Finding hygge at Brighton Festival 2015

Oh, May. One of my favourite months, because with May comes Brighton Festival – an entire month of art, theatre, dance, music, acrobatics and everything else you can imagine. The schedule for Brighton Festival 2015 has recently been released, and I’ve done the hard work to find the most hygge-filled performances and installations so you don’t have to.

Dawn Chorus

Dawn Chorus Brighton Festival 2015
Image: brightonfestival.org

Let’s kick off with a freebie at a venue just round the corner from my office. Fabrica always has cool installations going on, and I sometimes go in for a poke around in my lunch break to see what’s happening. Dawn Chorus is a film installation, exploring the relationship between the human voice and birdsong. Singers are shown imitating birds in everyday locations, and I love that. It’s kind of like what I want to do with this blog. It’s finding something where you might not expect it, and that’s exactly what I want to do with hygge. Where are all the birds? Maybe not where you think. This is one to check out if you have a spare ten minutes.

Underworld

There is something about the concept of the underworld that feels strangely comforting. It’s like when you plunge your hand into damp, warm earth, and you feel like you’d be safe down there with the worms. Not that Underworld is anything like that. It’s a dark, dramatic and athletic dance performance, which at first glance doesn’t feel all that hygge at all. But what excites me is the soundtrack. ‘Rushing rivers, church bells and faint children’s voices’? All in low light, against strikingly beautiful backdrops? This one has definitely caught my eye.

Vast White Stillness

Vast White Stillness Brighton Festival 2015
Image: brightonfestival.org

The Old Ship Hotel is one of the few hotels in Brighton I have actually been in (apart from the Thistle when my friend and I viewed the wedding suite when we were drunk, but that’s for another time), but I had no idea it has cellars beneath. I think this may be the most interesting work for me at this year’s festival. I love art that you can become a part of, and the fact that Vast White Stillness is described as ‘part installation, part performance’ is really exciting. The concept of ‘the nuances of memory’ also fits nicely with hygge – there is something very comforting about reminiscing. And on an unrelated note – how gorgeous is that name?

La Pointe Courte

Anyone who knows me knows about my love of the mumblecore film genre, and I get the feeling La Pointe Courte would fit in nicely. It’s a quiet, sensitive insight into a relationship in flux, and I can imagine it being like a sweeter, black and white version of (in my opinion, the grossly underrated) Le Week-End. At the time of writing, it’s fully booked, but this is something I’ll be watching closely in the hope that tickets become available.

Fleeting

Fleeting Brighton Festival 2015
Image: brightonfestival.org

This year’s Art and Nature theme manifests itself in several bird-themed works, and Fleeting looks set to be the most spectacular. The murmurations of starlings over Brighton beach have been especially beautiful this year, and Fleeting is likely to be just as mesmerising. Thousands of tiny points of fire will represent the movements of all the birds swooping in sync over the sea against the setting sun… and if wrapping up on the beach watching the sun set behind a shimmering, flickering, fiery sky isn’t the ultimate in natural hygge, I don’t know what is.

Have you already snapped up tickets to any of these? Have I missed anything filled with comfort and joy that you think I should go to? Let me know in the comments.

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