Use Your Liberty to Promote Ours

Aung San Suu Kyi  - credit Burma Campaign UK
Aung San Suu Kyi

This is a quotation and a plea from Aung San Suu Kyi, guest director of this year’s Brighton Festival. Brighton, as the UK’s most liberal city, is the ideal place to host a festival celebrating themes of freedom of expression, liberty, and the power of the individual voice in society, and will come alive in May as we celebrate and champion Aung San Suu Kyi’s cause and world-vision. She says, “It is especially pleasing for me to see, albeit remotely, Brighton Festival taking shape this year, and to think that so many people will come together in May to celebrate great art and to experience the inner peace it brings. It is wonderful, too, to know that there is such support for the effort to bring democracy and freedom to Burma, for which the Burmese people have been diligently working for so long. I wish everyone involved in Brighton Festival this year – the artists and the audience – the happiest of times. And thank you – please continue to use your liberty to promote ours.”

Aung San Suu Kyi is an inspiration to many people around the world and particularly to many within the Arts community. Brighton Festival is a unique opportunity for a collection of artists, who are passionate supporters, to respond to her and to create headline events. Crossing all genres of the programme, Brighton Festival 2011 includes events from a new co-commissioned work by Turkish artist Kutluğ Ataman to a revival of the acclaimed site-specific theatre commission The New World Order by theatre company Hydrocracker, based on Pinter’s political plays at Brighton Town Hall. Aung San Suu Kyi’s passion for Western classical music has also been reflected right across the programme, and includes Beethoven’s powerful hymn to freedom, Fidelio, in a concert performance with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment conducted by Adam Fischer.

Zoya Phan 'Little Daughter' coverThe books and debates programme takes up this year’s themes with a fascinating line-up including Peter Taylor, the BBC investigative journalist and author of Talking to Terrorists; Izzeldin Abuelish, author of I Shall Not Hate; a debate on The Future of Burma with Sue Lloyd Roberts, Zoya Phan, Burmese refugee and activist with Burma Campaign, and Robert Gordon, Ambassador to Burma 1995-99; an event with International Pen and Jericho House Theatre Co called Writing Freedom; and a discussion entitled Article 19 on Freedom of Information and the Right to Know with Julian Assange.

With Aung San Suu Kyi as guest director this year, the Festival becomes a powerful celebration of the resilience of the human spirit, of creativity in the face of expression and the power of art to promote understanding between cultures.


An Act of Remembering
An Act of Remembering

An al fresco celebration of liberty for all, this will be a bring & share meal, featuring Anniversary – an act of Memory at 3pm. A recitation from memory in the voices and languages of Brighton & Hove of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948. Artist Monica Ross and her co-recitors become a collective embodiment of the Declaration, transforming it into a riveting and poetic act of performance and witness.

Sunday 29 May from 2pm at Queen’s Park, the old bowling green. Free.
If you would like to join in and recite a passage yourself, for info please email

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