Awayday Brighton festival

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Indy Lifestyle Online
In an annual event that reminds smug Londoners that there's life beyond the City and much more to the East Sussex seaside than rock, fish and chips and amusement arcades, a rash of festivals breaks out all over Brighton from today. This year's main Brighton Festival incorporates the Streets of Brighton 98 - four days (7-10 May) of outdoor events, including music, dance, mime, trapeze and street theatre - the Fringe Festival, and Umbrella events (created by local residents) alongside a host of major theatre, dance, music, literature and visual arts shows.

The packed programme offers far too much to allow more than the highlights to be mentioned here, but these include, in the main festival: The Small Theatre of Vilnius, Lithuania's version of Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard (5-9 May); Fiona Shaw reading Eliot's The Waste Land (22-23 May) and Forkbeard Fantasy's latest lunatic offering, The Barbers of Surreal (11-12 May). Dance is well catered for with a specially commissioned work, The Smallest Room, for 30 dancers (4-9 May) and The Cholmondeleys and The Featherstonehaugh's new offering, Beach Huts (21-24 May). The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (tonight, 8pm); London Philharmonic, conducted by Richard Hickox, (9 May) and the Royal Philharmonic, conducted by Carl Davis (24 May) fill the classical concerts programme. And for opera fans there is the UK premiere of Boris Godunov, in Russian with English surtitles (21 May). Bookworms can listen to Helen Fielding and Nick Hornby surveying contemporary sexual relations (tonight 8.30pm) and help Maya Angelou celebrate her 70th birthday (tomorrow 3pm). Wild Swans author Jung Chang discusses human rights on 10 May. Exhibitions are also to the fore in the main festival, with high points including "A Surreal Life: Edward James 1907-1984" which looks at the artist's relationships with Salvadore Dali (whose Lobster Telephone appears above), among others.

The Fringe offers a further vast array of events, including today's "Melting Vinyl" Crawl, with 25 bands playing at venues along the seafront; the Southover Acoustic festival (tomorrow to 23 May); the Dirty Beatniks at the Honey Club (14 May); art by the Jeremy Cunningham of the Levellers and grafitti art by REQ. There's also theatre, comedy, cabaret and clubbing all on offer, but you'll need a brochure to do the festivals any real justice. Enjoy.

Brighton Festival: venues around Brighton, today to 24 May. Main festival: info (01273 706771); booking (01273 709709); brochures (01273 292961). Fringe info: 01273 673777. Internet: