Monday

The Philosophy Garden - 3 days of storytellers, scientific thinkers and folk singers

~  It was Epicurus who advocated a philosophy of simple pleasures and it was in his garden that he wanted to create an atmosphere conducive to philosophising, thinking and sharing ideas.

This year as part of Brighton Fringe at the award-winning pop-up venue The Warren, a three-day event called the Philosophy Garden will hope to channel this vision.



Mundial Photos

Mundial Photo

Organised by Storyteller Fleur Shorthouse and inspired by the spirit of Epicurus, Fleur has brought together a collection of story-tellers and thinkers in philosophy, music and science to engage, enlighten and entertain.

The performances will take place in two venues, entered via a hidden, tranquil garden off the busy, centrally located West Street and collectively called The Warren.  Accessed via the bottom end of West Street, turn left at the Travelodge, head up Russell Road, turn first right and continue to the top of what looks like a dead-end.  There you will find a Fringe Oasis and a hub of music, drinking and some philosophising too.



Beginning on Saturday 4 May in the Warren at 1pm, Professor Steve Jones, the famous Welsh Geneticist and supporter of Humanism will be talking about Genetics and the Bible.  He will be exploring the origins of life, sex, age, death and the end of the universe.  Without dwelling on the debate between believers and unbelievers, his emphasis will be on how the same questions preoccupy us today as in biblical times - and proposing that science offers many of the answers, making reference to his book,
The Serpent's Promise: The Bible Retold as Science, published on 2 May. 



Meanwhile in the Burrow, a back room of Saint Paul's church with an inglenook fireplace and book-case lined walls, Ben Haggarty, who Fleur considers to be the most important Storyteller in the country will be telling a series of tales, part personal, part invented and part traditional.  Mr Sandman, Bringer of Dreams and Nightmares, blends the tale of Cane and Abel, with his own experience of going to a Freak show in a tiny American town and ends up on the moon.



According to Ben's website, the tale will be Flirting with Americana; drawing on urban legend, fairytale, myth and folklore, and paying oblique homage to Heinrich Von Kleist, ETA Hoffman, Hans Andersen and Nick Cave.  An intriguing mix for sure.  If you think so too, you are encouraged to stay and join the discussion regarding the utility of imagination alongside Ben Haggarty, Paul Levy, Shardcore, as well as the Philosopher Oliver McAdoo.

Ben Haggarty, Storyteller
On Saturday evening at 8 pm singers Rachel Ries and Emily Baker will be performing their beautiful folk music, while all day in the garden there will be the three part harmony singers accompanied by guitar from The Halo Project.

Sunday at 2:30 pm the lively Natural Scientist Richard Robinson will be explaining Life, the Universe and Everything - compressing it all from the Big Bang to Bognor Regis into 13.72 minutes, which relates to 1 minute per billion years.  For pudding, he will then breathe life into a bowl of custard - and that's all I can tell you!

At 4 pm Miles Leeson, an Associate Lecturer in English at the University of Chichester who is currently completing work on his second monograph 'Beings in Time: The Philosophical Novelist in the Twentieth Century', will discuss the philosophical novel and the concept of the individual as defined by novelists like Sartre and Kundera.  Leeson intends to illustrate how their concepts have influenced modern notions of the individual and how we perceive each other's behaviour.

Monday 6 May - The final storyteller on Monday at 3 pm and 5 pm will be Pater Chand who has brought together a collection of wonderful stories from South Asia that place a mirror - 'sheesha' - to Grimms' fascinating tales.  Fleur first came across Chand via a storytelling app where he burst onto her iPad and turned it into an intimate experience.



Then to end this seedling event at 8 pm Mary Hampton's music will be interspersed with Gary Goodman's poetry.  Mary will perform turn-of-the-century European chamber music, with frequent nods to the hairiness of older forms. While Gary's poems are at once bright and humorous, presented with an emotional honesty and intensity that promises to leave the audience rapt.

Details of other shows are listed at www.philosophygarden.co.uk where tickets can be purchased as well as on Brighton Fringe.
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