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What’s On in October in Sussex

Oct 2019

Here’s your starter for ten on what’s coming up for Oct. Look out for weekly updates and our Half Term guide.

Octoberbest, Brighton & Hove, Fri 4 – Sun 20 Oct


Bargain feasting alert! 25 of Brighton and Hove’s top eateries are involved in this year’s Octoberbest, offering special £20 menus and deals until the end of the month. They include independent favourites like 64 Degrees, The Coal Shed, Cin Cin, Murmur, Plateau, Bincho Yakitori and Lucky Khao plus Brighton Food Tours. We’re out of the blocks already on this one. Get booking yourself! 

Cuckfield Book Festival, Thurs 3 to Sun 6 Oct

KonMari tidying tips

There’s plenty of literary-themed action going on in Cuckfield including a supper with Robin Ince, a pub quiz, a garden tour of Borde Hill, afternoon tea at Ockenden Manor with Greta Scacchi and a crime writing workshop. Plus, of course, many book sessions with authors.

Frisky and Mannish: Poplab, The Old Market, Hove, Fri 4 Oct

In this feel-good comedy music show Frisky and Mannish perform ‘scientific’ pop-song mash-ups, not least intersecting Ed Sheeran with multiple other musical genres. It’s the sort of thing that’s been done often before but never as well – these guys can seriously sing. I caught the show at Edinburgh Fringe where it got a standing ovation. A great way to kick off your weekend. £16.50 for adults, limited youth tickets for £5.

Milos: The Voice of the Guitar, The Capitol, Horsham, Sat 5 Oct

Classical BRIT award-winning guitarist Miloš Karadaglic is coming to the Capitol as part of the Horsham Year of Culture. He will be joined by members of the 12 Ensemble playing a diverse programme, from Latin American music to baroque, Bach to the Beatles. Classical has never looked so hot. Tickets are from £36.

Tom Gates, Live on Stage, Theatre Royal, Brighton, Wed 2 to Sat 5 Oct 

The books are best sellers and now our hero is on stage in an adventure about his efforts to climb out of trouble and make the school trip. I caught it earlier in the year and it’s a really inventive production with Tom’s famous doodles appearing cleverly across the background. Tickets are from £19.50.

National Grandparents Day, Fishers Farm Park Sat 5 Oct & Sun 6 Oct

Grab a granny.. because grandparents get in for £5 to Fisher’s Farm Park on Sat 5 oct and Sun 6 Oct to celebrate National Grandparents’ Day.

Battle Festival of Arts and Music, Battle, throughout Oct

Festival events this year in the historic town are as diverse as Laurel and Hardy and Wizard of Oz screenings, talks on restoring meadows and conspiracy theories, ceramics and classical music – including a family-friendly Carnival of the Animals with crafts and a concert.

Macbeth, Chichester Festival Theatre, Sat 21 Sept – Sat 26 Oct

Chichester’s bold new Macbeth

TV’s John Simm and Dervla Kirwan, who also have plenty of stage experience between them, star in a modern take on the juiciest of Shakespeare’s tragedies – Macbeth, at Chichester Festival Theatre. It’s an innovative staging with projections and a glass stage. Read the Muddy review. Tickets are from £10. Look out too for shows coming up at a new spiegeltent at the theatre in October.

Live at The Hawth, The Hawth, Crawley, Fri 4 Oct

Crawley is holding its first Live at The Hawth comedy night in early Oct with comic ventriloquist Nina Conti, improvised hip-hop artist Abandonman, Adam Hess, Angela Barnes and Colin Hoult as Anna Mann in the impressive line-up. Tickets are £27.50. Get booking!

Live at Brighton Dome, Brighton, Sat 5 Oct

Different day, and a shuffle in the acts. Nina Conti is back heading up a line up that also features Lou Sanders, Jessica Fostekew and Glenn Moore. Bag a front row seat if you want to be part of the proceedings, particularly when Conti is on stage. £20

Oktoberfest, Fontwell Park, Fri 4 and Sat 5 Oct 

Oktoberfest is back with a bang at Fontwell with first class races across the two days, a Bier Tent with traditional Bavarian beers, food and entertainment. After the races catch  DJ & Saxophone live on stage on the Friday and a Madness tribute band on the Sat. Under 18s go free and there’s a free shuttle bus from Barnham station.

The Butterfly Lion, by Michael Morpurgo, Minerva Theatre, Chichester, 5 Oct – 15 Nov

This new adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s best-selling, award-winning premieres at Chichester’s Minerva Theatre. When Bertie is sent away from the African farm where he grew up to school in England he leaves behind his mother and his best friend – a white lion he rescued as a cub. Music, design and puppetry combine in a magical adventure. There are also talks connected with the show on Thurs 10 Oct and Mon 28 Oct. Tickets are from £15.

Autumn and Countryside Show, Weald & Downland Living Museum, Singleton, Chichester, Sat 5 & Sun 6 Oct

Think your dog has the waggiest tail? Get it along to the fun dog show at Weald & Downland (£1 on top of entry). It’s part of a harvest event with traditional working demonstrations and a horticultural show with a vintage slant – think heavy horse displays, ploughing by old fashioned tractors and steam-powered threshing, plus craft demos. History in action.

ALICE – Wonderland Through The Looking Glass, The Capitol, Horsham, Tues 8 Oct

Alice has now grown up and the Looking Glass is a portal to our world, which the Red Queen has crossed into and opened a casino featuring an Army of Cards. Chantry Dance Company brings its new ballet production to The Capitol, created by the choreographers of David Walliams’ Billionaire Boy and Gangsta Granny and featuring Britain’s Got Talent star Shannon Parker. Ages 7+ £15.

Viennoiserie/ chocolate/ sourdough masterclasses, The Artisan Bakehouse, near Steyning, 8/16/18 & 19 Oct

Inspired by Bake Off? Here’s your chance to brush up on your skills with masterclasses at Artisan Bakehouse. On 8 Oct there’s Introduction to Viennoiserie; on 16 Oct there’s a Chocolate Masterclass then there’s savoury action on 18 and 19 Oct with the two-day Serious about Sourdough. Plus, book ahead for festive events.

First Annual John Brookes Lecture: The Garden in Setting with Andy Sturgeon, Denmans Garden, Fontwell,  Fri 11 Oct

Andy Sturgeon knows a thing or two about creating amazing gardens. As one of the UK’s top garden designers, he has won no fewer than eight Chelsea Flower Show gold medals and has three times been awarded ‘Best in Show’.  Join him to pick up top tips when he speaks at the recently restored Denmans, at Fontwell on 11 Oct for  the first of what will be an annual John Brookes Lecture in celebration of the legacy of the late garden designer who created Denmans as it looks today. Andy will cover the importance of linking your garden to the landscape, architecture, and other surrounding features. £12 in advance, £15 on the door. The talk starts 19.00 with the garden open till dusk.

Adam Kay: This Is Going To Hurt, (Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor), Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne, Fri 11 – Sat 12 Oct     

Medic-turned comedian Adam Kay’s bestselling book This Is Going To Hurt is a jaw-dropper. In his live stage show he shares more hilarious and horrifying entries from his diaries as a junior doctor in this evening of stand-up and music. There are two shows but beware – he tends to sell out fast. Tickets are £26. His new Twas the Nightshift before Xmas show is also coming up at Brighton Dome on 13 Dec (£32).

Family-friendly Halloween tours, Phileas Fogg’s World of Adventures, Brighton, 12 Oct – 3 Nov

Trick, Treat… or Horrible Mystery? You can take your pick at Phileas Fogg’s World of Adventures in Brighton this Halloween. With different journeys through its themed sets. Trick is a ghoulish tour of dark and smoky Victorian London. (30 mins, £12.50, ages 8+). On Treat, you and yours can travel from Japan, on-board a ship, take a stint in jail, visit the wild west and find your way home through a vortex (40 minutes, £12.50, ages 3+). On a Horrible Mysteries tour you’ll take a trip through Venice, Egypt, the jungle and on to India learning some fun gruesome facts from a plague doctor and a mummy expert on the way. (40 mins, £9.95 ages 5+).

Noble and Stace chocolate workshop, The Artisan Bakehouse, nr Steyning, Wed 16 Oct  (and later dates/venues)

Muddy’s hand-made haul!

The next Noble and Stace chocolate-making workshop is coming up at the Artisan Bakehouse near Steyning on Wed Oct 16. It’s a fun experience with plenty of your own handcrafted chocs, truffles and bars to take home. £115 including coffee, snacks and a two-course lunch. Check out the Muddy review here. There are various other dates and venues coming up with and without lunch included. Feeling really organised? You can even book ahead for Christmas!

Vienna Festival Ballet, Chequer Mead Theatre, East Grinstead, Wed 16 Oct

Vienna Festival Ballet Company returns to Chequer Mead Theatre this October with an early fairytale treat. Snow White is based on the traditional Brothers’ Grimm story but we’re promised hip-hopping dwarves! Performances are at 14.30 and 19.00. Adult £22.50, children £15, grandparent and grandchild rate £32.

Jonny & The Baptists, The Old Market, Hove, Thurs 17 Oct

Comedy musicians Jonny & The Baptists are dropping into Hove on their UK tour with Love You, Hate Bastards, a show that had a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe. They promise silly, satirical songs and comedy-rock anthems exploring the themes of tribalism, privilege, and knowing when to admit you’re wrong. Tickets are £14.

Private Peaceful, The Capitol, Horsham, Thurs 17 Oct

Compelling drama Private Peaceful hits Horsham on Thursday 17 October, based on the best-selling novel by Michael Morpurgo. An 18-year-old First World War soldier awaits the firing squad at dawn and looks back on his short but eventful life.  £18.50. Suitable for ages 8+

The Tiger Who Came to Tea art exhibition, Bateman’s, Burwash, until 3 Nov

Get up close to the artwork from Judith Kerr’s classic children’s book at Rudyard Kipling’s Jacobean house and follow the tie in garden trail. The display marks the 50th anniversary of its publication. Free with normal house admission charges.

Mud Monsters Run, near East Grinstead, Sun 20 Oct 

Are you up for tackling the fun Mud Monsters Run obstacle course challenge near East Grinstead? Grab your partner or friends and take on slides, walls, tyres, streams, monkey bars and more in pursuit of a medal. There are 5km, 10km and 20km circuits to choose from and the spirit is camaraderie more than competition. The next Mud Monsters Run is on Sun 20 Oct June. Entry from £49, with discounts for teams of 10+

The Lady Vanishes, The Capitol, Horsham, Mon 21 – Sat 26 Oct

BAFTA-nominated Gwen Taylor and ‘Villain of the Year’ Andrew Lancel are reunited for the first time since Corrie in this fun stage adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes. When socialite Iris’ travelling companion disappears, she’s bewildered to find fellow passengers deny ever having seen her. So, with the help of musician Max, she turns detective… Tickets from 24.50.

Tree and Wood and Halloween events, Leonardslee Gardens, near Horsham, various dates 23 Oct – 2 Nov

Tree and Wood

Leonardslee Gardens is celebrating its first autumn since its reopening with foodie and forest events. Between Wed 23 Oct and Thurs 31 Oct, enjoy a Halloween take on the afternoon tea at Leonardslee House, with adults and children’s versions available. Between 24 Oct and 2 Nov join the immersive Tree and Wood experience in the forest accompanied by a montage of image, sound, light and song. Come the school holidays there’s family-friendly fun to be had with a Halloween skelehunt and a boo-stackle course.

Cinderella on Ice, Congress Theatre, Eastbourne, Wed 23 – Sat 26 Oct

The well-loved story as you’ve never seen it before glides into Eastbourne this month. The Russian Ice Stars are putting the Ugly Sisters, Cinders et al on skates at the Congress Theatre, Eastbourne. Something like panto without the innuendos but with a lot of ice. Adults tickets from £15.50.

Flights of Fancy: the Wondrous World of Quentin Blake, Nymans, Haywards Heath, Sat 26 Oct onwards

Leap into a fantasy world with a new exhibition of work from legendary illustrator, Sir Quentin Blake at the National Trust property Nymans. His quirky pictures have graced Roal Dahl books and this set accompanied his own stories The Story of the Dancing Frog and The Green Ship. Inspired by the exhibition froggy sculptures will be taking over the garden this Christmas, while in the new year wellness events will tie in with Quentin’s work for hospitals. Free with admission.

Petworth Festival Literary Week, 26 Oct – 3 Nov 

Prue Leith. Picture by Hettie McNeil

Petworth Festival’s Literary Week has expanded into a fortnight for 2019 and will be welcoming several household names, with Hugh Bonneville, James Naughtie, Prue Leith OBE, Jenni Murray, George Alagiah, David Suchet and Jenny Eclair all appearing. Talks, young people’s events, poetry and creative writing are part of the mix.

Outdoor cinema, Redoubt Fortress, Eastbourne, 26 Oct/31 Oct

You can wrap up and see movies right into October at Eastbourne’s Redoubt Fortress with spooktastic The Nightmare Before Christmas (26 Oct) and The Amityville Horror for (31 Oct) for Halloween.

Avenue Q, Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne, 28 Oct – 2 Nov 

It’s the hit West End puppet show that you definitely don’t want kids to see. Characters in a New York street struggle to get to grips with life’s issues in a laugh-filled adult show from the creators of The Book of Mormon. Tickets from £25, ages 14+ See the Muddy review.

The Haunted Ballroom, The Old Market, Hove, Thurs 31 Oct and Fri 1 Nov

This looks a lot of fun. TOM and Black Cat Cabaret have teamed up to put on a Halloween cabaret extravaganza. The evening will be headlined by cult Rock ‘n’ Roll outfit Tankus the Henge and feature aerialist and contortionist Samantha Smith, fire-breathing from Chrisalys, a mirror-dancing gothic burlesque show with The Creepy Twins and live opera from Lili La Scala. It will be hosted by the ‘dark prince of the London Cabaret scene’, Dusty Limits. We caught Black Cat’s Valentine’s night at TOM and it was great. Dress code: Regency splendor / gothic horror / morbid glamour encouraged. Tickets range from £19 to £25, 18+ only.


Lee Mead: My Story, The Royal Hippodrome, Eastbourne, Fri 8 Nov

West End leading man Lee Mead will be spilling the beans on his whirlwind life since he played Joseph in the Andrew LLoyd Webber musical. Wicked, Legally Blond, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and more followed and now he plays Lofty Chiltern in Casualty and Holby City. Join Lee accompanied by a grand piano and pianist for backstage tales and that lovely singing voice. Tickets are £25 – £60, the pricier options involving a meet and greet.

The Girl on the Train, Eastbourne Mon 4 – Sat 9 Nov

The book by Paula Hawkins was a total page turner, then came the film and now there’s a stage play to complete the trio. Starring Samantha Womack (Eastenders, Game On, Kingsman) critics are raving about the show, and even if you already know the story of unreliable narrator Rachel Watson and her obsession with her past life and people she’s glimpsed from the train, apparently there are still plenty of surprises in the play. Tickets from £22.

An Evening of Eric and Ern, The Capitol, Horsham, Tues 19 – Wed 20 Nov 

There was a time when the Morecambe & Wise Christmas Show was watched by millions. Now the late comedians’ best sketches are being resurrected in this live show that getting great reviews. I can’t believe no one’s thought of this before! It’s at Horsham on the 19 and 20 Nov. Tickets are £23.50 (concessions £20).


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