What’s On in Sussex
Fri 15 - Fri 22 Dec
A lantern festival; 2017 lampooned; special meals to book ahead; latest panto releases, The Nutcracker on the big screen and plenty more in this week’s What’s On in Sussex
Burning The Clocks, New Road to Madeira Drive, Brighton, Thurs 21 Dec
Hurrah for Burning The Clocks – it means it’s the shortest day of the year and we’re creeping slowly towards Spring from here on in. It’s also a lovely spectacle with children and adults carrying homemade paper lanterns to the beach for ceremonial burning of the creations, and fireworks. Over 2,000 people now take part in the parade, usually including some good drummers, and over 20,000 spectators turn out to watch, so expect crowds and road closures.
One Small Step for Major Tim + other shows, South Downs Planetarium, Chichester, Sun 16 Nov and later
Chichester’s Planetarium has plenty of good shows on in the lead up to Christmas. One Small Step for Major Tim, based on Peake’s mission is on Saturday 16 Dec then there’s The Star of Bethlehem (21 – 24 Dec) – an astronomical detective story for both Christians and non-Christians, which explores the possible origins of the famous bright star that appeared at the time suggested by the Bible. There’s also The Quest for Extrasolar Worlds on various dates. Tickets are £7 adults, £5 children.
The Treason Show: That Was the Year that was ’17, Brighton pubs 21 – 23 & 27 – 30 Dec
A bit of a Sussex institution, this end of year round-up from the local satire group is bound to have plenty of material, with the own goal election and Trump’s antics for starters. There are usually local references too, with Southern Rail often the target for some sweary songs. It’s on at a couple of Brighton pubs, but be quick, the session at Shoreham’s Ropetackle on New Year’s Eve has already sold out. See the link for deets. Tickets are from £15 up.
An African Christmas Feast, Eastbourne, Sat 23 Dec
Ring the changes with an African feast for your pre-Christmas get together with friends. Lerato, whose fine supper club I wrote about here, is hosting an evening with the likes of seafood moin moin, baked plantains and aubergines, beef, turkey and vegan roasts and a BYO policy. It’s a small gathering so book a place while you can. Tickets are £35. You can also get in touch and ask for a private event to be brought to you. Lerato is also generously donating free places for those who’ll be alone this Christmas, for a meal on Dec 22.
Sleeping Beauty, White Rock Theatre, Hastings, Fri 15 – Sun 31 Dec
Love her or hate her, you’ve got to agree Honey G made an impact on X Factor and now the rapper is popping up as Fairy G in Hastings’ panto. It’s only on a two week run so if this is your Sussex panto of choice don’t get caught snoozing. Tickets from £15.50.
Nutcracker Suite and The Snowman, Sat 16 Dec / Airplay, 21 – 26 Dec, The Snow Queen, 29 – 30 Dec, Brighton Dome
Two Christmas favourites come together at The Dome on 16 Dec. The Nutcracker is brought to life with a special narration from CBeebies’ Pui Fan Lee, accompanied by beautiful illustrations. Then The Snowman is screened with a live performance of Walking in The Air. Both pieces are accompanied throughout by the Southbank Sinfonia. Circus and comedy follows in Airplay, with a run from 21-26 Dec featuring flying umbrellas, giant kites and a huge snowglobe. Finally, for 29 – 30 Dec it’s festive ballet The Snow Queen from Ballet Theatre UK. Tickets for each show are from £10.
The Night Before Christmas, Eastbourne Hippodrome, Mon 18 – 24 Dec
Something for little-uns is on at Eastbourne Hippodrome with the team behind the stage version of Aliens Love Underpants bringing a mouse’s adventure to the Hippodrome in The Night Before Christmas. It’s on 18 – 24 Dec and tickets are from £9.
Royal Opera House: The Nutcracker, encore screenings, various cinemas, Sat 16 Dec and later
Get Christmassy and cultured at the same time with a screening of the Royal Ballet’s The Nutcracker at various Sussex cinemas this weekend onwards. Among venues, Komedia Brighton has it on Sat 16 Dec; The Depot, Lewes on 16 and 17 Dec; Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells 18 & 21 Dec; Kino Digital at Hawkhurst and Rye on 23 and 27 and Connaught Cinema, Worthing has a Boxing Day screening. Use the postcode search on the website to find your nearest participating cinema. Some are also screening The Winter’s Tale in February.
Lego brick animal trail and ‘make and take’ until 14 Jan / wreath making workshop Sat 16 Dec, Arundel Wetland Centre
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.
Beauty and the Beast, 16 – 31 Dec/ Moscow City Ballet: Swan Lake 3- 4 Jan/ Sleeping Beauty, 5 – 7 Jan, Chichester Festival Theatre
Chichester Festival Theatre Youth Theatre gets to do the honours this Christmas with a musical version of Beauty and the Beast aimed at ages 7+ (tickets from £10). Afterwards, its time for a classic tale of love and betrayal – no, it’s not your family Christmas lunch, it’s Swan Lake performed by Moscow City Ballet first thing in the new year and followed by Sleeping Beauty. (tickets from £15). You can also catch classic musical Rent at the Minerva Theatre just before Christmas (20-23 Dec).
Dick Whittington, Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham, Wed 13 – 31 Dec
From old ‘Laandaan Taaan’, across the high seas and on to Morocco – Dick Whittington is off in search of treasure. Well, at least he’s bound to pick up a few bargains in a souk. We’re promised pirates, kung-fu cats, monkeys and maybe a mermaid or two. There will be mats at the front for youngsters to sit on if they wish. Tickets from £10.
Mischief & Mystery in Moominvalley 22 Dec – 2 Jan, The Old Market, Hove
Following the Cinderella and the Beanstalk panto mash up at the Old Market, coming up on 22 Dec to 2 Jan is Mischief & Mystery in Moominvalley, a show with charming pupperty and a pop-up book set aimed at 3-7-year-olds. Covering a year in Moominvalley, it starts when Moomintroll wakes up in the middle of winter with a “something-wrong-feeling”. Tickets are £8.
Boxing Day Racing, Fontwell park, near Arundel, Tues Dec 26
Boxing Day isn’t all about lying about in your PJs with your face smeared with chocolate. If you can raise yourself you can take part in the tradition of a post festivities day at the races. The premium tickets have already sold out for Fontwell Park’s family race day on 26 Dec but you can still grab a paddock (£19) or paddock plus (£24) ticket.
Special taster menu, Wild Mushroom, Westfield, East Sussex, 1 Feb
It’s not up till February but this is a good one to book for a Christmas present. Wild Mushroom is part of the Webbe’s restaurant group who also serve up fishy fare in Hastings and Rye. It actually appeared in the top 100 restaurants for diner reviews on Open Table recently – a list that was otherwise heavily London-based. For this special night you get a seasonal ten course taster gourmet menu with an arrival drink and four glasses of matched tasting wines for £75 (£25 deposit required). It’s not bookable online so you’ll need to call 01424 751137 but see the link below for deets.
Lewes Youth Theatre Group: The Legend of Robin Hood, Lewes Little Theatre, 26 – 28 Jan and 2 – 4 Feb 2018
Putting a modern spin on the legend of Robin Hood, Lewes Youth Theatre Group will perform this production written by American dramatist and screenwriter Larry Blamire. They promise nail-biting sword fights, wise-cracking merry men, a fesity Marion and new-fangled twists. Matinees and evening performances run across two weekends, 26 – 28 Jan and 2 – 4 Feb 2018. Tickets are £8 adults, £6 children.