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What’s On this week in Sussex

21 - 29 June

Summer of Circus, Worthing Theatres, Fri 22 June – Sun 1 July

Block. Photo by Dan Tucker

Worthing’s fantastic season of contemporary circus relaunches this weekend with ground-breaking international acts in town for ten days. This Fri 22 is 8 Songs – skilled juggling set to Rock ’n’ Roll. Also coming up are Block – combining circus and dance from NoFit State & Motionhouse and the Giant Balloon Show with big balloon sculptures which looked both clever and properly silly when I saw a trailer. The programme ranges from family-friendly to adult-focused and includes workshops besides. Look out for multi-buy ticket offers.

Nature Valley International Eastbourne, Devonshire Park, Fri 22 – Sat 30 June

The International Eastbourne tennis tournament is back and British women’s number one Johanna Konta, world women’s No.1 Simona Halep and No.2 Caroline Wozniackiis are among the top stars battling it out in this important warm-up to Wimbledon. Tickets range from £7 up to £65. Fri June 22 is family day – free for adults and children to see qualifying matches on the outer courts and warm ups on the practice courts. On the 29th meanwhile, a grounds pass will get you access to see wheelchair tennis defending Wimbledon doubles champions. I’ve been the last couple of years and it’s a great event.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, Brighton Open Air Theatre, 17, 22-24 June

Gather a picnic together and settle in for a hilarious National Production Company romp through all 37 of Shakespeare’s comedies, histories and tragedies performed fast and alfresco. Matinee and evening performances are available and it’s £15 a ticket.

Crooners, Capitol Theatre, Horsham, Fri 29 Jan

This ripping comedy music show sees chaps of a bygone era paying homage to some of the greatest crooners of all time with a splendiferous injection of British silliness. Featuring humour, tap dance and quintessential songs from Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Nat King Cole and more. Tickets are £21.

Summer Exhibition, Rye Creative Centre, 10am-4pm Tues – Fris (& by appointment) until 10 Aug

The Royal Academy isn’t the only one with a summer exhibition. Rye’s New Road Artists is holding one to celebrate its growing community of 38 now working at Rye Creative Centre. Admission is free, and there’s onsite parking. Check out also the centre’s programme of workshops.

The Gruffalo’s Child, The Hawth, Crawley, Mon 25 & Tues 26 June

Sure, you can recite half the words yourself but why not let someone else tell the tale in style? The Gruffalo’s Child from award-winning theatre company Tall Stories is going to be in the West End for Christmas but you can catch it on stage at The Hawth this month. There are two slots each day at child-friendly times. Tickets are £13 (Family of four £40).

Zoe Lyons, The Bell, Ticehurst, Thurs 21 June

There’s more great comedy up at Muddy awards finalist The Bell in Ticehurst which puts on some great stand up nights in its Stable function space. TV and radio’s Zoe Lyons will be the special guest this month ahead of her national tour. Tickets are £22 and you can add supper for £8.

Community Festival, Sussex University, Falmer, Brighton, Sun 24 June

All are welcome to visit the uni this Sunday for a packed programme of events and activities. There will be something for all ages, from sports classes giving you the chance to try tag archery to kung fu; crafts like book making; an inflatable planetarium; interactive workshops; live music; debates and guided tours. The World Cup will be showing in the bar too so you needn’t miss the England game.

Worthing Artists Open Houses, various locations 16/17, 23/24 & 30 June & 1 July

On weekends from mid June you have a chance to drop in on local creatives in their homes and studios. Browse drawings, paintings, photographs, sculptures, glass, jewellery, crafts and more, often on sale for affordable prices. There are 57 different locations this year.

Love Supreme Jazz Festival, Glynde Place, East Sussex, 29 June – 1 July

Elvis Costello, Earth Wind and Fire, Steve Winwood and Level 42 are all coming to Sussex for this year’s Love Supreme jazz festival. There will be heaps more acts besides plus a kids’ area, wellness, cabaret, spoken word and more. Adults tickets are from £54 for a day, £130 for a weekend. There are a range of other tickets including family and camping options.

Half Moon pub Summer Solstice party, Kirdford, Sat 30 June 

It’s a mini-Glastonbury in this smart country pub, owned by Jodie Kidd. Live music, a smokehouse and grill, face painting and a bouncy castle will be laid on to see out the month. Email to register for free entry.


Michael Jackson: On The Wall, National Portrait Gallery, London, 28 June – 21 October

I’ll be moonwalking down to the National Portrait Gallery for Michael Jackson: On The Wall. The exhibition marks what would’ve been MJ’s 60th birthday and features artwork inspired by Andy Warhol and Grayson Perry among others. Shamon!

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, outdoor theatre, The Hawth, Crawley, Fri June 22

What could be more outdoor theatrey than A Midsummer Night’s Dream? Follow the love triangle, the fairies’ mischief-making and Bottom’s confusion at The Hawth’s open air theatre. It’s a good play to introduce kids to the Bard. Adult tickets are £12.50, under 16’s £5 and a Family of four £32.


Luna Beach Cinema, beside the Palace Pier, Brighton, Thurs June 14 –  Sun July 15  

Luna Beach Cinema is now open! Just to the to east of Brighton’s Palace Pier you’ll find a big screen showing feature films and all the key action from Wimbledon and the World Cup. The movie programme includes perrenial faves like Dirty Dancing, Grease and recent hit The Greatest Showman and Quadrophenia gets an outing in the city where it was filmed. There are heaps of family-friendly screenings too like Finding Nemo, Paddington 2 and Beauty and the Beast.

Sussex Days: Photographs by Dorothy Bohm/ Virginia Woolf: an exhibition inspired by her writings, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, 23 May – 2 Sept / 26 May – 16 Sept

Dorothy Bohm, Point to Point Race Sussex, © Dorothy Bohm Archive.jpg

Muddy Awards Best Gallery finalist Pallant House has a new free exhibition on the internationally celebrated photographer Dorothy Bohm (now aged 93) bringing together for the first time her black and white photographs of Sussex in the 60s and 70s.  Steam fairs at Horsham, racing at Goodwood, the seafront at Brighton and racing at Parham are included. Meanwhile Tate St Ives’ Virginia Woolf exhibition is also visiting Pallant this summer, opening 26 May. It features over 80 female artists, with works from 1854 upwards that represent central ideas of Woolf’s writing.

Edinburgh Comedy previews, Caroline of Brunswick, Brighton, various dates Thurs 14 June – 31 July

What's On in Sussex in Feb, What's On in Sussex, Things to Do n Sussex, what's on in Sussex for Half Term

Want to see a topic comic for £4?! The months leading up to Edinburgh Fringe are a great time to catch some bargain comedy as TV and radio types warm up their acts ready for month-long stints up north. The grungy stairs of the Caroline of Brunswick lead you up to a small room where the likes of Nish Kumar, Zoe Lyons, Paul Sinha, Lucy Porter, Hal Cruttenden, Robin Ince, Adam Hess and Seann Walsh will be performing this June and July. Tickets at just £7, or £4 in advance.

There But Not There art installation, Arundel cathedral & St Nicholas Church, Arundel, 10 May –  11 Nov

93 transparent silhouettes of fallen WW1 soldiers have taken their position on the pews of Arundel Cathedral and nearby St Nicholas Church as the town hosts the largest ever installation by There But Not There. The charitable project commemorates the service of WW1 soldiers whilst raising money for Help For Heroes: Hidden Wounds and others. Each silhouette represents the shadow of a real WW1 soldier who never came home and bears a plaque with a name. They will be there until Armistice Day.

Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy, London, from Tues 12 June

It’s the 250th year of the Royal Academy of Arts summer exhibition and this year, Grayson Perry RA and his committee of fellow artists have handpicked over 1,300 artworks in an array of mediums. This is always great fun and this year it could look very different.

Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up, V&A, London, from 16 June

I once rocked up to Frida Kahlo’s former home in Mexico City and couldn’t get in because I’d spent too much time up the road looking round the house where Trotsky got the ice pick. (The two were lovers – small world!) So here’s my chance to see what I missed. It’s the first exhibition outside of Mexico to display her clothes and intimate possessions.

Birdsong, Assembly Hall, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, Mon 2 – Sat 7 Jul

Picture by Jack Ladenburg

If you missed it at Horsham, here’s another chance to catch this wonderful production of the well-loved Sebastian Faulks’ novel.
The story is set in pre and during World War One in France. Englishman Stephen Wraysford embarks on a passionate and dangerous affair with Isabelle Azaire. Faced with the unprecedented horror of war, he clings to the memory of her as the world turns upside down and explodes around him. I’ve seen it and it’s both clever and moving. See my review from when it was in Sussex here.

The Legends of the Dining Room, The Gallivant, Camber, near Rye, Tues 17 July

Restaurant with rooms The Gallivant is bringing top chefs to town for extra special meals under its new Legends of the Dining Room series. On 17 July it will be the turn of Phil Howard of Elystan Street who previously held two Michelin stars for 17 years at his restaurant The Square. The evening featuring a four course menu will be hosted in the Gallivant’s newly relaunched dining room at a cost of £60 per head.

Enchanted Horsham, 27 – 29 July

Want to see a unicorn? Well, I have it on good authority they will be trotting about in Sussex this July. It’s part of Enchanted Horsham, a three day family-friendly Summer wonderland event where bands, street theatre, circus workshops, a vintage funfair, mermaid tales and life-size puppets are all part of the fun. After dark things will get really magical, with unicorns and dragons’ eggs waiting to be discovered and the gardens illuminated with projections and fire. You can even set yourself aglow by donning some UV face paint and joining a silent disco.


Find more ideas here

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