Staff, students and alumni offer a feast of Festival treats

A wealth of talent from the University of Sussex will get a chance to shine in this year's Brighton Festival and Festival Fringe events.


One particularly hot ticket, Mass Observation (23rd May, 3pm, Pavilion Theatre, New Road), involves the University of Sussex-based Mass Observation Archive.


In a sold-out event co-organised by Dr Margaretta Jolly (Centre for Life History and Life Writing Research, University of Sussex), the novelist and critic Margaret Drabble, author and barrister Philippe Sands QC and former Labour MP turned Channel 4's Head of Diversity Oona King will share their diary entries for 12th May.


The date is significant because 73 years ago on that day Mass Observation expanded its day diary project introduced earlier that year to include observations on the Coronation of King George V - 12th May 1937.


The Archive is now the repository for these and other diaries and observations, produced by volunteers who helped to build a unique record of everyday life over various periods from 1937. The project, revived in the 1980s at the University of Sussex, where the collection is kept, continues today.


Dr Jolly will chair a panel in which the diarists will share observations recorded in their 24-hour diaries and engage in a wider discussion on how the individual voice has helped shape our collective history.


To coincide with the Festival event, the Mass Observation Archive is calling for one-day diaries recording Wednesday 12th May 2010. Anyone can take part, but only electronic diaries are to be accepted on this occasion. Full details will be coming up on



Meanwhile, academics, students, alumni and other staff will be setting aside their day jobs or furthering their creative careers with an array of performances that include singing, acting, lectures and literature, music, comedy, guided walks and talks.


Here are some of the University of Sussex-linked events that you can enjoy during the May festival season:


  • Performer and Life History MA student Sue MacLaine takes to the stage as a septuagenarian man in her self-penned one-man/one-woman show, All That I Was / All That I Am. Sid Lester, one-time star of stage and cruise ship, now a widower embarking on one last curtain call, reflects on a life lived and love lost. The show is presented as part of the Brighton Festival's Platform series.  Tuesday 18 May at 8pm at the Pavilion Theatre, New Road. Tickets £4.


  • Composer Martin Butler (Professor of Music in the School of Media, Film and Music) is having three works performed in the Festival this year, as part of the lunchtime concerts series at the Pavilion Theatre in New Road. On 4th May Counterpoise, a quartet of violin, trumpet, piano and saxophone, will perform a programme including Professor Butler's composition, Suzanne's River Song. The event concludes with a music workshop involving work by research students from Sussex. On 17th May the Camarilla Ensemble performs Down-Hollow Winds, a piece for wind quintet, and on 21st May cellist Thomas Carroll and pianist Llyr Williams will perform another Butler composition, Siward's River Song. All performances start at 1pm, tickets £8.


  • Anna Dumitriu is artist in residence in the University's Centre for Computational Neuroscience and Robotics in the School of Informatics and a visiting lecturer at Brighton and Sussex Medical School. She has been working with Varndean School pupils in Brighton on a major Open House event to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the school. Pupils aged 12-15 have been working as curators, putting together an exhibition that celebrates the school and its creative work with installations, performances, art work and archive material. Anna says: "We are using installation and performance to communicate the creative work and history of the school." The event is part of an initiative by Creative Partnerships, a nationwide initiative to encourage creativity in schools, hosted at Sussex by the Centre for Community Engagement (CCE). Open House at Varndean School, Balfour Road, Brighton, 22nd May, 11am to 5pm. Free.


  • Sample everyone's favourite 18th-century seaside tipple, squeeze through the alleyway where the podgy Prince Regent got stuck and find out why speaking French was a hanging offence for 250 years when you take a tour around Brighton with Sussex alumnus Tony Moss. Tony's Secrets and Lies walking tour of Brighton offers an alternative view of the city and the incredible characters that have shaped its history. Philosophy graduate Tony went on to become an award-winning TV producer, working with the likes of MichaeI Parkinson and Spike Milligan, but this is his first time in the spotlight, leading the tour and telling tall tales. In an interactive twist, he will be offering a prize to the person who can spot the downright lies amid the true-to-life stories he tells. Walks start at 11am and 3.30pm every Saturday and Sunday throughout May, lasting 90 mins. Meeting point:  the Royal Albion Hotel, opposite Brighton Pier. Price £7. Pay on the day. See For group discounts ring 07730 129069.


  • Drama graduate Alex Brown's theatre company All Said And Done - comprising former and current University of Sussex students - offers a new take on an epic tale of love and loss with Dido Craves, a highly inventive piece that combines physical theatre with text by the playwright Christopher Marlowe. Mon 10th-Weds 12th May, 7.30pm at Cella @ The Sanctuary café, 51-55 Brunswick Street East, off Western Road, Hove. Tickets £8 / £6.


  • Professor of Ecology Mike Hutchings will be singing with Brighton Festival Chorus in two performances of Rachmaninov Vespers, at St. Bartholomews Church, May 14 (6pm) and 15 (10pm). Tickets £15.


  • Dr Anna Stavrianakis, a Lecturer in International Relations, will be singing with community choir Brighton City Singers, who will be performing "Walls of Sound" in the Fringe. The choir will be performing new music composed specially for the Fringe, as well as some popular and classical favourites in this multimedia performance involving 200 voices. Saturday 1st May, 7.30pm, St. Bartholomew's Church. Tickets £8/£6.


  • David Kilkelly, a tutor in Media Production in the School of Media, Film and Music, is putting his students' critical faculties to the test, by getting them to produce reviews and previews of Fringe events. The resulting reports will be broadcast on Brighton community radio station Radio Reverb (97.2 FM) throughout the Festival.



Notes for Editors


For full details of all performances at the Brighton Festival and Festival Fringe, visit:


Visit CCE for information about courses in Life History and Life Writing.

University of Sussex Press office contacts: Maggie Clune, Jaqui Bealing and Danïelle Treanor. Tel: 01273 678 888 or email


Last updated: Monday, 18 February 2013