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David Shrigley announced as Brighton Festival guest director for 2018

David Shrigley on the Brighton Dome stage. Photo: Victor Frankowski David Shrigley on the Brighton Dome stage. Photo: Victor Frankowski
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Brighton Festival has announced visual artist David Shrigley as its 2018 guest director.

The multi-arts festival has also revealed part of its 2018 programme, which will include Hofesh Shechter’s Grand Finale. Described as “part gig, part dance and part theatre”, it is designed by Tom Scutt with lighting by Tom Visser.

Calixto Bieito’s The String Quartet’s Guide to Sex and Anxiety, presented by the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in association with Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival and Holland Festival, has also been announced for the programme.

Other highlights include the Voice Project’s The Arms of Sleep, an overnight choral sleepover experience in which audiences encounter “a unique dream-like and immersive night of music and stories, sound and images”.

Shrigley, whose work includes Really Good, a seven-metre-high bronze sculpture of a thumbs-up exhibited in London’s Trafalgar Square, will be involved in the programming of the whole festival.

The artist recently contributed a series of illustrations depicting the benefits of the arts to health and well-being to accompany a report published by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing.

He said: “The great thing about Brighton Festival is that you see things that are really thrilling and wonderful that you’ve never heard of before.

“What I’m looking forward to about the role of guest director is having the opportunity to not only see a lot of stuff and programme stuff but also make some artwork myself and have it presented in the place where I live. I think it’s a really nice way to communicate with people, to meet people and to invite people to come to Brighton.”

Andrew Comben, chief executive of Brighton Festival, said: “Like Brighton Festival, David Shrigley’s work is for everyone.

“Both powerful and funny, his work manages to navigate ‘high’ and ‘low’ art and speak to an incredibly wide audience. Alongside his own artwork, he has also joined in championing the power of the arts to help health and well-being.”

Brighton Festival 2018 takes place from May 5 to 27, with the full programme to be announced in February.

Recent guest directors have included Kate Tempest, Ali Smith and Laurie Anderson.

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