Theme revealed for next year's Children’s Parade

The Children's Parade (Photograph: Victor Frankowski)
The Children's Parade (Photograph: Victor Frankowski)

Brighton Festival has announced the theme for the 2018 Children’s Parade as 'paintings'.

Each school will be allocated a painting from a selection which have been chosen to reflect the diversity of artists worldwide.

The Children's Parade (Photograph: Victor Frankowski)

The Children's Parade (Photograph: Victor Frankowski)

The paintings will be studied and explored in detail in the schools before being presented in costume, music and carnival structures on the streets in May.

Jointly produced with community arts organisation Same Sky, the annual Children’s Parade opens the Brighton Festival with around 5,000 children from schools and community groups taking part, and thousands of spectators lining the city’s streets.

Next year's event takes place on Saturday, May 5.

With a different imaginative theme each year, previous parades have seen children dress up as everything from letters of the alphabet to the Prince Regent and Fatboy Slim.

This year participants donned costumes ranging from cats and clowns to The Giant Jam Sandwich in homage the theme of Poetry in Motion which was chosen by poet, rapper and musician Kate Tempest who headed up Brighton Festival 2017 as guest director.

The 2018 theme, ‘paintings’, is inspired by visual artist David Shrigley, who was recently revealed as the latest artistic figure to take up the role of shaping the three-week programme of cultural events as guest director.

Best known for his distinctive drawing style and works that make satirical comments on the absurdity of 21st-century society, his work also spans an extensive range of media including sculpture, large-scale installation, animation, painting, photography and music. Nominated for the prestigious Turner Prize in 2013, Shrigley’s Really Good, a seven-metre-high elongated bronze sculpture of a thumbs-up, is the current incumbent of Trafalgar Square's Fourth Plinth.

Pippa Smith, Brighton Festival’s children an family programmer, said: “We were so impressed by the way that schools took their poems to heart last year and we believe that the same will happen with the paintings. The works will be studied and explored and become part of the school culture between November and May. This in-depth exploration of a work of art is something that most people don’t have the opportunity to do until they go to art school.”

Charity Same Sky spends six months working behind the scenes to create the Children’s Parade with creative teams instructing teaching staff how to teach dance and parade chants, run free masterclasses, help develop design ideas and encourage imagination to flow.

John Varah, artistic director at Same Sky, said: “Same Sky is very excited by the 2018 Guest Director David Shrigley and his theme for the parade. We will be working with 70 Brighton & Hove schools to create the parade and enable the children to hit the street with dazzling costumes, puppets and sounds. Same Sky once again thanks Brighton Festival for giving us this great opportunity to work with nearly every school in our wonderfully creative city.”

Luke Devitt-Spooner, general manager at Yeomans Toyota Brighton, which sponsors the parade, said: "Yeomans Toyota Brighton are once again proud to be supporting Brighton Festival’s Children's Parade. Bringing an ever-cleaner automotive future for our children's world with Hybrid, Electric and Hydrogen powered vehicles."

Brighton Festival 2018 takes place from May 5 to 27.