Making arts accessible to all at this year’s Brighton Festival

Kate Tempest
Kate Tempest

A community focus was evident in Kate Tempest’s programme for this year’s Brighton Festival.

The 31-year-old guest director of the 2017 festival, who is a recording artist, poet, playwright and novelist, said she wanted to make the arts accessible to all.

Launching the 2017 programme, Ms Tempest was interviewed via Skype by The Guardian’s Polly Toynbee this morning (February 15).

Ms Tempest said: “We’ve got these two community hubs, one in Hangleton and one in Whitehawk, and we’re just going to be running a programme of events there which are free, free entry, participatory things as well, workshops etc, but also performances.

“I think there’s something very important that when a big festival is coming to this city, to not forget that there are people that can’t get to that central buzzy hype. So it’s really exciting... It’s going to be full of quite exciting acts from the festival and also artists within the communities.”

Ms Toynbee, who is also chairman of the Brighton Festival, said: “It’s always what we’re trying to do, to reach out to as many people as possible, who might normally think something called ‘the arts’ is not for them, so I think it’s great we’re going further afield this time.”

Ms Tempest said: “I don’t know if it is because people think something called ‘the arts’ isn’t for them, I think it can be as simple as people can’t afford to get into town or they can’t afford a ticket to a show. I think it’s more that, than the arts is not for them.”

This reflects Tempest’s belief that ‘the arts should be in our communities, not only on elevated platforms or behind red velvet ropes’.

There will also be a Pay-It-Forward scheme where people can donate £5 on top of their ticket price which will be match-funded by Brighton Festival to create a £10 Festival ticket voucher for someone unable to afford to see a show.

“Hopefully this will enable us to open things up a bit,” she said.

For more on the Brighton Festival programme for 2017, click here.