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Campus centre stage for Brighton Festival

* 1 May 2003 *

Campus centre stage for Brighton Festival

England's largest arts festival, the Brighton Festival, begins on 3 May, and the University of Sussex is gearing up to play a major role in the month-long celebration.

Sussex will be sponsoring two major shows - Alexander Nevsky in the Brighton Dome on 4 May, and the Schubert Ensemble's performance in the Royal Pavilion on the 7 May. The Gardner Arts Centre, on the University's campus, will be hosting many Festival events.

However, it's the University's staff and students who are really getting in on the festival act, with many staging or performing in events, or helping out with others.

Education lecturer Dr Viv Griffiths will be hitting the high notes as 'first soprano' in the University- supported Alexander Nevsky. A member of the renowned Brighton Festival Chorus, she has performed in many festivals, but she still gets a buzz from it: "It stretches you to the limit of your abilities," she says. "But it's an exhilarating experience."

Becky Kemp, an English finalist, is spending any spare moment away from her dissertations doing up an old manor house next to campus. A volunteer on dreamthinkspeak's innovative production Don't Look Back, her role is to do "all the little jobs" such as collecting leaves and sweeping.  Becky is hoping the work experience could lead to more opportunities in the arts.

Pat Drake, a lecturer in education, will be displaying her drawings and sculptures at 20 Islingword Street during weekends in May as part of the Brighton Open House art trail. Roger Bates, a finance assistant, will be displaying his stained-glass creations at his first ever Open House at 51 Wilbury Road: " I just thought one day I was turning into a couch potato and needed a hobby. And now I'm in the Festival!"

Meanwhile the Sussex University Drama Society is showcasing two events in the Festival Fringe. First year students Tom Halstead and Stuart Simons are staging a production of A Midsummer's' Night Dream at Falmer School from 14-16 May. The performance will comprise a workshop for school children followed by the show, featuring both student actors and the kids themselves.

Meanwhile, English student Vanessa Hammick is part of an innovative production called Dancefloor Dramas. Vanessa explains: "It's basically a cheesy pop club night, but with a dramatic element - some of which will be very clear, and some of which will come as a surprise to clubbers." 14 May from 10-30pm-2am, at Club New York in Dyke Road.

* Notes for editors *

Press Office contacts: Benedict Brook or Alison Field, University of Sussex,
Tel. 01273 678888, Fax 01273 877456, or

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