Laurie Anderson Named Guest Director of Brighton Festival 2016

The British arts festival is celebrating its 50th anniversary in style.

Laurie Anderson.Photo: via Brighton Festival.
Laurie Anderson.
Photo: via Brighton Festival.

Laurie Anderson is having a pretty hectic schedule of late. Hot on the heels of her concert for dogs in Times Square and her recent “wedding” to fellow artist Sophie Calle, it’s been announced today that the artist, musician, and filmmaker will direct the 2016 edition of the Brighton Festival.

The arts festival, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, will take place between May 7–29 and will feature new works from Anderson, as well as exclusives and premieres from a wide range of international artists across the disciplines of music, theater, dance, circus, art, film, and literature.

The full program won’t be announced until February 17, but it’s been revealed that the overarching theme of the edition will focus on the idea of home.

Laurie Anderson, For Instants (1976) Photo: Bob Bielecki via New York Times

Laurie Anderson, For Instants (1976).
Photo: Bob Bielecki via New York Times.

“I’m so happy to be serving as guest director of Brighton Festival in its historic 50th year,” said Anderson in a statement. “Our theme of home and place is especially relevant with so many people in the world on the move now looking, like all of us, for a place we can belong,” she added.

“I’ve been part of the festival several times and it was exciting to watch the city become the heart of so much art. I’m looking forward to being part of it this year,” she enthused.

Anderson, who was a participating artist in the 2011 and 2015 editions of the festival, recently released her first feature film Heart of a Dog. The compelling and experimental documentary is a tribute to her late dog Lolabelle, who, in her mature age, went blind and learned to paint and play the piano with her paws.

Laurie Anderson Heart of a Dog still. Photo: courtesy Laurie Anderson.

Laurie Anderson Heart of a Dog still.
Photo: courtesy Laurie Anderson.

The festival began in 1967, but it’s only since 2009 that renowned guest directors are invited to take up the reins. Previous guest directors include artist Anish Kapoor, musician Brian Eno, actress Vanessa Redgrave, and writer Ali Smith.

“In our 50th year, it feels right to reflect on the original intentions of the festival which from the start were about celebrating international culture, the new and the avant-garde,” Andrew Comben, chief executive of Brighton Festival, said in a statement. “Laurie Anderson has been experimenting, creating and challenging audiences all over the world for almost as long as Brighton Festival has existed–indeed, she’s been a part of the festival’s journey in past years with some very special commissions and appearances in the city,” he added.


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