SICK! Festival comes to Brighton from Mon 20 – Sat 25 March. A celebration of international art programmes, the event uses perspectives from academic research, medical experts, charities and first-hand accounts of people who have lived through various challenges. They strive to bring art to the heart of the communities where the subjects matter the most. SICK! creates a shared space for experiences, reflection and connection. They face difficult topics of conversation in ways that are unflinching, informed and humane. 20 events come to Brighton this month to highlight the physical, mental and social challenges of life. They will include participatory public arts projects, documentary collections and dance performances throughout the city.

Participatory public art project Before I Die invites people to contemplate death, reflect on life and share their personal aspirations. Creator Candy Chang lost a loved one and channelled her grief and depression into covering a crumbling house with chalkboard paint and stencilling it with “Before I die I want to…” Chang invites people to write their inner most feelings on the wall, revealing longings, anxieties, joys and struggles. The project has been created in over 70 countries all over the world. The installation is in Jubilee Square until the end of March.

One of the festivals performances is Five Easy Pieces, directed by Milo Rau. Within it, seven children explore the emotional and political absurdities of the adult world. It asks how children can understand empathy, loss, subjection, old age and the horrors sometimes inflicted on them by adults. It asks how the audience reacts to them acting out scenes of violence and romance and what that says about the audiences own fears and desires. Director Milo Rau and his International Institute of Political Murder have performed on the biggest international stages in recent years with their political theatre. The performance is based on testimonies and reconstructions of true stories, attempting to break through the taboos of the time. After the show, there will be a post-show discussion with Lyn Gardner of The Guardian and members of the cast. The performance will be on Thurs 23 March at 7.30pm at the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, Falmer.

To Belong is a dance performance by Theater Stap, a professional theatre company creating performances where people with learning disabilities can take centre stage. Focusing on the theme of solidarity, it explores means to be part of a group. Audiences discover what brings people together and what connects them, whether it’s meditating or dancing together. It asks what causes people to care about one another and why they feel connected. Pedestrian and poetic movements used by the actors dictate the experience of being a member of a group. There will be a post-show discussion lead by Dr Jason with Jonathan Meth. The event will be at the Attenborough Centre on Mon 20 March.

The festival won the prestigious EFFE Award in 2105, an accolade that rewards the 12 most outstanding European festivals. It reflects SICK! Festival’s quality, innovation and international reputation as a leader in the arts, health and wellbeing.

SICK! Festival
Mon 20 – Sat 25 March

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