Brighton & Hove

Category Archives: Editors Updates

Every body welcome: Brighton & Hove’s new home for dance The Dance Space is opening this July!

A 10-year fund raising campaign, one global pandemic and almost five years since construction began, Brighton & Hove charity South East Dance has today announced that the city’s first building designed especially for dance The Dance Space will open its doors to the public on 15 July, 2022.
Designed by award-winning architects shed km, and realised with the support of Brighton & Hove City Council, Arts Council England and a host of private donors, The Dance Space is a stunning state of the art, contemporary, steel-clad home for dance, located in the new Circus Street development in the heart of Brighton & Hove.

The Dance Space will provide much needed creation, rehearsal and performance space for professional dance artists, and present a year-round programme of dance classes, workshops and events for the whole community.

Featuring two accessible ground floor dance studios, a first-floor creation and performance space, two meeting rooms and a floor of office space, The Dance Space is available to hire oo. Bookings are being taken now for people who would like to hire the space to host their own dance classes, events, meetings and conferences.

When the doors open to the public in July, celebrations will kick off with a very special edition of Our City Dances, a free festival of dance taking place in and around The Dance Space. A week of free taster classes will follow, offering people of all ages and abilities across the city a chance to have a go at a variety of dance styles, reflecting what will be on offer there year-round from September.
Cath James, Artistic Director, says: “We’ve waited a very long time to be able to finally announce this opening date and it feels incredible. The Dance Space will be a place where professional artists will create and present world class work, and people of all ages and abilities will be able to have a go at dance.

“The launch in July will mark a significant moment for Brighton & Hove, adding to the city’s vibrant and valuable arts scene and providing an important new cultural asset for the whole community to experience the joy and wellbeing that dance can offer every body.”
From April, South East Dance will start testing the building with a small number of classes, workshops and performances to make sure the building works for its users, before opening to the public in July.

More information on that and details of the full launch programme will be available soon.
For further information, interviews and images please contact Chloe Barker or Georgina Harris, Joint Heads of Communications at [email protected] or [email protected]
Photo credit: Summer Dean

Nellie’s Arctic Adventure Winter Trail at Sheffield Park and Garden National Trust
22 January 2022 – 27 February 2022

Nellie’s Arctic Adventure brings to life the story of the remarkable Nellie Soames, former owner at Sheffield Park and one of the first women to venture into the Arctic.
Helen Agnes ‘Nellie’ Peel, the granddaughter of Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel, was just 23 years old when she left London in 1893 aboard the steam-yacht Blencathra bound for the Arctic inspired by ‘youth and a love for adventure’.

Visitors are invited to delve into the tale of this astonishing journey in the winter trail: Nellie’s Arctic Adventure. Her story, as described in excerpts from her book Polar Gleams, is brimming with adventure offering something of interest to all.
Nellie’s link with Sheffield Park came in 1919 when she married owner Arthur Gilstrap Soames, the passionate plantsman who orchestrated much of the stunning spring and autumn colour in the Grade I Listed garden.

Sheffield Park has once again commissioned community artist, Roy Kelf, of Kelf Kreations, to create the centrepieces of the trail depicting the eccentric characters and glistening ice landscapes Nellie encountered on her Arctic adventure.
Kelf enlisted the help of young artists in a series of workshops at local primary schools to create the clever constructions, using his ingenious technique of repurposing used plastic containers. Highlights include the great polar bear and an ice cave in which to immerse the senses in the shimmering lights and sounds Nellie described so vividly in her account.

As well as delighting visitors of all ages, the sculptures carry an important message of sustainability and the preservation of places of natural beauty and historic interest for future generations.

Sheffield Park & Garden Nellie’s Arctic Adventure Trail information
• Trail runs 22 January 2022 – 27 February 2022
• 10am – 3pm to 20 February (10am – 4pm from 21 February)
• Normal garden admission applies. No booking required.
• Sheffield Park & Garden National Trust, Uckfield TN22 3QX

Images: ©National Trust/Oskar Proctor

Paradox Place – Brighton’s House of Illusions & Wonder | A Review

The Brighton & Hove Family Grapevine HQ was lucky to have recently visited the Paradox Palace – Brighton’s House of Illusions & Wonder. Needless to say, we were amazed and had so much fun! The kids loved it and were keen to try out every single trick & experience, testing their perception and so did scientist dad, who is more inclined to know about the science behind optical illusion and who found the exhibits really interesting.

So, what is optical illusions? Simply put, it is when what you see doesn’t match what it really is; your perception is therefore distorted. So, with this in mind you will navigate through the different rooms and levels to explore the interactive and hands-on exhibit – note that even the loos are quirky!
There are plenty of fun photo opportunities, with a guide – ‘Experience Makers’ – helping you take the best shot, as well as tripods which are extremely handy to take group/family picture or to simply take a sharp picture [don’t forget to set your camera on a timer!].

Well, every year we take a family picture wearing our Christmas hats – a tradition we started as a joke before we had kids and continued after they arrived. We took the opportunity of our visit to Paradox Place to take our 2021 picture and this is one of ours:

It is advisable to book your ticket online or by phone, but you can always take your chance just turning up. Once in you can visit the exhibits at your own pace. It takes between 40-60min, to visit all the rooms. The exhibits are suitable for all ages, but note that the exhibit is on different levels (no lift) so the little ones might need to be carried up & down the stairs. There is a pram parking and baby changing station on the ground floor.

Finally, do visit Paradox Place gift shop. It has lots fun and original toys, games, puzzles, quirky Brighton inspired gifts and ‘Brighton up your Christmas’ jumpers! And if you are still looking for Christmas gift, why not offer a Paradox Place GIFT VOUCHER; it can be redeemed as entry tickets or spend in the shop, and is valid for 5 years!!


📸 of Brighton & Hove Family Grapevine

Royal Pavilion Ice Rink – A Review

A couple of weeks ago, braving the ever-changing weather, we took the opportunity of an INSET day to visit the Royal Pavilion Ice Rink. Despite a few mini showers, it was so much fun and a perfect midweek outing (well it was actually a Friday) and what a beautiful setting, you just simply can’t keep your eyes off the beautiful Royal Pavilion!

My youngest was carefully going along the edge, gripping onto the sides until he got a bit more confident. Well, it doesn’t work very well if you try to walk with ice skates, the trick is to push with one foot and glide with the other (easier said than done!), another trick, suggested by a lovely lady skating along, is to bend forward (bum slightly out). I have to say this last trick really helped keeping the balance and minimises our chance of falling off.

Grandparents, non-skater can enter for free and have an excellent view of the rink and Royal Pavilion in the background from the outdoor spectator areas, great to take pictures and to stop for a hot drink & a bite. Note that phones and cameras are not allowed on the ice rink.

The great thing about the Royal Pavilion Ice Rink is a separate rink for the little ones. It is less crowded and kids under 120 cm (up to ~6years old) can use the penguin ice skating aid, which is a great way of gaining confidence and get the hang of it (Note that the penguin aid need to be booked in advance).

We visited the ice rink during the day and it was magical, but night skating with the lights projected onto the Royal Pavilion looks very special. The rink closes at 10pm with the last slot starting at 9.15pm.

Finally, an interesting fact is that the Royal Pavilion Rink is UK’s only Christmas ice rink powered exclusively by green energy!

If you want to do something special during the festive season, go for it! The Royal Pavilion Ice Rink runs until the 9th January (closed on Christmas day), the ticket office opens at 9.30am, but it is highly recommended to book your ice-skating slot in advance. The process is very easy and once in, you will swap your shoes for some skates; lockers are available for your belongings. I would also highly recommend to bring waterproof trousers & gloves (and maybe even a spare pair of socks), especially if it is or has been raining. I was fine but my kids somehow got soaked!

📸 of Brighton & Hove Family Grapevine

This Christmas, teach children the wonderful life skill of cooking, with Food – a fact of life

Christmas and the holidays are a chance to relax and unwind. But, for some parents and carers, it can be a challenge to keep school-aged children entertained while at home. The festive period can serve as the perfect opportunity for parents to spend quality time with children while engaging in fun and educational activities.

These activities could also teach children essential life skills around food and cooking. The education programme, Food – a fact of life*, offers up-to-date, evidence-based, consistent and accurate messages around ‘food’ to all those involved in education. While the majority of the content is aimed towards teachers teaching food and nutrition to children across the UK, there are also many activities from these freely accessible resources that can be used at home as well!

Below is a list of light and engaging activities we have curated that parents can undertake with their children over the holidays and/or when time permits!

  1. LEFTOVERS GAME – From thematic games like ‘the Eatwell game’ and ‘space race’ to ‘daily bread game’, take your pick and gamify the cooking experience!
  2. PHYSICAL ACTIVITY DICE – While holidays are mostly about relaxing, keeping active is equally essential for our overall health and well-being. Make keeping active enjoyable for children with the physical activity dice game. Jump, run or bounce a ball? – roll the dice to find out!
  3. SANDWICH GENERATOR – Arguably one of the easiest snack options for children – the humble sandwich can be customised at every step and making one from scratch can be an enjoyable activity to do together! Pitta, wrap or bagel – which bread will you choose? Hummus, chicken or egg – which filling will you use? Roll the dice and see which option you get.
  4. RECIPES FOR CHILDREN WITH ADDITIONAL NEEDS – These recipes also come with instructions that use Widgit©Symbols and have been designed to enable children and young people with additional needs to become more independent. Why not explore easy to make mince pies, English muffin pizzas or scrambled egg on toast? There are also easy to follow recipe videos.
  5. REMOTE LEARNING – The lockdown last year taught many of us how cooking is an important life skill. Also, that ‘food’ can involve numerous aspects like hygiene and safety, food choices and where food comes from to name a few. Educate and equip your children with age-appropriate information while keeping the atmosphere light-hearted and fun so they don’t lose interest in the activity mid-way!
  6. EXPLORE FOOD – An easy way to encourage children into eating healthy food is by helping them ‘analyse’ the recipes. Explore Food allows you to look at the nutritional content of the recipes of your choice thereby giving you the freedom to experiment and create new versions of dishes you like with new flavours and foods.

Designed to make learning about food and nutrition enjoyable, these activities will also serve as great bonding opportunities for parents and children whilst making fond memories over the holidays together. You can find more activity ideas, resources and recipes on

About the British Nutrition Foundation

The British Nutrition Foundation, a registered charity, delivers impartial, authoritative and evidence-based information on food and nutrition. Its core purpose is translating evidence-based nutrition science in engaging and actionable ways, working with an extensive network of contacts across academia, health care, education, communication and the food chain. A core strength of the Foundation is its governance structure (described in the Articles of Association), which comprises a Board of Trustees, Advisory Committee, Scientific Committee, Editorial Advisory Board, Education Working Groups and a Nominations Committee, on which serve senior/experienced individuals from many walks of life. The composition is deliberately weighted towards the scientific ‘academic’ community, based in universities and research institutes, and those from education, finance, media, communications and HR backgrounds.

The British Nutrition Foundation’s funding comes from: membership subscriptions; donations and project grants from food producers and manufacturers, retailers and food service companies; contracts with government departments; conferences, publications and training; overseas projects; funding from grant providing bodies, trusts and other charities. The British Nutrition Foundation is not a lobbying organisation nor does it endorse any products or engage in food advertising campaigns. More details about the British Nutrition Foundation’s work, funding and governance can be found at:

*Food – a fact of life is managed by the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF), in partnership with the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).


The international phenomenon that is STOMP is coming home to the city where it all began in early 2022 – all in the name of raising funds for a much-loved Brighton venue.

The Old Market (TOM) will become the intimate home of STOMP from February to May 2022. The show is presented as part of a fundraising drive for the venue, and the run will also see members of the company provide workshop opportunities for schools, young people, and community groups. Created by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, and winner of multiple awards including the Olivier, Obie and Drama Desk awards, STOMP sees a troupe take everyday objects and turn them into a percussive juggernaut of a performance.

The run is taking place as part of TOM’s Gig for a Gig scheme, which sees established artists donate performances to the venue and the profits go towards providing opportunities for the next generation of artists to perform at TOM. The last Gig for a Gig event was donated by Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim, in May 2019. With these performances, the show will also celebrate its 30th anniversary, and TOM will celebrate its belated 10th anniversary.

Co-creators of STOMP, Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, said:
“This is all about giving back. We love this city, and we love The Old Market as it holds such a special place in our hearts. We want to do what we can to provide an injection of cultural energy into Brighton and Hove, and we also want to continue to provide opportunities for new artists to perform at The Old Market by raising the funds needed to ensure that TOM can carry on for many, many years to come.”

Helen Jewell, Programmer of The Old Market, said:
“We are so grateful to have this fantastic opportunity to present a show of such a global scale in our intimate venue. Our ethos here at TOM is ‘artists supporting artists’, and nobody embodies that philosophy more than Steve and Luke. We can’t wait to welcome audiences from far and wide to see the amazing show STOMP live!”

STOMP opens at The Old Market on Wednesday 16 February 2022. Tickets start at £15 and are available from The Old Market Box Office on 01273 201 801 or via

Brighton Dome & Sound UK co-commission a song to celebrate the lives & communities of East Sussex

Brighton Dome has partnered with Sound UK on a nationwide project, A Song for Us, which commissions leading musicians to write new songs inspired by the people of their county. The project seeks to capture the spirit of communities coming together that was felt during the pandemic, while celebrating the uplifting power of music to unite and commemorate the many lives lost across the country.

A Song for East Sussex has been written by Brighton-based band Normanton Street, working with Varndean School Choirs, arranged and led by David Berliner. Taking inspiration from local people’s reflections on Covid-19 and lockdown, The Last Time I Held You explores feelings of grief, loneliness, worry and hope, featuring verses from rapper Bobbie Johnson and spoken word artist AFLO. the poet and vocalist Phoebe Freya singing an emotional chorus with the choir. A special performance of the song, filmed in Brighton Dome’s Concert Hall, will premiere online at on Tuesday 14 December at 12.30pm. It will then be available to watch on for a year.

Normanton Street band member Ned Archibong commented: “My links to East Sussex began when I moved to Normanton Street in Brighton with some friends in 2011. We subsequently started a band named after the street and East Sussex has been a home to Normanton Street and our record label QM Records for years now.

For The Last Time I Held You, we surveyed how local residents were feeling about lockdown, so it’s inspired by them. Their views informed the vibe and some of the words of the track. We took a really collaborative approach and it was great to work with our friends and fellow artists Aflo. the poet and MC Bobbie Johnson on a couple of verses”.

The first song in the project was released on 23 March 2021, to mark a year since the start of lockdown, and forms part of a growing music map of the country that members of the public can also contribute to. People are invited to share songs that hold special meaning for them or capture their experience of the pandemic, with budding songwriters encouraged to upload their own work. So far, more than 600 people from Penzance to Inverness have shared songs, with 85% being original compositions, spanning from a teenager’s reflection of lockdown to a 90-year-old thanking their fitness instructor. East Sussex residents can contribute their songs to the music map on A Song for Us website.

Alongside Normanton Street in East Sussex, 13 other songs have been commissioned across the country, including This Is The Kit & Bucky in Bristol, Seth Lakeman in Devon, Gwenno in Cornwall and Little Boots in Lancashire.

Circus Charity to Perform at Brighton Dome

Budding young circus performers are preparing to take to the stage at Brighton Dome this December, with help from professional artists from Circolombia.

Students from three local youth circus schools, The Circus Project, Teardrop Circus and Hightop Circus, will perform a ‘curtain raiser’ that will open Circolombia’s uplifting circus-concert Acelere during the venue’s Christmas programme.

In a series of workshops run by Brighton & Hove charity The Circus Project, members of Circolombia worked with groups of children and young people, aged between 10 and 18 years old, to create two short routines. Learning new skills such as acrobatics, dance and choreography to complement the aerial techniques that the schools teach, the students will showcase what they have learnt to a live audience each night.

Vicki McManus, Artistic Director of The Circus Project, commented:

“It’s been fantastic to bring circus students together from different schools to work on this amazing show. When companies like Circolombia come in to teach, the students can see what’s possible with the skills that they’re learning, it’s really inspiring and builds their confidence. They can’t wait to get on stage after all the time they haven’t had the chance to.”

Audience members at each show will have the opportunity to donate to The Circus Project, to support its vital work in the local community. Based at Hangleton Community Centre, they provide high quality circus classes and workshops for people of all ages, with the aim of fostering young talent, creating work for local artists and using circus as a tool for helping people who are experiencing personal difficulties.

Student Edie, aged 11, said:

“I’ve never done a performance this big, performing at Brighton Dome is a really big deal and I’m really excited to perform in front of that many people.”

Andrew Comben, Brighton Dome Chief Executive added:

“We’ve been delighted to support these workshops with The Circus Project, bringing an internationally renowned circus company to inspire and encourage a new generation of young circus artists here in Brighton. We hope audiences coming along to see Circolombia will show their appreciation by giving the students a big round of applause each night!”

Circolombia’s Acelere fuses exhilarating acrobatic feats with live Latin music, singing, dancing and rapping in an on-stage party that is ideal for families, a friends’ night out or an alternative festive celebration.

Acelere tickets start from £15, including family and group discounts and a special NHS staff offer.

Circolombia – Acelere

17 – 27 December 2021 (evening and matinees)
Brighton Dome, Church Street, Brighton BN1 1UE
NHS, family and group ticket offers available.

Book online:
Tel: 01273 709709
Ticket Office open Mon-Sat 10am-2pm

Burning the Clocks returns and announces Crowdfunder

Brighton charity, Same Sky, invites local support to keep the much-loved winter solstice event running after a year away due to COVID

Brighton charity Same Sky confirms it will return to Brighton’s streets this year on 21 December, having missed last year’s parade due to COVID. The crowdfunder also launches this week and aims to raise £8,000 to help fund the event and supplement bucket collections on the night.

The annual event takes place from 6.30pm on Tuesday 21 December 2021, starting with a parade from New Road to the seafront. The event’s organisers are expecting around 20,000 spectators to attend with 2,000 people taking part in the parade.

Burning the Clocks has a unique theme every year and this year it is ‘all animals’, inviting participants and on-lookers to reflect on the time we’ve spent away from each other this year. Burning the Clocks is an opportunity to come together again with new eyes and understanding about nature, care and friendship and celebrate our home, family and friends.

The crowdfunder rewards people with different prizes based on the size of their donation. Prizes include personalised lanterns for the parade and vouchers for local restaurants including £100 for dinner at Shelter Hall and Tapas Revolution, as well as a VIP Banquet for six with cocktails, wine and four courses at Chilli Pickle for a donation over £250.

There are also limited-edition prints and gifts from local artists including Jonny Hannah and Sophie Wake. Other prizes include 30 personalised lanterns to those who donate £60 or more, that will be decorated with a word of their choice. These also come with two VIP wristbands, allowing donors to bring friends and loved ones and to watch the event from a prime location on the beach. These can be found at

This year marks local artist Graham Carter’s ninth year creating original prints for Burning the Clocks. To celebrate, Graham has created 30 limited edition prints to people that donate £103 or more (£7 of this donation is allocated to postage costs). These include A2 giclee prints representing this years’ theme ‘All animals’.

Burning the Clocks receives no guaranteed funding, and relies on fundraising and the support of local businesses to raise the costs needed to run the event. This year onlookers watching the parade will also have the opportunity to contribute funds with cash via donation buckets or digitally via QR code stickers and strategically placed card readers along the route.

John Varah, Same Sky artistic director said: “Our crowdfunder is essential to keep Burning the Clocks alive – the event receives no guaranteed funding and costs over £30,000 to run every year. The overwhelming support we receive from local businesses and the public before and during the event is crucial to cover the growing costs of this amazing winter parade and celebration on Winter Solstice.

“We wanted this year’s theme to be inclusive and open to interpretation, so people joining the parade can find elements of nature that reflect our experiences over the past couple of years. We’re all creatures just like the otter and the starfish, and these new eyes should guide our thoughts around climate change, compassion for our neighbours and the value of green spaces, clean air and shared experiences.

“I’d like to encourage anyone who wants to join us on the parade to contribute a cash or digital donation on the night  or to buy the fabulous prizes on our crowdfunder. And don’t forget to buy your lantern packs quickly if you want to be part of the parade – they sell out quickly every year.”

As in previous years, Brighton residents can purchase lantern kits to take part in the parade. Lantern kits cost £40 and contain materials and four wristbands that allow four people to take part in the parade. These are available to purchase from HISBE Brighton, The Book Nook Hove and Seed ‘n’ Sprout Kemptown.

For the latest update:

Brighton Festival Children’s Parade Returns with theme of Rebuilding & Hope for 2022

Brighton city centre will once again be filled with a sea of colour and creativity as thousands of school children, teachers and volunteers celebrate the return of the Brighton Festival Children’s Parade after a two-year gap on Saturday 7 May 2022.

The theme for next year’s parade takes inspiration from Rebuilding and Hope, based on ideas being developed by Brighton Festival’s guest co-directors, Syrian author and architect Marwa al-Sabouni and Brighton-based theatre artist Tristan Sharps. The announcement was made this evening to teachers from participating schools across Brighton & Hove, with three subject areas – rebuilding nature, homes and communities – inviting them to create large-scale artworks and costumes that explore ideas for children to learn through making. Each subject will be led at the front of the parade section by a ‘herald school’ representing a different area of the city – St Nicolas CE Primary in Portslade (West), Kemptown’s Carlton Hill Primary (East) and Carden Primary in Patcham (Central).

Guest co-directors Marwa and Tristan commented:

“We are thrilled and honoured that the Children’s Parade is back to open next year’s Festival. Children have such incredible imaginations and together with their teachers and Same Sky artists we can’t wait to see the wonderful ideas they’ll bring to the city. The themes will provide lots of opportunity for them to learn the valuable skill of building things together as a team so they have fun in the process but will also make a visual impact on the thousands of people who will come out to see this joyful occasion.”

Jointly produced with award-winning community arts charity Same Sky, the Children’s Parade officially marks the opening of Brighton Festival, a three-week celebration of arts and culture across Brighton, Hove and East Sussex. The largest of its kind in Europe, the family-friendly, free event takes place in central Brighton and has delighted participants and spectators for over 30 years.

John Varah, Artistic Director, Same Sky said: 

“Our plans for the Children’s Parade have been on hold for the last two years due to the pandemic and we know how much this event means to everyone who takes part, so we’re raring to go for its return! This year’s theme couldn’t be more timely and relevant, given the challenges the schools have faced and the isolation felt by the children, we hope the parade will help to rebuild their own creativity and confidence as we look forward to that special day in May.”

Established in 1967, Brighton Festival is the largest and most established annual curated multi-arts festival in England. Brighton Festival 2022 runs from 7 to 29 May 2022.

The full programme launches on Wednesday 16 February 2022 and online: