Photo credit: Xavier Clarke
Photo credit: Xavier Clarke

Whose Anthem Is It Anyway? Ours!

On Wednesday 24th May, comedian Charlie George and artist Amartey Golding launched Whose Anthem Is It Anyway? to a sold out audience at Ironworks, as part of Brighton Festival 2023.

A funny and warm look at the impossible situation of creating one song for an entire nation, Whose Anthem Is It Anyway? also acts as a vehicle to ask how English people feel about themselves and their nation, grappling with that indefinable and elusive thing that makes England ‘England’.

Over the course of 90 minutes, audiences were guided by Charlie, our house band (helmed by lyricist extraordinaire Tim Meredith) and Sue MacLaine translating into BSL, through a series of prompts. With the aid of a live participation app, the lyrics, genre, pace, and expression of a new national anthem were created in our best attempt at a democratic process!

Brighton came up with the goods, kicking off the project with an ode to ducks, t-shirt tans and the nhs - the room came together for a brief beautiful sing-a-long finale: a punk rock anthem for the ages, or at least, just for one night.

The ambition is for Amartey to tour the show across England, with different hosts co-creating anthems with and by different communities around the country, creating a survey of England and ‘English-ness’.

Keep your eyes peeled for a full recording of the event will be shared for online audiences soon!

Commissioned by Lighthouse in collaboration with Brighton Festival 2023, with additional support from Arts Council England and Art Fund.

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