Brighton Festival 2020 launches with Lemn Sissay as Guest Director

19 Feb 2020

Brighton Festival is set to get a little taste of Ethiopia thanks to acclaimed Ethio-British poet, playwright, broadcaster and speaker, Lemn Sissay MBE, who has been selected as this year’s Guest Director.

Brighton Festival is the largest annual, curated multi-arts festival in England, and this year’s theme is Imagine Nation.

The Festival, scheduled to take place from 2 – 24 May, will feature over 120 events taking place in 27 venues and locations across the region. Artists experimenting and creating new work is at the heart of the Festival with 17 premieres, exclusives, commissions and co-productions and many Festival debuts from international artists.

Lemn’s personal passions flow throughout the 2020 programme, connected by a love of words and language across theatre, song, spoken word, art and poetry. Contemporary writers and poets are given a particular spotlight with several spoken word and book events.

His support for new and established Ethiopian artists also features prominently with appearances by Ethio-jazz legend Mulatu Astatke, contemporary pianist/composer Samuel Yirga and writers Maaza Mengiste and Aida Edemariam.

Maaza Mengiste, Multatu Astatke and Samuel Yirga

In Adopt A Nation, Lemn invites the public to adopt him in an intimate one-on-one experience that will ask participants to share their own thoughts about family; and his best-selling memoir My Name is Why is discussed in conversation with British-Eritrean writer Hannah Azieb Pool.

Explaining how Imagine Nation is a place to join in, reflect and take time for a personal creative experience, Lemn said:

“The most damaging mirror trick in society is to convince people they have no imagination and that they are not creative. It’s just not true. There’s going to be something for you in this Festival. Broaden your horizons, be open and maybe try something different. Welcome to the Imagine Nation, welcome to the whole world in one celebration here at Brighton Festival 2020.”

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Festival added:

“Brighton Festival is an annual invitation to everyone to explore great art from all over the world and inspire individual creativity. We’re excited and proud to be bringing the Festival to so many areas of the city and the wider region and we hope that Lemn’s encouragement to be brave and try something new creates an ‘Imagine Nation’ in which we can all take part.”

Tickets go on sale at 9 am, Wednesday 19 February.

For further information, visit www.brightonfestival.org. The Ethiopia-related events can be accessed directly via the links below.

 

Welcome to the Imagine Nation

with Lemn Sissay

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