Hove Grown festival steps into the spotlight

HHove Grown.ove Grown, a new performing arts festival for writers and performers within the city of Brighton & Hove, is set to reshape the live performance landscape of the city when it launches this month.

The festival is a joint venture between ZLS Theatre, Brighton’s only social enterprise theatre company, and Sweet Venues, who manage the Award Winning Dukebox Dukebox LogoTheatre. Hove Grown will feature around 30 shows in its first year with some truly unique writing and performances being showcased. Its run is between Friday 18th to Sunday 27th March 2016.

With the city building up for Brighton Festival and Brighton Fringe in May, Hove Grown aims to be an affordable precursor for local talent leading up to the other established festivals. The Hove Grown festival will cover theatre, comedy, improv, spoken word and a variety of workshops with a tailored section catering for fun and educational Family-friendly shows. Every show in the programme will be £10 or under, with some shows just £3.

Guy Wah, founder of ZLS Theatre and Hove Grown, explained: “We wanted an affordable festival that draws attention to the huge variety of fantastic new writing and performance in Brighton & Hove and more importantly we wanted to give these new works an opportunity to be performed. We’re thrilled to have so much support in our first year, particularly from Brighton Fringe, as we always set out to be a forerunner for local writing and performance leading up to the fantastic line-ups at The Fringe and other festivals.”

One of the key aims of the festival is to showcase the numerous venues in Hove situated outside the city centre of Brighton, ranging from large spaces like The The-Brunswick-FREE-HOUSE-logo-WEBBrunswick to smaller, more intimate spaces such as The Dukebox Theatre or Artista Studios.

Sarah Johnson, Assistant Venue Manager for Sweet Venues says “Sweet Venues is very keen to shine a spotlight on some of the brilliant venues across Hove ahead of their participation in Brighton Fringe in May. We hope by being loud and proud about our love for Hove, we will raise awareness of the hub of creative activity that has developed in the Western Road area and in time we believe this will drive new footfall and spending to the venues and surrounding local businesses.”

The Hove Grown festival has a huge selection of sensational shows this year including local All The Nice GirlsLGBT theatrical duo Behind the Lines performing an acclaimed cabaret show about “a significant piece of lesbian history”, the award winning Sussex performance group Bard & Troubadour previewing new material before their anticipated run at this year’s Brighton Fringe.


Hove comedian Aidan Goatley debuting his new show with a special evening in his hometown, and many, many Aidan Goatleymore. 

Artistic Director and Founder of ZLS Theatre Guy Wah is pleased to see Hove Grown coming to life: “Brighton & Hove has a wealth of creative talent, and now we have an outlet designed to celebrate that. This is a great opportunity to see new work in some wonderful venues that don’t always receive the attention that they deserve. We’re also really proud that all of our writers and performers have embraced the affordability idea and kept ticket prices under £10. All of the shows are fantastic and we want as many people to see them as possible.”

The Hove Grown festival will be hosting a launch party in Hove on March 17th to celebrate its first year and also establish their plans for the future.

We are thrilled to be partnered with ZLS Theatre in the creation of (Brighton &) Hove Grown“, said JD Henshaw, Artistic Director of Sweet Venues. “That we can build a festival that focuses solely on new work across multiple genres is a testament to the quantity of highly creative people living and working in our city, as well as the large number of exciting and supportive venues in and around the Western Road area of Hove. We are committed to presenting this festival for the next three years and believe that it will become a fixture in the Brighton & Hove festival calendar, one that we can carry on far beyond our initial three year plan.”