Laura Cartledge and Elly MacDonald uncover the host of events making Sussex shine this month.
Curator Candida Stevens hopes the latest exhibition at her Chichester gallery will ‘highlight to the
wider West Sussex audience that there is serious collectable art on their doorstep’.
Fireflies in the Garden will run until October 31 and showcases previously unseen work by Ivon Hitchens alongside the highly detailed creations of Stephen Chambers.
“You can get this level of exhibition outside of London – it is happening more and more but it is still a new phenomenon,” insists the Bosham resident, who reveals she is ‘interested in showing work which has more to it than meets the eye’.
Hitchens, who began his career in the 1920s and concentrated on ‘bold, fresh’ landscapes, and Chamber’s, who draws on the pattern making from western and eastern art, might not seem an obvious pairing. But Candida insists ‘the links are quite numerous but not obvious’.
“One of the challenges is giving it space to breathe so they can support but not overshadow each other,” she confesses.
The setting is also important for Hitchens’ expressive paintings as he retreated to West Sussex in 1940 and found one of his ‘earliest loves’ – The South Downs, south of Midhurst.
Showing the four works, which will be exhibited for sale at Candida Stevens Fine Art, has been made possible thanks to the Hitchens’ estate and the plan is to celebrate them ‘returning home’ with a programme of talks and events on the late artist’s life.
However the exhibit is ‘a bit like a solo show for Stephen Chambers’ confesses Candida as the main space will play host to his collection.
“It has taken me a year to get to this stage with Stephen, he doesn’t usually show – he can sell all his own work,” she explains, adding ‘he is so successful across the world’.
“He does these etchings, these collections of etchings, which are very tongue in cheek and all a bit mischievous,” Candida reveals.
“‘Trouble Meets Trouble’ he describes as the dating agency from hell.”
With subjects including Marie Antoinette and Angela Merkel many might agree that is a very apt way of putting it.
Candida credits having a gallery space as being the advantage which enables them to attract ‘a level of artists – a quality – that we wouldn’t get to access otherwise’, so it is interesting to learn the base at 12 Northgate, Chichester, came about unexpectedly.
“We found the right space, it happened perhaps earlier than we planned, but we had to grab the bull by the horns,” she smiles.
Having studied an art history degree, Candida’s career, driven by a desire to explore the world before taking the ‘obvious path’ straight into a gallery, saw her work in new media just as the internet was starting up.
“It was quite exciting,” she recalls. “I had a business curating fashion rather than art which I ran, and I swore never to run my own business again…”
But relocating south from the city a few years ago saw the beginning of Candida selling art.
“It has taken a long time to get to where I always belonged,” she admits. “When I left university I wanted to do other things but it has always been there.
“Since I was nine I’ve been going to galleries wherever I go. It has always been my primary passion.”
Fireflies in the Garden is the third exhibition to show in the Chichester Gallery. For more information, visit www.candidastevens.com
This year’s Brighton Early Music Festival promises to be the ‘UK’s biggest celebration of music by historical female composers’.
However that is only the beginning as, in addition to recognising female composers, performers, inspirational characters, muses, and symbols will also be put in the spotlight across the three weekends from October 23 – November 8.
The festival programme will take place at a range of venues across Brighton and Hove with lead up events and workshops already underway.
These include the public being given a chance to take part in a workshop with Belinda Sykes of Joglaresa, listen to young vocal ensembles being coached by Eamonn Dougan of The Sixteen, or to attend an event featuring female singer-songwriters of the past and present.
While the highlights of the first weekend, October 23 – 25, include women’s songs from ancient Arabic, Jewish, and Christian traditions with Joglaresa.
There will also be newly discovered music attributed to the daughter of Lucrezia Borgia, Suor Leonora d’Este, as well as a dramatic retelling of the life and music of Hildegard of Bingen.
The second weekend, October 30 – November 1, opens with the Orlando Consort’s ‘Voices Appeared’, which blends the classic 1928 silent film ‘The Passion of Joan of Arc’ with live medieval music from the period of Joan’s life.
The London Handel Players will continue the music, with director Laurence Cummings and Soprano Ruby Hughes in a concert featuring work by baroque composer Elisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre.
The weekend finishes with a programme in which Clare Wilkinson joins the Brighton Early Music Festival Consort of Voices for 17th century works by Margarita Cozzolani, Francesca Caccini and Barbara Strozzi.
During the final week, the festival wraps with events starting on the Wednesday including a new production directed by Susannah Waters of Francesca Caccini’s “La Liberazione di Ruggiero dall’isola d’Alcina”, the earliest opera by a woman composer.
There is also an appearance by the festival’s patron Emma Kirkby and lutenist Jakob Lindberg.
Plus The Carnival Band will appear in a raucous evening of women as depicted in broadsheet ballads of the 17th century, followed the next morning by two concerts for families.
For the second year, the festival is offering restricted view or standing Prom tickets to most events for just £5. Under 12s attend for free when accompanied by an adult, and there is also a discounted concessionary price. More information can be found at www.bremf.org.uk
Museums at Night, the biennial UK-wide festival which encourages visitors to step into museums, galleries and heritage sites after hours, is back this month.
Taking place on October 30 – 31, it sees a range of locations open their doors for special evening events.
Turner Prize nominee Yinka Shonibare MBE will be hosting a 24 hour art happening, from 4pm on the Friday 30, at the Novium Museum in Chichester for the occasion.
An open submission call-out, curated by Shonibare, will seek artistic responses to the museum’s collection on the theme of an ‘Inventive Factory’.
Unusual items in the museum which are sure to get the creative juices flowing include local inventor Colin Pullinger’s much celebrated first humane mousetrap.
Shonibare will also create a unique participatory experience to contribute to the round-the-clock activity as every nook and cranny of the venue’s space will be consumed by artists, students, community groups and kids, a pop-up bar/café and an atmosphere evocative of Warhol’s creative hub.
Meanwhile Brighton Preston Manor will be getting involved by becoming a ‘cabinet of curiosities’ which promises to have a ‘whole range of other-worldly activities’ in store.
“There’ll be a focus on clairvoyance, in keeping with similar evenings held at Preston Manor in the 1880s and 1890s, with medium Sue Smith offering taster sessions on mediumship and Tarot-reading,” reveals venue officer Paula Wrighton.
“There’ll also be poetic, noir-ish film-shorts by film-maker and photographer Valentina Lari, a magic lantern show by collections assistant Alexia Lazou, and a very rare chance to go down into the cellars with social and cultural historian Sarah Tobias.
“Sarah will be reading The Mistletoe Bough, a ghostly 1830 ballad-poem referencing several stately homes and their legends,” she explains.
“I’ll also be leading mini ghost tours and we’ve created a ‘curiosity trail’ around Preston Manor, to help people explore its dark corners and quirky artefacts.
“To me the real magic lies simply in exploring the house at night, when it takes on a whole different personality, and Museums at Night is a great opportunity to open our doors after dark.”
Which takes on a whole new meaning when you learn Preston Manor is known as ‘Brighton’s most-haunted house’.
For more information, visit www.brightonmuseums.org
The thirteenth year certainly seems to be proving a lucky one for the Brighton Comedy Festival as it has secured some of the world’s best funny men and women.
In fact the show list, running between October 9 – 24, reads like a who’s who with Dara O Briain, Ed Byrne, Hardeep Singh Kohli, Milton Jones and Patrick Kielty just a handful of famous faces appearing.
British Comedy Award winner ventriloquist Nina Conti will be getting ‘In Your Face’ at 7.30pm on October 22 at the Corn Exchange thanks to her sidekick Monkey and her bag of tricks.
While troublemaker Simon Brodkin, aka Lee Nelson, recently seen on stage at Glastonbury with Kanye West and throwing money at Sepp Blatter, will be ‘Suited and Booted’ two hours later.
The less known but brilliant duo Frisky & Mannish will also be bringing their hilarious music mashup to the city.
Their latest hour-long offering, which promises ‘more drama than Madonna’s BRITs performance’, can be seen on October 10 at the Corn Exchange.
Also making ripples (of laughter) is Beardyman who comes to Brighton following two sell-out runs at the Edinburgh Fringe.
His show at The Old Market Theatre on October 21 – 22 will be part of Beardyman’s debut UK tour of his critically acclaimed show ‘One Album Per Hour’.
He is described as ‘travelling at the speed of thought in his music production spaceship’ and the result is Beardyman makes ‘studio quality compositions faster than most could imagine them’.
The ‘vocal shaman’ emits and manipulates any conceivable sound, sparked by suggestions and mixed with wit to get the
audience ‘rocking with laughter’ and shaking their tail feathers.
Arguably the most intriguely titled show is ‘No Such Thing As A Fish’, at Brighton Dome on October 18.
It is the creation of The QI elves – Dan Schreiber, Andrew Hunter Murray, James Harkin and Anna Ptaszynski – who will be serving up their pick of ‘bizarre, extraordinary and hilarious facts from the QI universe’.
Meanwhile working ‘Just For Graphs’ is the ‘Festival of the Spoken Nerd’ team on October 24 at the Corn Exchange.
The ‘science comedy phenomenon’ is making its return and it is reported that ‘this time they’re off the chart’.
Featuring acclaimed stand-up mathematician Matt Parker, experiments maestro Steve ‘Danger’ Mould and geek songstress Helen Arney the show follows last year’s smash hit ‘Full Frontal Nerdity’.
In-between the nerds have starred on TV, radio, at the Hammersmith Apollo and in their own peer-reviewed DVD – recorded at London’s Bloomsbury Theatre.
When the event organisers say we ‘believe’ the programme ‘will have a tickle for everyone’s funny bone’ you can’t help feel they might be right.
Full the full list, and to book tickets, visit www.brightoncomedyfestival.com
Candida Stevens Picture: www.danstevens.co.uk
Joglaresa Girly Red Quartet Picture: Graham Wood
Nina Conti Picture: Matt Crockett
October 16, 2015 Culture and Events