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What’s On in Sussex 8 – 15 Dec

Fri 8 - Fri 15 Dec

More Christmas show launches, Lego creatures at large, retro Funk and photos, Dickens storytelling and more, in this week’s What’s On in Sussex.

Aladdin, Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells, Fri 8 Dec – Wed 3 Jan

Former EastEnders heartthrob Michael Greco was twice voted sexiest man in soap and you can oggle him the flesh while your kids get on with the serious business of booing and cheering at Aladdin from this weekend at the Assembly Hall Theatre just over the border in Tunbridge Wells. Greco plays Abanazar alongside Britain’s Got Talent‘s woman of many voices Jess Robinson as the slave of the ring while Aladdin himself is CBBC presenter Mark Rhodes. We’re promised slapstick, singing, dancing, beautiful costumes and plenty of audience participation (come on, you know you secretly love it!).

Christmas Artists Open Houses, Eastbourne, Brighton, Hove and Ditchling, Sat 9 & Sun 10 Dec

This is the last weekend for the Christmas run of Artists Open Houses. Over 40 artists and makers are showing and selling their work from their homes and studios in various locations around Eastbourne this weekend.  Open Houses is also running in Brighton Hove and Ditchling. Plan your Christmas shopping route by picking up a brochure from many locations around town, including the railways stations, libraries and museums, or viewing it online.

Grease, Theatre Royal, Brighton, Mon 11 – Sun 31 Dec

Grease is the word – it’s also the big Christmas show at Brighton this year. Tom Parker from boy band The Wanted plays Danny alongside Over The Rainbow winner Danielle Hope as Sandy and EastEnders’ and Strictly‘s Louisa Lytton as Rizzo. Tickets are from £20.90 and if it’s the one that you want, you’d better get booking like greased lightning!

Lego brick animal trail and ‘make and take’ until 14 Jan / wreath making workshop Sat 16 Dec

You can’t fail to spot birds at Arundel Wetland Centre at the moment because besides the real ones are giant colourful creatures on the Lego Brick Animal Trail. The 1.5 metre creations include a Hawaiin goose, a kingfisher and an otter. Various Lego ‘make and take’ sessions are also coming up for the holidays in which kids can create a frog and a fly (£5 + centre admission). Sounds like a nice antidote to Santa’s grotto. Adults then get in on the act on Sat 16 Dec at a Christmas wreath making workshop. (£12, ages 17+). A kids’ Christmas Crafts bauble and gift box creation session (free with admission) follows on Thurs 21 – Sat 23 Dec.

Argus archives picture sales, Brighton Racecourse, Sat 9 and Sun 10 Dec

The Argus is exhibiting and selling thousands of black and white photos from its 1960 – 1992 archives up at Brighton Racecourse between 10.00am and 5.00pm this weekend. I caught a similar event earlier in the year and saw some really interesting stuff, from the streets of yester-year to visiting celebrities. Great for snapping up that nostalgic gift and there will be other traders besides. Also at the racecourse, check out the Gin’gle Bells party nights ( see what they did there) with meal, disco and gin cocktail on Fri 8 and Sat 9 Nov.

Jack & the Beanstalk, The Capitol, Horsham, Fri 8 – Sun 31 Dec

Jack’s shinning up the beanstalk at Horsham for this year’s panto which already has limited availability on some dates. Will Jack Trott regret his magic beans-cow swap or will he win the hand of Princess Apricot? I couldn’t possibly guess. Thigh slapping fun with stars from CBBC and Hollyoaks and the voice of Brian Blessed, from £11. I’m seeing this one myself, so watch out for the review. Note, there’s a relaxed performance on 13 Dec for kids with special needs. For little-uns up for some general silliness there’s also Tomfoolery Saves Christmas Dec 9 – 24 (£11.50).

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Fri 8 Dec – Sat 7 Jan , The Hawth, Crawley 

Another panto out of the blocks this weekend. I really rated Michael J Batchelor as the dame at the Hawth last Chrimbo and the good news is he’s back in this year’s panto. Stephen Mulhern from TV’s Catchphrase and Saturday Night Takeaway also stars. Watch out for my review next week. Tickets are from £17 and it’s selling fast. The Hawth is also hosting afternoon performances of The Nutcracker by Let’s All Dance Thurs 21 – Sat 23 Dec.

Mary Berry’s Country House Secrets, at Goodwood, BBC1 Wed 13 Dec 

National treasure Mary Berry has been nosing around a series of country homes and cooking in their heritage kitchens. On Wednesday 13 Dec it’s the turn of Goodwood in West Sussex. Mary spends time with the Duke of Richmond and his family, delving into the history of food and entertaining at the estate and looking at a post-war cookbook inspired by the Lady Muriel Beckwith’s travels through France. Tune in at 8.00pm on BBC 1.

Ed Byrne: Spolier Alert, Eastbourne 11 Dec; Tunbridge Wells; 8 Feb & Brighton 15 Feb.

I love Ed Byrne to an extent it gets my husband twitchy. He was one of the first comedians I got into back when he took apart Alanis Morissette’s song Ironic line by line for being nothing of the sort. I saw his show last year and he’s still got plenty to say… and in an Irish accent – what’s not to like?  This time he asks are we filled with righteous anger at a world gone wrong, or are we all just a bunch of whiny little brats? In short, are we spoiled? There were still tickets left at The Hippodrome, Eastbourne on Mon 11 Dec (£21-26) then it’s coming up at Assembly Halls, Tunbridge Wells on Thurs 8 Feb and Theatre Royal, Brighton on Thurs 15 Feb.

Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol solo performance, Warminghurst Church, West Sussex, Fri 8 Dec

Churches Conservation Trust

The pretty out of service church at Warminghurst is presenting a storytelling performance by Nigel Parkin of Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol. We’re promised it’s no saccharine version but very atmospheric and true to the author. It takes place at 4.30pm on Fri 8 Dec as part of the Christmas Tree Festival (8 – 10 Dec, 10.00am – 4.00pm). Tickets just £8 (£5 for children – it’s suitable for ages 7+). For tickets call 01903 891312 or email

City Funk Orchestra, Trading Boundaries, Sheffield Green, near Fletching, Fri 8 Dec

What's On in East West Sussex

Trading Boundaries’ Christmas party season kicks off with an evening of retro soul, funk and Motown with hits from the likes of Chaka Khan and the cheese-meister Barry White. Some folks will be dining by the dancefloor but there are standing tickets only left now. £25.

Cinderella and the Beanstalk, 14 Dec – 6 Jan/ Mischief & Mystery in Moominvalley 22 Dec – 2 Jan,  The Old Market, Hove

They like to do the Xmas panto a bit differently at The Old Market so this year there’s a Cinderella and the Beanstalk mash up. Three actors and one musician recreate over 60 characters plucked from a host of pantos with a tale of Cinderella escaping blackmailing Rumpelstiltskin by finding a golden egg up a beanstalk. Sounds bonkers. It’s for ages 6+ and tickets are from £8. Also book ahead for Mischief & Mystery in Moominvalley –  22 Dec to 2 Jan – a show with charming pupperty and a pop-up book set aimed at 3-7-year-olds (£8).

Christmas Elf Workshop, Birling Gap, Sat 9 and Sun 10 Dec/ Storytelling at Standen House, 9 – 23 Dec

Standen at Christmas. NT Megan Taylor

 Want your face painted like an elf? More the point, do you know a child who might? Join fun craft activities in the learning room and café at Birling Gap including decoration and biscuit making and games of reindeer hoopla. It all takes places 11.00am to 15.30pm. Admission is £3. Meanwhile. over at Standen House from 9 – 23 Dec little ones can enjoy storytelling in Santa’s woodland grotto between 9.00 and 10.00 am. Many slots have sold out already so check and book ahead.

Cézanne Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, London, now – 11 Feb 2018

This exhibition has just opened and brings together over 50 of Cézanne’s portraits from collections across the world, including works which have never been on public display in the UK . Over a working life of some forty-five years, Cézanne made almost 1,000 paintings of which around 160 were portraits and this exhibition offers a fascinating insight into this central aspect of his work.


Star Wars: The Last Jedi, midnight screenings, various cinemas, Thurs 14 Dec 

Light sabres at the ready; the much anticipated next Star Wars installment is here. I get confused with all the prequels and sequels but this is the one that follows the brilliant one that brought back Harrison Ford, Chewy and (sob) Carrie Fisher. Naturally you can catch it everywhere but you’re going to want to book ahead to get in on the first day. Depot in Lewes, The Picture House in Uckfield and the Duke of Yorks in Brighton are among cinemas doing midnight screenings on the day of release. The Picture House is showing it as part of a double bill with The Force Awakens screening a few hours before at 9.00pm.




Slava’s Snowshow, Southbank Centre, London, Mon 18 Dec – Thurs 4 Jan 2018

Part of Wintertime at the Southbank, this show’s been all over the world (80 countries, no less) and piled up heaps of awards so they’ve had plenty of time to refine their offering. It’s suitable for kids 8+ and is full of clowning and feel-good fun stuff for all ages.

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