn Exchange and Studio Theatre at the cultural heart of one of England's most creative cities.

• Each year Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival presents over 600 events spanning music, theatre, dance, comedy, literature, spoken word, visual arts, film, digital and more as part of its year round programme as well as producing the internationally-acclaimed Brighton Festival in May.

• With a rich history spanning over 200 years (starting life as the Prince Regent's stables and riding house), Brighton Dome provides an extraordinary space in which to bring the arts alive. A hub for artists across the region, Brighton Dome commissions and supports both emerging and established artists and companies, enabling them to develop, take risks and deliver work of the highest quality.

• Brighton Dome is a registered arts charity which aims to champion the power of the arts, to enrich and change lives, and inspire and enable artists to be their most creative. Each year, the work of the Creative Learning team reaches over 15,000 people in Brighton & Hove and beyond through innovative projects such as Miss Represented - an arts collective of vulnerable young women who have been involved with the criminal justice system; the Umbrella Club - a membership club for children and young people with life-limiting conditions and their siblings and carers; and Three Score Dance Company, created to offer contemporary dance opportunities for men and women aged 60+ in Brighton & Hove.

• Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival are working with the Royal Pavilion & Museums to realize a future vision for the Royal Pavilion Estate. For updates and news please visit