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News - 12 October 2008
Nuit Blanche in Paris

A night to remember

Brighton & Hove Arts Commission is planning its first White Night festival for the weekend of 25/26 October. The concept has been borrowed from the French 'Nuit Blanche' festival and the idea is that the city's major attractions stay open all night so that people can extend their enjoyment of Brighton's culture.

The event has been timed to coincide with the end of British Summer Time so the clocks will go back and instead of spending an extra hour in bed we can put it to good use.

Organisers say the event, supported by Brighton & Hove City Council and Arts Council England South East, is a chance for residents and visitors to reclaim the streets from the loud, brash traditional Saturday night.

A diverse range of venues will stay open into the small hours - or all night. These include Brighton Philharmonic in the Royal Pavilion Music Room, a live art experience throughout the night art Phoenix art gallery, bedtime stories in the city’s Stirling Prize-short-listed Jubilee library or a musical midnight swim in the local pool.

A Wall is a Screen is a unique tour taking site-specific digital short films to locations across the city. A range of artist-led trails and tours will traverse the streets.

There is a special commissioned trail of 11 illuminated buildings across the city: each with downloadable stories both real and imagined available from

Also taking place is the world premier of a new performance from choreographer Charlie Morrissey.  Duets for the Small Hours is a dance through the city inspired by couples winding their way home or to another party. The 60-minute performance will take place from 2am Summer Time to 2am Greenwich Meantime. It will effectively disappear into the extra hour created by turning the clocks back.

The project has been developed in association with urbane Amiens in northern France. So-called Nuits Blanches have been a feature of mainland Europe for some years. Paris invented and ran the first in 2002. The phenomenon, say organisers, is now hugely popular in cultural capitals from Madrid to Montreal, Berlin to Copenhagen.

Although Nuits Blanches follow a similar framework, each city is expected to reinvent the programme to suit their location. Brighton’s organisers are promising to include both high art and brash entertainment; the subtle and the in-your-face, the sacred and profane.

Brighton's festival will have a 'love' theme with venues and artists interpreting this in unique and diverse ways.

The council's cabinet member for culture Councillor David Smith said: "We've been more successful than most former seaside resorts because we can offer something a bit different.

"You can go drinking anywhere in the UK if you choose to. But there aren't many places you can go to a museum in the small hours or view a series of films projected in the street. This festival is aimed at the vast majority of people who don't just see Saturday nights as time to go drinking. It will mean ordinary, sober residents and visitors reclaiming large parts of the city after dark."

The festival’s Artistic Director Donna Close said: “White Night is about seeing the city at night in a new light. Artists and venue programmers will be leading the charge into a new exploration of the city’s cultural offer, architecture and secrets.”

The city Arts Commission and the council are also planning White Nights for 2009 and 2010, based on the themes of Fortune and Belief.

Read related items on:
Creative industries
White Night Festival
Brighton & Hove City Council
Smith, David

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