The current situation may have set many things back but it has paved the way for creation and innovation, especially in the digital world. Even though the physical Brighton Festival was cancelled this May, it is still happening virtually.

To thank the people who donated their tickets or accepted the vouchers for future events, the organisers are offering a selection of free online events with artists who would have performed at the festival. Here is the list of the events that you can catch online throughout this month.

Lemn Sissay in conversation with Hannah Azieb Pool

Sat 23 May, 8pm

The main event for the virtual festival is a Live Reading and Q&A session with two acclaimed creators. Lemm Sissay MBE, Brighton Festival Guest Director, acclaimed British and Ethiopian poet and playwright will host a live online reading and discussion around his best-selling memoir, My Name is Why. He will be reflecting on his childhood in foster care, self-expression and Britishness in an interactive session with the audience.

Hannah Azieb Pool is an Eritrean Artistic Director and CEO of the Bernie Grant Arts Centre. She has written for many international publications including The Guardian, The Times, Stylist and Vogue Magazine UK, and is the author of Fashion Cities Africa and My Fathers’ Daughter.

Rachel Blackman – Tiny Failures ‘TV’: Creative Distractions for Disastrous News and Terrible Odds.

Fri 15 May, 7:30pm

Join Rachel Blackman and her special guest, comedian and theatre-maker Laura Mugridge in Tiny Failures ‘TV’, the first in a series of live performative challenges and conversations exploring failure and creative freedom. Part talk-show, part provocation, part experiment.

Aida H Dee – Online Storytime with Drag Queen Story Hour UKAs a thank-you for the public’s ongoing support, Brighton Festival is offering At Home, a selection of free online events during May 2020

Sat 16 May, 2pm

Reading and singing songs has never been so fabulous. Aida wants to show the world that being different is not a bad thing, and by teaching love, fun, and acceptance we can change the UK – one page at a time.

Rachel Mars – My Sweet Naughty Little F*** bird 

Sat 16 May, 9:30pm

Rachel Mars uses letters from her show, ‘Your Sexts Are Shit: Older Better Letters’ to create a new short recorded piece, My Sweet Naughty Little F***bird. This event contains some sexually explicit language and is only suitable for viewers 16+.

I Fagiolini 

Sun 17 May, 3pm

I Fagiolini, renowned for their innovative presentations of both classic and unusual repertoire, from Renaissance to contemporary works. They bring us an exclusive online performance by six singers recorded in their homes. Cake Mix by Timothy Knapman and Claudio Monteverdi is part of a series of three short films, ‘Not in This Together’, created for socially-distanced chamber musicians and directed by Robert Hollingworth.

Love Letters Straight From Your Heart by Uninvited Guests & Fuel

Wed 20 May, 7pm

This exclusive touring partnership with Fuel Theatre is a live participatory event in which the audience and actors offer dedications and declarations of love, past and present.  

Young City Reads – Malamander

Thurs 21 May,10:30am

This year’s book choice for Young City Read’s BIG read is the sensational seaside mystery Malamander by Thomas Taylor. Join him live online to celebrate this wonderful book and listen to him answer questions from young readers across Brighton & Hove.

Groove Into the Woods: A Video Storybook

Sat 23 May, 2pm

In this specially created online event for lockdown, this joyous telling of the original story features an almost live band, musical interaction and 3D animation. Fun for small and big people – just like the live show! Join three friends on their quest to save some grownups from some horrible trolls.

To find information about the aforementioned events and more, visit: https://brightonfestival.org/at_home/