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Things to Do This Month

Sept 2017

Ongoing shows, exhibitions and events for this Sept in Sussex. Find more up to the minute things to do in my latest weekly what’s on here.

Dreamboats and Petticoats, The Hawth, Crawley, Mon 4 – Sat 9 Sept

Fancy some retro fun? Hit musical Dreamboats and Petticoats is making a tour stop at The Hawth, Crawley from Monday 4 to Saturday 9 September celebrating golden hits from the rock ‘n’ roll era. It’s written by the guys behind TV classics Goodnight Sweetheart, Birds of a Feather and The New Statesmen aand features classic tracks from Roy Orbison, The Shadows, Eddie Cochran, Billy Fury and many more. Tickets are from £31.50.

Heritage Open Days, various locations,  Thurs 7 – Sun 10 Sept.

Fancy a sneaky peak behind the scenes? Volunteers across the county, and indeed the country, are inviting you to experience local history, architecture and culture for free. Explore Brigton’s LGBT history, tour Bognor’s Grade II listed pier, peak into normally closed parts of Chichester cathedral and a wing of Great Dixter House in Rye, visit an architect’s studio in Midhurst, get into certain National Trust properties for free and many more. Search the website for what’s on in your area.

Beano on the Sea, Hastings Pier,  Sept 8, 9, 10

Nineties indie slanted festival Beano on the Sea, is back on Hastings Pier this September and Embrace (pictured) are headlining. They will be joined by retro faves Black Grape and Echobelly while on the following days its The Lightning Seeds, The Bluetones, Reef, Dodgy and more. In addition to the live acts, The Stone Roses’ Made of Stone and Oasis’ Supersonic documentaries will be screened. Bez from Happy Mondays is among those hosting off-pier after parties open on a first-come first-served basis to wristband holders. Weekend tickets are £99, day tickets £31 for Fri, £37 for Sat/Sun with discounts for teens and kids.  Before all that on Aug 26 is Ocean Colour scene, whose Mosley Shoals album I once played to death, oh and Boyzone, if you must…

Lewes OctoberFeast, various locations, Fri 15 Sept – 8 Oct

No it’s not October yet but the Lewes OctoberFeast starts Fri 15 Sept and it’s a good time to grab a brochure (try Depot and Harvey’s) or browse the website and get planning for later anyway. Various pop-up supper clubs will be on, restaurants are putting on themed menus, there’s a Spaghetti Western film and food night at new Depot cinema, a sourdough bread makig workshop plus food markets, apple pressing and a ‘beer dinner for women’ to try to entice those of us who can’t stomach pints to give them another try.

Casablanca / The Spy Who Loved Me, Picture House, Uckfield, Wed 20 Sept / Fri 29 Sept

Uckfield’s Picture House has some fun retro films coming up with food on the side. On September 20 you could choose a cream tea with bogey – no don’t worry, it’s not an ingredient, it’s Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca. Then, on 29 Sept, Roger Moore is James Bond in The Spy Who Loved Me which is followed by some 007 themed food in the restaurant and Bond songs sung by Gemma Stillman with a collection for Roger Moore’s charity UNICEF.

Table Manners, Chichester Festival Theatre, 18 Sept – 28 Oct

When we were students, my friend and I wrote a play called Table Manners while we were cooking dinner. Don’t worry, this isn’t it. This is written by Alan Ayckbourn who, let’s face it, knows what he’s doing. It is the first part of an Ayckbourn trilogy called The Norman Conquests also featuring Round and Round the Garden and Living Together, the action for each play interlinked and taking place at a country house over one weekend . Tickets are from £10.

Hurst Festival, Hurstpierpoint, Sat 16 – Sept – 1 Oct

The village festival that embraces arts and more is back, kicking off with a  family fun day on 17 Sept. There will be talk about Jane Austen, a children’s author doing a samuri sword display and various performances from Cuban jazz to baroque lute and folk to a musical comedy about the work of Marie Curie  and Britain’s Got Talent‘s Lorraine Bown singing the Crumble Song and doing a kids’ cabaret.  Something sell out quickly like, alas, the Badger Watch, so get on it. 

Summer Kids’ Fest, Proud Country House, Stanmer Park, Brighton, until 17 Sept

Don’t forget if you’re flagging with school holiday ideas, there’s still stuff on at Proud Country House. A treasure hunt and a guided family bike ride are running this week with morning and afternoon sessions.  What’s more the Kids’ Fest is a not-for-profit event and all ticket proceeds will go to local children’s hospice Chestnut Tree House.


Quentin Blake: The Only Way to Travel, The Jerwood, Hastings, 14 June – 15 Oct

Sir Quentin Blake’s madcap pictures are synonymous with Roald Dahl’s work and many other children’s tales. Hastings – where the artist spends half his time, will be hosting the largest UK public gallery exhibition of his work to date at the Jerwood. What’s more Black has created a host of new images exploring challenging issues from mental health to the refugee crisis under the theme The Only Way to Travel. It’s on until mid Oct.

Summer Kids’ Fest, Proud Country House, Stanmer Park, Brighton, Sat 1 July – 17 Sept

From story-telling to hip hop dance classes, bushcraft and tree climbing sessions to bike tours and interactive theatre, todders’ yoga to mosaic workshops – it’s all happening at Proud Country House this summer. There are morning and afternoon sessions seven days a week. Sounds a school holidays life saver! What’s more it’s a not-for-profit event and all ticket proceeds will go to local children’s hospice Chestnut Tree House. Check out the full schedule of events and book ahead for individual activities.


Ravilious & Co: The Pattern of Friendship, Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne, Until 17 Sept

Eric Ravilious, Two Women in a Garden, 1939. Fry Art Gallery

A major new exhibition has just opened at the Towner based on celebrated Sussex artist Eric Ravilious. Based on new research and telling a story that has never been told before, this show coincides with the 75th anniversary of the artist and designer’s death. It explores the significant relationships and working collaborations between Ravilious and an important group of friends and affiliates, including Paul and John Nash, Enid Marx, Barnett Freedman, Tirzah Garwood, Edward Bawden, Thomas Hennell, Douglas Percy Bliss, Peggy Angus, Helen Binyon, and Diana Low. Many of Ravilious’ key works will be shown alongside works by his contemporaries embracing watercolours, woodcuts, lithographic prints, book jackets and illustrations, patterned papers, wallpaper and fabric design.Entry is £8, under 18s free.

Jane Eyre: An Autobiography, The Capitol, Horsham, 19 Oct  

Photographer Ben Guest; Dyad Productions

Performer Rebecca Vaughan embodies everywoman Jane – and several other characters – in this original take on the classic Bronte novel. It’s from the same creators as I, Elizabeth which I heard great reports of the other year. You know the tale – feisty governess Jane Eyre is struggling to think, live and love beyond the stifling expectations of duty, class and convention. You may balk at her calling her man ‘master’ but in other ways it’s an early dip into feminism. Tickets are £14.


Sculpture Trail, Borde Hill Garden, nr Haywards Heath, 12 May – 2 Oct

Sussex’s celebrated crime writer Peter James officially opened Borde Hill’s 2017 sculpture trail this Thursday. I attended the preview and there are a lovely variety of pieces as always, from pretty ceramic bowls to iron peacocks to hefty stone monuments. It’s a great extra reason to visit these varied gardens and, should you be in the market for a piece of original art and have deep pockets, you’ll be pleased to know all the sculptures are for sale with prices starting from £250. Keep an eye on summer events at Borde Hill including children’s trails and musical Sundays.

Constable and Brighton, Brighton Museum, Sat 8 April – 8 Oct

John Constable and his family stayed in Brighton 1824-1828 during which time the great artist repeatedly walked along the coast and up into the Downs. This new exhibition will follow Constable’s walking and painting sequences, illustrating the sketches and paintings he produced as he explored the local landscape. It will explore the impact and influence of that work and bring the sketches, drawings and paintings back to Brighton for the first time.There’s a special talk on the subject on 13 April. It’s free with museum entry.


Costume Trail, from Worthing Museum, until summer 2018


Worthing Museum’s impressive collections of clothing from bygone eras have been used as inspiration by costume designers from the likes of Downton Abbey. Now outfits are out on display across the town in a series of changing displays at local businesses across Worthing (I snapped this Art Deco dress above in the Connaught Theatre). The Costume Trail trail mostly spans clothing from 1740 to the present day but also includes a 1612 jacket. It’s free, it’s educational, and there’s a chance to win four tickets to the Connaught Cinema if you correctly answer questions featured in the trail map, which is available from the museum welcome desk.

Tunnel: The Archaeology of Crossrail, Museum of London Docklands, London, until 3 Sept

I saw a preview of this exhibition on the telly and it looks amazing. It’s the most complete range of archaeological objects unearthed by Crossrail to be displayed and has gone on display alongside the story of Europe’s largest infrastructure project. Over 10,000 artefacts shine a light on people in almost every important period of the Capital’s history from Mesolithic tool makers and inhabitants of Roman Londinium to those affected by the Great Plague of 1665. There are skeletons, tools, pottery, even makeshift ice skate blades fashioned from bones. Entry is free.

Robot Zoo, Horniman’s Museum, London SE23, until 29 Oct

It doesn’t get much cooler than a robotic zoo. Let’s be fair it needs to be impressive to schlep deep into south east London. But it’ll be worth it to see a robotic rhino, a squid with 18-ft tentacles and a mahoosive house fly with a vacuum cleaner for a mouth at the Horniman’s Museum in Honor Oak. All the robot animals are made from everyday machines and gadgets. Through interactive games and challenges the creations will reveal how real anatomy works. Plus this museum with its quirky exhibits and large cafe and terrace is a big favourite with families at any time. Tickets: Adults £7; Kids, £4.

Star Wars Identities, 02, London, until 3 Sept 


Picture Lucasfilm

Learn about the characters of Star Wars in a new dimension through this exhibition which boasts some 200 props, models, costumes and artworks from the original Star Wars films <squeal!>.There’s also an interactive identity quest that helps you learn your Star Wars identity (please not Jabba the Hut!) It’s all about what forces shape you – geddit? It’s open daily from 10am onwards till Sept so plenty of time to catch this one.  Tickets cost from £20 adults, £10 children and £48 family off peak.

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