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

5 Jul 2016

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).

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.

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.

Schools across the city are 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: