What’s on in Sussex this July
From gin festivals to medieval revelry, via open-air opera, ballet and Shakespeare, and flying visits from comedy heavy-hitters - summer's here and it's all kicking off in Sussex!
London Philharmonic Orchestra: Dvorak 8, Glyndebourne, Fri 2 July
A stunning performance from the world-class LPO at this most celebrated of venues. Robin Ticciati and the LPO present a pairing of songs by Mahler and music by French Baroque composer Rebel with Dvorak’s 8th Symphony. To include a long dining interval in which you can enjoy the restaurants or gardens.
Foraging and Fire Cookery Workshop, Chelwood Gate, Sat 3 July
Spend a blissful afternoon at Jacob’s Ladder farm with Michelin-starred and former Buckingham Palace chef Jacqueline from Positively Delicious, learning how to cook locally sourced delicacies over the fire. A foraging walk and mindfulness session will be followed by a cookery demo, before you get stuck in to a delicious meal around the fire with fellow foodies.
Historic Life Weekend: Agriculture and the Role of Horses, Weald & Downland Living Museum, Singleton, 3-4 July
The latest in the Weald & Downland Museum’s series of Historic Life Weekends will focus on the role of horses in agriculture and feature live demos and a chance to see horse-drawn machinery in action, as well as displays of preparing heavy horses. A must for those fascinated by bygone days, at this lovely open-air museum that will spark imaginations.
South Pacific, Chichester Festival Theatre, 5 July – 5 Sept
It’s 1943 and US troops kick their heels on an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean as they wait for the war to arrive. Nurse Nellie falls in love with mysterious French plantation owner Emile, and scheming sailor Luther is trying to earn a quick buck – then Lieutenant Joe Cable flies in and the island’s battle for hearts and minds begins. This Pulitzer-winning classic from Rodgers and Hammerstein has become one of Broadway’s longest-running shows and comes to Chichester this summer, rescheduled from last year. Go on, wash that man right outta your hair….
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Brighton Open Air Theatre, 7-10 July
If there’s a Shakespeare created to be performed outside, it’s this one. The course of true love never did run smooth, as four young lovers find out one Midsummer’s night as they stumble upon a forest full of feuding fairies and playful pixies. Billed as Gothic fantasy meets RuPaul’s Drag Race, this promises to be magical.
Robin Hood, The Hawth Amphitheatre, Crawley, 8-11 July
Grab those Merry Men for this outdoor performance of the swashbuckling tale of Sherwood Forest and its most famous outlaw, he who robs the rich to feed the poor. Live music, songs and stage-fights abound – this is one for all the family and should be a rip-roaring adventure.
Sussex Gin Fest, Borde Hill Garden, 10 July
The UK’s biggest gin festival returns to Borde Hill, with a main stage packed with entertainment, artisan food and of course, all things gin. Sussex produce will be front and centre, but this will also be a showcase of gins of the world. The perfect early summer festival.
Medieval Weekend, Arundel Castle, 10-11 July
Avast, fair maiden! Turn back the clock for this weekend of festivities – revels, perchance – from the bygone days of yore, at the stunning setting of Arundel Castle. Birds of prey, sword-fighting, music, food, archery and much more. Perfect for all ages, with plenty to do and a sensational castle backdrop.
Brighton Comedy Garden, Preston Park, 14-18 July
Some serious talent is heading to Brighton’s Preston Park for this series of open-air stand-up events. The likes of Sara Pascoe (pictured), Dara O’Brien, Alan Davies and Aisling Bea are just some of the huge-hitters at this festival of funniness. Few tickets remaining.
Tom’s Midnight Garden, Denmans Garden, 16 July
This brand new open-air ballet, an adaptation of Philippa Pearce’s classic children’s novel, should be a treat for all the family. Poor Tom is exiled to his aunt and uncle’s dreary flat, and feels his holidays are doomed. But the clock has yet to strike 13…. Choose from 4.30pm or 6.30pm performances in this most beautiful of settings.
Dragons and Mythical Beasts, Congress Theatre, Eastbourne, 21-22 July
This brand-new, spellbinding adventure comes from the same team behind West End smash Dinosaur World Live. Unveil dark secrets and come face-to-face with magical, mythical creatures including unicorns, trolls and even the Tooth Fairy (who isn’t as sweet as you might think). But be careful you don’t wake the dragon…… A brilliant interactive show for all the family.
Dracula, Brighton Open Air Theatre, 21-24 July
Garlic at the ready for this Victorian Gothic masterpiece! This adaptation of the classic text is heavy on the underlying sensuality and sheer abandon of the Underworld, so brace yourself for fairytale and folk legend to unite and BOAT to come alive with the undead.
The Hive Supper Club, Eastbourne, Thurs 22 July
For an all-female evening of inspiration, head along to this exclusive supper club hosted by The Hive at Company in Eastbourne. Eat, drink and be merry – and meet 30 other fabulous and inspiring females to revolutionise your social life.
Sarah Millican, Assembly Hall, Worthing, Fri 23 July
The hilarious Sarah Millican brings her new show, Bobby Dazzler, to Worthing. Having spent the last year ‘writing jokes and growing her backside’ she’s excited to be back out there making people laugh – expect giggles over her weight-loss battles, the surprising horror of a floatation tank, an unexpectedly funny smear test and much more.
Open Air Opera, Borde Hill Garden, 23-24 July
Borde Hill welcomes Britain’s top outdoor touring company Opera Brava for two performances this weekend. Choose from Tosca by Puccini on Friday or The Marriage of Figaro on Saturday. Both performances against the gorgeous backdrop of Borde Hill garden and the Elizabethan mansion house. Book an operatic picnic for two, to collect before the performance, for the ultimate summer evening.
Elderflower Fields, Pippingford Park, 23-27 July
The much-loved family festival is set to return over the Bank Holiday weekend and will be the perfect way to celebrate life returning to a more even trajectory (oh gawd, imagine that!). The theme this year will be Night-Time Animals vs Mythical Creatures. Excitingly, to make up for last year’s cancellation, this year the site will remain open for an extra night, and families can enjoy a chilled-out day in the gorgeous grounds with all the usual vendors open, plus potentially some self-led activities and access to the Ashdown Forest.
Comedy Club 4 Kids, Minerva Theatre, Chichester, Sat 24 July
Kick off the holidays with an afternoon of rowdy comedy fun, featuring the best comedians from the UK and world circuit doing their thing – just without the rude bits. Side-splitting capers for everybody over 6.
A Night at the Musicals, Capitol Theatre, Horsham, Sat 24 July
Join West End stars Oliver Tompsett and Louise Dearman, known for their roles in We Will Rock You, WICKED and Cats, for an exclusive evening of all your favourite numbers. Haven’t you just missed music?
Enchanted Leonardslee, Lower Beeding, various dates 30 July – 8 August
A gorgeous mini-festival set in the stunning grounds of Leonardslee Lakes & Gardens, featuring an enchanted woodland trail, mythical creatures including unicorns, fairies and mermaids, market stalls, arts and crafts, food and drink, a vintage fairground, unicorn rides, circus performances and live music. The most magical way to spend an afternoon.
Adam Kay, This Is Going To Hurt, Theatre Royal, Brighton, Sat 31 July
Award-winning comedian Adam Kay will share his diaries as a junior doctor in this one-man show, which has sold out across Edinburgh and West End runs, and also been a Sunday Times number one bestseller for more than a year. Go and find out what all the hype’s about but remember – this is going to hurt!