Brighton Festival: 50 Years on the Edge

In our latest blog Sara Dziadik, Programme Coordinator for Unlimited, looks ahead at all the Unlimited supported artists featured in this May’s Brighton Festival, currently celebrating its 50th year with a programme reflecting on the nature of “home” and “place”.

What does “home” mean to you?  With waves of migrants, refugees seeking shelter, and a rise in homelessness in the UK, the notion of home is a prevalent discussion in the media.

Brighton Festival, an annual celebration of music, theatre, dance, art, and more, is currently celebrating its 50th year with a programme reflecting on the nature of “home” and “place”.   How fitting, then, that Unlimited has commissioned an artist examining this very subject… and Brighton Festival is showcasing the work!

The Doorways Project is inspired by artist Bekki Perriman’s experience of life on the streets. An ambitious attempt to explore the subject of homelessness, the work is an honest exploration of homeless people, shifting viewpoints and challenging notions of blame and victimisation.  In Bekki’s own words, “many cities in the UK are now seeing rough sleeping as an anti-social behaviour for which people can be fined. I wanted to approach it by looking at homeless culture and the story that isn’t told: simply what everyday street life is like.”

Bekki’s series of recorded monologues are installed in doorways throughout various city-centre locations during the Brighton Festival.  These doorways act as a metaphor for the experience of homelessness: of being on the outside, literally shut out. Laurie Anderson, this year’s Guest Director of Brighton Festival says, “Our theme of home and place is especially relevant with so many people in the world on the move now looking, like all of us, for a place we can belong”; at a time when the country’s current economic and political climate is in disarray, Bekki’s work is an especially striking and emotional reflection on the notion of home.

As well as showcasing the work of Unlimited artist Bekki Perriman, Brighton Festival is also exhibiting three films from Unlimited supported artists. These films, which all examine society’s attitude to real lives, will be shown in the Brighton Dome.


Richard Butchins,213 Things about me. c. Richard Butchins

Photo: Richard Butchins

“213 Things About Me” by Richard Butchins, award winning documentary maker and disability journalist, is a portrait of a young autistic woman, and a uniquely moving exploration of impact of social exclusion on her life.
Sheila Hill reflects on Tim Barlow’s extraordinary life as a soldier, deaf man and Buddhist in “Him”, a research and development piece for her current Unlimited theatre commission.
Craig Simpson’s “It’s Like…” is a collaboration with dance artist and choreographer Janice Parker, who supported Craig artistically, practically, and conceptually to develop his ideas and to realise his vision in this film piece.

Unlimited is very pleased to be working with Brighton Festival in this exciting and momentous year.  Beth Burgess, Senior Producer at Brighton Festival, said, “Brighton Festival is proud to partner with Unlimited and the artists presented within this year’s festival. We hope that each story told within this festival moves the audience in a way that will open new doors and promote a feeling that we are all one, each a special part of our Brighton community of our Festival.”

Brighton Festival runs from 7-29 May. We hope to see you there!


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